TakeTwo Brings ‘The Incredibles’ To Life For Wal-Mart
March 30
TakeTwo provided the special effects seen in Wal-Mart's spot for the DVD release of 'The Incredibles'

Click for more infoCreating a commercial to herald the DVD release of a blockbuster film requires world-class visual effects talent with the ability to turn out a spot that not only maintains the integrity of the feature film, but also brings a seamless new element to the mix. Bernstein-Rein recently returned to TakeTwo to create just such a spot to announce the DVD release of the Academy Award-winning animated film, “The Incredibles,” for Wal-Mart, the world’s largest DVD distributor.

“On previous Wal-Mart DVD release spots TakeTwo has worked on with the agency, we created a variety of visual effects, including a freezing effect for ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and complex wall-crawling visuals for the ‘Spider-Man.’ We wanted to continue to raise the bar,” says TakeTwo visual effects artist, Allen Robbins. “For ‘The Incredibles’ Bernstein-Rein had a great concept, and we ran with it. We always tell the creatives to tell us what they want to do and let us figure out how to make it happen. We don’t want to put any brakes on their creativity.”

Bernstein-Rein producer Matt Faris notes that “Allen takes a very collaborative approach to visual effects. As soon as director Russ Hadley of Third Eye Productions came on board he and Allen started working closely together to determine how to pull off the shots. We didn’t have to make any compromises. Allen didn’t tell me ‘no’ on anything.”

The premise for the national spot for “The Incredibles” was to show the similarities between a family of Wal-Mart customers and the animated movie characters. Shots of the real-life family are intercut with almost matching action clips of their animated counterparts in the fast-paced commercial which announces the DVD release. “I can 100 percent relate to Mr. Incredible,” admits Jeff, the Wal-Mart customer featured with his wife and two sons in the spot. Glimpses of Jeff displaying his old football photo and trying on his tight jersey are juxtaposed against clips of Mr. Incredible gazing wistfully at his Life Magazine cover and flexing his muscles as his stomach pops over his belt.

Jeff’s older son reveals that he thinks it “would be awesome to be invisible” and with a poof he disappears from the staircase. A shot with a similar invisibility effect from the movie follows. Jeff’s younger son tells viewers he likes Dash Incredible “because he’s fast.” But Dash’s hyperactive film clip has nothing on Jeff’s son who’s a blur racing around the dining room table at dinnertime.

Finally, Jeff’s wife Lee Anne notes that “moms have to be flexible” and, in a shot mimicking Mrs. Incredible’s exaggerated cartoon reach, she makes a rubber-armed grab for the movie’s DVD box. The spot concludes with the whole family taking on a superhero family pose, Jeff heading for Wal-Mart to buy “The Incredibles” DVD and the family settling down on the sofa for showtime. “Am I a hero to my kids? I hope so,” says Jeff.

Key to the success of the fun spot was Allen Robbins’s early involvement.
“The agency creatives talked about some gags and special effects they wanted to pull off. Then Russ and I figured out what we could accomplish in camera and in post while staying within the budget,” he explains.

Robbins and Hadley developed a shot list of plates they needed, focal lengths and the placement of props and objects related to the talent. Hadley made a preliminary visit to the real family’s house -- the location for the 35mm film shoot –- to take photos that he used for reference during the preproduction process.

During the offline edit, Joy Moeller of Liquid 9/Kansas City sent Robbins a low-resolution QuickTime of some of the transferred elements such as mom’s arm stretch. He did rough composites of the vfx sequences and sent back low-res place-holders for Moeller to use in her edit. Later Robbins, working on Discreet Smoke 6.5, brought in the transferred footage, replaced the low-res shots with high-resolution imagery and added light effects such as rays and lens flares which mimicked the movie’s transitions.

Robbins tracked Jeff’s football photo into a picture frame and used an organic wipe to take the older son from one plate and disappear him into a clean plate. Hadley shot the family eating dinner in realtime then lensed the younger boy’s race around the dining room table and into his chair under-cranked. When the footage didn’t look fast and streaky enough, Robbins color sampled the boy’s hair, face, shirt and pants and crafted a 2D mock up of his body which he spun around in motion blur added by Gen Arts’ Sapphire plug ins.

For Lee Anne’s exaggerated arm Robbins took elements of her reaching for the DVD box and bringing it towards her, gave a cartoon-like stretch to her arm with Smoke’s 3D warp and added a dynamic crash zoom with Sapphire. Robbins also balanced the effects and color grading to the match the movie and conformed the spot in Smoke.

About TakeTwo
TakeTwo is an independent, full-service editorial, visual effects and finishing house dedicated to providing advertising agencies with integrated and seamless creative resources. For additional information about its services, go to
www.taketwo.tv. To request a reel, contact Linda Buchner, Director of Marketing, at 800.471.6554.

SPOT CREDITS: ‘The Incredibles’

Client: Wal-Mart
Title/Length: “The Incredibles,” :30
First airdate: March 15, 2005

Agency: Bernstein-Rein Advertising/Kansas City
Executive Producer: Tyler Smith
Creative Director: Janel Lamonica
Art Director: Kevin Garrison
Copywriter: Linda Bumgarner
Producer: Matt Fari
Account Executive: Jenny Steffens

Production Company: Third Eye Productions/Kansas City
Director/DP: Russ Hadley
Executive Producer: Kyle Kempker

Shot: On location in Belton, Missouri

Online Finishing: TakeTwo/Kansas City
Editor: Allen Robbins

Visual Effects: TakeTwo/Kansas City
VFX Artist: Allen Robbins

Telecine: Swell Inc./Chicago
Colorist: Tom Rovak

Offline Edit: Liquid 9/Kansas City
Editor: Joy Moeller

Music: Walter Bryant/Kansas City

Sound Design: Wheeler Audio/Kansas City
Sound Designer: Jim Wheeler

Audio Post: Wheeler Audio/Kansas City
Mixer: Jim Wheeler