Director Michael Bay brought in the visual effects house on the spot, featuring soccer icon David Beckham and football legend Peyton Manning, to create some very “cheesy” Cheetos-munching debris, a CG ball smacking a chip bag, and generic stadium shots where all manner of branded signage, banners, flags, and video screen imagery had to be removed.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, sponsor Frito-Lay debuted its Soccer or Football commercial, directed by renowned action filmmaker Michael Bay. In it, soccer icon David Beckham and football legend Peyton Manning attempt to settle the score on whether the World Cup sport is called soccer or football. The commercial contains cutaways to other soccer legends like Mia Hamm, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Brandi Chastain, Tim Howard, and Julie Fouday, all at their respective stadiums and soccer field locations, chiming in on the debate. Most are holding or munching on various Frito-Lay snack brands, including Doritos, Tostitos, Cheetos, Lays, and Ruffles.
The Beckham/Manning sequences were shot on location in London, with the stadium cutaways filmed in Los Angeles at Dignity Health Sports Park, the LA Galaxy’s stadium in Carson, California. With Great Guns USA handling the production, Los Angeles-based production house OPSIS oversaw the VFX.
OPSIS VFX producer Lena Bahrs told AWN that post-production work included removing any recognizable visuals from the Galaxy’s stadium to make it as generic looking as possible. That meant eliminating any visuals and signage containing the team’s name and sponsor logos that usually populate soccer stadiums on banners, plaques, flags, video screens, and other visual elements. It also meant adding CG items like flying soccer balls and Cheetos pieces while showing the impact of a ball on a bag of Cheetos or the spray of cheesy “debris” that occurs when the Cheetos are crunched in someone’s mouth.
While there can be various technical challenges in removing or adding such effects, Bahrs said the most challenging aspect of the shoot was executing Bay’s vision for the spot while managing all the other creative voices, as is so often the case in the commercial arena.
“As the VFX house, we regularly find ourselves in the middle,” explained Bahrs. “For example, the director wants the goalie to jump left, and the client would prefer him to jump right. As a producer, you find yourself managing two strong opinions and visions, and you have to make it work without upsetting either relationship.”
Bay and his Platinum Dunes production company first worked with OPSIS on the 2021 film Songbird at the height of the pandemic.
Shared Bahr, “Getting through that project together, under those types of circumstances, then coming out on the other side with a successful film created a special bond between us.”
A year later, Bay asked OPSIS back for a second time to work with him on his next film, Ambulance, for Universal Pictures and Endeavor Content.
“Michael has a strong vision and is very clear about it,” said Bahrs. “Whether it’s a flying soccer ball or a whirling helicopter, he knows how to get it done. I appreciate that, even if sometimes it can be an exhausting process. Ultimately, I’d rather work with a director with a clear vision than a director without a vision. If you expect people to work long hours on your project, their belief in your vision motivates them to keep going. That’s why OPSIS tends to collaborate with visionaries like Michael Bay and his two companies, Bay Films, and Platinum Dunes.”
Check out the spot:
Source: OPSIS VFX