Artist owned-and-operated bi-coastal effects boutique Brickyard VFX completed work on "Ghostride," the new spot from TAG Body Spray promoting the newly launched record label TAG Records. Directed by Paul Hunter for ad agency Arnold, Boston, and starring rap artists Q and Jermaine Dupri, the spot broke nationally on July 17, 2008.
Full of historical allusions and with an epic feel, the :30 spot references classic paintings depicting famous moments in history. Each moment in "Ghostride" is composed like a painting, using slow motion to drive the larger-than-life experience. The commercial opens in an apartment reminiscent of a painting by Vermeer, where Q applies TAG Body Spray, then transitions to a battle scene inspired by "The Combat of Mars and Minerva" by Jacques-Louis David, "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix and "The Death of General Wolfe" by Benjamin West. Q wins the battle, and the final shot is a recreation of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, featuring Dupri as Washington. A voiceover informs us that Q's freshness led to an historic victory, a pact with Jermaine Dupri and the birth of TAG Records, and the ad closes with the "Keep it fresh. Make history" tagline.
Lead effects artist Geoff McAuliffe created a high-res matte painting from digital still photography to create the final shot featuring Dupri standing on a car in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. Additionally, Brickyard VFX completed extensive compositing and effects for the spot, adding waving flags, light rays, glow effects and smoke layers for increased drama. Brickyard also completed 3D tracking on the background so that it moved at the same rate as the figures in the foreground.
"Due to the available light, it was impossible to get a good shot of the bridge during the shoot," McAuliffe explained. "To get around that we ended up taking still photos of the bridge in early morning light and blended them with images of a stormy sky to create a dramatic and hyper-real looking matte painting. Then we matched the matte with the color correct in the rest of the project, adding color effects, light rays and more glow, and composited the entire thing together with green screen footage taken of Dupri and the other talent."