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Rhinofx Customizes Chicken in New Burger King Spot

The longstanding Burger King slogan "Have It Your Way" saw a new twist at the hands of New York visual effects studio rhinofx and advertising agency UniWorld Group, New York. Designed to appeal to the urban market, the new spot titled CHICKEN WITH STYLE, builds and customizes a 3D chicken model by giving it car-like attributes and personifying it with sunglasses, a twisted baseball cap and a little bling, bling thrown in. Offbeat and humorous, the message of "your sandwich done your way" comes shining through.

"It is a great concept that targets its audience with a clear message," said rhinofx creative director Harry Dorrington. "But the execution needed to be just right. We had to invent a chicken/car character and build it from scratch all the while staying true to UniWorld's vision. It was the kind of challenge that requires everyone working together very closely."

A short schedule added to the challenge. Turnaround time for rhinofx was just 10 days. Dorrington knew that doing character development, modeling, animation, sound design and rendering in that time meant designing a new workflow. "You can't do CG in 10 day at least not CG that is worth talking about without changing the normal work patterns," Dorrington explained. "Since the only thing we produce here is high-end CG, to do the spot in that time meant we had to change the way things are traditionally done."

"We very much partnered with UniWorld on this project," said rhinofx exec producer Rick Wagonheim. "The job required a greater focus, a quicker approval process and all of us being very confident in our decisions as we went along. UniWorld and rhinofx adopted an extremely positive and supportive attitude and worked together to get this project completed on time. When it was all finished, of all the jobs we've done with UniWorld, this one actually ended up being the most fun and smoothest."

The final spot draws an analogy between customized cars and customized food. It opens on a green, 3D computer grid of a chicken being examined from all angles. We dive in for a close up of the chicken's legs but immediately they are transformed into car tires with mag wheels. A fiery wave moves over the chicken giving it a sleek, aerodynamic body made of chrome and fiberglass. A rear spoiler is magically molded onto the back above the dual exhaust pipes. The camera swings around to the head of the chicken as it too transforms into what resembles a sleek hood ornament. A Burger King medallion hangs around its neck on a tough-looking chain. As a final touch, a black baseball cap lands crooked on its head and the chicken lets out a Burger King shout-out that could easily double as a percussive element for any Hip Hop album.

"One of the main reasons we could do a job like this is because we have done so much work in this field before and with fast turnarounds," explained Dorrington. "We called on all the work we have done in cars and character development and quickly had a commercial up and running. Once we were through preproduction, we had the previs in 12 hours and a basic model up in 24 hours.

"We used Joe Burrascano to be lead lighter on this because we knew his work on the recent Ford project would help facilitate the Burger King concept. We also used Dan Vislocky as lead animator. His work on Lugz and this Burger King spot demonstrated the kind of contribution he can make to our character development work."

"Rhinofx is one of the very few studios that has been able to straddle the lines drawn by other visual effects houses by doing photoreal work, such as our recent projects for Ford and Cadillac, and character development like this Burger King spot," commented Wagonheim. "I feel as if our current projects at any given time are like a litmus test on the industry. We have been doing a great deal of photoreal over the last year but now starting to see more character development work come in. Perhaps this is next year's trend."

Rhinofx credits:

* Harry Dorrington (director)* Rick Wagonheim (partner/managing director)* Camille Geier (sr exec producer)* Dan Vislocky (lead animator)* Joe Burrascano (lead lighter)* Ji-Hyun (senior TD)* Matt Connelly (animator)* Kull Shin (modeler)

Rhinofx (, formerly Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design) is located at 50 East 42nd Street, New York, NY (212) 986-1577.