Running with the Bulls

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Wed, 03/23/2016 - 11:52 -- Nick Dager

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel RicciardoA new campaign launches the branding partnership between global sports brand Puma and the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team in preparation for the upcoming Formula One 2016 Season. The concept required a herd of stampeding bulls to charge around the two Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. They turned to effects artist David Cox.

With the challenges of facing the busy F1 drivers' schedules coupled with limited time frames, Cox had around a fortnight between shooting and delivery to complete the ambitious project. 

Cox said, “At first, it appeared that shooting against green screen would provide the most efficient workflow. However, director Max Fisher and cinematographer Luke Jacobs were keen on a spot lit, hazy environment, which doesn't directly suit green-screen shooting. Although similar looks could be created in post-production, I felt that it would be better to let the director and DoP keep full control of this aspect by avoiding green screen shooting. This resulted in some extra work in post to roto-scope around the drivers, but made the overall feel of the commercial much stronger.”

Cox created the bulls complete with skeletons, muscles and hair in CGI. He said, “The bulls were modeled and animated by referring to YouTube clips of Iberian fighting bulls. In the shots where there were scores of bulls, the masses were created using particle systems with an element of artificial intelligence to create the herding stampede action. Bulls closer to the camera were individually animated. These were then lit and matched to the hazy environment, so that distant bulls would fade to shadow whereas the ones in the spot-lit centre were brightly illuminated.” 

In addition, Cox also created a line animation, which made a heartbeat monitor morph into the shape of the Puma/Red Bull Racing brand mark. This was then tracked into the actual heart monitor was shot in situ.

The project ran smoothly with the compositing, online and finishing using SGO's Mistika post-production system.

The commercial was created by Rebel @ Outsider, produced by Omelihu Mel Nwanguma and directed by Max Fisher for Tim Stedman at Puma. 

“It is always a pleasure working with David because he brings a certain amount of flexibility and transparency that you don’t necessary get when working in a studio environment,” said Nwanguma. “For the Stampede project we needed a VFX artist who understood the various limitations we were faced with. We basically needed someone who would say ‘Yes’ to the director’s idea, then figure out a way to make it work! Having worked with David on numerous projects, he has never disappointed us.”

Puma branding will feature prominently on the racing car, team and race-wear. Puma are also launching a range of licensed replica, fan and lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. 

David Cox