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Brickyard VFX Expands Workload for Volkswagen Shorts

Brickyard VFX expanded its work for Volkswagen from visual effects to end-to-end creative direction with 14 short films to promo the 2006 Volkswagen (VW) Passat. VW and advertising agency Arnold Worldwide tapped Brickyard as one of a handful of production entities to conceive and produce the clever and artsy :15-second films, each of which focuses on one of the features of the new "beyond-loaded" Passat. The Volkswagen Passat Feature Films Project has been rolled out via and traditional broadcast media.

Brickyard conceived and produced 14 of the 120 shorts in the campaign. Brickyard additionally handled final finishing of all 120 shorts to ensure consistent treatment of VW logos and type.

The features promoted in the Brickyard-produced films range from "chrome-tipped dual exhaust pipes"(a double-flute player springs to life from an illustration on an ancient urn) to "impact-deformable steering wheel" (a hapless cartoon man gets hit with a metal bar that conveniently conforms to his head). In the film "vented disc brakes," a paper cutout giraffe roller-skates through a whimsical landscape, stopping on a dime to avoid running down a mouse.

The complexly named "form-hardened, stamped steel anti-intrusion side door beams" is illuminated in a nod to Ray Harryhausen with frustrated monsters trying to break a medieval door that's securely barred.

Brickyard worked with numerous artists to complete the work, which was creative-directed by Brickyard founder Dave Waller. Arnold's brief required utilizing a wide variety of production styles, so Brickyard was able use cel animation, stop motion and practical models, as well as live action enhanced with CG effects.

"The result is a less polished but more pure form of storytelling, Waller said. We rekindled some old friendships with freelance artists in the U.S., Canada and England and motivated the staff here in Boston and Santa Monica."

Independent animators Gabriel Polonsky, Mark Frizell and Bryan Papicak were integral to implementing the animations. Keith Hamm and the Brownlee Brothers were tapped as live-action directors. To view Brickyard VFX's work on the features, follow the link to:

Brickyard VFX has completed visual effects on spots featuring the VW Jetta and Touareg, and last year worked on the Sundance ad film, THE CHECK UP, promoting VW's Phaeton.

Located in Boston and Santa Monica, Brickyard VFX ( is an independent boutique specializing in top quality visual effects from 3D characters through to compositing. Completely artist owned and operated, the company was founded in 1999 to bring clients a level of customer service, craftsmanship and focus difficult to find at facilities today. Brickyard's problem-solving expertise on set and in the studio has been applied to model, animate, light, texture, track, rotoscope, color correct and render seamless digital effects for Chevrolet, Old Navy, Citibank, Volkswagen, Target, Tyson Foods and other accounts.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.