Category Archives: commercials

Behind the Title: Reel FX editor Chris Collins

NAME: Chris Collins
 
COMPANY: Reel FX (@wearereelfx) in Dallas
 
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Reel FX is made up of directors, editors, animators, VFX artists, audio engineers and more. We work on everything feature length projects to commercials to VR/360 experiences.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
What it means to be an editor depends on what kind of editor you ask. If you ask me, the editor is the final director — the person responsible for compiling and composing the hard work of production into a finalized coherent piece of media. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes there is a lot of creative problem-solving. Sometimes you only cut footage, sometimes you dive into Photoshop, After Effects and other programs to execute a vision. Sometimes there is only one way to make a video work, and sometimes there are infinite ways a piece can be cut. It all depends on the concept and production.

Now with VR, a whole new aspect of editing has opened up by being able to put on a headset and be transported into your footage. I couldn’t be more excited to see the new places that VR can take editing.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think people look at editors and think the job is easy because they sit in a cozy office on the computer… and sometimes, they’re not wrong. But there is a lot of hidden stress, problem-solving and creativity that is invisible within a finished piece of media. They may watch a final cut and never notice all the things an editor did or fixed — and that’s what makes a good editor.

WHAT DO YOU EDIT ON?
I cut on Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere but I also use Adobe’s After Effects and Photoshop in my work.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLUG-IN?
Right now it would have to be Mettle’s Skybox VR Player because it allows me to edit and view my cut of 360 footage within the Oculus headset — so ridiculously cool!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Screening a cut to someone for the first time and watching their reaction.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
The fact that the majority of people will never see or know all the unused footage and options that didn’t make the cut.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
I’d have to say those first few hours in the morning with my coffee and late at night after hours because that is when I am the most creative.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Photography.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I’ve been shooting and editing videos since I was a little kid. It carried on into high school and then into college, since that’s really what my hobby and passion was. It was one of the only things I was good at besides video games so it seemed like a no-brainer.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
TGI Fridays Countdown, Ram Division of Labor, Jeep Renegade campaign, Tostitos Recipe Videos and Texas Health Resources.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
A video I cut called Jeep Legendary Lives. It started out as a personal project of mine that I was cutting after hours, and eventually became part of a presentation video that opened the Detroit Auto Show. It’s also one of the first things that got my foot in the door as an editor.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Phone. Computer. Camera.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? 
Only if the footage does not have audio and I am in the organization and melting phase. It’s usually some sort of chill electronic — typically instrumental.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Playing video games or taking photos really helps to distract my brain, but typically all I have to do is remind myself that I am getting paid doing something I love and something that I’ve been passionate about since I was a kid. With that thought, it’s hard not to be anything but grateful.

The Colonie provides editing, VFX for Toyota Corolla spot

Chicago’s The Colonie has teamed with Burrell Communications to provide editorial, visual effects and design services for I Do, a broadcast spot introducing the 2017 Toyota Corolla.

Creative editor Bob Ackerman edited with the carmaker’s tagline, “Let’s Go Places,” in mind. Fast-paced cuts and editing effects helped create an upbeat message that celebrates the new Corolla, as well as its target audience — what Toyota refers to as today’s “on-the-go” generation of young adults.

Lewis Williams, Burrell’s EVP/CCO, brought The Colonie onboard early in the process to collaborate with the production company The Cavalry, ensuring the seamless integration of a variety of visual effects that were central to the style of this spot.

The commercial integrates three distinct vignettes. The spot opens with a young woman behind the wheel of her Toyota. She arrives at a city park and her friends help her yarn bomb the surroundings — from hand-knitted tree trunk covers to a slipcover for a love seat and a garbage pail cozy in the likeness of whimsical characters.

barbarFrom the get-go art director Winston Cheung was very focused on keeping the tone of the spot fresh and young. When selecting footage during the edit session, Ackerman and Cheung made sure to use some of the more playful set-ups from the yarn vignette to providing the bold color palette for final transfer.

The second scenario finds an enterprising man parking his Corolla and unloading his “Pop-Up Barbershop” in front of a tall wall featuring artful graffiti. A well-placed painting of a young man’s face extends over the top of the wall completes the picture. As soon as the barber sets up his chair, his first customer arrives.

The third vignette features a young filmmaker shooting footage of the 2017 Toyota as her crew adds some illuminating effects. Taking her cues from this scene, The Colonie senior designer, Jen Moody, crafted a series of shots that use a “light painting” technique to create a trail of light effect. One of the characters writes the spot’s title, I Do with a light, which Moody layered to create a more tangible quality that really sells the effect. VFX supervisor Tom Dernulc took a classic Toyota Corolla from a previous segment and seamlessly integrated it into the background of the scene.

The Colonie’s team explored several methods for creating the various VFX in the spot before deciding upon a combination of Autodesk Flame Premium and Adobe After Effects. Then it was a matter of picking the right moments. Ackerman grabbed some of their top choices, roughed in the effect on the Avid Media Composer, and presented the client with a nearly finished look right from the very first rough cuts.

“Early on, creative director Lisa McConnell had expressed a desire to explore using a series of stills flashing (á la TV’s Scandal) to advance the spot’s story,” says Ackerman. “We loved the idea. Condensing short sequences of footage into rapid progressions of imagery provided us with an innovative way to convey the full scope of these three scenarios in a very limited 30-second time frame — while also adding an interesting visual element to the final spot.”

Fred Keller of Chicago’s Filmworkers provided the color grade, CRC’s Ian Scott performed the audio mix and sound design, and composers Mike Dragovic, Michael Yessian and Brian Yessian provided the score.

G-Tech 6-15

Lucky Post helps with the funny for McDonald’s McPick 2 spots

Lucky Post editor Travis Aitken and sound designer Scottie Richardson were part of the new campaign for McDonald’s, via agency Moroch, that reminds us that there are many things you cannot choose, but you can “McPick 2.”

The campaign — shot by production house Poster with directors Plástico and Sebastian Caporelli — highlights humor in the subtleties of life. Parents features a not-so-cool, but well-meaning, dad and his teenage son talking about texts and “selfies” while enjoying McPick 2 meal from McDonald’s. His son explains the picture he is showing him isn’t a selfie, but his father defends, saying, “Yeah, it is. I took it myself.”

Passengers features a little guy sandwiched between two big, muscular guys in a three-seater row on an airplane. The only thing that makes him feel better is that he chose to bring a McPick 2 meal with him.

“Performance comedy, like these spots, is at its best when you’re seeing people interacting in frame,” says editor Aitken, who cut using Adobe Premiere. “You don’t want to manipulate too much in the edit — it is finding the best performances and allowing them to play out. In that sense, editing with dialogue comedy is punctuation. It’s vastly different than other genres — beauty, for example, where you are editing potentially unrelated images and music to create the story. Here, the story is in front of you.”

According to sound designer Richardson, “My job was to make sure dialogue was clear and create ambient noise that provided atmosphere but didn’t overwhelm the scenes. I used Avid Pro Tools with Soundminer and Sony Oxford noise reduction to provide balance and let the performances shine.”

The executive producer for Dallas-based Lucky Post was Jessica Berry. MPC’s Ricky Gausis provided the color grade.


Adam Schwartz and Jim Ulbrich join Nomad Editing

Nomad Editing has expanded its New York staff with the addition of editors/partners Jim Ulbrich and Adam Schwartz. Their hiring comes on the heels of EP/partner Jennifer Lederman and editor/partner Jai Shukla joining the studio earlier this year.

Jim Ulbrich comes to Nomad  — an Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere house — after working at a variety of New York-based editorial shops. Since joining Nomad, Ulbrich has worked on projects for Saatchi & Saatchi NY and Toyota with Droga5. He is now finishing a campaign with Grey. He collaborates on many projects with director Matt Smukler from Community Films.

Ulbrich began his career at Berlin Cameron and then moved to 89 Edit. He then moved to Mad River and then Beast where he became a partner in the company. He has edited campaigns for AT&T, Cheerios, Hanes and Coke.

Schwartz has followed a similar career trajectory to Ulbrich. His client list includes big brands such as Google, HP, Verizon, Reebok and Nike. Schwartz has worked with high-profile directors, including Janusz Kaminski, Errol Morris, Jared Hess and Wes Anderson. He’s worked on several projects since joining Nomad, and is now editing with BBDO NY. Schwartz began editing at Lost Planet before he became a founding partner at Beast.

 


Black Forest Gummy Bears get CG treatment and own reality show

A lush green forest and colorful organic gummies — what’s not to love? Especially when these gummies are naughty! In a new “reality series” for Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears, these fat-free snack foods throw forks at each other’s heads, aren’t afraid to toss around a curse word or two, and like to go streaking (don’t worry, their gummy naked-bits are pixelated).

Ferrara Candy Company called on NYC-based Shuttlecraft and Chicago-based ad agency Tom, Dick & Harry, Co. to help bring the The Real Gummies of the Black Forest to life, The campaign, which combines CG and live action, debuted this month with a teaser and the first three 30-second episodes: Dinner, Enhancements and Streakers.

“Shuttlecraft really captured the aesthetic we were going for, in amazing detail,” says Bob Volkman, Tom, Dick & Harry, creative /partner. “These are bears of privilege and their chaise lounge chairs had to be certifiably Baker or forget it. They definitely put their snooty hats on when crafting our miniature Black Forest.”

Shuttlecraft, which specializes in detailed and refined animation and CG, jumped on the opportunity to help realize the crazy, fun and quirky shenanigans of the Organics.

“After reading the scripts, we immediately knew that Tom, Dick & Harry had developed a great hook and characters that are genuinely authentic and funny,” says Ronnie Koff, executive creative director of Shuttlecraft. “I mean, where else are you going to see gummy bears streaking? We also recognized that in order to bring their concept to life, we needed to create CG gummies that could move around and interact believably with each other, all while looking juicy and delicious.”

For the project, Shuttlecraft channeled their experience in creating photoreal food for such clients as Hershey’s, Yoplait and Kellogg’s. In the creation of the set, model-makers and puppeteers David Bell and Joe Scarpulla hand-molded and sculpted a 1/12-scale version of the Black Forest measuring over eight feet long. Shuttlecraft also used a 3D printer to create many remaining set elements as well.

They also called on Nuke, After Effects, ZBrush, Maya/Arnold, Cinema4D/Arnold and PF Track.

Once the forest and the bears were complete, Shuttlecraft seamlessly combined the CG elements with its live-action plates. Tom, Dick & Harry then hired voice actors to bring to life the stars of The Real Gummies of the Black Forest. It took two weeks for the set build and the shoot, with the entire process taking a total of eight weeks.