SCHOOL BUS is a 70-second spot about a young boy's extraordinary journey -- first to the southernmost side of the globe, then to an uplifting moment in history, on to the Broadway stage and finally into the far reaches of our solar system - fueled by compelling content offered exclusively on PBS.
SCHOOL BUS was brought to life by a uniquely talented group that includes Elias Merhige of Independent Media, vfx studio Digit, and DP Januz Kaminski.
The spot extends PBS' award-winning "Be more" brand campaign. "Be more" illustrates how PBS invites all Americans, from every walk of life, to explore new ideas and new worlds, and broaden personal horizons by experiencing PBS content.
Working closely with director Merhige and the creative team at PBS, Digit applied a wide spectrum of techniques to illustrate the kind of journey people can take when they watch PBS, in this case represented by a young boy's eye-opening bus ride that transports him from one exciting realm to another.
Among the effects are an all-CG Mars landscape, a complex series of multilayered reflections on the school bus windows, and a historic Wright Brothers flight sequence featuring the child hero and Big Bird. Initially, production called for the use of actual Wright Flyer footage, but it was not readily available in HD, so the Digit team referenced the original source material to produce an entirely CG re-creation, including age scratches and fade to match.
For on-set vfx supervision, Digit turned to Joe Bauer, the vfx supervisor on GET SMART.
"We worked together on the feature and trusted Joe would insure a seamless transition from production to the digital process," says Digit Exec Producer Scott Siegal. "He was a great addition to the team and the project."
Due to PBS' production deadlines, Digit worked around the clock to complete the numerous effects and digital treatments in just under three weeks.
"Digit infused our concept for this boy's amazing journey with tremendous ingenuity to bring SCHOOL BUS to life," said Lesli Rotenberg, SVP, PBS Brand Management and Promotion. "They collaborated with us to create a spot that captures the spirit of the PBS experience, which offers everyone -- equally -- the opportunity to be transported and transformed by our content."
Client: PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)Sr. VP, Brand Management and Promotion: Lesli RotenbergVP, Brand Management and Promotion: Judy BrauneDirector, Corporate Brand: Kelly ChmielewskiDirector, Operations and Production: Sylvia PrickettProducer: Jared TraverSr. Director, Creative Services: John RuppenthalCreative Director: Derrick ChamleeAssociate Creative Director: Jeffrey Hughes
Production Company: Independent MediaDirector: Elias MerhigeExecutive Producer: Susanne PreisslerHead of Production: Leslie EversDP: Janusz KaminskiLine Producer: Simon Barrett
Visual Effects: DigitCreative Director: Elad OfferExecutive Producer: Scott SiegalJoe Bauer: VFX SupervisorFlame Artists: Maya Bello-Korenwasser and Raphael MosleyShake Compositor: Phil BrosteLead CG Artist: Yuji YagasakiCG Artist: Mike FisherRoto Artist: Diana WellesDigital Matte Painter: Dark Hoffman
Editorial: Film CoreExecutive Producer: Scott FriskeProducer: Amburr DildayEditor: Livio Sanchez