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Cannes Forecast: VFX Picks from MPC

Post Production
New York, USA
MPC LA’s Paul O’Shea and MPC NY’s Alex Lovejoy choose top VFX Lion contenders

Photo, from left to right: Paul O'Shea and Alex Lovejoy

AL> At the heart of the most exciting and celebrated campaigns of the year, we have seen a strong overriding trend around social and technological ideas connecting with consumers. Above all, however, storytelling remains a crucial creative ingredient across all successful communication.  As agencies keep raising the bar and creating ever better world class advertising for brands, the role played by VFX studios, production companies and film studios is increasingly important in this creative process.  


POS> We see VFX as an aim to realise the impossible, and the best work can be achieved with planning, time, enough resources and all stakeholders (director, client, agency) working together on a shared vision. But it has to be said, you need a fair amount of luck to have all these factors fall into place! As with chefs, the best test isn’t necessarily what they can do with all the ingredients and all the tools, but how to reach a spectacular standard of work without necessarily having all of them in place.

As the industry moves forward, the ability to innovate, collaborate and creatively problem solve (often achieving more for less) becomes key to delivering a well crafted creative idea and compelling story. 

Following are the campaigns that we think deserve to win in the Film Craft - VFX category:


Paul O’Shea’s Picks

Acura 'Let the Race Begin'

This is a very ambitious piece, heavily reliant on VFX to complete the story. Many of the shots are entirely CG and they cut and dovetail well with the photography. The environments, use of light and the integration, create a stylish world and dramatic action. It is an examination of many different disciplines of VFX and leaves the viewer wanting more opportunity to explore this new world. Adam Berg ensures the spot is grounded by insisting on a photographic base, and Benoit Mannequin is a master at making beautiful images.


GE 'Childlike Imagination'

This is a fantastic piece of work, in every sense of the word. The underwater lighting and water simulation; the bubbles on the surface play like clouds above the wind turbines; the variety in the characters of the trees chasing the train; the sense of a time of day.  From the grading to the animation there is a consistency of tone and an easy flow to the edit that makes it delightful. There are questionable shots such as the girl against the empty birdcage, where the key on her head is a bit hard, and the house lighting and the lighting on her are at odds. But details like the cloud of dust as the hospital is picked up by giant fingers, the wing tips on the planes, and weight in the tree branches more than make up for it. This is a delightful spot. 


Alex Lovejoy’s Picks

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag 'Defy'

Simply put, this is an epic film. The visual effects are a feast to watch, with all the VFX disciplines we artists love to work with. From the invisible camera transitions and multi–plate underwater compositing, to the set extensions with pirates and blazing ships in the backgrounds and the dramatic battle at sea final reveal, this is a masterpiece of VFX and makes it all look very easy! Dark, delicious and always amazing to watch, this is high on my list for best visual effects. 


Volvo 'Epic Split'

Genius spot; let's bring back Van Damme (one of my personal heroes from martial arts movie classics), add a simple idea, enormous technical precision required on set, magic hour action, a great soundtrack and invisible VFX required. One-shot wonders like this, especially the cheeky camera move around the trucks, are often the most challenging for visual effects.  This is beautiful work all around and an absolute pleasure to view over and over again. 

Paul O'Shea is a 2D Creative Director at MPC LA and Alex Lovejoy is a 2D Creative Director at MPC NY