Bicoastal U.S. creative production company Stardust Studios worked with the creative team from DDB Chicago for Bud Light Lime. For the project, one :30 and two :15 design-intensive broadcast spots entitled "The Summer State of Mind" were created by Stardust under the direction of creative director (CD) Brad Tucker, in association with DDB Chicago's SVP and group CD Mark Gross, VP CD/art director Chris Roe, VP CD/copywriter Chuck Rachford, and VP executive producer Will St. Clair. Each of the spots debuted on May 10 during high-profile U.S. primetime broadcast coverage, like the 2009 NBA playoffs, and continue to air widely.
With the goal of presenting all the great aspects of Summer in a bottle, the spots feature a seamless, stylized blending of high-speed cinematography of Bud Light Lime pouring into a bottle with many other live-action elements -- including shots of young adults dancing, playing volleyball and enjoying a picturesque sunset on a beach -- all united by artful editing, compositing and CGI design. From the appearance of the pouring liquid at the beginning through the final presentation of Bud Light Lime bottles, design flourishes and the sunset beach party, Tucker's unique fusion of talents in filmmaking, design and storytelling shine through.
"The finished spot presents the best of several ideas we presented on how we thought we could make the bottle cool," Tucker began. "We enjoy working in the type of collaborative environment this project represents, and doing jobs from the initial phases, and feel that the quality of these finished spots is a direct result of our great relationship with DDB's creative team and their openness to our ideas."
The project's production and post workflows were also described in detail by Tucker. Working with St. Clair, Roe, line producer Winston Smith, director of photography Jim Matlosz and other crew-members, Tucker spent two days shooting at LA's Quixote Studios in Griffith Park. The talent was shot against a green screen at 3k, using the RED ONE digital cinema camera. "We shot at 48fps so we could have a slight slow-motion feeling, the green screen was lit on its own, and the talent was backlit to achieve the sunset feeling," Tucker explained. Separately, Tucker and Matlosz used the Phantom HD high-speed digital camera to photograph the fluid against a medium gray background. Many special rigs were used to capture the fluid in its one or two seconds of glory," he continued. "It was shot at 750fps at 2k. We had to rig the bottle so we could capture fluid shooting up the sides and filling the bottle, and many splash elements that could all be composited together."
Stardust editors Tony Hall and Michael Merkwan used Final Cut Pro to edit the spots together with the low-res reference files from the RED, while the company's VFX artists started compositing the low-res proxies of the Phantom footage. Rubber Monkey Software's Monkey Extract was used to export TIFF sequences from the final RED EDL for seamless integration into Adobe After Effects.
Each of the project's 3D elements was made by Stardust's artists using Maya, where paint effects were used for making the trees. Compositing was handled in After Effects. "The 3D cameras were transferred from Maya to After Effects to keep all the objects revolving around the bottle," Tucker confirmed. "We used difference mattes to separate the fluids from the backgrounds, and lighting effects and particles played a big role in blending everything together. In addition to marrying the green screen footage to our background plates of the sunset scenes, we also keyed and composited the green screen footage into the bottle."
Additional talents for Stardust include executive producer Paul Abatemarco, producer Alyssa Evans, designers Neil Tsai and Gretchen Nash, Flame artist Alan Latteri, lead compositor Matt Lavoy, 2D/3D artists Chris Eckardt, Joseph Andrade, Matt Lavoy, Jason Lowe, Christie Beckert, and roto artists Tiffany Germann, Mark Duckworth, David Wu, Kimberly Headstron, Kristen Swanson, Richard Hirst, Davina Bilow, Yvonne Apollonio, Howard Cabaflin.
All spots feature the Santogold track "Lights Out," and final mixes are courtesy of Jimmy Hite of Santa Monica's Margarita Mix and Dave Gerbosi of Chicago's Another Country.