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  • Filmworkers Launches Churchill’s Studio for Visual Effects and CG Rob Churchill to lead new creative unit, whose first project is an all-CG spot for Cedar Fair.

    Rob Churchill to lead new creative unit, whose first project is an all-CG spot for Cedar Fair.…



    CHICAGO June 24, 2014 Continuing its expansion mode, Filmworkers has formed a new in-house creative unit, Churchill’s Studio, focused on visual effects and animation. Headed by Visual Effects Director Rob Churchill, the new unit will provide services ranging from compositing and visual effects to full CG production.

    The new venture will also feature the talents of Art Director Daniel Pernikoff, who joins Filmworkers from Method Studios, as well as a team of compositors and animators. Technical resources include multiple Autodesk Flame and The Foundry Nuke workstations, and a variety of CG, visual effects and animation desktop systems. The group will work out of an artist’s studio environment, newly-built within the Filmworkers facility.

    Visual effects work at Filmworkers has been growing steadily in response to Churchill’s success for such brands as McDonald’s, State Farm, La Quinta, Embassy Suites, Capital One and Pizza Hut. The added personnel and technology will enable the company to tackle more and more complex projects, while the studio environment will help it retain a creative focus and one-on-one relationships with clients.

    Daniel Pernikoff and Rob Churchill
    “We now have enough horsepower under the hood to take on the most demanding projects, says Churchill, who has been on staff at Filmworkers since 1997. We can do it all, technically and creatively, from concept through finish.”

    Churchill’s Studio is fully integrated with Filmworkers and all of its post production resources, as well as with hybrid digital production studio Vitamin. We can draw on an incredible pool of artists and resources,” notes Churchill. We have the best talent in Chicago. Churchill expects the Studio to expand further before the end of the year.

    In its first project, Churchill’s Studio has produced a fully-animated spot for amusement park operator Cedar Fair and its new ride, Banshee. Pernikoff served as Art Director on the project. It was great to have the whole team of artists working on the project in the same studio, Churchill says. It made it easy to trade ideas and comments, which is so important to doing great work and it shows in the finished product.”

    Pernikoff brings diverse experience as a motion graphics designer, animator, compositor and director. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, he began his career with Digital Kitchen, Chicago, and later spent six years in New York where he worked through Brand New School, Thornberg & Forester, Imaginary Forces and other shops. He returned to Chicago in 2012 and joined Method Studios as a compositor, designer and animator. His resume includes advertising work for Budweiser, Coors, Cadillac and Lincoln, as well as broadcast work for Comedy Central, Bravo and ESPN.

    Pernikoff says he is eager to take on the challenge of helping Filmworkers build its visual effects and animation capabilities. He adds that he is also impressed with the creative ambitions of Churchill and his team. “The energy level and passion were just what I was looking for, Pernikoff says.

  • Filmworkers Appoints Derek de Board to Executive Producer

    The 10-year industry veteran will also serve as Executive Producer of Churchill Studio.…


    CHICAGO - Filmworkers has promoted Derek de Board to Executive Producer. De Board, who marks his tenth anniversary with the company this month, will oversee production activities, lead a team of producers and schedulers, direct sales and coordinate joint projects with Filmworkers’ Dallas and Nashville facilities, as well as other members of the Filmworkers Group (which include Vitamin, Giannini Creative and Tree House Edit). He will also serve as Executive Producer of Churchill Studio, Filmworkers’ newly formed, in-house visual effects studio.

    DeBoard joined Filmworkers in 2004 and has served the company in many administrative and production capacities. For the past four years, he has been Senior Producer, managing post production work for scores of advertising projects for top agencies and national brands. He also served as Post Production Supervisor on the independent feature Bad Johnson.

    “Derek is a homegrown talent who has proven his talent, dedication and competence in many ways over the years,” said Filmworkers President Reid Brody. “He has earned this opportunity and we expect him to be a key contributor to our continued success.” De Board is currently overseeing projects for State Farm, McDonald’s, US Cellular, Embassy Suites, Scottrade and Allstate.

    De Board will focus on further streamlining workflows between Filmworkers’ various departments, as well as between the Filmworkers facility and the other companies in its group. “The collective Filmworkers has built is unlike any other resource in this market,” de Board said. “I’m excited to be the face of the best post-production house in Chicago and honored to represent the artists in every chair in the building.”

    De Board is a native of Highland Park, Illinois and a graduate of Columbia College. He literally grew up in the business—his step-father was a producer at DDB, Chicago, for many years, and he, himself, worked briefly as a child actor. He got his professional start with Optimus before joining Filmworkers.

  • Filmworkers Uses Scare Tactics in New Campaign for Cedar Fair

    All-CG spot produced by Filmworkers’ new VFX and animation unit Churchill Studio introduces “Banshee,” the world’s largest inverted roller coaster.…



    CHICAGO— Filmworkers’ new creative unit Churchill Studio encourages viewers to face their worst fears (while enjoying the thrill of their lives) in a new spot for amusement park giant Cedar Fair and Chicago agency Cramer-Krasselt. Everything You Fear is an all-CG spot introducing Banshee, a new roller coaster debuting at Cedar Fair’s Kings Island park this summer.

    In the spot, the giant ride appears to build itself and then takes park patrons on an adrenalin-pumping trip full of vertical loops, dives and zero-g rolls. The ride’s ghostly namesake appears out of nowhere and pursues the riders, while emitting a bone-chilling scream. The narration notes that Banshee has “everything you fear: your fear of heights…of falling…of flying…of demons.”

    Led by Visual Effects Director Rob Churchill and Art Director Daniel Pernikoff, the team from Churchill Studio modeled the animation after prototype drawings and animatics of the new ride, recreating its architecture in precise, photo-real detail. The sense of menace is accentuated by setting the scene at dusk. “The sunset hour allowed us to play with a lot of cool highlights and shadows,” says Pernikoff. “It’s realistic, but surrealistic at the same time. Our 3D guys did an amazing job in adding the details that sell the effect.”

    The surreal tone is further enhanced by the appearance of the Banshee. The ghoulish figure forms out of a vapor trail and swoops over the screaming riders before resolving into the ride’s logo. “We broke the logo into its components parts—its arms and hands and tattered clothing, and animated each part individually,” recalls Churchill. “Working with Daniel on this first project was amazing!”

    Filmworkers provided editorial finishing for an additional 50 spots for Cedar Fair. The entire package will serve as the summer campaign for all of the parks in the group.

    Credits
    Title: Everything You Fear

    Client: Cedar Fair Entertainment. Kelley Semmelroth, EVP/Chief Marketing Officer; Lupita Suda, Manager Advertising.

    Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago. Pat Hanna, VP/Creative Director; Larry Liss, Assoc. Creative Director; David Petti; Assoc. Creative Director; Derek Green; Senior VP/Exec. Creative Director; Julie Sheridan, Senior VP/Group Account Director; Tiffany Williams, VP/Account Supervisor; Rich Mules, VP/Management Supervisor; Will Meyers, Producer; Liz Dacko, VP/Campaign Manager; Nancy Bernardin; Business Manager.

    Animation & Post: Filmworkers (Churchill Studio). Daniel Pernikoff, Art Director/Lead Compositor; Rob Churchill, Nuke Compositor/Flame Online; Charlie Peterson, CGI Artist; Drew Parks, CGI Artist; Quin Barclay; CGI Artist; Fred Keller; Colorist; Jeff Charatz, Online Finish; Derek de Board, Executive Producer.

    Edit: Beast Editorial. Angelo Valencia, Editor; Lauren Scheurer, Post Producer.

  • Vitamin Adds Tim Sepulveda as Technical Director

    Veteran visual effects artist, animator and designer will help the studio grow in 3D and other areas.…



    CHICAGO June 23, 2014— Hybrid production studio Vitamin Pictures has added Tim Sepulveda as Technical Director. Sepulveda brings broad experience in visual effects, animation and design through work with Leviathan, Charlex, Daily Planet and elsewhere. At Vitamin, he will act a liaison between clients and the studio’s creative team and oversee projects for a technical perspective. He’ll also work to improve workflows and implement new technologies.

    Technical director is a new position for Vitamin and its addition reflects the studio’s growth and the broadening of its creative horizons. We’ve been growing, taking on more projects and expanding the palette of our work, and it’s important that we have top talent to support all those efforts, explains Danny DelPurgatorio, Vitamin’s Creative Director. Tim is an extremely well-rounded artist. He has excellent skills in storytelling and design. Plus, he has deep technical knowledge about 3D and effects. It’s very exciting to have him on board.”

    Sepulveda has worked with Vitamin as a freelancer on several occasions over the past few years, most recently on a national commercial campaign for Coors. I really liked the vibe of the studio, he says. It’s very well organized, everyone is very disciplined and the work is top notch.”

    A Chicago native, Sepulveda began his career with Radar Studios. He later served as Senior Designer at Foundation Post before joining Charlex, where he became an Associate Creative Director. He joined Leviathan as VFX Supervisor in 2011 and has worked as a freelancer since 2012. His skills run the gamut from on-set visual effects supervision to designing 3D workflows to illustration and animation.

    Vitamin Pictures Executive Producer Larissa Berringer says that one of Sepulveda’s chief tasks will be to grow the studio’s 3D capabilities. We are doing a lot more 3D both as standalone work and as a component to other work, she says. Tim will help us elevate that.”

  • Filmworkers Celebrates "Modern Southern Music" with Hayden Panettiere

    CHICAGO — Matt Egan has directed Nashville star Hayden Panettiere in a new ad for Belk that is part of the fashion brand’s “Modern. Southern. Music.” campaign.…

    Filmworkers provided post production services for the glamorous commercial, produced by Coin-Operated Films, which captures the actress arriving on location at the newly-renovated Country Music Hall of Fame for an evening shoot.

    The spot evokes the Southern lifestyle and Nashville’s connection to country music, new and old, with plenty of panache. Egan took advantage of the ebullient architecture that has recently sprung up in the city’s downtown, including the sprawling Music City Center, to create spectacular nighttime vistas. “We wanted to capitalize on Hayden’s star power through a day-in-the-life story that has a dreamlike feel,” says Egan.

    The dreamlike quality is accentuated by the fluid cinematography of DP Vance Burberry, subtle slow motion effects (that draw attention to elements of Panettiere’s wardrobe), a pulsating editorial rhythm and an upbeat score. A heart-shaped graphic recurs throughout the spot to underscore Panettiere’s love for the Belk brand.

    Egan relished the opportunity to direct Panettiere, who recently earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Nashville. “She’s a total pro and a great collaborator,” he says. “The camera loves her; the hardest part of the job was deciding which were our favorite takes.”

    Egan supervised editorial, performed by Coin-Operated Films’ Charles Newberry, and final post work completed at Filmworkers. Senior Colorist Fred Keller used a Baselight color grading system to polish the final look. “For Belk, we like to pump the color and create a warm feel with rich skin tones,” explains Keller. “The images in this spot are especially deep and dramatic, and we emphasized that with lots of contrast. When Hayden walks out on stage, it really pops.”

    Credits

    TITLE: Belk Most Wanted

    CLIENT: Belk

    AGENCY/
    PRODUCTION: Coin Operated Films. Matt Egan, Director (Filmworkers); Jon Singer, Executive Producer; Vance Burberry, Director of Photography.

    EDITORIAL: Coin Operated Films. Charles Newberry

    POST: Filmworkers. Fred Keller, Colorist; Justin Winkler, Finishing Editor; Todd Freese, Post Production Supervisor; Lisa Long, Executive Producer; Derek de Board, Senior Producer.

    LINK: https://vimeo.com/87823815

  • Vitamin Creates an Ice Kingdom for Coors Light

    Hybrid production studio travels inside the design of new “special edition” cans in new campaign from CommonGround.…



    CHICAGO—April 30, 2014— Vitamin Pictures transports viewers into worlds populated by tumbling glaciers and freezing liquid in two new, fully-animated spots for Coors Light.

    Conceived by Chicago agency Commonground, the commercials introduce artist-designed special edition cans available for a limited time.

    The first spot, Crevice, opens with the camera traveling at hyper speed through an enormous ice canyon. A fissure opens and icy boulders begin to fall from the sky. The camera pulls back to reveal that the frozen landscape is actually the surface of the new 12-oz aluminum “Shatter” pint.

    “We really liked the idea of creating a world on the other side of the paint,” says Vitamin Creative Director Danny DelPurgatorio. “For Crevice, which was the first spot out of the gate, we wanted to make sure we went big in scale, visually. And because this spot was introducing consumers to the new campaign, there needed to be a bit of mystery behind it as well.”

    The second spot, Drip, takes the opposite approach in exploring a macro world. In this spot, red and blue liquid falls from the sky and explodes into a sea of ice crystals, before the camera pulls back to reveal the “Splash” can artwork.

    “For Drip we wanted to play with defying gravity,” notes DelPurgatorio. "The spot's orientation rotates as the story unfolds. We had the same team working on both spots, so the challenge here was to completely shift gears and look at everything through a much different lens, literally and figuratively. Ultimately, what made both of these spots a success was the collaborative process within Vitamin and also with our friends at Commonground.”

    Vitamin Pictures spent two months producing the two ads. 3D Modeling was done in Z-Brush, 3D Animation in Maya, 3D VFX Houdini, Nuke Compositing.

    Credits

    Client: Coors Light

    Agency: CommonGround, Chicago. Mark Graham, Creative Director; Nan Zhao, Associate Creative Director; Austin Arnold, Associate Art Director; Audrey Wojtonik, Producer.

    Production: Vitamin. Danny DelPurgatorio, Creative Director; Larissa Berringer, Executive Producer; Sam Gierasimczuk, Designer / 3D Generalist; Michael Siegel, Designer / 3D Generalist; James Levy, Designer; Morgan James, Designer; Sebastian Larroude, Designer;Marco Iozzi, Designer; Drew Parks, 3D Modeling ; John Cook , 3D Lighting; Santosh Sailesh, 3D VFX Artist; Tim Sepulveda , Technical Director / Compositing; Chris Beers, Compositing; Lauryn Grimando, Associate Producer; Todd Beyer, Sound Design; Michael Mason, Audio Engineer




  • Designer/Animator Erik Edmonson Joins Filmworkers Nashville

    NASHVILLE— April 30, 2014— Award-winning motion graphics designer and animator Erik Edmondson has joined the creative team at Filmworkers, Nashville.…

    The arrival of Edmondson, whose work spans commercials, broadcast design, title treatments and graphics, will allow Filmworkers to expand its menu of services, adding design and animation to its core post production offerings, which include editing, color correction, visual effects and editorial finishing.

    Edmondson has already completed several projects for Filmworkers, including three fully-animated commercials for the Tennessee Lottery and Nashville agency The Buntin Group. He also contributed to a commercial for Alameda Health System and produced type animation for HealthSpring.

    “We’re very excited to bring Erik and his artistry to Filmworkers,” says Robert Zimmerman, the facility’s executive producer. “He consistently hits it out of the park in terms of creative execution and always works hard to ensure the work exceeds the client’s expectations.”

    A Nashville native, Edmondson has worked as a freelance designer and animator for the past several years serving corporate clients, broadcasters and advertising agencies. He collaborated with Filmworkers on several projects including an ad campaign for Verizon and Birmingham, Alabama agency O2 Ideas. Additionally, he recently won an Telly Award for his work for DNA Creative Marketing, Nashville, and its client Permobil.

    Edmondson’s background also includes 10 years as a graphics designer and animator for Nashville television station WKRN, where he worked on a variety of news, sports and entertainment shows. During his time with the station, he won four local Emmy Awards for graphics design for the station’s broadcasts of Tennessee Titans games, alongside ten Emmy nominations.

    “The variety of projects I’ve had an opportunity to work on has been exciting and rewarding—as has helping my clients achieve their vision,” says Edmondson. “It’s fun to help people solve problems.”

    Edmondson adds that, at Filmworkers, he’ll be able to take on larger and more complex projects by teaming with other members of the creative team, who include colorist Jimmy Cadenas, editor Adam Little and editor/visual effects artist Tim Moore. “We have the tools and talent to tackle any task,” he insists. Edmondson’s skills include Adobe AfterEffect, Cinema 4D Studio and XSI/SoftImage 3D.

    This latest move caps a strong year for Filmworkers, Nashville. The facility has produced Emmy Award winning commercials for Tennessee Lottery and Chinet, as well as the TobyMac video Eye On It (a Dove Award winner for Short Form Video), and videos by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, CMT Award winners, respectively, as Male Vocalist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. Recent projects include Garth Brooks’ Live from Las Vegas DVD included in his Billboard chart topping album Blame it All on My Roots and a bonus DVD included with the remastered Roy Orbison album Mystery Girl.

    Zimmerman expects further growth now that design and animation have been added to the mix. “It fills a need in this market,” he says. “Erik’s expertise opens new avenues for us with our clients in Nashville and the Southeast, particularly when we combine what he brings with Tim’s experience in visual effects and compositing. It puts us into a place occupied by no other facilities in this market. We have it all under one roof.”