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Coors ‘Snowcave’

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For their first commercial VFX project, Method Studios in Chicago were brought on board to help sell the realism of two epic Coors spots for Radical Media. Shot in Alaska, ‘Snowcave’ and ‘Ascent’ demonstrate the treacherous Arctic-like conditions the Coors explorers endure in order to deliver their customers icy cold beers. The Method crew provided CG snow, matte painting set extensions and helped blend the shots captured over several different days into a believable sequence. The spots were graded in Company 3's virtual room alongside Method's Chicago studio.

The agency, client and production company all embraced the idea of going for broke and shooting as much as humanly possible on glaciers North of Anchorage rather than on stages somewhere warm, in order to make this incredible journey as real as possible.  The logistics of the shooting process were carefully considered as the team had to be open not only to the challenges of the script but the unpredictable environmental hazards that could occur during the shoot.

The shoot itself involved taking helicopters to places well off the beaten path, hiking in to extreme and remote locations, and sometimes waiting for hours for the right moment to roll camera. The actors were actual stunt men with climbing expertise and the cameraman was often dangling over frightening precipices. As a VFX crew, Method shadowed every part of the shoot and picked up enough pieces to help stitch the narrative together in post.

VFX Supervisor Gil Baron notes, “Since the overall brief was realism at all costs, in addition to principal photography VFX supervision, we spent a good deal of time shooting additional aerial footage and climbing into ice caves to capture texture and lighting reference - shuttling in via helicopter to places people had likely never been before. We did a lot of thinking on our feet - even when our feet were 7000 feet up above the glacier floor. I couldn't imagine doing it any other way, and we couldn't be happier with the results".


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