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Compassion, Riches and Origami: Making the Most of Winter with Screen Scene



Senior VFX supervisor Allen Sillery helps LBB wrap up the Irish post powerhouse’s festive campaigns

Compassion, Riches and Origami: Making the Most of Winter with Screen Scene

It’s the most wonderful - and indeed the busiest - time of the year. As shopping lists start to lengthen and (socially distant) plans are drawn up, it can be hard to keep on top of everything. 

Particularly active this winter has been Screen Scene, the Dublin-based post production house. Known for their work on Hollywood big-hitters such as The Irishman and Captain Marvel, the company has had a prolific end to 2020 in its commercials division. Spots for flagship brands such as the Irish National Lottery, Tesco, and Jameson have warmed hearts and told important stories on Irish shores and beyond.

To wrap up Screen Scene’s campaigns, LBB caught up with senior VFX supervisor Allen Sillery.

Merry Christmas, Mrs Higgins: Woodies

The holiday season is a natural home for heartwarming tales of community kindness - perhaps never more so than in 2020. In this spot for the Irish DIY store Woodies, an elderly resident on a quiet street arrives home one winter day to find her gate repaired by a local boy motivated by Christmas cheer. 

“Working with Zak Emerson, Butter & Rothco on this endearing spot for Woodies was a pleasant end-of-year treat”, said Allen Sillery. “Set extensions in the form of a snowy winterland were the order of the day. Screen Scene VFX took care of making the world more snow laden, with the addition of Christmas decorations, snow flurries and frosted foliage all bringing the cozy world of our Mrs Higgins to screen."

Hampers and Cash, Fortnight of Fortunes, and Millionaire: The Irish National Lottery

Screen Scene’s involvement in the ongoing series of charming origami-themed spots for the Irish National Lottery continued into the festive season with another delightful entry. In ‘Hampers and Cash’, we see a papercraft Santa making his merry way through a snowstruck backdrop, dispensing gifts and joy.

Fortnight of Fortunes, meanwhile, celebrates the Irish National Lottery’s initiative to create five new millionaires in the space of two weeks. An origami parade floats through an enchanting paper village, before confetti rains over the town. It may not be a Christmas ad, but one can’t help but feel slightly festive upon watching it. 

Closing out the Irish National Lottery origami spots for this winter, Millionaire Raffle deviates from the origami approach with a playful festive ad. Hoping to become a winner this Christmas, one gift-giver can’t quite seem to part with her ticket despite the festive mood - until she realises she’s been gifted one of her own. 

“This comedic Christmas joust was brought to us by directing titan Damien O'Donnell”, noted Allen, reflecting on the Millionaire Raffle spot. “Multiple plate composites were the primary VFX task here, where Damien required subtle nuanced reactions from his actors to hit certain ques and marks, all adding to the hilarity of the piece which was crafted by our very own editor / MD Jake Walshe”.

Jameson Sliders

It may not be directly related to Christmas, but Jameson’s winter ad is a solidly satisfying watch. There’s something about the way the two whiskey glasses clink together at the end of the spot that makes for a rewarding rewatch every time. And, at the end of the day, the warm spirit of good times being had is what this time of year should be all about. 

“Little known fact – Whiskey Sliding is an Olympic sport here in Ireland, especially if someone else is buying”, said Allen. “Multiple takes of our whiskey glasses sliding across our bar counter were shot (without a single drop being spilled...ahem) and then re-timed and composited to hit their marks within the edit. Extra Jameson branded signage was also added to our scenes, with finally some de-rigging within our bowling alley”.

It’s Not Just: Trocaire

Striking a different but no less necessary tone, Screen Scene provided post services to a series of ads for the charity Trocaire. The beautifully-shot films remind audiences of Trocaire’s work in combating poverty in the developing world, as well as defending human rights and ensuring that vital resources are provided to the communities where they are needed.

The recent ads aim to activate and harness the compassion of the Irish public in order to change lives.

“Shot between Thailand and South Africa, these emotive spots are always an honor to work on” said VFX supervisor, Allen.“Director and long time collaborator Stevie Russell tasked us to turn a South African back-lot into war torn Syria, with explosion plumes dotting the city and desert. It is always a pleasure to work on such a deserving campaign”.

eir Brand & Christmas

“Directing duo Trev&Rua came to Screen Scene to bring this two-spot eir campaign to life” comments Allen. “the brand film highlights the diversity and width of eir’s network and consumer base by bringing us all over the country with snappy graphical devices employed by Screen Scenes graphics department. Then following on from the Brand spot, Gavin Casey helmed Eir Christmas, adding some snow speckled festive fun to an all round memorial and fun campaign”. 

In a two-part edition of Irish telecommunications firm eir’s campaign, the company celebrates connectivity over the holiday season. Given the challenging Christmas holiday many are likely to be experiencing in terms of not being able to see their family and friends, it’s a message that hits home this year more than most. Helpfully, the energetic ad stresses the network’s comprehensive coverage of Ireland - so users can stay connected wherever they are.

Tesco Campaign

Last but by no means least, Screen Scene applied their magic to Rothco’s perfectly-pitched holiday campaign for Tesco. The ad tells us precisely what we want (and frankly deserve) to hear; namely that nobody is going to be on Santa’s naughty list in 2020. The uplifting spot hits just the right - well - spot given the trials and tribulations of the past twelve months.

“A Covid Christmas was not something anyone was looking forward to, but Tesco are certainly helping make it all the more palatable with this festive campaign”, says Allen. “New York-based director Lena Beug returned to Screen Scene to bring this guilt-free campaign to life. VFX work primarily consisted of multiple plate compositing, the odd mask insertion and a drizzle of extra store branding”.

- Allen Sillery is senior VFX supervisor at Screen Scene

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Screen Scene, Tue, 15 Dec 2020 12:34:12 GMT