April 11, 2006

RIOT Turns New Orbit Campaign into a Smashing Success

LOS ANGELES—RIOT recently teamed with Chicago agency BBDO and Director Filip Engstrom to create a humorous new spot for Orbit about a man who can’t drive and chew gum at the same time. RIOT provided visual effects and post production services for the project.

The spot shows a man piloting his small sedan along a city street. After popping Orbit gum into his mouth, he examines his teeth in the car’s side mirror and is so taken by what he sees that he fails to notice when he crashes through the doors of a natural history museum. He continues blithely on, blasting through the back wall of the museum and a shoe store, before coming to rest in the shower room of a martial arts studio. A perky announcer at the crash site extols Orbit’s virtues noting, “for whiter teeth…no matter what.”

Although the crash sequence, which occupies more than 20 seconds of air time, appears seamless, it is actually composed of dozens of separate elements shot by Engstrom and composited by the visual effects team at RIOT.

Most of the live action was shot in Prague, including the car’s initial plunge through the front of the museum, which was accomplished by driving the vehicle through a breakaway door erected at a 4-way intersection. The rest of the museum façade was added in post production, using a separately shot element of a Czech museum and CG set extensions.

The set representing the interior of the museum was a 1/10th scale miniature, built and shot in Vancouver, and the driver’s POV was captured with a camera fitted with a snorkel lens. “The lighting was scaled and the camera was over-cranked to make the scene look authentic,” explained RIOT Executive Creative Director Andy MacDonald. “The people seen scurrying out of the car’s way were shot against blue screen and composited into the scenes.”

Most of the balance of the crash sequence was shot on a full scale practical set representing the back wall of the museum, the shoe store, a street and the storefront karate studio. The shot, in which the car crashes through three walls, required careful planning with every detail including the frantic movements of stunt extras, tumbling shoe boxes and exploding glass timed out to the millisecond.

Color correction played a crucial role in integrating the spot’s disparate elements. RIOT Colorist Siggy Ferstl helmed the final color pass, creating continuity between hundreds of separately shot elements. “We gave each location a slightly different look to support the idea that you are moving from one space to another—but they all have a similar feel,” Ferstl said. He also used color to perform some minor dental work. “We wanted to make sure that the driver’s teeth stood out,” he noted. “They had to look clean and bright—but not over-the-top and unnatural.”

RIOT became involved in the project early on. MacDonald and his RIOT colleague Visual Effects Supervisor Andy Davis met with Engstrom shortly after he was awarded the job and began mapping out how they were going to pull it off. They then prepared a detailed previsualization of the spot which served as a kind of blueprint for the production.

“We worked out all of the timings and the concepts so that we had a clear idea of where things were going to go and how they would fit together,” said Davis. “That way when things came up on the set we were able to accommodate them and weren’t forced to simply ‘pick up the pieces’ later on.”

RIOT also provided assistance on the set both in Prague and Vancouver. “We joined right in with the production and helped wherever we could,” said MacDonald. “It was very collaborative…and a lot of fun to do.”

RIOT has offices at 702/730 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401 and at 545 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017. In Los Angeles, contact Matthew McManus or Michael Taylor at (310) 434-6000. In New York, contact Connie Griffin or Luis Ribeiro at (212) 907-1200.

For additional information, contact:
Linda Rosner
Artisans Public Relations
(310) 837-6008


Title: Side Mirror

Length: :30

Client: Orbit

Agency: BBDO, Chicago. Jennifer Pearse, producer; Frank Dattalo, creative director/art director; Mike Roe, creative director/copywriter.
Production Co: Smuggler, Los Angeles. Filip Engstrom, director; Patrick Milling Smith and Brian Carmody, executive producers; Laura Thoel, Head of Production; Jeff Miller, producer.

Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors, Los Angeles. Adam Pertofsky, editor; Dexton Deboree, producer; Dave Sellars, executive producer; Charlie Lee, assistant editor.

Post Facility: RIOT, Santa Monica. Siggy Ferstl, colorist; Rhubie Jovanov, executive producer.

Visual EFX Co: RIOT, Santa Monica. Andy MacDonald, VFX supervisor/creative director; Andy Davis, VFX supervisor/lead compositor; Andy MacDonald, Wensen Ho and Sean Wilson, compositors; Kurt Lawson, Cecile Tecson and Robert Tatum, junior compositors; Andy Wilkoff, previz artist; Michele Moen, matte painter; Jim Batchelder, production coordinator; Robert Owens, VFX producer; Susan Thurmond O’Neal, head of production; Matthew McManus, D. Todd Davidovich, executive producers.

Audio Post House: Lime Studios, Los Angeles. Lauren Graft, sound mix / design

Orbit "Side Mirror" :30