Brickyard VFX created the visual effects for the latest commercial for the Pontiac Vibe from Leo Burnett Detroit. The music video-like spot features rap/pop star Shwayze.


The 30-second spot, called "Shwayze," opens on the artist browsing in a record store. He steps into the driver's side of the Pontiac Vibe and closes the door, emerging from the passenger side into a lively backyard party. Shwayze quickly re-enters the car, reappearing from the back door into a beach get-together with pals. He gets back into the car again, exiting for the final time onto a stage at a packed concert with producer Cisco Adler where he performs "Buzzin," the single that backs the spot. The commercial also features voiceover work from Matt Dillon.


Brickyard's Lead 2D Artist, Patrick Poulatian and CG Creative Supervisor, Robert Sethi were on set during the two day shoot working closely with Stylewar and DP Matthew Libatique, who shot the entire commercial hand-held without the benefit of motion control or dollies. Sethi and Poulatian provided VFX supervision to ensure that each free spirited take matched the timing of the pre-viz in order to fit the four different environments. Brickyard VFX was brought on board very early on, and commissioned Halon Entertainment to create a CG pre-visualization of the entire spot. Brickyard executed the seamless transitions between the four locations while preserving ample beauty shots of the car.


The shoot was extremely technical, and along with the timing constraints, ensuring that the lighting and reflections on the car matched perfectly from set to set was a primary concern. While lighting was maintained consistently on set with an overhead lighting rig and meticulous measurements, it was further refined by Poulatian who merged up all of the
transition shots of the car across all four environments. Brickyard VFX 3D artists also digitally rebuilt large portions of the record store in CG to extend the set all the way around the car.


"This spot required an HD finish, but we scanned it in 2K to maximize the amount of data we had to work with in each frame. This gave us more flexibility to manipulate and tweak the positioning of the cars across takes, making the transitions as seamless as possible," explained Poulatian.


"When we first approached the project, we anticipated that it would require us to build the car in CG. However, thanks to the ingenious camera work of Matthew Libatique and directing skills of Oscar from Stylewar, we were able to time and frame a lot of the live action shoot to minimize the need for 3D enhancement and keep a lot of the effects work in the 2D realm," explained Sethi.


Brickyard VFX worked on this project for three weeks, using Autodesk Maya and Pixar Renderman for tracking, CG, lighting and rendering, and Autodesk Flame for all of the 2D compositing and VFX work.