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‘Dtrain’ Reaction: Spike Jonze, Moxie Pictures, Tool of North America & Deutsch LA Embrace Dtrain FX

VFX House Completes Work on “Where the Wild Things Are” & Short Film “We Were Once a Fairytale;” Commercial Projects for Snapple and Comcast

Venice, CA – (October 15, 2009) – For Dtrain FX, autumn marks the culmination of one hot summer. The prolific VFX house, led by acclaimed VFX Artist Ben Gibbs and VFX Supervisor Dan Connelly, recently wrapped up a series of notable projects: “We Were Once a Fairytale,” Spike Jonze’s poignant short film featuring Kanye West, is slated to hit the proverbial iTunes shelves; in the commercial realm, the whimsical “Big Day” for Comcast (via Goodly, Silverstein & Partners), directed by Tool of North America’s Geordie Stephens, momentarily reminds us it is not such a small world after all; and, finally, a humorous campaign for Snapple, directed by Moxie Pictures’ Frank Todaro also debuts, starring a few furry actors bantering over afternoon tea.

*Dtrain would also like to modestly disclose its “heavy hand” in helping Brad Pitt lift the 500lb Sumo wrestler in the popular charmer “Sumo” for SoftBank, which broke in August.

To view Dtrain FX’s recent commercial work, please go to:

Recently, Dtrain FX finished their final visual effects shots for Spike Jonze’s much anticipated feature film, “Where the Wild Things Are,” which opens October 16, 2009. With Gibbs serving as VFX Supervisor on the film over the last four years, Dtrain is discovering its VFX solutions are limitless — a remarkable attribute of the company’s prolific summer, as Dtrain forged creative relationships with top directors and production companies, as well as venerable agencies.

For the upcoming 2010 Snapple TV Campaign via Deutsch LA, Dtrain contributed VFX to two comical spots that will launch early next year.

“Dtrain was a key part of our upcoming Snapple campaign,” says Isadora Chesler, Deutsch LA Senior Producer. “We were going for a very specific look with the VFX in the upcoming spots. With Dtrain’s expertise, they brought creative input and confidence to the production, allowing for a smooth shoot and a seamless transition to finishing.”

Dtrain is particularly excited that clients are taking notice of its collaborative process and unique approach to VFX, with each project. The blueprint? Well, Dtrain wasn’t aware there was one.

Dtrain’s project approach is unconventional: “We are constantly separating ourselves from a singular, run-of-the-mill model for creating VFX,” says Gibbs. “We’re nimble, that’s our solution — to react to our clients’ evolving needs, develop solutions on a per-project basis and emphasize a hands-on approach. The old-fashioned model of taking a job to a VFX house and hoping they’ll assign the right person is over. Our clients know we’re batting for them.”

As visual effects supervisors, Dtrain asserts their nimbleness in order to facilitate the creative vision of its clients — directors and creatives alike – while staying mindful that conventional VFX formulas can sometimes present technical restraints that can hinder that creative vision. A recent collaboration with Director Geordie Stephens of Tool of North America for a Comcast spot entitled “Big Day” is a testament to this:

“Dtrain were unbelievably accommodating,” recalls Stephens. “The collaboration was liberating from a technical standpoint because they [Dtrain] didn’t hold us to parameters typical of most VFX shoots, which can sometimes compromise a director’s creative vision: we were free to let the camera move without having to do lock-offs and plate shots (in this case, to reduce the size of the woman); plus, we were able to maintain lighting continuity by opting out of green screen shoots. This was all key to realizing the level of realism I was going for.”

Dtrain is currently working on/wrapping up: projects for Jacobs/Briere of Hello! & Co.

About Dtrain FX:

Dtrain FX is a creative hub for compelling visual imagery, launched by VFX Supervisors & Artists Dan Connelly & Ben Gibbs. Based in Venice, CA, the company’s specialties are grounded in the creation of photo-real visual effects of the highest standards and live-action production supervision. Co-Founder and Lead Artist Ben Gibbs has long been considered one of the most sought-after talents in the visual effects community. He was a founder of SeaLevel VFX before the launch of Dtrain FX with Connelly. Gibbs has just returned from being the VFX Supervisor on Director Spike Jonze’s film: “Where the Wild Things Are,” due out in Fall 2009. On the film, Ben established many of the film’s looks and was a key force in the development of facial animation for the movie.

Under the combined leadership of Gibbs and Connelly, the Dtrain team enjoys most the creative collaboration. Dtrain is very active in the planning and pre-viz/ testing stages. Dtrain forms a creative collaboration with every project in order to develop ideas and create well-crafted images. In addition to the creative additions and technical knowledge Dtrain brings to projects, the studio’s experience in production greatly helps to streamline FX heavy shoots, capturing only what is absolutely necessary on set so the shoot keeps running quickly. Dtrain also shoots its own elements when possible (helping maximize production dollars. Dtrain has multiple online suites that can handle even the largest campaigns (having completed a 17-spot package for Visa and the Olympics in which Dtrain branded the entire look of the campaign).

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