R!OT Races With Michael Johnson & Samsung

Santa Monica, California digital studio R!OT has created the visual effects for a new Samsung television commercial featuring Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson. The commercial shows the world-record holder running on a track that actually is a super-sized Samsung 8500 cellular phone. Johnson, the other runners and race officials were shot against a green screen at Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, California, in addition to other objects like a pair of wind-whipped flags. The stadium, fans and giant cell phone were created as CGI elements then composited with the live-action footage using Discreet Flame software. "Although the concept was surreal, the commercial needed a photo-real look," said the spot's post-production supervisor Christopher Morrison. "The composites had to be executed with a lot of finesse and that was a challenge as each scene was composed of six to ten layers. But [R!OT artist] Verdi Sevenhuysen pulled it off." The most challenging element of the ad was when the camera pulled away from the runners to reveal the phone in Johnson's coach's hand. "That was a multi-layered composite that involved a live-action hand model, shot on location, combined with a computer-generated phone and on top of that were the live-action runners," explained the spot's visual effects producer Eric Pascarelli. "Making it all hook up involved the cooperation of Verdi, the CG animators and the live-action unit." The spot was produced for and conceived by AG Worldwide and directed by Peter Arnell.

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