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This surprisingly elegant commercial promoting the new Powerball game from California Lottery depicts a flurry of lotto balls, delicately falling towards a host of hopeful Californians, all of whom have their eye out for the elusive red ball. The snow flake like movement is juxtaposed against sunny iconic locations and the amount of balls build up over the course of the ad as people dream of the possibilities of winning.


Director Janusz Kaminski, an Academy Award winning DP who recently worked with Steven Spielberg on Lincoln (which was also nominated for the Cinematography Oscar), is famed for his skills in lighting. Method artists, lead by VFX Supervisor Jason Schugardt, cleaned up the practical plates and added CG balls to enhance the slow motion footage. “Just like the music track suggests, the spot needed to feel dreamlike” says Schugardt, “There is no voice over so it was essential to hold the audience’s attention with captivating images while conveying the message of the ad.”

Much of the spot uses practical balls and a total of 40,000 white globes were fired out of air canons at various Californian locations. Filmed at 250 frames per second, each shot required various levels of CGI and the VFX work ranged from air cannon and falling ball removal through to adding more balls in the background and neatening up what was shot in camera.

Several of the scenes contain only CG balls such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the red wood forest shots. Schugardt notes “The success of this ad relied on us being able to create CG balls which live convincingly alongside the real ones. The slow mo footage and delicate lighting meant we had to pay close attention to movement, perspective and integrating our HDRI projections to make the shots believable”.


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