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25/03/2002

Digital secret of Xbox's 'Mosquito' ad revealed

Framestore CFC have completed post-productoin work on an advertisement for Microsoft's Xbox that spares no expense and boasts a cast of thousands.
Like it's predecessor, 'Champagne', the new 'Mosquito' advertisement for the computer game console is a micro-epic, and like its predecessor, it was handled in post-production by Framestore CFC.
The scaling-down in 'Champagne' involved the compression of a man's lifespan into one 30-second flight from cradle to grave. But 'Mosquito' tells us the tale of the rise and fall of a lost civilisation in seconds, and all using stars that are all less than one cm long.
The advert, which was debuted on terrestrial TV on March 13, tells the story of how a musical mosquito empire fell from grace. The ad conforms to the Xbox's campaign theme of the necessity for more play, less work.
The filmmakers successfully deceive the audience into thinking that they are capturing intricate close-ups of the mosqiuto using macro-photography of a quality fit for David Attenborough. In fact, few viewers will realise that not a single living mosquito appears in the whole ad.
This digital, pitch-perfect illusion is the product of Framestore CFC's Commercial 3D Department, led by Andrew Daffy, and the compositing of William Bartlett, who, as Visual Effects Supervisor for the project, also oversaw it from start to finish.
They based their work entirely in Maya 4.0, using the 3D software to create a range of mosquito models, which featured seven levels of detail depending on how close the shot was. Matters were made easier, according to Daffy, by the use of automatic tracking software, 2d3's 'Boujou'.
The various animals and birds, which were supplied as stock footage, were all placed on new backgrounds in Inferno.
Framestore CFC is the reuslt of a merger that brings together FrameStore and the Computer Film Company (CFC) under a single management team, led by joint chief executives Sharon Reed and William Sargent. The new entity combines FrameStore's specialism in visual effects and computer animation with CFC's award-winning digital film effects and pioneering development in digital film.
Framestore CFC, www.framestore-cfc.com
(GMcG)
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