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Thomson Expands Advertising Industry Support with Cutting-Edge Visual Effects and Postproduction Services for High-Profile Ad Campaigns

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News : Thomson Expands Advertising Industry Support with Cutting-Edge Visual Effects and Postproduction Services for High-Profile Ad Campaigns

Attention-Generating Spots from Vodafone, Electronic Arts, and France Telecom’s Orange Are Latest Examples of Services Division’s Ability to Support World’s Best-Known Consumer Brands

Last Updated: December 8, 2005 6:00 pm GMT
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(PARIS, France and SOHO, London, — December 8, 2005) Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS) today announced that its Services division, through its Moving Picture Company (MPC) business, provided cutting-edge visual effects and postproduction support for recently-launched advertising campaigns from Vodafone, Electronic Arts, and Orange.

The well-received broadcast spots, which debuted across the United Kingdom and Europe last month, are three of the latest examples of Thomson’s ongoing collaboration with advertising industry clients across the globe. The company has also recently completed advertising-related projects for some of the world’s most highly-regarded consumer brands, including Adidas, Audi, BMW, Guinness, Honda, Levi’s, Nike, Smirnoff, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

“Thomson is pleased with the outstanding quality, positive client feedback, and favorable public reception associated with these and other advertising projects,” said Lanny Raimondo, Senior Executive Vice President of Thomson, and Chief Executive Officer of Technicolor. “As a leading provider of visual effects, production, and postproduction services to the media and entertainment industries, Thomson’s ongoing collaboration with the advertising community represents a natural extension of these capabilities. As a result, Thomson intends to continue developing services and technologies specifically for advertisers which can be leveraged to enhance the creativity and effectiveness of future broadcast campaigns.”

“MPC’s work with Vodafone, Electronic Arts, and Orange is indicative of the high-end visual effects, computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation, and postproduction capabilities it routinely provides to well-known brands to generate the consumer buzz they are seeking,” said David Jeffers, managing director of Technicolor’s London affiliate, MPC. “The company takes a great deal of pride in the cutting-edge creative services and technologies that make these campaigns possible, as well as the brilliant minds it employs behind the scenes to bring these innovative concepts to life.”

In the spot created for Vodafone, entitled “Under the Tree,” events unfold in a snow-covered yuletide setting in which the heroine is joined by a cross-section of people who gather and sing in unison under a huge evergreen tree. BBH London, Vodafone’s ad agency, contracted with MPC to carry out postproduction. The team created visual effects (VFX), including a huge computer-generated (CG) tree extension and composed matte paintings over blue-screen backgrounds to give depth to the forest. The project team also painstakingly removed evidence of studio lights hanging from the ceiling between the trees, and added in falling CG snow. Furthermore, MPC graded the film to give the forest a dark, dusky look, and softened the skin tones of the actors by using filters to mute the vividness of the white snow. The ad began airing across Europe wide on November 21, 2005.

To support the introduction of Electronic Arts’ new soccer video game, FIFA 06, MPC provided postproduction services and crowd replication VFX for two spots, entitled “Referee” and “Winner Stays On.” Both ads feature 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, and recreate the anticipation felt in football stadiums around the world. To create this energy, MPC replicated hundreds of excited football fans by using a mixture of VFX, and traditional 2D tiling and carding techniques. The company’s VFX supervisors shot cheering crowds against a green screen, and then captured images of the top levels of the Olympic stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Using three high-definition digital video cameras, the crew filmed individual crowd members from five strategically-placed camera positions around the stadium. Subsequently, Rooney was tracked into multiple shots in 3D, while confetti, streamers, flags, and ticker tape were added to the scene. Finally, the project team composited the score of the football games onto the stadium’s Jumbotron to complete the effect.

MPC employed its proprietary crowd simulation software, ALICE, to bring Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival to life for Orange, a subsidiary of France Telecom and one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies. The commercial, appropriately entitled “Rio,” tells the true story of Renato, a Brazilian street cleaner who is elevated to folk-hero status after being broadcast nationwide performing an inspired samba behind the floats in the Carnival parade. ALICE is a proprietary software application originally developed for use by MPC’s features division to create crowds for film projects including Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. For Orange, the company customized the ALICE package to create photo-real Carnival attendees, all of which have their own behavior patterns. To extend the look and feel of the effect, MPC recruited one thousand extras to fill Rio’s Sambadrome. These crowds were then multiplied in postproduction using ALICE, as well as traditional 2D crowd-replication techniques, with some shots resulting in up to 250,000 people.

About MPC
One of the world's leading postproduction facilities, MPC creates high-end digital visual effects and computer animation for the advertising, music, television, and feature film industries. Based in Soho, London, MPC is a purpose-built facility with a digital infrastructure designed and built for the future. Its facility is inspirational, spacious and welcoming, creating both an intimate and professional environment. MPC works with and continually invests in new technologies, but its priority lies in its creative talent, production services for clients, and the quality of the product. The company recently completed work on high-profile advertising campaigns for Vodaphone, Electronic Arts, Orange, Nike, and adidas; feature films including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Batman Begins; and landmark drama, history and science programs for the BBC, Channel 4, and Discovery Channel. MPC is part of the Services division of Thomson. For more information: http://www.moving-picture.com

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