Smoke & Mirrors NY Gives Tony Hawk The Bird

Smoke & Mirrors New York make Tony Hawk and his peeps into birds on a wire in this viral campaign for Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground videogame.

These playful birds have their human heads and faces attached to pigeon bodies. The four famed skating champs exchange friendly quips as they watch the scenes and feature capabilities of the game far below their perch.

Not wanting to create everything in 3D, Director Martin Granger and Creative Director Sean Broughton went old school and decided that costumes from the chest up were the way to go. Consideration was made for the scaling down of the boys to fit the pigeons when choosing a fabric texture to match the feathers of their avian halves.

The pigeons were shot first on the pre-light day, with lighting which would complement the skaters as well as the pigeons. Shot against green screen and transferred High Def to allow for zooms in post, tracking markers were positioned where the human/bird join was going to be. This was important because when the pigeons twist and turn, it would affect specific areas that would need to match on the skaters.

Next came the skaters. Martin wanted to shoot the boys at the same time to allow for interaction. Again shot green screen, and transferred High Def, the costumed boys were captured moving their heads freely while keeping their torso’s as still as possible with Smoke and Mirrors NY supervising the shoot.

The latest version of Autodesk Flame utilized tracked extended bi-cubics to marry the two halves together. The backgrounds were taken from the game and dropped in behind the eventual avian skater.

About Smoke & Mirrors:

Founded by Creative Director Sean Broughton, CEO Penny Verbe and CTO Mark Wildig lead the New York and London-based design, animation and VFX studio Smoke & Mirrors. It has been synonymous with creativity, originality, and innovation since its inception.

Smoke & Mirrors has always succeeded because of its collaborative approach, building strong creative relationships with directors, producers, agencies and clients alike.


Client: Activision
Spot Title: “Hecklers”
Air Date: Oct 2007

Agency: Arnold
CD: Roger Baldacci
Art Director: Meg Siegal
Copywriter: Pete Harvey
Producer: Billy Near

Prod Company: Moxie Pictures
Director: Martin Granger
EP: Karol Marrs Post/Effects: Smoke & Mirrors/NY
CD: Sean Broughton
Lead VFX Artists: Nick Tanner
Head of Production: Cary Flaum
VFX Producer: Barbara Kontarovich

Editorial: Bug Editorial
Editor: Andre Betz
Producer: Joy Copeland

Telecine: The Mill NY
Colorist: Fergus McCall

Music: Tonal
Composer: Alex Lasarenko

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