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25/03/2004

Framestore CFC complete Goodyear spot

Following their highly successful work on Goodyear's 'Halfpipe' spot last year, Framestore CFC have postproduced another witty and slightly surreal spot for Goodyear's new Hydragrip tyre.
'Water Dodger', currently airing in Europe, is a 30-second spot that highlights the new tyre's remarkable road holding in wet conditions. Featuring a car navigating its way through the narrow streets of a French village that is in mid-flood, Water Dodger features a bubbly, Gallic soundtrack and a distinctive twist. The twist is that the flood is being caused by multicoloured water-filled balloons, thousands of which are dropping from the sky. The car wends through the inundated village, miraculously holding the road while avoiding the balloons. Finally it pulls up sharply to avoid hitting a distinctly damp looking duck, as the tagline - 'Goodyear: because not all tyres are the same.' - fades in.
Framestore CFC's VFX Supervisor on the project was Dave Clifton. In February of this year, Clifton travelled, along with Inferno Artist Nick Bennett, to a pair of remote villages in the hills outside Nice to oversee the 4-day shoot.
Filming involved elaborate rigs, enormous cranes, water-filled skips, paddling pools, some 2,500 balloons, stunt drivers, and several camera-hogging villagers convinced that this was their chance for stardom. But for all the practical footage shot, it required Clifton and his team's post production artistry to pull it apart, sprinkle it with digital fairy dust, and reassemble it into a convincing whole.
The Inferno's power and flexibility enabled Clifton and fellow Inferno Artist Nick Bennett to manipulate balloons, spray, splashes and the other water elements, remove stray pedestrians and rearrange the scenery to create the requisite illusion. Shot at 150fps, much of the water that we see is moving much slower than it would in real life, but at a speed which feels right to the viewers eye.
In addition, the middle of the spot segues seamlessly from the action into the tyre itself - giving us an image of the mechanics of the Hydragrip's 'unique dynamic drain tread technology' - and then out again, back to the watery action. Nick Bennett's graphics brilliantly manage to take us inside the tyre, as well as showing the company logo, all without breaking up the nippy pace of the spot.
To complement all of this VFX work, Telecine Artist Steffan Perry used windows to create different contrast levels within single shots, giving greater highlight to individual elements.
With just ten days in post, 'Water Dodger' had a demanding schedule. It's a tribute to the Framestore CFC team's skills that none of their hard work shows in this effortlessly playful and light-hearted spot.
(GB)
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