Smashing cars is always fun in Visual effects, in the recent Allstate "Girls Day Out II". Chris Kreynus talks us through how SOL designfx achieved the spot and the pipeline they used with Flame and Silhouette Roto.

girls/girls1 For Allstate “Girls Day Out II,” directed by Tool’s Tom Routson via Leo Burnett USA, SOL designfx created visual effects so believable it almost makes you wish NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne weren’t so appealing. A sequel to the advertiser’s popular “Girls Day Out,” which involved the ladies colliding with a pole, “Girls Day Out II” raises the stakes.

In the new spot, edited by Carlos Lowenstein of SOL’s sister company, Cutters , three women drive to a tire shop, where Kahne is making a personal appearance. Each has her own “dream sequence,” which is fine for the passengers but disastrous for the driver, who crashes into the concrete “Tire Giant” towering over the crowd.  The Tire Giant – a cross between the Stay Puff Marshmallow man and Paul Bunyon wielding a tire instead of an ax – drops his tire, right on Kahne’s car, parked out front.  The car is demolished, but fortunately Kahne is in good hands with NASCAR sponsor Allstate.

As with all projects this spot was a team effort. SOL's Creative Director, Chris Markos, supervised the shoot - getting all film plates that were required. Senior FX Compositor Chris Kreynus was behind the largely invisible effects created by SOL. Later in the project when the shots started to be reconstructed due to story/cut/script changes post-production hours were saved by having solid plates as a starting point. We spoke to Kreynus about that complex post process:

fxg: So what was real?

CK: The tire itself was real, but for safety reasons, of course, people couldn’t be under that when it dropped.  The dream sequences involved more obvious color efx to convey a hyper-real, intense environment.

fxg: How did you do the spot, it was HD correct ?

CK: Many of us in the industry have experienced the slow transition to 'true' HD by commercial ad agency's and mainstream broadcasters. What was nice about this project was the agency came in and asked for our help to guide them through the resolution/frame-count headaches and multiple format deliverables required by the various broadcasters and distribution houses. Ultimately we delivered a 1920x1080 4:4:4 23.976 as a spot master. Then we kicked out 1280x720 4:2:2 30i, 1920x1080 4:2:2 23.976 and NTSC 720 SD.

I dig Hi Res. I dig HD. I dig 4:4:4. I'm living the dream.

fxg: How did it come together?

CK: Creatively speaking, the spot was nice and comfortable to work on. Hmmmmm, 1080p 4:4:4 very tasty! Having res. so tight made it easy to 'get it right the first time'. All the shots in this spot were touched and constructed in some way.

All the signs, sky's and actors were either placed or replaced due to safety issues on set. With a 14,000 lb. tire hanging in the air from a crane producers were leery of actors and production personnel close to the action. Thus the shoot was scheduled to plate scenes, later bring everything together in flame/smoke. Using this technique helped us later when, I believe it would be called 'in post', the decision was made to change all the set dressing, signage and roles of various players.

girls/girls3fxg: What about the Giant Sign?

CK: The Tire Giant was to be in only the WS but it was later added to three more shots so I grabbed the 3 ft. model and the Nikon D70, referenced the production notes for lens data and got my shoot on. The master wide shot in the middle of the spot had the most work. The result required 47 layers of film, particles, light, cgi, atmosphere etc. Go Tezro go.

fxg: How did you work in inferno, batch vs. action?

CK: batch allowed me to create shots while thinking and constructing in a non-linear/non-sequitur fashion. Most of the design and branding campaigns we see at SOL are shot and built from boards and scripts but the fun part of commercial design is agency creative's are always looking for more or twisting what's been shot to try and create something original. Thus batch is the place I can loose myself and create without constraints. Action's just a sub node, for me it's just like the Modular Keyer or ReGrain, just a different tool.

girls/rotofxg: So there was a lot of roto rather than greencreen ?

CK: We had a crew rotoing for 3 weeks with seats of Silhouette cutting elements from various film plates.
All the film plates/elements were comped with batch. This allowed us to bring Silhouette roto's and other bits and pieces together with various gmask, keyer, plugin nodes and then blend, grain and light scenes. There was only one green screen element in the entire spot, everything had to hand roto'ed for comping and design.

We used a lot's of particle and atmospheric elements to build connecting shots. I wanted to mention that Twixtor was used to give dynamics to linear movement and speeds of raw elements. Also tuning key frames and sampling/interpolation variables to create desired performance of specific plates and raw elements.

fxg: How long did it take to arrive at the dream sequence look?

CK: The Dream Sequence required a 'perfect world' or 'paradise' look. The result, after exploring several initial design thoughts, was created by using batch to break up the film plates and treat selected pieces differently. Sort of like a matte painting but twisting that technique a bit to go somewhere else. After the base plate was cut apart plug-in's were used in layer-depth to selectively introduce atmospheric ambience to bring the base back together and give a warm glow that becomes a part of the shot. Then flares and lens effects were added to bring a last bit of light that much closer to the eye.

Thanks so much for reading our article.

We've been a free service since 1999 and now rely on the generous contributions of readers like you. If you'd like to help support our work, please join the hundreds of others and become an fxinsider member.