CHRLX Raises the Roof for Rite Aid


Last Updated: June 7, 2013 7:19 pm GMT
(New York, United States--June 7, 2013) In the latest spot from the crew at CHRLX, a fully realized Rite Aid store is constructed from the ground up, complete with your own personal Wellness Ambassador. The ad, called “The Wellness Store” and created via Marc USA, uses a combination of visual effects and live-action to show how Rite Aid has reimagined and reinvented some of their stores with the customer’s ease and comfort in mind.

“In a way, the narrative is more about wellness than construction,” explained CHRLX Executive Creative Director Ryan Dunn. "We didn't want this to become a home improvement type of spot, which is tricky when the goal is to build a pharmacy from the ground up."

To avoid this potential pitfall, the team used particle FX for much of the pharmacy's formation. Floors, walls, and signage had a softer, more organic feeling as a result. "Our Softimage FX artist teamed up with our Maya animator and they developed a nice two-pronged approach to animating the shots," said Dunn. "Softimage has an extraordinary FX engine called ICE that gave us some beautiful results after a relatively short R&D period."

In terms of look-and-feel, Dunn and company “went for a look that was more photo-real than hyperreal,” he said. “Everything from how the camera moves to the scale of our reflections/textures had to be just right. We let highlights blow out more than you might do otherwise because we wanted to capture the anomalies of real photography.”

The team also treated their CG shots like filmed footage. “The look of our scenes was very flat while we worked, and that was intentional. I wanted to do a final color grade on the entire spot, CG and live-action as equals, so our CG scenes were essentially one-light dailies until the very end,” Dunn said. “We think it created a more seamless, cohesive look.”

For the visual effects artists at CHRLX, being on set with Dunn and co-director Joe Murray during the live-action shoot provided a great frame of reference that was critical to a successful post process. They inventoried relevant areas of the store with still photos, and got their hands on the original CAD files of the actual pharmacy they shot.

"The actual lighting script was important," Dunn recalled. "We wanted to bring light into a dark world as the pharmacy built up over several shots. It sounds simple, but we actually spent quite a bit of time getting the flow just right."

All technical wonders aside, CHRLX kept the focus on story. The decisions made, like using particles to build the store, served the spot’s narrative intent. In the case of “The Wellness Store,” that intent was to introduce a human being who exists to help you with your wellness in a reimagined environment. “It’s about self-improvement, not home improvement,” Dunn concluded, “so we kept that as our focus from start to finish.”

View the spot on Vimeo at

Client: Rite Aid
Spot: "The Wellness Store" :30TV
First Air Date: 5/2013

Agency: Marc USA / Pittsburgh
EVP/CCO: Bryan Hadlock
CD: Josh Blasingame
ACD: Greg Edwards
CW: Alyssa Davis
AD: Tyler Bergholz
VP/Director of Broadcast: Lynn Weatherly

Production Company: CHRLX / New York
Director(s): Joe Murray, Ryan Dunn
DP: Joe Murray
VFX Supervisor: Dade Orgeron

Post-Production Company: CHRLX / New York
Creative Director: Ryan Dunn
Editor: Brendan O’Neil
Lighting Lead: James Fisher
Lighting: Frank Grecco, Wil Atkin, Soo Hee Han, Denis Kozyrev, Yun Cho
3D Animation: Tony Tabtong, Ken Music
Modeling Lead: Hung Kit Ma
Modeling: Andrew Jerez, Yun Cho, Soo Hee Han, Denis Kozyrev
Rigging Lead: Steve Mann
Rigging: Andre Stuppert
FX Animation: Danil Krivoruchko
CG Supervisor: Salar Saleh
Producer: Corey Budro

Telecine Company: Out Of The Blue / New York
Colorist: Micah Kirz

Shoot Location: Pittsburgh, PA


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