Color and VFX interaction

Snickers had one of the most talked about Super Bowl spots with their :30 commercial “The Brady Bunch”.  It was extremely well executed and came off flawlessly.  The interaction of present day actors combined with footage that is over thirty years old is quite impressive.

To pull this off correctly there had to be hours and hours of research and planning to make the interaction as seamless as possible.  In the links below the creative team at The Mill discusses focal length, camera lenses, set design, and everything else that you could possibly imagine to make present day seem like the 1970s.

From a colorists perspective this is where things get interesting.  The live action footage was acquired by the Arri Alexa camera (which we all know creates beautiful imagery).  However, we don’t necessarily want this to look beautiful.  The most important thing is that the footage matches the environment in which it will be placed.  Noise, grain, and focus are all things that have to be taken into consideration.  While combining the VFX and CG with the live action in is critical that these things match.  It’s the only way that things will look believable.

Having references, plates, and other types of color aides will make the job of the colorist that much easier.  On a project this involved the VFX team and colorist should have a tight interaction with each other to assure that everyone is on the same page and knows who is responsible for each creative element.  The worlds between VFX and color and very vague in spots like this and communication is key.

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