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01/12/2000

RUSHES SPIN BT ‘SPIDER’ COMMERCIALS

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LONDON post production facility Rushes recently completed three new commercials for BT.
The commercials seek to promote BT’s new talk and surf time scheme and had briefs that created a complicated workload for the facility.
In the first commercial, ‘Spider’, a girl is lounging in her loft-style apartment, chatting to one of her friends. She talks for such a long time that a spider builds a web between the telephone cord and the table.
‘Spider’ Flame Operator Bill McNamara said: “The director wanted this to be as real as possible so Oxford Scientific shot real footage of spiders casting webs in a studio. The director then shot all the backgrounds separately and we composited the two together, maintaining and helping the realism as much as possible.”
Richard De Aragues from Oxford Scientific Films SFX division said: “We were brought in to work closely with Rushes to provide 13 live action and time lapse shots of a miniscule spider building its web. Working with a hero the size of a ‘small pea’ had its mix of technical and performance led problems. The moody, yet high fidelity image that was required led the team down a route of combining specialist borescopes designed by OSF D.O.P. Steve Downer with Unilux lighting from Panavision. The action was filmed using a mannequin dressed with the real wardrobe on a replica set to give an exact tonal match to the background plates and aid compositing.
World leading Arachnid experts were drafted in from the Zoology department of Oxford University to help get the ‘Mission Impossible’ performance from the orb spider.
The project’s biggest hurdle involved getting the spider to build a web within the week’s deadline.
Seasonally nearly all the Orb spiders had stopped spinning, so in eight different isolated and climatically controlled sets, just the right cycles of day and night, temperature, humidity, light levels and balance of breeze had to be reproduced to make the spiders spin.
(GB)
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