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Crispin Porter + Bogusky Taps A52 to build Miller Beer spot

Award-winning Los Angeles visual effects and design company A52 today detailed their visual effects work for a new broadcast campaign from Crispin Porter + Bogusky and their clients at Miller Brewing Company.  The campaign’s two :15 spots, entitled “Destiny” and “Perfect Brewery” debuted on Nov. 7 to promote Miller’s 1855 Celebration Lager.  Both spots will run for the next several weeks.

“These spots were born from the idea of telling some of the Fred Miller stories responsible for Miller celebrating their 150th anniversary,” explained Paul Keister, CPB VP and creative director.  “And the pullout technique is also off that idea, where we visually focus on the microscopic details of Fred Miller's history and pull out to show the bigger picture of why this beer is here. I hadn't seen A52's work before, but when I saw their reel, I knew immediately that they had to do it."

A52’s team won Emmy and PROMAX Gold Awards in 2004 for their pioneering work on the main title sequence for HBO’s CARNIVŔLE, which featured the “2.5D” technique where the camera moves through still artwork to reveal other embedded imagery.  The artistic approach to the new 1855 Lager spots, which explore historic black-and-white still images from the 1800s, brought new creative challenges to A52’s team.

According to A52 project VFX supervisor and lead Inferno artist Kirk Balden, the agency’s creative team provided the set of still images used for both spots.  Each image was scanned at resolutions ranging from 6K to 8K, and A52 designer Max Ulichney rendered a lower resolution previsualization of the camera move using Maya, which he provided to the campaign’s editor, Kirk Baxter of Rock Paper Scissors.  Baxter made various adjustments to the sequence to help the agency creatives dial-in the move to best match the voiceover.  In the meantime, Ulichney and fellow designer Chris Janney worked with the high- resolution versions of the imagery in Photoshop to rotoscope specific elements from each image.  The results – which Balden described as multiplanar matte paintings – were then assembled in Autodesk’s Discreet Inferno system to create the final camera move.

“The biggest challenge was probably the size of the images we were dealing with,” Balden said.  “For both spots, the scale changes were pretty substantial, and required pushing very tightly into a lot of high-res images.  Having ten or fifteen images of such high resolution on screen at the same time really pushed the limits of what our Flames and Infernos are capable of, and required us to do some tricky technical maneuvering just to render the scenes.”

Balden added that much of the team’s experimental work centered on the transition to the end-tag, which pulls through the bottle and reveals the ice scene at the end. “Linking our two spots with that camera move became quite a challenge, since we wanted that perfect amount of distortion as we passed through a water droplet, and the most seamless transition possible as the montage disappeared in the label of the bottle."

Along with Paul Keister, CPB’s project credits include executive creative director Alex Bogusky, art director Jason Ambrose, copywriter Dustin Ballard, executive producer Rupert Samuel, senior producer Matt Bonin, music producer Bill Meadows, art producers Megan DeBruler and Sheri Radel, and assistant producer Dan Ruth.  In addition to Kirk Baxter, the editorial team from LA’s Rock Paper Scissors included producer Scott Friske and assistant editor Matt Murphy.  A52’s team also included executive producer Mark Tobin, producer Scott Boyajan, and Inferno/Flame artist Ben Looram.

For Austin, Texas-based Tequila Mockingbird, composer Billy Henry composed the music for “Perfect Brewery,” and Danny Levin composed the “Destiny” track.  Jeff Fuller at Eleven Sound in Santa Monica handled both spots’ sound design and final mixes.

About A52
Established in 1997 as a home for the very latest high-end photo-real visual effects technologies and the industry’s most innovative and talented graphic design artists, West Hollywood visual effects and design company A52 creates award-winning imagery for the world’s most visually ambitious commercial and television projects.  The company’s work has been earned AICP Show recognition for six consecutive years along with recent “Outstanding Commercial” Emmy, Andy, BDA, Belding, Clio, British Design and Art Direction, International Monitor, International Automotive Advertising, London International Advertising, One Show and PROMAX awards.  For more information, please call Mark Tobin at 310.385.0851 or visit

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Related Keywords:A52 visual effects , Los Angeles visual effects , Paul Keister

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