Artist-owned-and-operated effects company Brickyard VFX announced completion of five spots for a seven-spot TV campaign for online travel service Orbitz, directed by Baker Smith of Harvest Films for Mullen Advertising. The ads, ranging from 45-second clips to :15 cut-downs, began airing May 8.
The campaign features people with CG “halos” containing travel icons orbiting around their heads to convey how information-rich Orbitz is for travel planning. The halos are based off the “O” in the Orbitz logo, and were created by Brickyard’s CG department, which also created the library of icons for the spots.
Inserting rotating CG halos around the heads of the live-action actors posed a complex production challenge. “We ended up solving the tracking issue in Flame,” said Robert Sethi, Brickyard’s lead CG artist for the project. “The client came to us with a very specific look in mind. We designed the look and built the elements in 3D, and from there it was simply a matter of building a library of icons that could be swapped out into the halo as needed to accommodate the different spots.”
The two versions of the spot “Goodbye,” focus on Orbitz’ ability to keep travelers informed about changes in their itineraries in real-time via its “TLC” service. In one version, a gay couple says goodbye to each other at the airport. As they tearfully embrace, the Orbitz halo containing icons of an airplane, storm cloud and red sign flashing “FIGHT DELAYED” appears in an orbit above the traveler’s head.
At first the couple is delighted to spend a few more minutes together, but delight quickly turns to awkwardness as both men realize they’d really rather be on their way. In the second version, a straight couple goes through the same scenario, from tearful embrace to awkward silence. In both spots, the Orbitz halo and icons are tracked to revolve around above the actors’ heads, following their movements with precision. The spots close on the CG halo and icons circling a cell phone before morphing back into the Orbitz logo.
Other spots, “Vegas,” and “Fingernails” round out the campaign, each conveying the same brand of irreverent humor and utilizing the CG halo effect to convey the advantages of real-time Orbitz information updates for travelers.
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. Brickyard’s problem-solving expertise on set and in the studio has been applied to model, animate, light, texture, track, rotoscope, color correct and render seamless digital effects for XM Radio, Citibank, Volkswagen, Target, Tyson Foods and many other accounts.
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