Filmworkers Club Makes Super Bowl Appearance with Budweiser

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Chicago—The New York Giants and New England Patriots weren’t alone in making great plays during this year’s Super Bowl thriller. Filmworkers Club also turned in a star performance, although all of its nifty moves appeared during the game’s commercial breaks. The Chicago post house created visual effects and performed other post work for six Budweiser and Bud Light spots that premiered during the game—including Clydesdale “Team�, the spot that topped USA Today’s Ad Meter as the game’s most popular spot. Clydesdale “Team�, about a horse that goes into training to earn a place pulling the famous Budweiser beer wagon, is filled with seamless visual effects, although most viewers probably didn’t realize it. A series of shots of the horse galloping through a beautiful stand of birch trees was designed almost entirely in one of Filmworkers Club’s visual effects bays by artist Rob Churchill. Churchill replaced the real background surrounding the horse (which was shot in sunny Southern California) with a digital matte painting and falling snow.

“We created entire environments,� noted Churchill. “To get just the right look in one of the winter scenes, I painted the falling snow and animated some of it by hand.� Churchill added that scenes showing the horse in summer and fall were constructed in a similar way. “It was important that the viewer see the passing seasons during the training montage of Hank, the Clydesdale,� he explained. “The film was all shot in California within the span of one week. It was visually all summertime. So, I simply started with matte paintings to show just how far certain shots could be altered. By the time we were satisfied, we had replaced the entire surroundings of nine scenes, foreground and background. Only Hank remained. The end results are simply gorgeous! “Summer was realized as a very colorful warm scene of flowering green and yellow rolling hills and distant majestic mountains. Fall became a red, yellow and orange autumn tree lined country road with colored leaves falling in slow motion by the camera. Winter shows Hank within a cool colored mountainside birch forest during a full on blizzard. “ Some of the horse’s extraordinary feats of strength also benefitted from digital manipulation. A scene showing the animal pulling a railroad car is a composite, with the horse and train elements shot separately. The background was again fully replaced to illustrate a seasonal change and Filmworkers Club’s 3D department fabricated the harness that connects the animal to the train. In fact, the whole project was a team effort that occupied Filmworkers Club for several weeks. Churchill was assisted by Senior Inferno compositors Chris Ryan, Rick Thompson, Heidi Anderson and assistants Matt Green and Jen Gajdos; Charlie Peterson did the 3D work and Ted Rae was the on-set VFX supervisor. Mary O’Gara acted as executive producer and Todd Freese as producer. Grant Gustafson at The Whitehouse edited (his second #1 ranked Super Bowl spot). Ability to Fly and Breathe Fire are the latest in a series of spots that purport to show some amazing—but now discontinued—powers conferred on drinkers of Bud Light. The former shows a man soaring through the air with a bottle of beer, almost giddy with happiness until he is sucked into the engine of a passenger jet. Churchill and his team pulled off that stunt by combining the flying man (who was shot against green screen) with clouds, and shots of a model jetliner. To cement the illusion, Churchill added the man’s reflection to the side of the jet and placed an alarmed co-pilot in the cockpit window. “We first did a stock search for clouds and came up with some very dramatic and puffy clouds—production used them as a guide for camera angles when shooting the man,� Churchill recalled. A week of compositing later, Churchill and his team showed the agency and creative editorial team the results of their hard work. Their comments were unanimous: “Stunning. Above and beyond anything we could have imagined.� (Fly reportedly became August Busch IV’s favorite Bud Light Commercial.) Carlos Lowenstein at the Whitehouse creatively cut together all the “Ability� spots—all very funny! Some of the most extensive effects work appears in Breathe Fire as artists added fire and smoke elements to several scenes in which a Bud Light drinker unwittingly roasts his girlfriend, her cat and her apartment. Filmworkers Club shot some practical smoke elements for the spot itself in its studio. Other spots in the package included Endorsement, in which Will Ferrell makes an attempt to act as a celebrity spokesperson, Wheel, where a caveman invents a very heavy device to get beer to a party, and Deli, where two men debate the polite way to “cut the cheese.� The spots were finished by Filmworker’s Jeff Charatz. All of the spots required at least some visual effects tweaking to get them ready for game day. “We had a lot of special effects work and we came through--Breathe Fire alone took a week,� said Churchill. “It was nice to be in the role of creative director here and to work with a team of trusted compositors—and I chose the best.� The Filmworkers Club is located at 232 E. Ohio St. Penthouse, Chicago, IL 60611. For more information, call (312) 664-9333 or visit

. # # # For additional information, contact: Linda Rosner Artisans Public Relations (310) 837-6008

Credits Spot: Clydesdale Client: Budweiser Agency: Paul Tilley, Managing Director, Creative; Barry Burdiak, Group Creative Director; John Hayes, Creative Director; Craig Feigen, Creative Director/Copywriter; Adam Glickman, Creative Director/Art Director; Diane Jackson, Executive Director of Production; Will St. Clair, Executive Producer; Dan Bryant, Senior Producer; Patty Phassos, Production Business Manager. Production: PYTKA, West Hollywood; Joe Pytka, director/director of photography. Editorial: The Whitehouse, Chicago; Kristin Branstetter, producer. VFX/Post: Filmworkers Club, Chicago. Rob Churchill, creative director/lead VFX compositor; Ted Rae, VFX set supervisor; Chris Ryan and Rick Thompson, Inferno artists; Charlie Peterson, CG artist; Mary O’Gara, executive producer; Todd Freese, producer. Mix: Another Country, Chicago. John Binder, mixer. Music: Rocky soundtrack. Bill Conti, composer. Spot: Ability to Fly Client: Budweiser Agency: Paul Tilley, Managing Director, Creative; Mark Gross, group creative director; Chuck Rachford, creative director/copywriter; Chris Roe, creative director/art director; Diane Jackson, executive director of production; Will St. Clair, executive producer; Jeff Drooger, senior producer; Patty Phassos, production business manager. Production: Epoch Films, Beverly Hills, CA. Stacy Wall, director; Toby Irwin, director of photography. Editorial: The Whitehouse, Chicago; Carlos Lowenstein, editor; Kristin Branstetter, producer. VFX/Post: Filmworkers Club, Chicago. Rob Churchill, creative director/lead VFX compositor; Fred Keller, colorist; Ted Rae, VFX set supervisor; Chris Ryan, Rick Thompson, Heidi Anderson, Inferno artists; Mary O’Gara, executive producer; Todd Freese, producer. Mix: Another Country, Chicago. Robert Marshall, mixer.