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R!OT Atlanta Rises to the Occasion for Mayfield DairyProvides complete post-production services for Chattanooga agency The Johnson Group (June 14, 2005)
R!OT Atlanta creates illusion that Mayfield Dairy ice cream is lighter than air
The three ice cream spots cleverly show how ?the cream really does rise to the top by creating the illusion of ice cream that defies the laws of gravity. In one spot, a man and his daughter come across a grocery store freezer filled with Mayfield ice cream. They watch in delight as the packages float to the top of the freezer like helium filled balloons and actually raise it several inches off the floor. In a second spot, a girl takes a gallon of ice cream to a check-out counter and smiles as a store clerk snares it in a plastic bag to keep it from flying away. The third spot shows a girl in a kitchen putting a scoop of ice cream into a bowl. Because the ice cream floats, the girl holds the bowl upside down above her head and catches the scoop as it rises toward the ceiling.
In order to make the spots seem as real as possible, Mayfield and The Johnson Group insisted on using actual ice cream and product packaging. R!OT Creative Director Jeff Doud made that possible by working with the producers of the spots to create the floating ice cream through a combination of puppetry and digital effects. ?We shot the product elements against blue screen, separate from the talent, using puppeteers to mimic the appropriate actions, explained Doud who acted as Visual Effects Supervisor during the three-day shoot on a stage in Nashville. ?That provided the raw materials our visual effects team in Atlanta needed to animate the products and integrate them with the live action.
Post work began with creative editorial performed by R!OTs Carlton Eden. With the ice cream spots, Edens task was to tell each story with humor and emotion while creating a structure that made it easy to integrate the effects. ?It had to feel real and organic so that the very magical events would appear natural, an almost ordinary occurrence, he explained. ?The biggest challenge was to tell rather complex stories in a very short time-span without making it appear rushed. The narrative needed room to breathe.
For Visual Effects Artist CE Raum, the challenge was even greater: seamlessly integrating the effects elements into the live action. ?We needed to establish 3D environmental control over 2D material captured on film, he observed. ?We tried to utilize the natural quality created by the puppeteers as much as possible, but to create the look and feel we wanted it was necessary to take it into a 3D space.
Perhaps the most difficult scene to pull off occurred in the the spot with the girl scooping the ice cream. For that sequence, Doud shot a scoop of ice cream in a 360-degree rotation. Raum pulled the film element into his Discreet Smoke system and warped the time-base so that the rotation occupied precisely 360 frames. That allowed him complete control to manipulate the element. Raum used a 3D sphere to plot an animation path from ice cream scoop to bowl, then mapped the film element onto it to complete the illusion.
The campaigns three milk spots tell stories of people with an overwhelming craving for the product: a dad who cant bear to spoil his glass of milk by dipping a cookie, a girl who sucks the milk from her cereal bowl with a straw, and a cook who downs a measuring cup filled with milk rather than pour it into her batter. Each spot ends with the tag line, ?Theres milk, then theres Mayfield.
R!OT Atlantas Chris Basta wrote original music for each of the six spots in the campaign. The music ranged from a buoyant orchestral score accompanying the ice cream spot Freezer to a jazz flavored track for Cookie about the man and his midnight snack. ?The stories had such strong, individual personalities that they needed individualized musical treatments, Basta explained. ?The tracks for the ice cream spots are all light and fun, but each one has a slightly surreal edge to put the listener in a different world.
Basta also created sound design for the campaign and prepared the final mix for each spot in one of R!OTs mixing suites. ?The agency gave us room to experiment and we put everything we had into it, said Basta. ?We had fun and were really pleased how it turned out.
For Doud, the campaign is a wonderful example of concept, story, visual effects and music working together. ?The people in these spots have a real relationship to the product, he said. ?The girl who scoops out the ice cream has obviously done it many times before. The store clerk who snares the product is nonchalant about it. That adds to the charm of the campaign and supports Mayfields message. But none of it would work if the effects looked contrived or artificial. It had to look real in order to get viewers to suspend their sense of disbelief.
About R!OT Atlanta
R!OT Atlanta is a creative boutique providing sound, editorial, design and visual effects to the audio and video industry located in Buckhead, in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. R!OT Atlanta has grown steadily over its 18 years in business and offers creative editorial, design, animation, finishing, compositing, sound design, 5.1 mixing and original music. Client base spans from broadcast networks, advertising agencies, production companies, and corporations. R!OT Atlanta is part of the R!OT family with sister studios in Santa Monica and New York.
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