Wild Plum Director Jan De Bont, Signature Productions and VFX company Ntropic recently completed two powerful PSAs for NoTerror.Info, an organization which campaigns against terrorism in Iraq. Heralding the tagline, â€œTerrorism Has No Religion,â€? the two spots are a heart-pounding cinematic journey into the heart of terrorist violence. To view â€œAlleyâ€? and â€œMatch,â€? please go to:
The campaign focuses on the coming together of people, and how a nation unifies to fight against terrorism. â€œAlley,â€? set in an Iraqi city, is a true-to-life scenario with a bold standoff between the citizens and terrorists in the streets. â€œMatch,â€? taking place in an Iraqi soccer stadium, is a metaphoric approach to conquering merciless violence as the Iraqi soccer team fights the terrorists on the field and kicks the â€œsoccer ballâ€? â€“ a grenade â€“ out of the stadium. With his background in blockbuster features such as â€œSpeed,â€? â€œTwister,â€? and â€œLaura Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,â€? Jan De Bont was the ideal candidate to direct this provocative and cinematic campaign. To create the massive crowds in both spots, as well as the stadium in â€œMatch,â€? De Bont turned to Ntropic, a boutique VFX company known for its work in features, including the â€œUnderworldâ€? franchise and â€œLive Free or Die Hard,â€? commercials and music videos. Creative Director Andrew Sinagra provided on-set supervision in Beirut for â€œMatchâ€? to take reference videos and measurements for set extensions, and to shoot plates of the extras in the stands. â€œWe were all very excited to work on this campaign,â€? says Sinagra. â€œItâ€™s not too often that we get to do something more meaningful on a creative and global level. This was a large-scale project with such a positive message.â€? â€œAlleyâ€? involved several cameras shooting simultaneously, an aerial shot using a helicopter camera and 800 extras. Sinagra and Ntropic Creative Director & Senior Inferno Artist Nathan Robinson spent four days on the crowd replication and adding volume to the masses in the streets. â€œâ€™Alleyâ€™ is like a mini-movie,â€? comments Robinson. â€œIt feels dramatic and epic. It was a huge challenge to execute all of the effects in that short amount of time, but the agency was very impressed and pleased with our attention to detail. They trusted what we were doing and gave us the creative freedom to finesse the VFX.â€? â€œMatch,â€? which included 45 VFX shots, was filmed in a stadium in Beirut that was built for the 2000 Asian Games. Ntropic created set extensions, a CG grenade and crowd replication of the 100 extras to fill up a 20,000-seat stadium, which required intensive rendering, rotoscoping and layers. â€œThe whole crew from [production company] Signature Productions was fantastic,â€? remarks Sinagra. â€œThere was top-caliber talent on set. Jan is the nicest guy in the world. He truly understands what he wants and it was easy to work with him. The process went very smoothly and everyone was happy with the end result.â€? â€œThe agency really pulled out all the stops,â€? concludes Robinson. â€œItâ€™s hard to believe that these are PSAs, but the creatives were definitely dedicated to the anti-terrorism cause. It was a nice opportunity to work with Jan and [Wild Plum Executive Producer] Shelby Sexton on such an amazing cinematic piece. Iâ€™ve always respected his work as a Director and DP. His footage makes you feel like youâ€™re there on the ground level and experiencing it first-hand.â€? Technology utilized by the Ntropic team included Autodesk Inferno, Shake and Toxik for compositing, Maya for 3D and Massive for crowd replication. Spot Titles: â€œMatchâ€? & â€œAlleyâ€? Airdate: Late February 2008 Production Company: Signature Productions Director: Jan De Bont @ Wild Plum DP: Amir Mokri Executive Producer: Paul Sabbagh Producer: Anthony Makhlouf Where Shot: Beirut, Lebanon Wild Plum Executive Producer: Shelby Sexton Head of Production: Sandy Haddad Editorial: theWhitehouse Editor: Richard Learoyd Assistant Editor: Jacob Kuehl Producer: Justin Kumpata VFX Company: Ntropic Creative Director & On-Set Supervisor, Head of CG: Andrew Sinagra Creative Director & Senior Inferno Artist: Nathan Robinson Executive Producer: Dana Townsend Associate Producer: Kara Holmstrom Producer: Robert Castorina Music Company: Marc Mancina Composer: Dave Metzenger Sound Design Company: Warner Sound Designer: Steve Flick Audio Post Company: Late Mix Mixer: Josh Eichenbaum About Ntropic: Ntropic is a boutique VFX company with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since opening its doors in 1996, the studio has thrived on creating 2D and 3D visual effects for cinematic high-concept work from feature films such as â€œUnderworld Evolutionâ€? and â€œThe Matrix Revolutionsâ€? to commercials for Nissan, Mercedes, Coca-Cola and Kohlâ€™s to music videos for My Chemical Romance, Justin Timberlake and Green Day. A staunch believer in creative collaboration and integrating all aspects into the whole, Ntropic partners with filmmakers to envision and design shots and incorporate music and sound design.