Optimus pulls off complex U.S. Bank spots for Olson

Pyrotechnics light up U.S.Bank “Concert” spot

A pair of U.S. Bank spots employing complex pyrotechnics and heavy CG were produced by Optimus and ONE at Optimus for Olson/Minneapolis’ Dennis Ryan, who left Element 79 in 2011 to join Olson as chief creative officer.

Now airing, discussions about the work, which involved a major amount of pre-visualization, planning began in early March and went into production in April.  The “High Rise” spot just aired and “Concert” began broadcasting in May.

“Our goal for both spots was to make them authentic and cinematic” says director Michael Chaves of his teamwork with editor Craig Lewandowski and Optimus’ effects department.

High Rise” depicts a construction company owner standing on top of a high-rise being built, commenting, “I don’t like risk. Safe is the real thrill.”  Oscar-winning DP Mauro Fiore shot live at Essanay’s green screen studio, against background plates of scenes captured from the top of the 41-story Kemper Building at 1 E. Wacker, and other locations.

Optimus’ VFX supervisor Paul Rosckes and design technical director Mark Walczak and the effects team worked closely with the director “to be sure we came away with a spot that feels authentic and gives the viewer a sense of height and risk,” Lewandowski notes.

Practical effects’ “Concert” opens with an executive walking into a dark, empty auditorium remarking, “I don’t like excitement.” Just after he says this, several flames explode high into the air onstage.

Optimus and ONE created a full-on rock show for a non-existent band, using pyrotechnics, laser lighting, computer-controlled lighting and video, at the Chicago area Allstate Arena.

Chaves and Lewandowski collaborated on an animatic for ‘Concert’ to be sure they knew exactly what they needed before they shot.

“’High Rise’ and ‘Concert’ are great examples of Optimus’ integrated model,” notes Chaves.  “What made the shoot and post process on both spots so smooth was our pre-vizing both spots with the effects and editorial teams.  Craig was cutting the earliest versions we presented.

“It’s amazing to have the same people working on the project from the very beginning. Especially when working with pyrotechnics and effects, the hybrid approach is a great way to keep spots creative and effective.”

Besides Ryan, another expat on the job was freelance producer Tom Cronin, formerly with Element 79 and Draftfcb. 

The spots were a continuation of five previous U.S. Bank assignments from Olson.

Agency credits: GCD,Vince Beggin; CD, Mark Andersen; AD, Bobby Appleby; producer: Tom Cronin; director of broadcast productions, Joel Dodson.

Production credits: Director, Michael Chaves; DP, Mauro Fiore; director of production: Craig Leffel; EP, Lisa Masseur;
line producer, freelancer Marsie Wallach; production designer, Joe Bristol.

Editorial: Editor, Craig Lewandowski;assistant editor, Aaron Porzel; VFX supervisor, Paul Rosckes; design technical director, Mark Walczak; colorist: colorist, Oscar Oboza; assistant to colorist, Jeff Greco; audio, Joel Anderson; EP/managing director, Gretchen Praeger; EP, Brian Hrastrar, producer, Tracy Spera. 

Music/sound design: Sonixphere.