Nissan Heisman House: “Tebow’s Dream”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill

Nissan’s annual Heisman House spots featured something special for 2016. Along with the usual round of comedic antics, this year featured a special Tim Tebow music video.

The song itself is something akin to a country rock-rap song with an occasional millennial whoop to punctuate itself. The visuals are literally a performance in the clouds. I’m not sure how the creatives involved pitched this one, but it sure revels in its ridiculous premise.

Workwise, I have to admit, it was a lot of good fun. The spot was intended to look a little cheesy, so of course, I leaned into that aspect with tongue firmly planted in cheek. And although not intended as the slick, classy comp job, these shots did prove to have their own complications. They still had to look good, while intentionally looking bad.

Most of the plates had limited-to-no greenscreen backing. And there were no tracking markers to help align the elements. So quite a bit of push and shove had to be utilized to get everything working together.

All of the cloudscapes were assembled in Flame, cobbled together from various stock footage, and repurposed assets from previous projects. Thanks to the alligator paint job on the Nissan Armada, there was no car clean-up or beauty needed. But Tebow did need some glimmer in his eye.

Myself another Flame Artist handled all of these shots.

Gatorade: “Moving the Game Forward”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
DIRECTOR: Max Malkin

Gatorade moves the game forward with this athletic showcase from all sports disciplines.

Although mostly invisible, this spot had a tremendous amount of work done on it, from CG stadiums and crowds, matte paintings of various worldwide locations, the addition of trophies, some of which weren’t allowed to be photographed, literal ring bling, and all around uniform clean-up. I don’t think there was a shot that wasn’t touched and retouched.

I contributed numerous odds and ends to this spot. But my two largest sequences were Lionel Massi and Elena Delle Donne.

The former required an entire rebuild of the shot, due to client dissatisfaction with the plate’s original photography, which was shot on greenscreen. This included a CG crowd and stadium, more photographers, camera flashes, confetti, the alteration of security uniforms, and a cleaner, shinier trophy.

The latter needed crowd replication, stolen from alternate takes, and multiple handheld face posters of Delle Donne to replace the practical ones shot on the day. Both tasks were tricky, thanks to the dynamic photography, the barrage of camera flashes, and the frantically waving posters, which all needed to be hand tracked.

I also did some crowd replacements for the football shot in the rain, as well as enhanced the ring bling, and tidied up the end shot uniforms.

Miller Lite: “Liquid”

Miller Lite: “Liquid: Storm”

Miller Lite: “Liquid: Snowflake”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDER: The Mill

These Miller Lite “Liquid” spots are an experiment in physical beer manipulation. Shot in-camera in plexiglass cloud tanks, these tempestuous whirls of hops and ale are intended to mimic natural liquid forms, like watery rolls and curling waves. These two spots are part of a larger collection, each with its own theme and narration.

Workwise, it’s all fairly straightforward, but also in need of some 2D comp help. Much of the footage was shot on greenscreen, which keyed adequately enough. However, some of the grander shots, like the curling wave did require roto, making for a challenging experience all its own.

There’s also a fair bit of clean-up, removing residue and dust from the tanks, as well as imperfections in the beer itself. On that latter point, it’s safe to say that most of the clean-up was subjective, based primarily on taste (no pun intended). So sometimes, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was cleaning dust, unwanted bubbles, or some foam-froth-based thing.

There’s also some endcard product beauty. I handled that, as well as most of the beer clean-up and one of the curling wave shots, represented in the “Storm” spot.