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Bolder Than Bold

How do you make the sport of bull riding more thrilling? Combine it with skydiving of course, according to this absurd ad for a rather unappealing American candy bar.

For obvious reasons a real bull could not be used for the skydiving sequences, so a bucking bronco was used instead with the rider shot against a blue screen studio. The bucking bronco was replaced by the full-CG bull created for the project: I dealt with texturing, lookdev and grooming. This was achieved with Xgen, which proved to be an all-round painful experience. Much scripting and hacking was required to get the fur pipeline workable.

We also decided to switch our production renderer from V-Ray to Redshift at the beginning of the project. Nothing like setting ourselves a challenge, however Redshift coped admirably with all we could throw at it, its speed allowing much faster turnaround of shots to comp.

A cargo plane interior was recreated on set, but all the exteriors — including ground, clouds and sky — were built in CG using a mixture of 2D and 3D elements. The motion of the bull and rider falling through space was worked out beforehand in previs and layout, however the camera moves that could be shot were constrained by the space available in the studio. Therefore, the matchmoved cameras were subsequently oriented into the layout space. Extra wobble and shake was added in 2D to add to the frantic effect.

Directed by Armando Bo, co-writer of Oscar-winning film Birdman, the commercial was aired during the third quarter of 2016's Super Bowl 50 broadcast.

  • Date January 2016
  • Format 30" TV commercial
  • Client Nestle
  • Agency Santo
  • Studio Gramercy Park Studios
  • Director Armando Bo