SMNY & The Ad Council Show Signs Of Support For US War Veterans

New York and London-based design, animation and VFX studio Smoke & Mirrors New York collaborates with BBDO, NY for the Ad Council and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on a moving new PSA designed to open up dialogue between Veterans returning from war and their families.

In Signs via BBDO and, we open on the POV of an Iraqi war veteran driving home to reunite with his family. As he passes under several freeway underpasses we see banners from his mother welcoming him home. Like many families with children returning from war zones, she hopes her son is okay and has many questions. The banners are an attempt by a concerned mother to foster discussions between her and her son, and make his transition into civilian life as easy as possible.

Having been involved from very early on in the process, SMNY sent Nic Seresin to supervise the shoot on Staten Island. Each message was shot in HD with a locked-off camera by Nic, complete with folds and wind effects. The lighting was matched to the road scenes by matching time of day and compass bearing.

Greg Calas in the SMNY 3D department then modeled 3D objects; matching the shapes and folds of the sheets. This gave the element of dimensionality needed, especially as the camera passed under the bridges.

The SMNY team then began the monumental task of tracking a :30, one shot spot. As soon as a bridge was visible in the far distance it not only had to be tracked, but the depth of field and motion blur matched too. Aided by Assistant Flame Artist Stephanie Isaacson, large scale scene alteration was then required to remove overhanging signage, traffic lights and other advertising hoardings that contaminated the scene.

Kirk Balden then used Flame to project and grade the HD captured sheet texture, complete with words, onto the tracked 3D models.

About SMNY
New York and London-based design, animation and VFX studio, Smoke & Mirrors was founded by Creative Director/VFX Artist Sean Broughton (NY), Penny Verbe (UK) and Mark Wildig (UK). A creative and artist-driven company synonymous with vision and originality since its inception, Smoke & Mirrors has consistently succeeded because of its collaborative approach and ability to build lasting creative relationships with directors, producers, agencies and clients alike.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan group for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded in 2004, IAVA has more than 125,000 active veteran members and civilian supporters in all 50 states. Its mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

Client: IAVA/Advertising Council Inc
Spots Title: Signs
Air Date: May 2009

Agency: BBDO NY
CCO(s): David Lubars, Bill Bruce
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Don Schneider
VP, Creative Director: Tony Bennett
Associate Creative Director: Alex Loomis
SVP Executive Producer: Helene Balzarini

Prod Company:
Director: Josh & Xander
EP(s): Jim Bouvet

Editorial: Spotwelders Editorial
Editor: Jon Stefansson
Producer: Melissa Nusbaum
Executive Producer: Tommy Murov

Telecine: Co3

Post/Effects: Smoke & Mirrors, NY
Creative Director: Sean Broughton
Lead VFX/Inferno Artist: Kirk Balden
Assistant VFX/Inferno Artist: Stephanie Isaacson
3D Artist: Greg Calas
Shoot Supervisor: Nic Seresin
EP: Celest Gilbert
Producer: Lauren Shawe

Title Graphics: Semerad
Title Graphics Creative Director: Johnny Semerad
Title Graphics Producer: Tyler Jarrett

Music: Frisbie
Composer: PT Walkley

Sound Design: Sound Lounge
Sound Designer: Tom Jucarone

Shoot Location: NY/NJ interstates

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