Samsung went right to the source of the current 3-D frenzy -- James Cameron's team at Digital Domain -- to produce its ad. Avatar director of photography Mauro Fiore shot the spot using the Pace Fusion 3-D camera system, which is the same technology that was used to create the groundbreaking movie. "We are committed to 3-D, so we cannot compromise," says Ang. "We wanted to deliver nothing short of the full 3-D experience because it's going to be right beside the movies."
For Purina, which began running an animated commercial for its Friskies wet cat food in theaters with the release of Alice in Wonderland, the decision to go with 3-D evolved out of the strategy and tagline, "Feed the senses." In the ad, titled "Adventureland," from Avrett Free Ginsberg in New York, a live-action cat walks through a kitchen portal into a fantastical animated world where turkeys dance, chickens play musical instruments and flying fish narrowly escape the cat's reach while it takes a boat ride.
"We felt it was a perfect fit [for 3-D]," says Susan Schlueter, director of marketing for Friskies, which worked with Screenvision to place the advertising before the Disney movie. "We decided, 'Why don't we push [the concept] a little further with 3-D, which is the ultimate sensory experience?'"
The commercial, produced with Shythesun in Cape Town, South Africa, and Passion Pictures in London, was created to run on TV in 2-D and cinemas in 3-D. It took nearly seven months to produce, with an additional two weeks in post to add the 3-D elements. "You can go back and export all the mattes," explains Erik Denno, senior art director at AFG. "Because you are doing it as a digitally animated spot, you already have everything built into it to create the 3-D elements."
The team at GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, took a similar approach to the production of its 3-D execution for the Air Force. Created for both 2-D and 3-D broadcast, "Space" (pictured), which shows the Air Force steering a satellite away from debris in its orbit, was created mostly using CG animation, with the 3-D effect created in post. "It already had dynamic scenes with the space action," says Christopher Colton, creative director at GSD&M, who estimates that the 3-D conversion added between $50,000 and $70,000 to the production cost and four to six weeks for the transfer. "It had the drama to get the viewer engaged in a 3-D experience."
Sean Costelloe, a producer at The Mill in London, which worked on 3-D Cadbury cinema ad "Cocoa Beams" for Fallon, says the greatest concerns he's hearing from agencies interested in tackling a 3-D project are about audience reach and cost. Distribution opportunities are increasing, so we should see more execution as the reach grows. And "like everything, with careful planning in preproduction, costs can be minimized," Costelloe says. "If everybody is involved in the idea stage, the cost needn't be scary."
The Mill worked with Inition to re-render the CGI assets in the Cadbury spot, which shows cocoa beans flying onto a giant spinning African mask, to create the stereoscopic 3-D elements. "It's an exciting medium, and it's here to stay," says Costelloe, pointing to the evolution of 3-D viewing from theaters to the home and later, as the technology evolves, to Internet TV. "It's not a flash in the pan the way we've seen before, and the reason is the product is so much better."