Comcast Xfinity: “Summer Project” | “Long Distance Relationship” | “When 2 Becomes 5”

Comcast Xfinity: “Summer Project”

Comcast Xfinity: “Long Distance Relationship”

Comcast Xfinity: “When 2 Becomes 5”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor & Finisher
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

The gag for these Xfinity spots is the continuous and seamless “one-take” shot. Of course, each is comprised of many shots, not all continuous, nor seamless, with all types of nudging and fudging to get the transitional moments to align. Consequently, some spots flow more smoothly than others, each relying on their own visual techniques to tell the story – time-lapse, wipes, screens, morphs, etc.

The conforms were a bit tricky, getting all these elements to sync correctly, requiring a lot of counter-animation, repo’s and timewarp/speedramps, with the accompanying cleanup. Plus, an assortment of screen comps, and in some instances, rebuilding of background plates to align foreground elements.

These three spots come from a larger campaign, amounting to six in total. I chose these three, because I was the 2D lead for each. I contributed to the others, but only in a support capacity.

Verizon: “Mr. Amazing”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: McGarry Bowen
DIRECTOR: Samuel Bayer

One of the earlier stadium/crowd replacement projects I worked on, all done in Flame with 2D elements, crowd plates, and general all-around creative thinking. These days, this type of project is a fairly standard CG task, with Massive or Golaem doing the heavy lifting. Being in smaller shop, with a handful of experienced Flame artists, the spot was regulated as a 2D comp challenge.

I worked on a couple of wide running shots, as well as those approaching camera. Since the conceit was a dream sequence, the stadium reality was slightly heightened, with atmosphere and stylized lighting. A lot of hand tracking and multiplane layers, with matte painted bleachers and scoreboards, and clever glows and lighting effects to illuminate the field.

Sprint EVO: “Mobile Choir”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
CLIENT: Sprint
AGENCY: Leo Burnett

Sprint’s “Mobile Choir” demonstrates an unusual and clever way in which to market it’s data network. The spot features a choir of people using their smart-phones as faux instruments, thanks to various apps. Together, the group creates a harmonious musical composition, suggesting how smart phones and data can converge to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Well … maybe that’s reading too far into it. But it’s nonetheless a creative bit of marketing.

The above featured spot represents the white version of the phone. Originally, this was shot with a black phone, and the ad’s first iteration was assembled with that in mind. Rather than re-shoot the phone for white, we decided to substitute a CG phone in it’s place. This necessitated the usual tasks – removal of the old phone, and tracking and integration of the CG one.

In addition, having worked on the black phone spots as well, there was a few extra tasks that either carried over, or needed to be revisited, such as revised screen comps (for content), shirt clean-ups (due to legal clearances), and plate color corrections (for enhancing the legibility of the white phone).

T-Mobile: “Come Out of the Dark”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Luma Pictures
CLIENT: T-Mobile
AGENCY: Publicis Seattle

Although a fairly straightforward endeavor, “Come Out of the Dark” proved to be one of the more unique projects I had the opportunity to work on last year. Not because of the work itself. Moreso due to the circumstances surrounding it.

Luma Pictures, primarily a feature film FX house, was looking to make a stronger showing in the commercial market. This meant something new for them – finishing in Flame.

When I arrived to start conforming “Come Out of the Dark,” if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought their Flame bay had been a staple in their facility for years. In reality, it was set up the day before with a rental box to boot. To be honest, the whole thing was a little frightening in retrospect. But overall, an impressive demonstration in rising to a challenge. And easily, one of the smoothest projects I worked on that year.

As far as the actual work, the spot consisted of the usual suspects – swapping practical set products with CG replacements, color correction all-around, some signage clean-up, anamorphic lens flares, and some lighting tricks here and there.

Sprint QIK: “Golf Cart”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / Nuke Compositor / Matte Painter
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Sprint
DIRECTOR: David Rosenbaum

Third in the “salt flats” series, this Sprint spot showcases the streaming video capabilities of the EVO 4G, through a humorous vignette concerning a golfer, his girlfriend, and a golf cart.

I split duties on this job between Flame and Nuke, using the former for finishing, and the latter for compositing.

All of the salt flat environments are pan-and-tile backgrounds constructed from on-set photos and footage. The talent and the sliding train sets are all shot live action on greenscreen. The golf cart, for the most part, is CG. And the golf course is a matte painting I did in Photoshop with grass textures I found on the web.

Comcast Xfinity: “Anthem”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
AGENCY: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
DIRECTOR: David Rosenbaum

At its core, Comcast’s Xfinity launch assumes a rather simplistic concept – lines of digital information traveling everywhere, across all mediums, delivering content into your life, instantaneously.

The journey getting there was a bit more complicated and time consuming, employing proprietary software, numerous iterations, and multiple artists for more than 9 months to develop this “anthem” of visual messaging.

I joined for the last four months, keeping the conform alive, sorting through footage, cleaning up live action plates, adding stylized supers, crafting additional data effects, and helping ensure that the final messaging was on target and focused.

Also, I’ve contributed to quarterly updates for all first and second year Xfinity spots.