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Steele Gets in the Groove with Bridgestone Tires

Stunning EFX Work Highlights New International Ad Campaign

In a multifaceted creative effort, STEELE provided design, visual effects, animation and post production services to Grey New York for a new international ad campaign for Bridgestone tires, the companys first branding effort in 20 years. The five, visually rich spots employ the tires circular shape as its principal design motif and music video style scenarios in promoting Bridgestones Potenza, Turanza, Dueler, and Blizzak tire lines.

STEELE Supervising Visual Effects Artist Jerry Steele led an effort that involved placing dancers and athletes into eye-popping computer generated environments that also featured digital rain, snow and laser beams. Deliverables will ultimately include 22 versions of the brand ads, in 30 and 15-second formats, Spanish, French and English. HSIs Matthew Rolston directed the package.

Each of the spots feature tires floating in the air as performers groove to a variation of the Roseanne Cash song The Wheel, reworked in a style to suit the personality of the featured tire. The spot for the Dueler features tango artists. The Potenza spot features a hip hop singer who raps the ?wheel goes ?round lyric.

Live action elements were shot by Rolston in Argentina and Canada. The project then moved to Homestead Editorial in New York for editing, followed by the visual effects and post work at STEELE in Santa Monica.  For the Turanza spot, where couples dance on water as rain falls around them, Steele used a Quantel EQ to place the talent into an environment constructed from practical, digital and stock elements. ?The dancers were shot in a shimmer tank against green screen, recalled Steele. ?I used the EQ to remove reflections from the green screen that were in the water, without loosing the fluidity or the detail of the liquid.

Steele added the clouds in the background and used digital water elements to eliminate imperfections in the practical water caused by rigs. The rain was also added digitally. Steele made the digital rain interact with the practical water by animating tiny splashes in the surface.

At the end of the sequence, Steele created a transition where the surface of the water turns into a glass mirror. ?Jerrys effect goes from the practical water to a digital water element to the glass element, said STEELE Visual Effects Supervisor and Executive Producer Brian Adler. ?It happens seamlessly and is contained within a single shot.

The other spots involved equally ambitious visual effects executions. For the hip hop Potenza spot, STEELEs 3D team created a CG environment representing a giant speaker wall.  The artificial set, designed in Lightwave by Wayne England, includes 3D light and laser effects animated to the rhythm of the music.

For the Blizzak commercial, STEELEs artists created a set extension for an ice rink where three speed skaters were shot. ?We re-sculpted the rink and used forced perspective to push back the horizon and make it appear longer and more oval, recalled Steele.  England also used Lightwave to create a giant 3D traveling show halo spinning around the skaters as they whip  by frame.

Henry Artists Monique Eissing and Dave Neuberger created nearly two dozen transitional elements employing tires and other circular objects featured in all five spots. ?The transitions occur in many variations, said Eissing. ?In one instance, a tire emerges out of the pupil of a womans eye. That effect involved a morph from the pupil to the tire, with a stock element employed in the middle, but its totally seamless.

Credits for STEELE go to Jerry Steele, Supervising Visual Effects Artist;  Jo Steele, Senior Executive Producer; Brian Adler, Visual Effects Supervisor/Executive Producer; Monique Eissing and Dave Neuberger, Henry Artists; Wayne England and Oliver Hess, CG Animators; Warren Baxter, Visual Effects Artist.

STEELE Inc. is located at 1437 Seventh Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. For more information, call (310) 656-7770 or visit


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