!mpossible Pictures Creates Ambitious Chrome Effects In New Ford Spot

In a new spot for the Ford F-150, creative digital studio !mpossible Pictures created arresting visual effects, which transform the truck into a Chrome-laden machine. Working closely with Director Jeff Smith of Oasis Films and ad agency JWT, !mpossible acted as the visual effects supervision and postproduction arm on “Chrome Encounters.”

The spot opens on a quiet road in a quaint small town on a warm and sunny day. A man, wearing sunglasses and enjoying the fresh air in his Ford F-150, stops at a crosswalk as a boy walks his bike across. They exchange a pleasant greeting before dark clouds suddenly loom over them and a bright pillar of light shines down from the sky. Looking up in astonishment, they are blinded by the growing intensity the light. Gleaming layers of chrome appear with the beam of light transforming the man’s sunglasses, the truck’s wheels, stepbars and grille and the young kid’s bike. The man gets out of his car to admire the changes to his Ford F-150, now a spectacular Chrome Edition, while the boy excitedly declares “Far out!”

“We developed this concept to emphasize the incredible deal offered by Ford on the F-150 Chrome Edition with the notion that this no-charge chrome upgrade had literally and figuratively fallen out of the sky,” says JWT Producer Ken Mead. “We needed a production company and VFX crew who were all imaginative and talented enough to not only make the chrome transformation believable, but who could also shoot and effect the surrounding environment in a way that would visually and emotionally support the story. And all of this needed to be done on a limited budget and tight deadline. We were amazed and very pleased with the results Jeff Smith, Steve Urbano and their respective teams provided us.”

For !mpossible Pictures, the effects-intensive spot required extensive planning and tests before the one-day shoot in North Carolina. VP/Director Steve Urbano, who provided on-set supervision, and Director Jeff Smith discussed the best approach to achieve the effects, which was to break it down shot-by-shot. Urbano and his team provided tests, including what the light source and chrome effect were going to look like, and how the various truck elements would be revealed.

“We addressed the chrome effect by shooting most of the elements backwards,” explains Urbano. “We shot the chrome version of the F-150 and then built a 3D ‘normal’ version. Using boujou, we then tracked it to the chrome truck and did a cool reveal, which we animated to look like liquid chrome.”

The same technique was applied to the sunglasses worn by the man. The actor was wearing chrome ones for the shoot and !mpossible created normal glasses in CG. Nearly every shot in the commercial involves effects work. !mpossible also performed sky replacements and composites of the buildings, using Discreet Flame. All of the shadows and reveals, as well as the light source were also done in Flame. In addition, the studio provided editorial during the five-week post process.

“On a visual effects level, this project was very involved and robust,” concludes Urbano. “Since the CG drives the spot forward, it was important for the elements to look and move in a realistic manner. I think we found a great solution for the scope of this project.”

Client: Ford

Spot Title/Airdate: “Chrome Encounters” :30/May 2006, Southeast/West

Advertising Agency: JWT
Creative Director: Mike May
Writers: Nick Gebhardt, Ken Mead
Art Director: Tad Roberts
Producer: Ken Mead

Production Company: Oasis Films
Director/DP: Jeff Smith
Assistant Director: Garrett Freberg
Executive Producer: Vaughn Justice
Producer: Megan Collier
Where Shot: Gastonia, NC

VFX/Editorial Company: !mpossible Pictures
VFX Supervisor: Steve Urbano
VFX/Flame Artist: Hector Espinosa
Flame Artist: Joel Pilger
Smoke Artist: Brian Eloe
3D Artist: Chad Jacobson
3D Modeler: Shawn Rossi
Production Coordinator: Emily Crenshaw

Custom Music, Sound Design & Audio Post: R!OT Atlanta
Composer/Sound Designer/Mixer: Chris Basta

!mpossible Pictures is located at 1617 Wazee Street, Denver, CO 80202.
T: 303.893.0900. F: 303.893.1161. www.impossiblepictures.com

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