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Director Eric Saarinen & Campbell-Ewald Capture Olympic Spirit

Stunning Chevy Tahoe Spot (February 10, 2006)

A new television commercial for the Chevy Tahoe from Plum Productions Director Eric Saarinen uses a compelling blend of live-action, stock footage and seamless effects. Created by Campbell-Ewald, "Horns" pays tribute to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and to the power of the all new Chevy Tahoe.

The :30 spot features breathtaking footage taken from around the world. No matter how remote the location -- whether it's the sand dunes of Namibia or the glacial mountains of Patagonia - the Chevy Tahoe is there, built to be a rough-and-ready, go-anywhere sort of ride. The SUVs honk their horns in succession from location to location creating a harmony that becomes the Olympics theme song. The visually compelling spot concludes with the graphic, "Tahoe. An American Revolution."

All of the background footage in the spot was taken by Director Eric Saarinen during previous shoots. As his work took him to different and exotic locales over the course of eight years, Saarinen accumulated a library of stock footage. Campbell-Ewald Vice Chairman, Chief Creative Officer Bill Ludwig approached the director about using his footage and the two discussed how to best incorporate the new Chevy Tahoes into the shots.

"The Tahoe 'Horns' spot is a proud, majestic way to showcase the new Tahoe within the context of the Olympic Games," said Ludwig. "It is a tribute to the spirit, endeavor and achievement of the Olympic Winter Games."

"We built foreground pieces for the SUVs, which would later be married seamlessly into the footage, and also shot cars in the background," explains Saarinen. "Not every shot had to be a big car shot. The idea was to create the sense that Chevy owns these images. The image of where the Tahoe can go is as powerful as the image of the car itself."

Before the shoot, Saarinen went through all of the stock footage he had shot in the past for Chevy and presented a two-minute montage to the agency. Saarinen also notes that Ludwig and the creatives were intrigued by his choices with the footage since he was working with his own material. After planning the movements and placements of the cars in the shots, which served as their previs, the team began working with the music created by Machine Head. After the initial rough cuts, Composer Adam Schiff and Sound Designer Stephen Dewey would revise as needed to make sure the music - and simplicity of the horns blowing -- fit the shots.

The five-day live-action shoot involved filming the Tahoes on 10-foot high foregrounds, which were painted and dressed to match the various terrains from glacial to greenery, as well as low platforms and surfaces. Production Designer Darren Gilford and the crew were instrumental in creating foregrounds that could support a car and had rollers to match the lighting for the background shots. The shoot at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium also required 50 x 60-foot light diffusion flags that were held by construction cranes. Other parts of the shoot took the team to Lone Pine in California where they shot sand dunes to be composited into the Namibia segment. In addition, Saarinen shot the Tahoes driving to incorporate the action into one of the snow scenes.

Since Chevrolet wanted a spot that would have a life span beyond the Winter Olympics, it was important to include imagery that was versatile. Campbell-Ewald Producer Mary Ellen Krawczyk credits the collaboration with Saarinen and the effects artists at Asylum for creating such seamless sequences. "Some of the locations on the stock footage were wider and more sweeping so we had to make adjustments on how the shots were used. Eric [Saarinen] and Asylum were able to re-design particular scenes to fit the location better. Eric is amazing to watch on set. During the shoot at Dodger Stadium, he was able to simulate the shots that he had done from a helicopter in the past to incorporate the cars in a realistic manner. Eric is very smart and savvy about how to shoot a vehicle and understood what the client needed.  He was the obvious choice for this job."

"This was such a rewarding collaboration," concludes Saarinen. "I've collected stock footage for many years on various assignments. I've photographed places that people have never seen before and it was great to be able to find a clever solution for the scope and timeframe of this project. I'm not known as a special effects guy, but I always like to have people guessing what I'm going to do next. Hopefully, people are going to look at this spot and be fooled once again."

Client: Chevrolet

Spot Title/Airdate: "Horns"   :30/February 10, 2006 (during Winter Olympics opening ceremony)

Ad Agency: Campbell-Ewald
Vice Chairman, Chief Creative Officer: Bill Ludwig
EVP/Director of Broadcasting: Bob Solano
Producer: Mary Ellen Krawczyk
Copywriter: Bob Ancona
Art Director: Chip Kettering

Production Company: Plum Productions
Director/DP: Eric Saarinen
Executive Producers: Shelby Sexton & Beth Pearson
Line Producer: Doron Kauper
Associate Producer: Sandy Haddad
Production Designer: Darren Gilford

Editorial Company: Rival Editorial
Editor: Steve MacCorkle
Assistant Editors: Walter May & Brian Gonosey

VFX Company: Asylum
Executive Producer: David Hofflich
Producer: Cara Farnsworth
Senior VFX Supervisor: Phil Brennen
CGI/On-Set Supervisor: Dottie Sterling
Lead Compositor: Jon Wank
Compositors: Glen Bennett, Tim Davies, Mark Renton, Andy Barrios,
Joe Ken
Rotoscoping: Eric Evans, Elissa Bello, James Lee, Huey Carroll
CGI Producer: Jeff Werner
CGI Coordinator: Heather Stephens
Modeling: Timothy Hoffman, Greg Stuhl
Matchmoving: Michael Lori
Lighting: Matthew Maude, Steve Cummings, Aaron Vest, Rob Stauffer
Texturing: Tim Clark, Denis Gauthier

Postproduction Company: Company 3 & Asylum
Colorist: Mike Pethel @ Company 3
Online Editor: Steve Vojkovic @ Asylum

Music & Sound Design Company: Machine Head
Composer: Adam Schiff
Sound Designer: Stephen Dewey
Producer/Head of Production: Vicki Ordeshook

Audio Post Company: Eleven
Mixer: Jeff Payne
Assistant Mixer: Francine Boucher
Executive Producer: DJ Fox-Engstrom

Plum Productions is located at 2202 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
T: 310.450.1942. F: 310.450.9424

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Related Keywords:Chevy Tahoe, Plum Productions ,Director Eric Saarinen,2006 Olympic Winter Games

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