Brickyard VFX has completed a spate of high production value television commercials for the Hispanic market through such agencies as Accent Marketing. The recent work includes two spots for Farmers Insurance Group directed by Martin Weisz and shot by Amir Mokri that feature actor Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Miami Vice,” “Bladerunner”), and boast a distinctly cinematic look and feel.
The :30 spot “Indestructible” suggests a classic movie car chase with Olmos at the wheel. His invincible silver Cadillac outruns a pair of dubious-looking sedans, deflecting collisions left and right and ripping down a row of parked cars without incurring the least scratch. Even being broad-sided by a cement mixer (which catapults precisely over his vehicle) does nothing; he walks away coolly, and unscathed.
“Mission” takes a cue from spy films, framing up a covert operation in which Olmos jets from multiple international destinations to make a handoff with some shady characters in Shanghai. Both “Mission” and “Indestructible” close with the actor “stepping” out of the action onto a real theater stage, demonstrating that insurance coverage is life’s only real safety net.
Brickyard VFX handled all visual effects and compositing for the campaign, with Geoff McAuliffe providing on-set visual effects supervision and working with the production to complete a complex green-screen and location shoot. “Indestructible” was lensed in Los Angeles, with one set of plates shot using a modified Ford flatbed encased in concrete to dummy for the Cadillac. Other action and background plates were shot separately using the real cars and then melded together with the crash plates by McAuliffe and Brickyard VFX compositor Mandy Sorenson in post.
Explained McAuliffe: “The gag is that the car never gets damaged. On set, a modified Ford truck basically a slab of concrete with wheels and mounted cameras was filmed. It had the same dimensions as the Cadillac, so we could take these and elements from the clean plates to tuck the Cadillac into all of the debris. The cement truck was crashed into a big cement block without the Cadillac there at all; we put the car back in digitally after the fact.”
Olmos was shot against greenscreen for stationary shots, and for shots in “Mission” that required him to be placed against different city backdrops. Stunt drivers were used for the moving shots. Brickyard VFX’s Patrick Poulation completed Olmos’ “step out of screen” effect, working from backplates of the actor on greenscreen and from the live-theater set.
“‘Indestructible’ was particularly challenging, with a ton of compositing and film-style effects,” McAuliffe added. “The idea was to have things look like an action movie, and we did check out a bunch of action films such as ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ for reference. What we discovered is that you can create an exciting sequence without showing that much ‘crash.’ If you have the right visuals and sound effects, the human brain fills in the rest.”
Farmer’s Insurance “Indestructible” & “Mission”
Production Company: A Band Apart — Los Angeles, CA
Director : Martin Weisz
Producer : Cordula Betz
DP : Amir Mokri
Production Design : Frank Bollinger
Agency : Accent Marketing Miami, FL
VP Creative : Diana Ocasio
Associate Creative Director : Peter Sanchez
Senior Copywriter : Maite Garcia
Executive Producer Agency : Rudy Leschhorn
Editorial Company: Mission Editorial
Editor: Richard Cooperman
Telecine Colorist : Dave Hussey, Company 3
Visual Effects: Brickyard VFX Boston, MA, and Santa Monica, CA
VFX Artist: Geoff McAuliffe
VFX Artist: Patrick Poulatian
VFX Artist: Mandy Sorenson
Executive Producer: Kirsten Andersen
Executive Producer: Diana Gomez
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 Mobile ESPN, XM Radio, Citibank, Volkswagen, Target, Tyson Foods and many other accounts. For more information, please call Brickyard VFX Pacific at (310) 453-5722, Brickyard VFX Atlantic at (617) 262-3220, or visit www.brickyardvfx.com.
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