MPC Provides VFX For Super Bowl Spots
February 8, 2016

MPC Provides VFX For Super Bowl Spots

LOS ANGELES — MPC collaborated on a number of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, including those for Mountain Dew, Kia, Death Wish Coffee and Skittles. 

Mountain Dew returned to the big game this year with “puppymonkeybaby,” via BBDO NY, which CNN called “the weirdest Super Bowl ad ever.” MPC NY worked closely with the agency and comedy directing legend Ulf Johansson of Smith & Jones to create the ‘puppymonkeybaby’ character (it has a pug’s head, the torso and arms of a monkey and the diaper-wearing rump and plastic legs of a baby); and it’s what you just might turn into after enjoying the combo of DEW, juice and caffeine of a Mtn Dew Kickstart. MPC’s team, led by Aleksandar Sasha Djordjevic, handled a range of tasks, including tracking a real pug’s face onto the puppet used on set, removing the puppeteers, compositing a tongue-licking scene onto the puppy’s mouth and handling lip sync for the character. MPC also completely re-animated the puppet’s performance, composited multiple performances of live-action actors together in the same frame and performed general cleanup and rig removal.

David & Goliath created its seventh Super Bowl winner for Kia Motors America, titled “Walken Closet” featuring none other than Christopher Walken who delivers his best poker-faced funny in scenes that include a walk-in closet, a car showroom and a long stretch of open highway. Highlighting the features of Kia’s all-new Optima midsize sedan, MJZ’s multi award-winning Matthijs Van Heijningen directed and MPC LA handled VFX. Led by VFX supervisor Mark Holden, MPC’s tasks ranged from set build and set cleanup to car beauty and clean up. The final scene’s driving vignettes were compiled from the studio shoot and background plates, with new skies added. Colorist Ricky Gausis graded the commercial.

MPC NY teamed up with RPA, Prettybird director Isaiah Seret and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda for Intuit’s spot for Death Wish Coffee, “Storm’s a-Brewing” It features a surly crew of Vikings at sea battling a perfect storm, with their journey culminating in the wide-open mouth of a man drinking a cup of Death Wish Coffee. The spot was part of a social media contest Intuit conducted for its small business customers, with the winner being featured in a Super Bowl ad. The MPC team, led by VFX supervisor/head of 3D Vicky Obsorn, translated the limited movements of the live-action boat into the more dramatic moves called for in the 3D world. They conjured realistic wind and water simulations to complement the entire CG environment of the Viking crew. MPC U.S. creative director/colorist Mark Gethin worked closely with DP Miranda on the grade. 

Rock legend Steven Tyler got his chance to “Taste the Rainbow” as the subject of his very own Skittles portrait in “Sing Something” From agency DDB Chicago and DGA Award-winning director Andreas Nilsson of Biscuit, MPC LA embraced the absurdity of creating a portrait that talks and sings to impress Steven Tyler, before literally falling on its Skittles face.

Led by VFX supervisor/head of 3D Jason Schugardt and lead flame artist Gizmo Rivera, MPC’s team brought the portrait to life in CG, first creating scans of the room, empty frame and bust for tracking. In Houdini, they built the portrait with instanced Skittles onto simplified geo face geometry. That geo was then rigged and animated in Maya, and sent back to Houdini to be lit and rendered. 2D artists put the finishing touches on the rendered CG Skittles making them as irresistible to eat as a bag in the hand.

Mullen Lowe and Acura brought viewers to their feet with a little help from Van Halen – and MPC LA – for “What He Said,” the stylish red, white and blue commercial introducing the American dream car: the 2017 Acura NSX. Directed by aWhiteLabelProduct’s Joe Wright, the commercial features the car cast against a backdrop reminiscent of an Iginio Lardani title sequence. Led by VFX supervisors Benji Davidson and Mike Wynd, MPC’s 3D team created the full-up CG shots, including the photo-real car in the final two scenes, and designed the “bath” and “spray” shots utilizing Maya and V-ray, along with Houdini-based fluid effects. The 2D team comped the full CG shots, as well as handling rig removal and environmental cleanup. They also comped supplemental elements from the Houdini team such as extra welding sparks, exhaust condensation and other particulates, to complement the live-action shots and put the finishing touches on car beauty shots.

Actor Liam Neeson brought intrigue to LG’s OLED TV launch, starring in “Man from the Future,” via agency HSAd and directed by RSA’s Jake Scott. Neeson’s young doppelganger gives chase to those trying to stop the revolution for the perfect picture on glass TV display in a series of scenes that could be straight out of a sci-fi blockbuster. Continuing a long-run of creative partnerships with RSA and the Scotts, MPC LA’s O’Shea led his team on the concept design, CG environment build, particle animation and matte painting. MPC artists Clement Renaudin and Tim Kafka played an essential role lighting and texturing the product, ensuring its image was consistent throughout the story. The studio’s work formed the elements of the maze and motorcycle chase environment for the young actor’s journey to the future

MPC US colorist/creative director Mark Gethin also graded several additional Super Bowl commercials, including Pokémon’s anthemic 20th anniversary spot “Train On,” rated the most-shared viral ad the week it broke by Campaign. Directed by Iconoclast’s Paul Geusebroek for Omelet, it features young gamers traversing several distinctive settings, forming a master canvas that captures the iconic brand’s story. Gethin collaborated with Park Pictures’ Lance Accord and Saatchi & Saatchi LA for the Toyota Prius commercial “Longest Chase.” It’s a wildly entertaining car chase caper featuring good mannered bank robbers whose luck turns after their getaway car is stolen and they stumble upon a new Prius 4. Gethin also worked with Deutsch LA and Skunk director Saman Kesh for Taco Bell’s “Bigger Than.” The commercial unveils a mouth watering new menu item, with cameos from James Harden and Neymar Jr.