October 6, 2005


Conceived by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the commercials promote Saturn's sporty Ion sedan, Relay family utility vehicle and Vue SUV, and use seamless vignettes to highlight the cars' sleek designs and impressive safety ratings.

In "Vue," the camera employs an upward rotating motion between scenes. In the opening, viewers see the SUV atop of a hill in the woods with a camping tent in the background. The camera travels up into the tree branches and then focuses on two people who have stopped abruptly at a traffic light. Another upward revolution brings viewers to a parking garage where a man loads a gigantic dinosaur cutout into the roomy trunk. In the final sequence, the viewers are taken inside its comfy interior, through the windshield as it travels an open road.

"Ion" and "Relay" both follow suit, showcasing the verhicles in equally compelling ways. Spy Post's use of the continuous transitions and rotating views adds to never-ending, seamless ride effect.

Lead artist Darren Orr worked closely with Smuggler LA director Adam Berg to visualize the shoot and troubleshoot any problems that might come up, as well as to map out the most efficient way of shooting particular elements. Orr and CG artist Joe Henke performed on-set supervision and used still photos for measurements of the car and environment, which Henke could later track accurately in 3D.

Spy Post was also responsible for numerous fixes, including the addition of seat belts and windows, as well as a window-to-desert shot in "Relay," the replacement of people in the rearview mirrors for both "Relay" and "Vue," background, sky and hubcap replacements, and the removal of reflections and a dog trainer in "Relay." The studio used Autodesk Flame, Alias Maya and 2d3's Boujou for 3D tracking.

Telecine was handled in-house as well, by colorist Chris Martin.

"I was able to transfer the film to HD so the compositors and CG artists could work in an HD space and then down-rez it to standard [def]," notes Martin. "We were provided with beautiful footage and it was advantageous to work closely with Darren [Orr] and pull him into the room to discuss ideas and passes."

Kirk Baxter of Rock Paper Scissors in LA cut the commercials. Stimmung in Santa Monica, CA, provided original music and sound design. The commercials were mixed by Craig Helmholz of Crescendo! Studios in San Francisco.