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Reel FX Transforms Playtime for Hasbro

Integrated studio Reel FX leverages its growing live action division and CG expertise to blur the lines between imagination and reality in the :30 “Reunion,” directed by Dale Carman for Hasbro’s Transformers out of Grey, New York.

Dallas, TX -- Integrated studio Reel FX leverages its growing live action division and CG expertise to blur the lines between imagination and reality in the :30 “Reunion,” directed by Dale Carman for Hasbro’s Transformers out of Grey, New York. The spot features a boy who follows the monstrous truck, Optimus Prime, into a Dinosaur Dig Park where the full-sized versions of his toys transform before his eyes. The campaign also includes the two additional :30s “Parking Garage” and “Construct-Bots.” The spots hype the latest batch of Transformer toys launched in conjunction with the recent release of the Michael Bay-directed Transformers: The Age of Extinction -- which brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend.

A diehard Transformers fan, Director Dale Carman was thrilled at the opportunity to be involved with this project. Reel FX took on the live-action shoot, editorial and VFX -- including the creation of the photo-real CG Transformers. Starting with the shoot, Carman paid careful attention to the casting process to ensure that he would get believable performances from the young actors who would have to work with and react to the CG Transformers. Though the realizations of the larger-than-life robot version of the Transformers were added later in post-production, the actual vehicles from the Transformers movie were used in the spot.

“Having the actual vehicles on set provided a bit of magic and really got everyone excited,” Carman noted. “Being able to use the real Optimus Prime in its truck mode, really pulled everyone into the world of the Transformers.”

Kevin Althans led the VFX team to elevate the actual vehicles from the film. The brand-new Optimus 18-wheeler and Bumblebee Camaro were shipped to Dallas and used for the live-action photography. For the “Reunion” spot, the Optimus rig was shot in a rock quarry that doubled for an archeological dig where scientists were unearthing a long-buried Grimlock. Grimlock in his dinosaur form rises up from the dirt and roars to life in front of a boy who has just transformed a smaller scale toy version of the beast.

The large dinosaur was realized through a combination of 3D matte paintings and CGI. Animation was done in Maya with final renders using Arnold and compositing in Nuke and Flame. The same pipeline was used to bring Bumblebee to life after he zips around a darkened parking garage in his car form. Bumblebee rises to his full height and stares eye-to-eye with an awestruck boy holding a matching toy version of the friendly alien robot in the “Parking Garage” spot.

“This was a great first project to work on with the Grey NY team,” added Executive Producer Gary Banks. “Their collaborative approach to the work made for some fabulous commercials.”

Source: Reel FX