Sixth Sense


But You Can Always Fix It...

There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate rhinoceroses charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory.

- Mario Cuomo


Framestore CFC saw this one coming...

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Framestore CFC has created the visual effects for two new 30 second spots for T Mobile, promoting their U-Fix service, which offers users a chance to fix their monthly bill, "so you always know what's coming."  To realise this theme, agency Saatchi and Saatchi came up with complementary spots, one featuring a man, the other a woman.  The spots were directed by Neil Harris through Stink.

In each spot the actor is shown strolling along various streets, talking on their mobiles.  Despite being deep in conversation, they are able to anticipate a variety of extraordinary and perilous incidents that come their way, and can take appropriate action without breaking step or missing a beat.  The right, relaxed tone is set by the laid back cover of Modern English's I Melt With You that accompanies both spots.

Framestore CFC VFX Supervisor Avtar Bains spent 5 days on location in Cape Town shooting the spots with a highly skilled local crew.  The stunts - which include a piano dropping out of the sky, a car crashing through a window and a charging rhinoceros - were mostly created by Av in Inferno, during the week following his return from South Africa.  Additional contributions came from Inferno artist Pheng Sisopha, with matte work created by Digital Paint and Roto Artist Dasha Ashley.

In the first spot, our heroine pauses to allow a plunging piano to miss her by inches, casually pulls a litter basket into the path of a fleeing robber, jumps up and hangs from a handy crossbar as a cat and dog chase beneath her and finally tugs a young man out of danger as a runaway car crashes through a showroom window.  The second spot sees a young man ducking to avoid a low flying micro-helicopter, ambling out of the path of a falling lamppost, preventing a nasty bird-dropping incident with his newspaper, and finally lifting himself up into a tree as a rhinoceros charges past on a suburban street.

Care had to be taken.  "We only had the one piano, and the one pane of glass," recalls Av, "So it was vital that the crew get the drop and the crash right first time - luckily they were up to the job."  The most dangerous elements - the micro-helicopter, the rhino - were shot at off-set locations.  "The rhino was really rather sweet," says Av, "We filmed him at a nearby safari park, and all he was doing was trotting like a puppy after the man who'd hand-reared him."

A beautiful showcase for the modern compositor's art, the T Mobile spots show what can be done with the simplest of set-ups and the finest in digital technology and craft.  Most of the stunts are a blend of two elements, shot separately and joined seamlessly.  The trick is not to make it look like a trick, of course.  "It was quite a 'boys' shoot," laughs Av, "Blowing things up, destroying them.  But actually, my role was really to help the director concentrate on the actors' performances as much as anything, to get the material we needed from the stunts as quickly and efficiently as possible."

TK was also done at Framestore CFC, with Senior Colourist Dave Ludlum providing a naturalistic, low contrast look in keeping with the relaxed cleverness shown by both the characters in the spots and their creators.

T Mobile Sixth Sense

Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi
Creative Directors: Paul Domenet, Andy Clarke
Agency Producer: Chris Moore
Production Company: Stink
Production Company Producer: Jessica aan de Wiel
Director: Neil Harris
For: Framestore CFC
VFX Supervisor & Lead Inferno Artist: Avtar Bains
Inferno Artist: Pheng Sisopha
Digital Paint and Roto Artist: Dasha Ashley
Telecine: Dave Ludlam
Post Producer: Sarah Irwin

Source:  2 May 2005

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