All three Mill offices, New York, London and Los Angeles took part in an incredible collection of winning spots for Super Bowl XLI.
Mill New York’s CG highlight, Budweiser “King Crab” took away the coveted top winner position in USA TODAY’s exclusive Ad Meter poll, a real-time consumer focus group ranking of Super Bowl commercials. Featuring CG-generated crabs, created by Lead Animator Ben Smith and a team of Mill CG Artists, the spot follows a gang of crabs worshipping a cooler of Budweiser that they vividly mistake for crab royalty. The Mill team used a host of references for texture, detail and movement-nature documentary footage of crabs, an animatronic crab figure and even live crabs-to create a cartoon-like version of fiddler species.
Furthermore, the creative team relied on lead Flame Artist Westley Sarokin for environmental enhancements, final compositing and finishing, CG Integration and overall color adjustments. Westley and his team even set up a Mill Shoot to capture claw markings along sand to sell the believabality of the creatures’ interactions with he beach sand. Additionaly, Westley created a golden sunset full of flares and glows that dramatizes the god-like moment as the crabs bow to their new idol. Mill New York Colorist Damien Van Cruyssen topped off Westley’s grade with a DCP for color balance.
Another enjoyable spot, Fed Ex ‘Moon Office’, ranked in the Top Ten of USA Today Ad Meter. The project, led by Mill VFX Supervisor Alex Lovejoy and Mill CG Supervisor Yann Mabille, envisions the first Fed Ex office on the moon. One challenge with this spot was replacing all the heads of the Fed Ex employees, since the bodies were shot in 48 fps for moon-like motion, while alternative footage needed to be shot at 24fps to match the dialogue.
A large effort from the Mill CG team was the set extension. Building on the photogrammetry technique the team often uses, Yann and Alex surveyed the set by shooting reference photos that they later used to rebuild and extend the set virtually. Due to the spherical nature of the moon station, Yann and his team prebuilt camera movements in XSI and reverse engineered angles to show how such elements, such as the desks would have appeared in relation to the camera. To get the authentic space feeling, Alex and his team composited ten different motion control passes as well as multiple elements shot at high speed.
The Mill New Yorks’s Snickers ‘Mechanics’ also ranked within Top Ten in the USA Today poll, as well as #2 in the Sports Illustrated poll and a place in Newsweek Top 5.
A Mill New York and Los Angeles collaboration, Fed Ex ‘Not What It Seems’, was the third most watched Super Bowl ad on Tivo. This is a humorous take on how Fed Ex Ground should not be thought of as slow just by the name ‘ground’ even though a group of amusing characters seems to be named for their distinguishing features.
The widely publicized Nationwide ‘Rollin’s VIP’ featuring K-Fed and conformed at The Mill New York was the fourth most watched spot on Tivo and ranked the best spot in the Sports illustrated poll. Pre-game Pizza Hut spots ‘Poparazzi’ and ‘Heard’ and game-time Sierra Mist trio ‘Comb Over’ ‘Karate’ and ‘Hospital’ were all finished at The Mill New York. Mill London got in on the Super Bowl action with the intricately detailed Ford ‘Inside Story’.
Super Bowl XLI–another touchdown for The Mill!
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