May 2007

The spot captures favorite Ray Ban sunglasses moments (a rock performance, first kiss, bungee jump, etc.) in close-up with the lenses as a transitioning device between scenes compliments of seamless visual effects by The Syndicate, who delivered a Hi-Def 50i master from the original color 35mm footage that was exquisitely graded by Syndicate telecine artist Beau Leon.

DP Paul Cameron (Man on Fire) employed a snorkelled macro lens mounted on a huge techno crane to capture a series of incredible action close-ups, each of which climaxes in a full-screen view of Ray Ban lenses then dissolves into the following scene. "While there are many visual effects, they are subtle, the key being the artistic interpretation of the reflections in the lenses, and as reflections are highly ambiguous The Syndicate artists stylized them to create a great look and flow," noted Umberger.

However, as each shot takes the viewer incredibly close to the action, the objects, glasses, camera and the crane cast shadows and threw reflections that demanded meticulous removal in post. Once each shot was cleansed of shadows and errant reflections, The Syndicate team build the transitions.

Because each camera move is one constant pull, one coming after another, it was crucial that the effects maintain momentum while creating a beautiful effect. Dealing with two overlapping moments required precise timing in and out of the shot simultaneously. As one reflection faded away, another comes into focus to keep the viewer's attention on the beautiful effect of the design. However, on the other hand it is crucial to move into the current moment quickly as the upcoming action comes into view. Each transition required précis timing from the moment it fades away to the moment coming into being, a complicated technical process.

The tricky part was to create a sense of flow when everything was filmed from a camera crane, without motion control, giving every shot a different speed. To achieve the desired continuity, The Syndicate had to rebuild many of the camera moves and transitions, manually creating environments and choosing camera moves in Flame.

And of course, there were a couple of especially tricky scenes. "In the tattoo scene we move from a mirror, and obviously you cannot shoot into a mirror, which was replaced with a reflection plate (the mirror itself was actually a greenscreen) then comped the reflection into the reflection plate and back into the mirror to match the pull back.

The bungee jump sequence presented another interesting challenge. Here, a huge exterior greenscreen was placed before a 15-foot tall jumping platform, with crash pads on the bottom to soften the jumper's landing. Umberger, who has an aversion to heights, handled the second unit and scouted dozens of rooftops to determine the proper landing angle. The scene was then completed with the composition of a giant matte painting of the Buenos Aires skyline that was created in Flame.

The spot, which adds a bit of color to the close in the form of a red Ray Ban logo, is now airing in Europe and in Times Square.

Advertising Agency: TBWA/Chait/Day, Cutwater, USA
Broadcast producer: Jennifer Golub
Creative director: Chuck McBride
Production company: HSI
Director: Michael Haussman
Head of production: Michael McQuhae
Director of photography: Paul Cameron
Effects & On-line facility: The Syndicate
VFX supervisor: Les Umberger
VFX producer: Kim Evans
Flame artists: Les Umberger, Kevin Prendiville, Verdi Sevenhuysen
Roto: Mike Ek
Colorist: Beau Leon
Executive producer: Kenny Solomon
Editorial services: Plank
Editor: Cathy Bull
Music: Lime

Comments (16)

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Highest Rated

Jarne von Wolfsburg's picture
Jarne von Wolfsburg
Activity Score 264

I don*t see any idea. But I like it in a way

Slashh's picture
Activity Score 294

I'll be honest, I didn't spend one second reading all that information about the spot. I only wish I had ignored the spot as well.

ivan's picture

Sorry for all the text, I though someone might be interested to read about how it was created. Usually I don't post so much background info.

Guest's picture

I was most definetly interested in reading all of that background information. It helped me more than enough because i selected this ad to write an analysis on advertisement for my college english class. I thank you so much for it, it was a great way to start getting on track for my paper. :)

Steeef's picture
Activity Score 135

Looks nice, doesn't get the idea!

Aitch's picture
Activity Score 75

That much explaining = a lack of idea. Didn't read it, didn't watch it.

Ever heard of speaking to your audience?
Might want to try it sometime Mr TBWAUSA

Jarne von Wolfsburg's picture
Jarne von Wolfsburg
Activity Score 264

I don*t see any idea. But I like it in a way

andrej dwin's picture
andrej dwin
Activity Score 937

pretty pictures and a lot of hi-tech hogwash make up for an idea. even for chiat/day.
but I wish I could work with such a budget, timing and talent that even an ad without an idea would look this beautifuly. guess I never will.

AdArena: Sex Sells

Jarne von Wolfsburg's picture
Jarne von Wolfsburg
Activity Score 264

fashion almost never works with ideas*

pixelbomb1's picture
Activity Score 2555

LAME... where is RAY CHARLES? RAY BAN c'mon all these preppy kids. stick to the CORE! Ray Charles = Ray Ban!

Aviator Glasses = Top Gun
Corey Hart = I Wear My Sunglasses at Night


Arnold Santillan

esotericusername's picture
Activity Score 313

he's dead.

pixelbomb1's picture
Activity Score 2555

i know that. the tattoo artist does not have lens on his glasses, the guy who jumped in the pool wore a polka dot bra.

Arnold Santillan

ellehcimeo's picture
Activity Score 3516

Client with too much money to spend. As a brand ad, I guess it's not terrible.

skullforce's picture
Activity Score 66

eh i think i would have liked it better not reading about the production. i mean it's just cg blending scenes together, i know it must be such hard work and oh so tricky, but give me a break... it's just cg, people do that everyday. things like removing shadows and reflections in every frame... hooray for grunt work.

A. J. SMITH's picture
Activity Score 2824

Yeah I quite liked it, style over content, but as a modd video for Ray Bans, its pretty cool. And would charm cheesy Ray Ban users no problem. I'm sure it was a success.

It's only an ad.

AlphaHawk's picture
Activity Score 84

I liked it. But maybe it's because I idolize Chuck McBride.

Jet Propulsion Lab's picture
Jet Propulsion Lab
Activity Score 10679

I'm tearing all my Chuck McBride posters off the bedroom walls...

All that technical details and behind-the-scene production efforts don't really compensate for the complete lack of an idea. I had SUCH high hopes for the guy and his startup agency. And all that built-up anticipation for the brand new Ray Ban work, all that industry chatter about their category busting creative thinking... When I first saw the spot on AdCritic, my jaw literally hit the floor in disbelief!
I really don't care if it tested well in focus groups or if it strikes an emotioal chord with the twenty-something target or if their sales have already been through the roof after its airing. The fact of the matter is, he copped out. Period.
This is the kind of work that destroys his creative reputation and even jeopardizes losing respect among his peers...

Sorry if I'm ranting like a mad man. But I AM! I'm very upset by this work. And I certainly don't subscribe to an opinion that conceptual thinking has no place in fashion, apparel, cosmetic and retail advertising. That's why I'm such a huge fan of Harvey Nichols' work out of DDB/London. And going back some years, Levis' "Drugstore" or "French Dictionary" tv spots from BBH. Come to think of it, even Ray Ban themselves have done some conceptual work in the past. One of them was a tv spot titled "Vampires". Some of you might have seen it. It wasn't the Canns-caliber work, but it had a very simple UV-protection idea. And although it was a bit silly, it was still very fashionably entertaining.

I'm taking up a lot of space here, so I'll stop.
I understand the effectiveness of a "mood piece" and the fact that a lot of clients (especially in the
aforementioned categories) even demand it. But I'm terribly disturbed by the fact that someone like Mr. McBride would fold like a pup tent under pressure from the client wanting to opt for "style" rather than "substance" when clearly that's not what he's famous and admired for...
"Looks cool" just doesn't cut it in my book.

Very sad.