Carlsberg / The Ride

Production Company: MJZ
Agency: Santo
Directed By: Juan Cabral

Thrilled to be working with Director Juan Cabral of MJZ London, we were determined to deliver “The Ride” – a 60 second ad announcing Carlsberg’s sponsorship of the Premier League looking amazing. For us as a studio at the forefront of visual effects, it was a great opportunity for the team to show off their expertise.

The idea was for the ad to be set on a monster roller coaster, each twist and turn evoking the agonising emotions of the premier league. The eclectic mix of personalities that make up the footballing community – refs, wags, players, managers and the like – were to be joined by some familiar faces on the ride.

Retaining the intensity of the rollercoaster was crucial for the Director and the end result had to look realistic so the film was planned to be shot not in a studio, but rather on location in the Netherlands on Goliath, a 64 metre high ride running at speeds of up to 100km/hr.

There was one problem; How to shoot on a rollercoaster and achieve the goal of creating an endless run of carriages all connected together. This was something that had not been done before. Shooting this practically was impossible and overusing CGI would give the game away. Our job was to find a visual effects method that worked for big wide shots as well as enabled us to be inside the carriages, along for the ride. Crucially, we needed to be able to look back seeing people’s reactions so that we capture the human story happening on the journey.

Our team, led by visual effects supervisor’s Jordi Bares and Ally Burnett devised an ingenious plan to enable Juan to shoot with freedom and construct the vision he had in mind when he wrote the story. Our plan was to track the rollercoaster once, from a front facing camera and assume that every new take would follow the same path at the same speed. This enabled us to extend shots with CGI even when shot with a GoPro camera mounted on the carriage. Other shots were the combination of two cameras shooting as many as 25 passes of ride, which were then carefully stitched together creating a truly awesome visual spectacle.

In post, we worked on over 50 shots, but because of careful planning we utilised a balanced amount of CGI to enhance the complex compositing build. The Nuke team led by Rafael Vormittag did extensive environment work and composited the CGI passes while the team of four Flame compositors sewed together the trains.

The final film is a truly ground breaking and amazing piece to watch. We are very proud indeed of our part in its creation and look forward to working again with such a great team.