MJZ director Nicolai Fuglsig and The Mill L.A. helped legendary rocker Steven Tyler to “Feel Something Again” in Kia’s Super Bowl spot from David&Goliath, Los Angeles. The effort also yielded the #1 entry on SHOOT’s quarterly Top Ten Visual Effects/Animation Chart.
Tyler stars in this Big Game :60 set at an old abandoned car racetrack. With the familiar notes of “Dream On” playing backwards, Tyler looks as though he’s about to race the Kia Stinger against another legend, two-time Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. After a moment of reflection, rather than driving the car forward, Tyler takes the car backwards around the track, accelerating in reverse. When he comes to a stop, he finds himself in the early 1970s—a young rock star in his prime, at a moment when he felt most alive. The spot ends with the on-screen text “Feel Something Again.”
David Angelo, founder & chairman of David&Goliath, said: “After test driving the Stinger and all its competitors, the biggest difference was that the Stinger made me feel something. The challenge was to bring that feeling to life in a way that was totally unexpected. Kind of like driving backwards on a racetrack to another point in time. We chose Steven Tyler because like the Stinger, he is a challenger brand himself with an ageless, audacious spirit. And while the expectation would be to use humor, we purposefully chose a more serious and epic tone to properly reflect the Stinger’s persona and where the Kia brand is going.”
D&G worked with director Nicolai Fuglsig of MJZ to give the spot an epic cinematic, almost haunting, tone.
Angelo added: “One of the biggest challenges was authentically re-creating the 25-year-old version of Steven. We had to get that absolutely right. Fortunately, thanks to the amazing artists at The Mill, we were able to get the glowing approval of Steven, his daughter, friends and a handful of rockers who know him best. With the help of Human, an LA-based music company, and Steven Tyler, we created an original music composition that gradually transforms into Tyler’s ‘Dream On’—a song about the passage of time—almost as if it was a distant memory that resurfaced as he raced back through the years.”
The fountain of youth flowed to Tyler from talented visual effects masters at The Mill who deployed a little CGI magic.
In order to give the rocker his youthful look, The Mill’s artists reconstructed his face entirely in CGI. First, a scan was taken of his body to give the artists a base to work from. Then came the sculpting process, where the artists filled in muscle, fat and cartilage to essentially reverse the effects of time. They also matched the look of certain features such as his lips, eyebrows and cheekbones, drawing reference from older footage and photos of Tyler from about 45 years ago.
The visual effects team also captured Tyler’s acting on set, drawing from his bodily response and mimicking his facial emotion for the CGI version of him.
If you look closely toward the beginning of the commercial, a quick shot of a black and white photo of Tyler appears. This actual archive photo from back in the 1970s was used as a crucial reference—not only for the visual effects artists, but for the audience to take note before the big reveal.
The contingent of Mill talent included executive producer Pete King, producer, Hillary Thomas, production coordinator Vanessa Yee, shoot supervisor/creative director/art director Robert Sethi; shoot supervisor/2D lead artist Tim Rudgard, shoot supervisor/3D lead artist Jason Monroe, 2D lead artist Steve Cokonis, 2D artists Daniel Thuresson, Lisa Ryan, Jeannie “Remedy” Huynh, Benoit Mannequin, Lior Weiss, Jason Bergman, Ed Black, Ashley Forbito, Chris Hunsberger, Kai Chun Tsai, Krysten Richardson, Glyn Tebbutt, Daniel Lang, Elliot Brennan, Ian Blewitt, Adrian White, Adam Lambert, Matt Dobrez, Stefan Smith, Tom Van Dop and Yukiko Ishiwata, 3D artists Chris Bayol, Cory Cosper, Nole Murphy, Omar Taher, Brian Lee, Benjamin Chan, Danny Garcia, Freddy Parra, Jae Jun Yi, James Robinson, Jinguang Huang, Alice Panek, Elizabeth Hammer, Jeremy Ramirez, Steven Olson, Dan Warom, Michael Lori and Ed Laag, matte painters Rasha Shalaby, Andy Wheater and Marissa Krupen, animator Jacob Bregman, colorist Adam Scott, color EP Thatcher Peterson and sr. color producer Liza Kerlin.
The Mill’s toolbox on “Feel Something Again” included Flame, Nuke and Maya.
David&Goliath’s creative ensemble included chief creative officer Bobby Pearce, founder/chairman David Angelo, executive creative director Gustavo Sarkis, creative directors Basil Cowieson, James Cohen, John O’Hea and Courtney Pulver, writers Mark Monteiro (and Steven Tyler), director of broadcast production Paul Albanese, executive broadcast producer Curt O’Brien, director of digital production Peter Bassett, digital sr. producer Justine Kleeman, sr. art producer Cara Nieto, and chief strategy officer Wells Davis..
Alwin Kuchler was the cinematographer. Editor was Grant Surmi of Exile.
See the March 2018 Top Ten VFX and Animation Chart here.
Client Kia Agency David&Goliath, Los Angeles David Angelo, founder/chairman; Bobby Pearce, chief creative officer; Gustavo Sarkis, executive creative director; Basil Cowieson, James Cohen, John O’Hea, Courtney Pulver, creative directors; Mark Monteiro, Steven Tyler, copywriters; Paul Albanese, director of broadcast production; Curt O’Brien, executive broadcast producer; Peter Bassett, director of digital production; Justine Kleeman, digital sr. producer; Cara Nieto, sr. art producer; Wells Davis, chief strategy officer. Production MJZ Nicolai Fuglsig, director; Alwin Kuchler, DP; Christopher Glass, production designer; Emma Wilcockson, exec producer; Karen O’Brien, producer. Editorial Exile Grant Surmi, editor; Dusten Zimmerman, assistant editor; CL Weaver, exec producer; Brittany Carson, producer. VFX Pete King, exec producer; Hillary Thomas, producer; Vanessa Yee, production coordinator; Robert Sethi, shoot supervisor/creative director/art director; Tim Rudgard, shoot supervisor/2D lead artist; Jason Monroe, shoot supervisor/3D lead artist; Steve Cokonis, 2D lead artist; Daniel Thuresson, Lisa Ryan, Jeannie “Remedy” Huynh, Benoit Mannequin, Lior Weiss, Jason Bergman, Ed Black, Ashley Forbito, Chris Hunsberger, Kai Chun Tsai, Krysten Richardson, Glyn Tebbutt, Daniel Lang, Elliot Brennan, Ian Blewitt, Adrian White, Adam Lambert, Matt Dobrez, Stefan Smith, Tom Van Dop, Yukiko Ishiwata, 2D artists; Chris Bayol, Cory Cosper, Nole Murphy, Omar Taher, Brian Lee, Benjamin Chan, Danny Garcia, Freddy Parra, Jae Jun Yi, James Robinson, Jinguang Huang, Alice Panek, Elizabeth Hammer, Jeremy Ramirez, Steven Olson, Dan Warom, Michael Lori, Ed Laag, 3D artists; Rasha Shalaby, Andy Wheater, Marissa Krupen, matte painting; Jacob Bregman, animation; Adam Scott, colorist; Thatcher Peterson, EP, color; Liza Kerlin, sr. color producer. (Toolbox: Flame, Nuke Maya) Music/Sound Design Human Mike Jurasits, creative director/sound designer; Matthew O’Malley, James Leibow, Jon Hubbell, Tom Keery, Andy Bloch, composers/arrangers; Jonathan Sanford, exec producer. Audio Post Margarita Mix, Santa Monica Nathan Dubin, sound engineer; Whitney Warren, exec producer. Licensed Music “Dream On” by Steven Tyler