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FlickerLab Rides Sapphire Through Post Production

Animation and design studio uses Flint syste with GenArts Sapphire Plug-ins (June 27, 2005)

When veteran production company BUS Madrid was looking for a company to produce ?Apparition, an effects-intensive spot for Ford Europe and Vodaphone, they turned to FlickerLab, a full service animation and design studio in New York with extensive experience in broadcast design and motion graphics, cell style and 3D animation. Earlier this year, FlickerLab invested in Discreets Flint system, complete with GenArts Sapphire Plug-ins, to expand its offerings an investment already proven indispensable on this and other projects.

?When we bought our Flint, it rapidly became obvious that Sapphire Plug-ins was a necessary extension of the Flint kit. Today they are our primary set of plug-ins and we just love them. They are such workhorses for getting things done, comments Harold Moss, FlickerLabs founder and creative director.

Since its inception in 1999, FlickerLab has produced a wide range of animated projects for award-winning feature films and television series including Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Celebrity Poker Showdown, as well as on-air promotions for the A&E Network, and commercials for Ford, American Girl Dolls, and Move Ons PAC. 'Apparition' was FlickerLab's first international car spot and was created in collaboration with BUS-Animation, a new division of the commercial production company in Spain. FlickerLab played an integral role in the development and production of the commercial by providing pre-production design, storyboards, and VFX supervision as well as 2D & 3D animation, effects, and compositing.

The spot depicts a group of young men admiring the new Ford Fiesta with Vodaphone. As they move closer to the car, they find themselves driving into heaven and riding through bright, fantastical scenery while surrounded by angelic beauties.

?We made extensive use of Sapphire Plug-ins for this spot, says Moss. ?The EdgeRay effect, in particular, was used to create the impression that the angels were exuding a soft white light and to give various elements of the scene a kind of halo look. Because Sapphire is so easy to use and flexible, we were able to easily create these looks without having to resort to 3D work, which would have been time consuming and prohibitively expensive. We also used the Glow effect a lot to light these heavenly scenes. Glint was used to create a magical look for the road as it unrolls before the car. The FilmGrain effect was applied to many of the scenes to help blend the various elements (live footage, 3D objects, and green screen shot characters) that we had to combine to make them look as though they had been shot together, explains Moss.

Following their work with the heavenly creatures of the Ford/Vodaphone spot, FlickerLab was involved with a radically different project: creating the animation and graphic design for a series of promos for A&E Networks new show: Knievel's Wild Ride. The new real life series takes a look into the day-to-day life of daredevil Robbie Knievel each episode focusing on the daredevils next jump.

?One of the key elements of the promo revolved around the animation of Knievels logo, a classic biker-type logo, with fire coming out from all sides and typical biker wings. The idea was to have the logo organically come out of the flames into the forefront of the shot. We used Sapphire EdgeRays effect to help create a feeling of depth and to organically integrate the real life footage of flames and explosions with the animated logo to create the exact look that we wanted. It worked perfectly, comments Moss.

?We just love Sapphire Plug-ins. They have such a beautiful look to them. We find them to be a highly interactive set of tools which are easy to tweak. They always seem to have exactly what we need to get exactly the look that we want, even on a very tight deadline, which we always seem to have. Although budgets have gone down tremendously, clients expectations have not, and Sapphire is one tool that really helps us create the gorgeous high-end looks that everyone has come to expect without breaking budgets, he concludes.

About GenArts Sapphire Plug-ins
Sapphire Plug-ins provide digital artists with a collection of over 175 state-of-the-art image processing and synthesis effects. They fully and seamlessly integrate into a number of editing and compositing systems including: Adobe After Effects and Premiere; Apple Final Cut Pro, Shake and Motion; Avid Media Composer Adrenaline, Media Composer, Xpress Pro, Xpress, Xpress DV, Symphony, DS, Nitris and Newscutter; Autodesk/Discreet Flint, Flame, Inferno, Fire, Smoke, Burn, and Combustion; eyeon Software Digital Fusion; Quantel generationQ; Media 100 844/X and Sony XPRI. Sapphire Plug-ins offer a comprehensive suite of tools and effects that can transform any film or video clip. They are resolution independent, include multi-processor support for faster rendering, and run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Irix. Effects in the package range from everyday tools such as Glows, EdgeRays, LensFlare, Glint, Blurs and RackDefocus, to more exotic effects like Lightning, FlysEye, JpegDamage, HalfTone and Textures.

About GenArts, Inc.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., GenArts, Inc. is a premier provider of digital visual effects plug-ins for the film and video industry. Introduced in 1996, Sapphire Plug-ins have become an industry standard for high-end visual effects creation at leading studios, broadcast and post production facilities around the world. They are widely recognized for their unrivaled quality and ease-of-use, and have been used extensively to create an array of feature films such as Star Wars-Episodes I, II and III, Spider-Man 1 and 2, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Matrix trilogy, I, Robot, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Hulk, X-Men II, Daredevil, Ice Age, Pearl Harbor, Final Fantasy, Dinosaur, Titanic, Armageddon, and Contact.

Additional GenArts product information can be found at


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Related Keywords:GenArts, Sapphire, FlickerLab, BUS Madrid, animation, motion graphics, Discreet, BUS-Animation, VFX, compositing, effects,


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