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alter ego Crafts Christmas in Summertime for These Festive Canadian Tire Films

The films, directed by Pekka Hara, required the creation of a winter wonderland during a summertime shoot

alter ego Crafts Christmas in Summertime for These Festive Canadian Tire Films

The question: “How can you turn a summertime grassy hill into a tobogganing winter wonderland?

The answer: With a lot of preparation, experience, talent and the brilliant and creative minds at alter ego.

The creative idea was to have an old man who lives at the top of a mountain and a young boy out for a day of sledding, travel together on a toboggan down the hill. And to complicate things even more let’s put a dog on the sled as well. With the creatives at TAXI leaning towards a sunset lighting palette and a storybook landscape that truly doesn’t exist, made travelling to a location not an option. Which also suggested that a complete CG environment would allow for the most flexibility in creativity. Working closely with director Pekka Hara during pre-production, alter ego created a pre-visualisation complete with camera moves and landscape references. The pre-vis became an extremely useful tool on location to help both the crew and the client visualise the final composition of a shot when all we could see through the monitor was a blue screen.

You can check out the first spot, 'Moonlight Ride', below:

During the production the on-set practical FX crew rolled out huge snow blankets, brought in pine trees, and sprayed fake snow covering as much area as possible. Even this huge amount of in-camera art direction was not nearly enough to convey the vastness of the storybook mountain-scape. 

You can check out the second spot, 'Snowy Search', below:

alter ego’s team of VFX artist then devoted their resources to tracking all the shots, creating all the CG environments including lighting and textures, creating snowy terrain, mountain-scapes, trees, digital skies while keying or rotoscoping all the performances.

Once the rough comps were in place, the team focused on snow accumulation and simulations, overall integration, and colour grading. They completed r&d for the snow blowing off of the back of the toboggan. It’s a real fine balance between realism and what works on the screen in order to keep it magical but not detract from the performances. 

alter ego even replaced the last shot on the mountain where the actors head towards mount maple with an entirely 100% CG shot. They modelled the two actors and the dog and replaced their performances with CG characters. This allowed alter ego to manipulate their path on the toboggan and create a bigger camera move.

And you can watch a VFX Breakdown video below:

Senior Producer Nadya MacNeil, “Working with alter ego on the Canadian Tire Christmas commercials was an exceptionally smooth process. Everyone involved was collaborative, enthusiastic and extremely talented. These commercials would never have been brought to life in such an amazing way, without the incredible people we had the pleasure of working with. A truly extraordinary bunch!”

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Client: Canadian Tire

Agency: TAXI

Creative Director: Frank Macera

Art Director: Chris Walker

Copywriter: Pete MacInnis

Broadcast Producer: Nadya MacNeil

Executive Producer: Steve Emmens

Production House: Someplace Nice

Director: Pekka Hara

DOP: Chris Mably

Editorial: Saints Editorial

Editor: Mark Paiva

Assistant Editor: Giuseppe Piccolo

Colour & VFX: alter ego

Sr. Colourist: Eric Whipp

Colour Assistant: Erik Bayley

Lead VFX Artists: David Whiteson & Andrew Thiessen

CG Artists: Mike Waldrum, Jerry Corda-Stanley, Gabriel Madariaga & Rafael Stoll

VFX Artists: Sebastian Boros & Hali Gale

Executive Producer: Hilda Pereira

Producer: Andrew Tavares

Audio: Vapour RMW

Category: Automotive , Cars