Cadillac "Barrels"

By Published on .

The Guess

Allen and Davis: After the transfer, the images were moved around and sped up to give it the feeling of a sonic blast.

Humble: The interior of the tunnel was a set. The exterior of the tunnel with the blue sky was more than one shot composited together. They used a combination of motion blur and film speed to get the blurring effect.

THE real dirt

The company has been open only a year, but London's Absolute Post can already boast a Super Bowl spot. Faster than a speeding bullet, you could say, apropos of the commercial itself, "Barrels," from Chemistri of Troy, Michigan, for Cadillac's V-series high-performance vehicles, the CTS-V, STS-V and XLR-V.

The 60-second spot, which debuted during the Bowl broadcast, opens as a silver Caddie (actually, it's a composite of the three cars, cutting from one to the other throughout) slowly reverses into a tunnel, stops, then shoots back out at bullet speed, moving "from 0 to 60 in under five seconds," according to the title-and from the jerky, warp-speed looks of it, faster still. "Bang," says a voiceover, as the car fires off into the horizon.

Chemistri considered using CG to make the car look more like a bullet, but opted instead for Gorgeous director Peter Thwaites' raw, "dirty realism," says senior copywriter Jeff Cruz. "If you were sitting in a bullet, this is what it would feel like," he adds. "We didn't want it to be CG-world or a fantasyland, but real." Thwaites captured the light-speed velocity (and a real tunnel) in camera, or in cameras-he used different types to alter film speed and create vibration-but turned to Absolute for embellishment. CD and Flame Artist David Smith extended the speed lines that trail off the back end of the car and added a jolt or two to the already trembling footage.

Typically, car commercials send Smith on a postproduction quest for perfection. Not so with Thwaites. "It was quite refreshing," says Smith. "When we do car commercials, our first job is to make the car and the road look perfect. In this case, the director liked the cracks in the road, and he wanted us to add more texture. That makes the spot look slightly different." The spot's coloration also puts it in a different class. Using Combustion, a team made frame-by-frame rotoscopes of different elements-including the car, surrounding rocks, and the tunnel. Smith then created a surreal, silvery effect by grading each matte individually with Flame, allowing the car to truly pop-the way a bullet should.

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