Fox’s new show The X Factor had a dramatic introduction during the Super Bowl as thousands of Xs came together to form the show’s host Simon Cowell. The reverse explosion of Cowell was produced by Fox, Three (One) O, Park Village Productions in collaboration with effects powerhouse Zoic Studios.
To create the effect, a variety of plaster forms simulating Simon Cowell’s legs, torso and head were detonated at high speed (1000-1500 fps) and shot on the Zoic Studios Stage. A week later on a London sound stage, high-speed principal photography captured multiple angles of Simon Cowell, both static and spinning on a turntable, against an all-black environment with heavy backlight. Additionally, Simon Cowell was 3D scanned to provide high-resolution textures for the eventual 3D model of his full body. Autodesk’s Maya was then used to fracture and explode the 3D model. The compositing challenge was to integrate all the live-action elements from the explosion shoot, principal photography, and CG passes of Simon’s fracturing shell, individual body parts, and various “X” shapes, to create the illusion of Simon being formed from the ground up.
The results were premiered during the Super Bowl and online via social media. To view, click here.
Autodesk Maya & Flame
Autodesk’s Fracture-FX Plug-In
The Foundry’s Nuke
Client: FOX Broadcasting Company
Joe Earley, President, Marketing & Communications
Michael Vamosy, SVP, Design
Brian Dollenmayer, SVP, On Air Promo Creative
Dean Norris, SVP, Marketing & Special Projects, Special Ops.
Barry Alexander, VP, On Air Promo Creative
Justin Owens, VP, Broadcast Design
Julio Cabral, Creative Director, On Air Promo Creative
Golareh Safarian, Director, Special Projects & Production, Special Ops.
Production Company (US): Three (ONE) O
Executive Producer: Elaine R. Sibert
Director: Norry Niven
Production Company (UK): Park Village Productions
Executive Producer: Nikki Chapman
Senior Producer: Kate Phillips
Line Producer: Mikey Levelle
Visual Effects: Zoic Studios
Creative Director: Andrew Orloff
VFX supervisor: Doug Ludwig
CG Supervisor: Andy Wilkoff
Executive Producer: Gina Fiore
Head of Production: Barbara Genicoff
VFX Producer: Erin Hicke
Compositing Supervisor/Flame compositor: Chris Irving
Lead Compositor: Jon Chesson
Compositor: Johnny Renzulli, Rodrigo Dorsch
3D team: Lochlon Johnston, Chris Barischoff, Eric Rosenthal
VFX coordinator: Andrew Gilson
Zoic Stage - Production manager: James Turek
Zoic Stage Special Effects Supervisor: John Stirber
Zoic Stage - Director of Photography: Barry Walton
Zoic Engineering and Render Support: Saker Klippsten, Mike Romey, Paul Ghezzo, An Dang, Jason Bueno, Ramzi Daouk and Marshall Huffman
3D scanning Company: 4Dmax
3D fracture software provided by Fracture-FX [less