Best of Stash 2021: VFX

In the right hands, the superpower of digital visual effects allows the impossible to be recast as reality. When thoughtfully integrated with live-action to support (rather than upstage) the narrative, the results can be magical.

These seven projects (six commercial spots and a short film) highlight both the democratization of the VFX craft as well as the trickle-down of skills and techniques from blockbuster feature film productions.

All films were published in The Stash Permanent Collection during 2021 and are listed here in chronological order by the date of publication.
 

(above)
BURBERRY “PUSHING BOUNDARIES”
STASH 145

Extreme weather event meets precision dance and sartorial finesse in this holiday spot for Burberry by Riff Raff directors Megaforce with icy VFX support from the crew at MPC.

Choreographed by French collective (LA)HORDE and held together by a cover of “Singin’ In The Rain” by London hip-hop artist Dreya Mac, the spot “is about that fearless spirit and imagination when pushing boundaries” according to Burberry chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci.
 
 
 

JOHNNIE WALKER “ASTRONAUT”
STASH 146

The team at Nash in São Paulo delivers powerful VFX support in this spot celebrating both Johnnie Walker’s 200th-anniversary and the (eventual) return of humans to social normality for Iconoclast directors Ian Ruschel and Gabriel & Quemuel.

The spot, commissioned through AlmapBBDO, features a VO and cameo by John Daniel “Danny” Olivas, a former American astronaut whose experience on two space shuttle missions provided inspiration for the film.
 
 
 

HYUNDAI “ON TO BETTER”
STASH 146

The Mill team weaves both invisible and dreamlike VFX into Anorak director Sebastian Strasser‘s stylish and stylized narrative of a car designer’s quest for perfection in this spot for Hyundai’s family of electrified SUVs.

Serious VFX fans will recall Sebastian Strasser as the director of the spectacular “Add Power to Your Life” Vodafone spot published in Stash 104.
 
 
 

“THE BEAUTY”
STASH 146

Winner of a Student Academy Award, Pascal Schelbli‘s Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg graduation film The Beauty mixes live-action underwater footage with innovative VFX for an intriguing take on the ocean plastic problem.

Pascal Schelbli in Zurich: “The Beauty is a poetic journey through the oceans, which are simultaneously stunning and filthy. Instead of showing the obvious, we choose other ingredients to point out our issue with plastic pollution: irony and aesthetic.”
 
 
 

SMART ENERGY “EINSTEIN KNOWS BEST”
STASH 148

Alex Hammond, Head of 3D at The Mill in London: “When we first saw this script we realized that to digitally recreate such an amazing human being with such historical importance would be immensely challenging but hugely rewarding.

“We had to make sure that not only was this a convincing CG human but it also portrayed Einstein with the familiarity that everyone has for him. An intimidating prospect, but a project like this doesn’t come around often.”
 
 
 

AVANTI WEST COAST “FEEL GOOD TRAVEL”
STASH 149

UK train operator Avanti West Coast welcomes passengers back with a jaunty rollerblading turtle courtesy of MJZ director Tom Kuntz and London VFX company Untold Studios.
 
 
 

UNITED NATIONS “DON’T CHOOSE EXTINCTION”
STASH 150

Framestore Pictures’ director Murray Butler and the Framestore creature VFX team resurrect a 70 million-year-old Utahraptor (voiced by Jack Black) to deliver a message about the dangers of fossil fuel subsidies and their contribution to our own extinction.

Murray Butler: “We studied the way great speeches were delivered in film and TV and approached this project with the same cinematic language.”

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