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Framestore Creates VFX For 'Speaker Birth'

An innovative TV advertisement is reaching for 'the light'.
It features a young man swimming through an aural amniotic bath, heading towards a bright light representing both the end of this journey and the start of another.
Emerging from a speaker, he checks his W980 Walkman phone and, as the music builds to a climax, our nascent hero heads onwards, emerging onto a street and mingling with the passers by. The camera pans up towards the sun and a W980 fills the screen.
'Speaker Birth' was created by McCann Erickson and directed by Olivier Gondry for Partizan. VFX were by Framestore, as was the Telecine.
Framestore's VFX Supervisor for 'Speaker Birth' was Jonathan Hairman, who attended the spot's five-day shoot in Barcelona. Hairman said: "We shot the actor both in an underwater tank and dangling from a rig in the studio. Which was tough on him, but essential in terms of the visual ingredients we needed."
Particularly in the close-ups, Hairman used a combination of the sub-aqua and studio shots of the actor's face, morphing and blending them to create the impression of someone floating in a peculiar element.
Hairman continued: "The location was deliberately ambiguous. We didn't want to define it too rigidly. In the same way, the 3D elements created for this section were designed to give the impression of being light rays. Diarmid Harrison-Murray and his team used a combination of fluid simulations and cloth simulations, with various shaders on them to get the effect of 'fingers of light', reaching out to our hero like fingers or tendrils, organic but not too specific. It's about mood as much as anything."
With mood and design being such key elements in 'Speaker Birth', Hairman was pleased to be able to help director Olivier Gondry get a sense of what Framestore could offer by creating a number of on the spot Photoshop sketches, whilst they were on location, taking stills shot by the DP and working them up on a variety of ways to indicate some possible directions.
A sympathetic telecine for the spot was created by Senior Colourist Steffan Perry.
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