How to Make An Athlete Out of Water

 

By The Denver Egotist / /

You’re looking at the brief. It says “Water made active”. Hmmm. What’s the purest expression of that thought? What if you could somehow make the water become active – like it had come to life in the shape of an athlete?

 

The initial idea part is never easy, but the steps that followed were certainly no walk in the park. Gatorade’s G Active is a rehydrating blend of water and electrolytes, ideal for replacing fluid lost during exercise. So TBWA\Chiat\Day approached Unit9 and director Cole Paviour, who in turn enlisted Mr Moco and Machine Shop to somehow turn this very pure idea into a reality.

CGI would have been easier but cheating, so the challenge was to find the right technology to capture this idea in camera. Motion capture gave them a moving 3D athlete to recreate in water. Machine Shop custom-built a ‘rain-rig’ made up of over 2000 switches which worked almost like a 3D printer, using water and gravity to create a fleeting figure in liquid form.

Flash-lighting froze each frame in time and motion control came back into the fray so they could capture the effect with a synced camera move. This behind-the-scenes expands on the technical challenges they faced and how they overcame them. The ‘how’ is just as intriguing as the ”what’.

Bruno Acanfora’s quote rings true: “We were afraid, we were excited, afraid again.” That feeling of fear alternating with excitement is one we’ve felt when your pushing boundaries. It’s exciting to solve complicated problems no one’s faced before, but equally terrifying that you may not solve the next one while you’re splashing your client’s cash.

What do you know, it’s all worked out very well indeed. A simple, powerful idea mixed with innovation and technical excellence. Super job.