Framestore Thinks of Everything for Smirnoff Ice

A new four-spot campaign created by Framestore NY for a popular vodka-based beverage reveals some backyard barbeque scenarios you would simply never think of. And that’s what the campaign is all about. “Think of Everything” is a supremely imaginative and extremely funny campaign starring two young men, several buckets of Smirnoff Ice, and respectively: a dentist’s outfit; a remote control monster truck; an oversized catapult and tennis ball; and a three-pronged trident. Sound interesting? Read on.

The brainchild of revered ad agency JWT, the campaign’s four 30-second spots are called “Dentist,” “Gizmo,” “Catapult,” and “Trident.” In each, the same male partygoer approaches the host and comments on the bucket of ice-cold Smirnoff Ice, to which the host replies: “Gotta think of everything.” The catchphrase is then followed by an outrageous, and hilarious, scenario. Framestore NY employed their matchless CG and visual effects skills to create, enhance, and optimize each incredible circumstance.

In “Catapult,” for example, an enormous wooden catapult flanks the party bar and holds a huge tennis ball. That may seem like an odd party ornament, but when a giant Labrador retriever crashes the party together with some power lines, it proves to be just what the doctor ordered. With a quick cut of a rope, the host sends the oversized ball far into the distance, causing the giant canine to drop the party guest he was eating and head off in pursuit.

“Catapult proved challenging, particularly when it came to matching the movement of the large dog in relation to the background plate,” explains James Razzall, Senior Producer at Framestore NY. “Using Autodesk Flame, we had to anticipate the actions of the dog so that any additional plate effects could be integrated with near-perfect timing. We used motion control techniques to match the moves of the live action plate with the dog, which was shot against a greenscreen, and added water interaction with his huge feet, all of which needed to be very precisely timed. More than that, some of the extras were shot on large rigs in order to be at the right level with the giant dog. With some careful stabilization and re-tracking, we were able to seamlessly match the movement of the actors with that of the dog.”

For its part, “Trident” presented an even bigger, and much more bizarre, challenge in the form of a completely CG octopus filling the swimming pool and terrorizing the guests. Asking his buddy to watch the bar, our party host grabs a sharp-looking trident and heads into battle with the tentacled beast. Flame was again used to create water spray and shadow elements, and to remove the extensive rigs used to violently drag an extra and shake a brave stunt woman who would eventually appear in the monster’s tentacles.

“From a 3D perspective, it was just difficult to rig and animate a creature with so many arms,” says Razzall. “Each arm had virtually limitless dexterity as well, which only added to the challenge. To speed things along, our team created a couple of custom plug-ins for Autodesk Maya that enabled us to create a tentacle rig capable of wrapping around and believably gripping objects and performing other complex actions.”

Despite the daunting scenarios they faced, the combined efforts of the CG team – including Ulf Lundgren, Antoine Birot, Christina Boon, Spencer Lueders, Irene Kim, Andy Walker and Theo Jones – proved more than a match for even the most ill-tempered sea monster. Birot made great use of the new Maya rig not only to precisely match the monster to the live action footage, but also to imbue a heightened sense of panic and pandemonium in the scene.

Using Houdini software, water effects expert Lueders was able to create particle effects to realistically mimic water on and around the creature.

Lighting specialist Irene Kim then added shading and lighting that augmented the wet skin look. The result is an entirely realistic and believable octopus terrorizing a neighborhood party. Who could ask for anything more?

Framestore CFC opened its New York office in January 2004, with the aim of building on its burgeoning international reputation with US agencies. Early 2005 found Framestore NY relocating to new premises on Spring Street, SoHo… complete with roof meadow! The caliber of work produced out of the office has gone from strength to strength with spots created for Axe, Coke, FedEx, Discover Card, Pepsi, Sprite, Dodge and Propel, in addition to the creation of a nine spot campaign rebranding the Geico gecko.

Framestore CFC was formed in December 2001 through the union of two of the most creative and dynamic companies in the industry: FrameStore and The Computer Film Company (CFC). The company is now the largest visual effects and computer animation company in Europe, with over 30 years of combined experience in digital film and video technology.

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