Visual Effects

"Night," one of the spots in Spontaneous Combustion's Audi Campaign. Image courtesy of Spontaneous Combustion

Spontaneous Combustion Revs Up The New Audi TT Campaign. Spontaneous Combustion, the New York-based digital studio, which specializes in the creation of visual effects for the advertising, broadcast and film industries, created beautiful, seamless effects for "Madness," "Wake Up," and "Night," three :30s designed to brand the new Audi TT sports car. The campaign is slated to start nationally on May 17. The spots are driven by a male voice which rhapsodizes about the pleasures of driving an Audi. He can make up for the seriousness of his youth...."with a little Madness;" a Wake Up call disguised as a car warns him "...not to get too comfortable ...and fall asleep..." and miss his life; and he can lose himself in the sound of the engine, "and watch the white lines on the road shoot by me like a million comets," when he drives at Night. "Everything we did had to be noticeable and beautiful, but not stand out as an actual visual effect. We had to attain in post that which is unattainable in reality and still be believable. We used multiple passes of the footage, layering different exposures, defocusing and regrading, to create amazing images of the car that would have been impossible to capture if only shot practically. Each of the spots required a good deal of manipulation, altering reflections in windows, manipulating clouds, tracking stars in the sky, and realigning some of the footage," explained Spontaneous Combustion's Executive Producer/Creative Director/Flame Artist Tony Robins. "The spots are comprised of an intricate series of composited layers -- passes of the cars, the city, and the various backgrounds," added Spontaneous' Producer Trevor King. "On `Night,' in particular, Tony did some real problem solving for us. There was one scene that we shot day for night and he needed to remove a sunshine reflection. It took a lot of time and patience on his part, but it was his troubleshooting that actually made that shot what it is. My hat's off to him," stated McKinney & Silver Executive Producer Joni Madison. Representing Spontaneous Combustion were Robins and King. The McKinney & Silver creative team included Creative Director David Baldwin, Copywriter Chris Wilson, Art Director Ralph Watson and Madison. "Madness," "Wake Up," and "Night" were all lensed in Southern California by Director Robert Logevall, Executive Producer Heidi Nolting, Director of Photography Tobias Schliessler and Producer Line Postmyr, all of Bruce Dowad Associates (Hollywood, CA). The offline edit was completed at MacKenzie Cutler, Inc. (New York, NY) by Editor Gavin Cutler and Assistant Editor Hayley Downs. Stock footage was obtained from Uniphoto (New York, NY) and Second Line Search (New York, NY). Fritz Doddy ("Night") and Kerry Smith ("Madness") of Elias Music (New York, NY) composed the musical underscore. The music for "Wake Up" was licensed and is Bobby McFerrin's "Prelude" and Mozart's "Orchestra 20 in D Minor." The final audio mix was engineered by Bobby Elder of the Mix Place (New York, NY).

Ron Brinkmann, from one of the Masters of Visual Effects training tapes.

New Visual Effects Training Videos. Masters of Visual Effects, LLC has released the first two series of Masters of Visual Effects training videos. The series offers an overview of visual effects from which artists, producers, and filmmakers, whether novice or professional, will benefit. The first series, entitled "Introduction to Visual Effects," covers introductory concepts in visual effects such as visual effects cues, film and video as digital images, commercial post production basics, pre-visualization and offline editing. The second series, entitled "2D Compositing," covers image processing, image combination, rotoscoping, 2D painting, tracking, and keying matte creation. Series 3 & 4 cover 3D animation and advanced concepts but will not be available until August. Among the experts who host the tapes are John Knoll (Star Wars Episode One, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek: First Contact), Scott Squires (Star Wars Episode One, Starship Troopers, The Mask), Ron Brinkmann (Contact, James And The Giant Peach, Speed), and Eric Chavin (Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Babylon 5). For more information visit or call Puffin Designs at (415) 331-4560.

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