Oscar-nominated directing duo Smith & Foulkes (Nexus Productions) put their powers to use for Coca Cola and Weiden+Kennedy Portland in an endearing Super Bowl spot entitled “Avatars.”
Playing with the idea that most of us live double lives—one digital, one physical—the :60 project features oodles of alter-egos designed and brought to life by Smith & Foulkes.
Smith & Foulkes explain their approach:
The challenge for us was to film the live action in a documentary style, incidentally observing moments of human behaviour, and then animating the Avatars into the footage in a very naturalistic way. It wasn’t about crazy 3d characters running amok, more about the everyday human behaviour of idly sitting around in parks and coffee shops.
We initially shot the footage on very long lenses to give the sense of the observational camera, before starting the huge technical challenge of believably replacing humans with Avatars in each shot.
I especially like the care S&F showed in creating the digital counterparts for each person. It’s as if they crawled inside the brain of each character to discover what idealized image of themselves would manifest itself in digital space.
Obviously there was a lot of fun to be had in casting each Avatar for each human, showing how people might select their online identity. Some would be a complete fantasy, while others a slightly more exciting version of their real selves.
The track is “Stranger in the Crowd” performed by Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley (and originally made famous by Elvis Preseley).