February 7, 2005


SANTA MONICA - Brickyard VFX provided visual effects work for three Super Bowl spots: "Journey" for Anheuser-Busch, "Tan Line" for McIlhenny Tabasco and "Lovestruck" for Dunkin' Donuts.

If auditions for the Budweiser Clydesdales were open to the Animal Kingdom, the cattle-call might look something like "Journey," a :30 completed via Tate & Partners of Santa Monica and director Albert Kodagolian. The spot sees all manner of zoo and farm life assembled outside the famous horse team's barn, using seamless compositing by Brickyard VFX Pacific to create group shots of the animals that would have been impossible for the client to stage with the animals all present in the same space and time on set.

"Journey" opens with scenes of a giraffe, elephant and a kangaroo, each making its way to a barnyard in a terrible hurry. As it is revealed, a llama, ostrich, buffalo, camel, goat, cow and two sheep have all had the same idea: getting a place on the famous horse team. When the stable doors open to show a donkey, the star of a prior Budweiser campaign already harnessed up with the thoroughbreds, the source for their inspiration is made clear. Uniformed attendants berate the little beast for setting off this ridiculous trend, even as more hopefuls, including a pig with his hooves decked out in white horsehair spats, arrive.

Though the animals appear to have been present simultaneously on set, they were each shot separately, with the 11 different plates composited at Brickyard's Santa Monica studio. Plates for the elephant and giraffe were shot in location at the El Campeon Ranch in Thousand Oaks, CA, near LA, while the other nine were done at night against a greenscreen.

"The only way to assemble the animals for the creative treatment on this spot was to composite them digitally," says Diana Young, VFX producer at Brickyard VFX Pacific. "Getting them together was not an option due to the on-set logistics of having a buffalo stand next to a kangaroo beside an ostrich and so forth. Also, there were trainers and handlers constantly in frame. Lead Brickyard artist Patrick Poulatian supervised a live, individual shoot for each animal. From there, we took on the challenge of combining the plates, balancing out the different lighting and delivering completely seamless composites with a day-shot look."

For Tabasco, this time working with DDB Dallas and Crossroads Films of LA, Brickyard VFX delivered "Tan Line." The ad shows off the Tabasco brand's trademark intensity, as a woman relaxes on a sun-baked beach. Sauntering inside a stylish cottage, she discovers her tan lines to be quite the opposite of the norm. As the song lyrics rise, her knowing look at the Tabasco-print fabric confirms the source of the burn. Brickyard VFX completed the reverse tan in post, using a digital visual effect to produce a truly baked-in, line-matched look.

At Dunkin' Donuts, everyone's being smitten by the new Raspberry Mocha Latte. The Super Bowl ad "Lovestruck," via Hill/Holliday Boston, sees Cupid's various victims going about - riding up escalators, hailing cabs and picking up the dry cleaning - oblivious of having arrows through their backs.

Brickyard VFX created the final shot, which shows a final target, creamy coffee drink in hand, getting his heart pierced from above at the Dunkin' Donuts shop.