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Ben Smith takes us to the movies with McDonalds new idents…

Designer Ben Smith working with directing duo Samuel & Gunnar at Tantrum has designed eight ‘genre’ ident films for McDonalds. Inspired by Horror, Space, Fantasy, Western, Kung Fu, 80s Rom Com, Period Drama and Action genres, these idents are part of their ITV2 movie night sponsorship all shot in studios and on location in Sofia.

Ben tells us “To deliver eight different sets convenient for the logistics of our shoot we chose NU Boyana Film Studios in Sofia. I built the space ship airlock and fantasy cave as new sets and adapted the existing Western, New Hampshire and Asian back lot sets to become our Saloon, 80s American house and Kung Fu dojo. The challenge was to feature the classic elements of each genre in the designs and to source specific key props to make each genre instantly recognisable. We had a lot of fun researching and collaborating on the set details and I had a great local team to support me.”


AUDI’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror” directed by Johnny Hardstaff in Kiev – nice…

Alex Marden was working with director Johnny Hardstaff through Independent earlier this year on the new stunning AUDI commercial – synchronised swimming cars!!  Currently getting a lot of coverage in the industry press, here’s what Al had to say about creating the set -:

“This job was all in the preparation, because once the water was in there would be no turning back! Lots of tests were made for what the surface of the pool should be: It had to have the appearance of tiles, hold up to a lot of wear and tear under the water, but also ensure that the cars had enough grip to do doughnuts, hand brake turns and other tricks. There was a lot of communication with the precision drivers to make sure they were happy. That was before we worked out how to make sure it didn’t leak! The whole build was a military operation and the construction team were incredible. After wrap the whole set was struck overnight!”



Spike Jonze directs Idris Elba in latest Squarespace commercial

Spike Jonze has just been in the UK directing through MJZ the latest commercial Squarespace for their current campaign. Starring Idris Elba is shows him getting a shot at realising his childhood dreams in a flash-back sequence where the actor plays out his wildest childhood aspirations including stints as a professional athlete, chef and fighter pilot.  Art directed by Art Departments Amanda McArthur ably assisted by Bridget Menzies and Emma Davis they faced quite a few challenges over the month long prep and shoot. The cake sequence presented huge problems which Amanda solved with great imagination.

“It was the night before the shoot and the steaming real cake wasn’t working.  We had had people baking cakes for days.  We tried hard foam but it was too stiff and didn’t have the holey texture of cake. So I thought soft foam might do the trick if we could make it real enough, only to find that all the new foam I could buy was green or blue. It was getting late and with no options left, I started tearing up the cushions at home and my patio cushions came to the rescue, they were cake colour. With the help of the Machine Shop boys, some real frosting and spray paint. We got the steam coming up through the foam and the transition into the astronaut sequence was going to work.”

Good enough to want a slice – gotta love Spike Jones, Idris Elba and Amanda’s patio cushions!!  Great job done well!!