Wrecks in Effects

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With the latest Dell spot, "Out With The Old," Mother, New York adds to its creative revision for the brand. Behind the lens this time are the Snorri Brothers, who have taken what looks like IT department cast-offs and added high powered explosives to deliver a visual ballet of destruction. All the mayhem is slowed right down and set to the tune of Jennifer Terran crooning a soft and tender take on Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera." We spoke with the Icelandic directing duo about the goals, the challenges and, of course, the firepower of this delight of a demolition derby.

As a directing team, what was your goal for the spot?
To make something quite unique for our client, Dell, and to do something different for ourselves as well -- take on a new challenge and make something beautiful out of destruction. "The beauty in destruction" was sort of the brief from Mother NY and we tried to stay true to that. We wanted this to feel like an art installation and be more of an art piece then a commercial. (and of course we wanted to blow up a lot of shit).

How many takes did it take?
It was all done in one take except for one setup which we did two takes of. We shot each setup with multiple high speed cameras to get maximum coverage out of each setup.

How many computers were harmed in the making of this commercial?
We went to a recycling plant to source old computers for the job and we got about 150 pieces. We ended up using less than half of them and then all the parts and pieces were returned to the recycling plant. So no functioning computers were actually harmed, all the pieces were discarded hardware to begin with and the debris was all recycled again.

What was used to blow up the computers?
With explosives -- state of the art, Hollywood-style pyrotechincs. It was a very sophisticated system of timing the explosions to the camera moves and the action.

What were the biggest challenges of putting the spot together?
It was the risk factor. There was no room for mistakes anywhere as there was no turning back once we started exploding things. We really only had one take for almost everything. The preparation and planning from the ground up was a huge logistical challenge which we had much help with from our team, from production, through the edit and into post. In the edit we had a particularly challenging situation, dealt with beautifully by Avi at Bikini, as we had so much slow motion footage which we had to cut so drastically down, and then the finish from RhinoFx was stellar as always.

Who were the unsung heroes of the spot?
Definitely a big shout out to our producer Jeff Miller, DP Erich Treml, production designer Eric Troop, art director Bjorn Baldvinsson, editor Ari Oron and VFX company, Rhinofx. We couldn't have done this without them, obviously, and of course Mother and Dell, which deserve a high five for being a brave client.
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