The Mill Reunites Man & Clydesdale for Budweiser at Super Bowl
|While some environmental VFX work was required to make the downtown Los Angeles location where the commercial was shot for the final scene look like central Chicago, the visual effects on Budweiser ‘Brotherhood’, starring their trademark Clydesdale horse, are not at first obvious. Danny Morris, The Mill’s 2D Lead Artist for the spot said, “The main work was combining plates so we could get good reactions between the man and his Clydesdale. We needed to combine some plates, which required heavy rebuilding and morphing to create the desired reactions and help emphasise the emotion that is clearly evident in the man missing his Clydesdale.”|
Danny was unable to attend the shoot, but began communicating with the crew early during pre production. Except for the critical emotional connection between the man and his horse, nearly all of what the audience sees was captured in camera. Even when the when the horse is running down the city street, the trainer was able to put special shoes on the horse to allow this to be safely shot in camera.
Leading up to production, the crew had to plan the shoot to coincide with the arrival of a newborn Clydesdale on a farm in Minnesota so that they could include shots from the early stages of the friendship and the growth of the horse.
|The spot was shot on the ARRI ALEXA with the horse and the man in the same plate. No green screen was required. Danny remarked that it was very well shot – exteriors under beautiful skies, interiors well lit – which allowed him to focus on the 2D work of combining and morphing the shots to enhance the interactions, such as getting the right distance between the man and horse. The project was then graded on the Baselight by The Mill’s colourist at Fergus McCall.|
|Danny’s work was especially important in some stable scenes early in the spot when the horse’s actions might come slightly late for the story, or the horse and man might have to be brought closer together in shots. But the re-building and morphing was critical in the final scene, the happy ending when the two meet again and the Clydesdale recognises his owner. This scene had to be re-built to look as though the horse comes to a standstill, sees the man and responds, to show that they recognise each other. All of this work – effects, shot rebuilding and compositing - was carried out in Autodesk Flame.|
|“The shot of the man looking in the wing mirror of his car was made up of three plates," Danny said. "I combined the plates to get him looking in the mirror and then opening the door, and to make his reaction appear right, I had to use two or three plates to morph his head together to look like the one take. This action had to happen in quite a short amount of time to make the edit work. This was achieved by combining different sections of the same take, re-building the background as well and incorporating the people in the shot.” www.themill.com|