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Artists create cinematic and hypereal settings for Noam Murro directed Chevy, Time Warner Cable and Kia spots

Method Studios was thrilled to collaborate on a record seven Super Bowl commercials this year. Amongst the projects keeping the Method teams in Los Angeles, New York and Australia busy, were three especially VFX-heavy ads directed by the 2012 DGA award-winning director, Noam Murro. Dan Glass, Method’s EVP and Senior VFX Supervisor notes, “This is our strongest Super Bowl yet and has resulted in successful collaboration throughout our multiple Method sites”.

The commercial ‘2012’ promotes the Chevy Silverado and is an amusing take on the end of the world – an event apparently completely survivable, providing you drive the right vehicle. Method Studios was excited to collaborate with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in realizing the desolate landscape, complete with a flying saucer, giant robot, volcano and toads raining from the sky. Creative Director/VFX Supervisor Benjamin Walsh notes, "Each post apocalyptic vignette had to be recognizable in a short amount of screen time, so the challenge was to find a balance between a cliché design aesthetic and a more abstract one."

The Super Bowl presents a yearly highlight in the US television commercials industry and to stand out from the crowd, the Method artists knew they had to produce visual effects more typically seen in a Hollywood blockbuster. Murro was keen to utilize the skill set and pipeline available at Method Studios, which in this instance included the sharing of tasks between LA and Australia, in order to deliver highly crafted work in a commercial based timescale.

The second Super Bowl spot directed by Murro that Method provided VFX for was through agency Ogilvy & Mather for Time Warner Cable. The ad titled ‘Enjoy Better Anthem’ was led by Method’s New York team with help from their colleagues in Sydney. The spot stars Ricky Gervais and promotes premium entertainment channels and cross-platform media portals amidst a host of action packed stunts. Doug Luka, VFX Supervisor comments, “We had a lot to do in a very short period of time but Noam and the Biscuit team made sure we had everything we needed in order to pull this epic spot together. Method created CG Blackhawk helicopters and we pulled out all the stops with matte paintings, layered explosions and atmospheric effects to make the back-lot sets feel rich and cinematic – just as the director envisaged.”

The Method Studios team also applied their talents to the Murro-directed ‘Drive The Dream,’ through agency David&Goliath, which promotes the Kia 2012 Optima Limited. The commercial opens with a miniature sandman who sprinkles magic dust on a sleeping couple. The surreal dream sequences that follow are packed full of idealistic scenarios (depending on whether you are a man or woman) and include a hunk on horseback, Victoria Secret model and an impromptu rock band performance at a race track. Cramming in so many unbelievable scenes into a believable 30 second commercial presented the key challenge to the artists.

Method LA and Sydney brought the dreams to life with a combination of forced perspective scale effects along with CGI. “A main focus here was the guy’s dream,” offers Rob Hodgson, VFX Supervisor. “Noam wanted a hyppereal quality that was still somewhat rooted in reality. Our task was to augment the shots in order to strike an unusual balance between realism and fantasy.”

Method Studios linked in with Company 3 to complete the commercials allowing the clients for all three spots access to the seamless pipeline between the sister facilities. Chevy and Kia clients worked with CO3 co-founder/colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld and Time Warner clients worked with Tim Masick to achieve the final grade.

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