Hummer Lands on Moon with Help from Brickyard

Artist owned-and-operated effects boutique Brickyard VFX announced completion of “Command Module” as part of a multi-spot TV campaign for Hummer via ad agency Modernista!. Shot and directed by the Snorri Brothers on location in South Africa, the commercial features Hummer’s H2 driving on the surface of the Moon.

The :30 spot opens with shots of a rugged and desolate landscape. Set against a thundering soundtrack featuring audio clips from the 1969 lunar landing, the H2 appears from between two huge boulders and sets off across the rough and arid terrain. Grey dust, seemingly suspended in empty space, billows out from behind the speeding truck, and the spot closes with the tagline “Like Nothing Else.” The brand’s characteristic pull-out from Earth ends in a twist, revealing that the H2 has actually been navigating the Moon’s surface, Earth floating in the horizon beyond.

“It was great working with Modernista! again. Our long-standing relationship with the agency creates a real comfort level-the art director understood that we were as vested in the project as he was,” commented Jimi Simmons, Brickyard’s Lead VFX Artist for the ad.

Brickyard VFX performed extensive compositing for the spot, including creating a day-for-night look with a starry background to replace the South African daytime sky, and dust clouds designed to appear as if they are weightless on the low-gravity Moon. Brickyard VFX referenced sound clips from NASA and the Kennedy Library to set the feel for the spot, which Modernista! used for the final mix. Additional effects included beauty work on the H2 itself and color correction to ensure that the landscape appeared consistent throughout the piece.

“One of our biggest challenges was that the footage was shot in daytime, so we had to create star plates and composite them into the background to make it look like deep space,” Simmons observed. “Color correction was also extensive; we needed the landscape to look as if it were colorless, but not appear monochromatic, or like it was shot in black-and-white. The dust was a challenge too-whenever it broke from the horizon we had to match it and make it look like it had no gravity. And, the dust picks up with the pace of the spot-we had to increase it as the spot progresses.”

Other spots in the campaign include “City Sliders,” “Jungle,” “Capabilities ’07” and “Capabilities ’08.” Additional visual effects work for Modernista! includes past campaigns for Hummer.

About Brickyard VFX
Located in Boston and Santa Monica, Brickyard VFX is an independent visual effects boutique specializing in top quality visual effects from 3D characters through to compositing. Completely artist owned and operated, the company was founded in 1999 to bring clients a level of customer service, craftsmanship and focus difficult to find at facilities today.

CLIENT: HUMMER “Command Module”

AGENCY: Modernista!
Exec. Creative Dir. – Lance Jensen
Exec. Creative Dir. – Gary Koepke
CD/Art Director – Tim Vaccarino
Sen. Agency Prod. – Sherri Levy
Associate Producer – Joyce Chen
Asst. Agency Prod. – Alejandra Ravassa

EDITORIAL: Lost Planet
Editor – Geoff Hounsell

TELECINE: Company 3
Colorist – Tim Masick

VFX: Brickyard VFX
Lead VFX Artist – Jimi Simmons
VFX Artist – Peter Bullis
VFX Artist – Johnny Diaz
CG Artist – Yafei Wu, Rusty Ippolito
VFX Executive Producer – Kirsten Andersen

AUDIO: Soundtrack
Music Mixer/Engineer – Mike Secher

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