Minneapolis, Minn. – If wireless customers were to conjure up a utopian world where cellular services had the capability to meet their every need and its technology functioned in perfect harmony with their lives, it could not surpass the mythical ‘Bluephoria,’ an idyllic state crafted by CRASH+SUES for Bluegrass Cellular. Pushing creative boundaries, 2D and 3D animation, visual FX, motion design, color correction, creative editing, and finishing were seamlessly integrated with live-action footage directed by Two Popes’ Jerry Pope to create a whimsical package of spots rich with visual imagery for Bandy Carroll Hellige/Louisville.
“CRASH+SUES began collaborating with Two Popes during the pre-production phase of the project to ensure that both the production company and post house fully optimized the campaign’s vision. We started going back and forth exchanging ideas and approaches about a month before the shoot and continued right up until the week the spots were shot,” online editor Mark Anderson explains
“The client’s previous spots were strictly live action, whereas this campaign brought it to a whole new level with the integration of various animation techniques along with the full gamut of VFX. We had everything from a CG pie pool and muffin truck to sunshine, lollipops, and dancing radio towers. About the only thing missing was a rainbow,” notes Donna Drewick, executive producer of CRASH+SUES animation house.
To bring this narrative to life, the mythical Bluephoria became the centerpiece for the spots, and CRASH+SUES populated it with an extraordinary number of animated elements and live action enhancements, while colorist Sue Lakso created a vibrant color palette, which added to the surreal atmosphere.
CRASH+SUES creative editor Carrie Shanahan cut Two Popes’ live action footage, establishing the rather tricky, fast-paced timing as scene after scene unfolds. Lakso performed two color correction passes: one base pass to set a feel-good look across the footage and a second to highlight specific shots after the spot was composited. After Shanahan’s cut was locked, Anderson loaded the RED footage into Autodesk’s Discreet Smoke where he shared assets with the animation team.
3D animator Alex Engelmann worked with director Jerry Pope to devise a wish list of the animation and FX elements. “We had a lot of freedom to design these elements and see them through,” he notes. “Each layer added would entice them to add more. Which can almost become deadly,” interjects Anderson teasingly.
The animators divided up the list, tasking Engelmann with crafting the lollipop trees and a pizza-wheel bicycle cart. He also erased the facade from an old building and rebuilt it in 3D to give it animated eyebrow windows while Anderson rotoscoped the skateboarders riding past the expressed building as well as the townspeople in the parade scene and then composited most of the sky replacements. Flame artist Adam Celt created map-styled streets and composited the balance of the spot in Autodesk’s Flame.
Echo Boys, CRASH+SUES’ sister company, created the original music and sound design for the spots. The music for ‘Bluephoria’ was composed to have a pop, "All is beautiful with the world," feeling. It’s very happy, innocent, and melodic with lots of harmony. The all live instrumental track was performed by Echo Boys, with Alex weaving in the sounds of the marching band for the end scene.