Anki Vector: “The Good Robot: The Decision”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Wieden + Kennedy
DIRECTOR: Nick Gordon

This company went out of business earlier this year. Not sure what that says about the marketing behind this unusual product. But the spot I worked on delivered the VFX goods, nonetheless.

Think of Siri as a mini-tractor-like robot that mostly makes a lot of R2-D2 noises and moves around. Hmmm … now, that I think about it, maybe its failure was written from the start.

Anyway, I enjoyed contributing to this one, mainly due to the “Get Out” vibe, as well as the Skynet references, and all manner of technophobia. Lots of clean up, product beauty, and CG robot dogs and drones.

KFC: “Bossa Crispy” | “All In”

KFC” “Bossa Crispy”

KFC: “All In”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy
DIRECTOR: Gary Freedman

I think I’ve seen this boat cruising in and out of Marina del Rey from time to time.

That said, these two KFC spots were shot in Long Beach. The boat was docked for some insurance/regulatory reason I’m unsure about, since I don’t actually own or operate a boat. This little snafu meant replacing all the backgrounds for the deck/interior shots. I added open water and the Caribbean island for most of the wide shots in both spots.

Also, the boat’s exterior didn’t have all the KFC branding, so I added some red decals to a couple of shots. Additionally, there was some clean-up of a ceiling rig, food beauty and steaming, and further populating of the decks with more people.

Surprisingly, no beauty work was needed for the Colonel, a.k.a. George Hamilton. His extra crispy look was good as is.

Full Credits

Nike: “Unlimited You”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy (Portland)
DIRECTOR: The Daniels

Nike commercials tend to look and feel the same. And understandably, that comes with the territory, when you’re one of the world’s most recognizable brands. So when the “Unlimited You” campaign came along, it was an unexpected and creatively inspiring breath of fresh air.

This series of ads, represented by the anthem spot featured above, directly attempts to subvert the expected Nike style, taking an over-the-top mash-up approach to athletic inspiration, pushing the limits of one’s ability to absurd levels of achievement. It gives a whole new meaning to the tag “Just Do It.”

There was a huge team for this, and all the compers got a segment or two to work on, as well as the additional shots for the shorter breakout vignettes. I touched some of the earlier living room shots with the kid making baskets in front of his synced-up flatscreen. But my main contribution was the crash test sequence with Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon, and the tennis-baseball training with Serena Williams and Giancarlo Stanton.

The crash test sequence was entirely assembled in 2D with multiple plates and elements. Matte paintings extended the limited set environment. Additional glass, smoke, and debris were added to augment the impact. And extensive retiming and animated repo’s were needed to make the players “impossible” actions convincing. For the cutdowns, each featured a different timing, so all of the work had to be repeated for a 15 and 10 second version.

The Serena / Giancarlo training session required an animated ball, damage to the court, and extensive retiming for the players’ swings. Additional work was done to clean-up and flush out the tennis court environment. And there was a fair amount of beauty work and sweat removal for each. The cutdowns added a handful of shots.

Nike Basketball: “Bring Your Game”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy (Portland)
DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa

Nike loves their long-form commercials, which tend to play like short-films. I’m never quite sure how to classify them, because they’re a little of both.

Anyway, Nike’s “Bring Your Game” is an all-star celebration of basketball’s greatest players, as four kids travel across the country in search of their favorite player. This lends itself to all manner of self-mockery and humorous parody, as each player exaggerates their quirks and perceived eccentricities.

At five minutes in length, there’s quite a few shots that required various forms of clean-up and augmentation, all invisible to the average person, exempting perhaps, the holographic Anthony Davis.

There’s too many shots to list individually. But a few stand-outs come to mind. I tackled the KD dunk sequence, with removal of windows, furniture and wall fixtures, as well as a poster image replacement that the kid with glasses receives. Both the front image and the back color needed to be swapped, proving for some tricky tracking and re-integration.

There were a few day time shots that needed to be switched to night, due to continuity issues. The most challenging was the sequence with the kids boarding a bus on a busy afternoon street. Everything needed to be roto’d and color corrected, and in some instances, replaced.

And then there were a number of LeBron James courtside shots that required crowd greeking. In other words, if it wasn’t LeBron or the kids, then none of the audience could be recognizable. This was handled through face replacements, focal tricks, or median blurring, depending on what worked best for the shot.

I also managed the conform, which was a bit more challenging than usual, due to its length, and the constantly revolving editorial revisions.

Full Credits

Nike: “TW14” feat. Tiger Woods

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy
DIRECTOR: Brad Parker

Another early spot I worked on at the Mission. This Nike advert features Tiger Woods in a subversion of golf decorum, with rowdy crowds, and boxing and baseball intrusions. It’s built out of original and found footage, much from the PGA, and some additional plates of crowds, refs, a catcher, and a few other sports references.

I worked on bits and pieces of clean-up and compositing, tidying up foreground edges and replicating crowds throughout. My main contribution is to the catcher/umpire shot, which required a fair amount of work, due to the focal issues.

It’s a weird spot with a weird look. But in hindsight, I kind of like the quirkiness.