Thursday, July 19, 2018
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Baby Hamster Arrives At #1 in Quarterly VFX/Animation Chart
Kia’s “The Arrival”
Visual effects house JAMM tops chart with Kia :90

The centerpiece of Kia’s new national campaign is a :90 cinema/online spot titled “The Arrival” about a newborn baby hamster who’s super fast and as we soon learn, impossible to catch.

As it turns out, the ultimate destination for “The Arrival” is the number one slot in SHOOT’s quarterly VFX/Animation Chart.

Set in a hospital, the commercial opens on a young nurse making rounds in the maternity ward when she comes across an empty bassinet. It’s revealed that the missing baby is our speedy newborn hamster, racing through the hospital in a diaper and destroying everything in its path. Nurses, doctors, orderlies and other medical staffers chase after the baby hamster—aptly named Turbo—in hot pursuit.

To make its ultimate escape, Turbo dives off the roof of the hospital, utilizes a make-shift parachute and lands through the sunroof into a new Kia Turbo Soul. Already seated in the Soul are other Kia hamsters who welcome the newest furry addition to their family.

L.A.-based agency David&Goliath aimed to deliver a fresh take on Kia’s ongoing hamster-themed fare, working with director Matthijs Van Heijningen of MJZ to give the narrative a true cinematic feel. Then, together with visual effects studio JAMM, they developed the character of the baby hamster and animated it within the real-world hospital environment. The film was shot with anamorphic lenses and was designed specifically to run in movie theaters.

JAMM’s Andy Boyd, who served as visual effects supervisor/lead CG on “The Arrival,” shared insights into what the company’s effects ensemble dealt with to make the spot a reality.

“There were a few creative challenges in creating a new CG character starting with the design,” related Boyd. “Turbo had to be cute, mischievous and look like a baby. If you have no point of reference for scale, such as in a close-up, he has to still read as a baby or toddler and not a shrunk down adult hamster. We worked closely with [director] Matthijs in achieving the right balance of cute but cheeky.”

Boyd added, “We used the latest Houdini 3D software for the fur and fur dynamics. Creating a realistic furry creature which integrates into live action plates has always been a challenge, and we called upon our years of experience doing creatures to get the spot done smoothly.”

As for the biggest technical challenges that “The Arrival” posed to the JAMM team, Boyd cited among them being able to do justice to little Turbo’s amazing speed.

“At full run he was moving 16 feet a second—that means his little legs were taking many steps in between frames! When animating such fast movement, it’s really hard to judge the performance without rendering with motion blur. Such fast movement is also traditionally difficult to run fur simulations on, but we created a tool set that allowed us to do just that, while maintaining control over the behavior and feel of the fur.”

See the Top Ten VFX Chart here.

Credits for ScreenWork: 

Client Kia Motors Agency David&Goliath, Los Angeles David Angelo, founder & chairman; Bobby Pearce, chief creative officer; Gustavo Sarkis, executive creative director; Basil Cowieson, James Cohen, creative directors; Paul Albanese, director of broadcast production; Curt O’Brien, executive broadcast producer. Production MJZ Matthijs Van Heijningen, director; Eriks Krumins, sr. exec producer; Donald Taylor, producer. Editorial Work Editorial Jono Griffith, editor; Mario Baird, exec producer; Brandee Probasco, producer; Josh Sasson, assistant editor. VFX JAMM Andy Boyd, VFX supervisor/lead CG; Jake Montgomery, VFX supervisor/lead compositor; Brian Hajek, lead compositor; Patrick Munoz, Mark Holden, Flame artists; Dylan Brown, Nuke artist; Brian Burke, Zachary DiMaria, Kristen Eggleston, Nha Ca Chau, JT Lawrence, Steward Burris, Joshua Merck, Ty Coyle, Jordan Harris, Joel Durham, George Saavedra, CG artists; Ashley Greyson, producer; Asher Edwards, EP. (Toolbox: Flame, Nuke, Maya, Houdini) Color MPC Mark Gethin, colorist; Meghan Lang, exec producer. Music Editing/Sound Design stimmung Rory Doggett, creative director; Gus Koven, sound designer; Kristina Iwankiw, exec producer. Licensed Music “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead Audio Post Margarita Mix, Santa Monica, Calif. Nathan Dubin, mixer.

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