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07/02/2003

Rushes post uproarious Smirnoff spot

Posted by Rushes, a highly amusing commercial, directed by London's hottest duo, Blue Source, is sure to make you laugh out loud…
The commercial opens with an expectant crowd of tourists at a dolphinarium, sitting eagerly awaiting the start of the next dolphin show. The trainer attempts to start the show by asking the dolphins to do various tricks, which they flatly refuse to do.
As the crowd become inpatient, the hero decides to take it upon himself to entertain the crowd. He does a running jump into the aquarium. The crowd go silent and then all of a sudden our hero dives up out of the water and he magically performs all the amazing stunts, the dolphins would normally perform. Double jumps, a high jump to catch a fish in his teeth, dancing out of the water on the back of his heels etc. Meanwhile the crowd are enthralled and the dolphins just watch.
Once out of the water, the camera pans in to our hero's swimming trunks. On the waistband is the Smirnoff logo. The tag line being, 'If Smirnoff made trunks'.
Rushes VFX artist, Bill McNamara, said: "Shot on location in Durban, South Africa, the directors of this commercial wanted to achieve all of the stunts in-camera, using a number of very complicated wire rigs and harnesses. Their aim was to achieve a natural interaction with the water and the lighting in the aquarium. A complication we faced was that the dolphins could only be in the pool when there were no rigs or people in it. This meant the entire stunt shots were shot as a series of plates and composited together.
"In all of the shots, our hero had to wear hip and chest harnesses that were attached to wire rigs. All of the harnesses were removed by tracking new skin and body parts over the harnesses and then painting the water spray elements over the final composite. Once the harness was removed the next challenge was to remove the wire rigs and their shadows on the water.
"The last task was to add the dolphins to all of the effects shots. This was achieved by shooting separate plates of the dolphins and then compositing them in the final shots. Sometimes this required shooting all the dolphins separately and then combining all three to achieve the desired action."
Rushes producer Jonathan Davies concluded: "It all came together beautifully and I believe we have created a highly amusing and original spot. It was also a great opportunity to work with the highly talented Rob Leggatt and Leigh Marling, aka Blue Source."
(SP)
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