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Method Studios Crashes Photoreal Train in AT&T Wild West Heist Spot

Studio provides elaborate VFX, including full CG derailment, previs, matte paintings and digital background replacements, for 90-second Western-themed “Train” commercial.

Method Studios was called on to deliver visual effects for the live-action portion of a new 90-second AT&T spot, “Train,” that tells the tale of a Wild West train heist. The commercial has two distinct parts: 50 seconds of gritty, dynamite-fueled live-action, with lots of bearded desperados, followed by 40 seconds of whimsical stop-motion. Director Dougal Wilson of Furlined tapped Method to produce visual effects for the live-action component, which included building a fully CG photoreal train derailment.

Method’s 20-person team was led by senior VFX supervisor Benjamin Walsh, who worked closely with Wilson to help conceptualize the spot’s Western environment and using previs, map out the flow of the train crash. Method artists tackled severe weather challenges in post, as each of the three shoot days in Nevada was plagued by problematic weather, ranging from sun to clouds to snow. To establish continuity and remove the snow, Method replaced the entire background throughout with matte paintings based on early concepts. Additionally, they created the fully CG train crash sequence.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with a director like Dougal, who collaborates from the early stages and trusts the expertise of his key crew,” Walsh shared. “Despite the weather’s best efforts to thwart us, the entire team at Method brought their A-game to achieve photoreal environments and destruction, which allowed the client to avoid reshoots and delays. This was a very exciting concept – who doesn’t love Westerns? – and we were thrilled to bring it to the screen.”

Creative Agency: BBDO

Chief Creative Officer BBDO Worldwide: David Lubars

Chief Creative Officer BBDO New York: Greg Hahn

Group Executive Creative Director: Matt Macdonald

Executive Creative Directors: David Povill, David Cuccinello

Creative Directors: Kevin Mulroy, Dan Kenneally

Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe

Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins

Executive Producer: Jessica Coccaro

Business Manager: Meg Foley

Managing Director: Rachel Nairn

Senior Director: David McKenzie

Account Director: Allie Knill

Director of Project Management: Colin Vidika

Communications Planning Director: Mac Russell

Media Agency: Hearts & Science

President, Hearts BBDO Team, AT&T: Ralph Pardo

Hearts & Science, Group Director, OOH Investment: Vanessa Hartley

Hearts & Science, Supervisor, OOH Investment: Kat Hamilton

Hearts & Science, Sr. Media Director: Alina Kulesza

Hearts & Science, Media Director: Chantal Villain

AT&T Clients:

SVP, Advertising & Marketing Communications: Valarie Vargas

VP, Advertising & Social Media: Marc Burns

Director, Advertising: Dave Brown

Lead Manager, Advertising: Tara Poosti

Production Company: Furlined

Director: Dougal Wilson

President: Diane Mccarter

Vice President: Benjamin Davies

Senior Executive Producer: David Thorne

Line Producer: Karen O’brien

Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder

Production Designer: Jahmin Assa

Composer: Dougal Wilson

Editorial Company: Final Cut

Executive Producer: Suzy Ramirez

Producer: Ana Orrach / Jamie Lynn Perritt

Editor: Joe Guest

Assistant Editor: Zoe Schack

Color: MPC LA and London

Color Supervision: Jean Clement Soret

Colorists: Ricky Gausis & Matthieu Toullet

Executive Producers: Meghan Lang & Ellora Chowdhury

Visual Effects Company: Method Studios

Senior VFX Supervisor: Benjamin Walsh

Senior Producer: Pip Malone

CG Supervisor: Rus Brutsche

Comp Supervisor: Toma Bowen

Lead Flame: Ian Holland

Lead Animator: Tim Ranck

Lead FX: Vladislav Tushevskiy

Coordinator: Josephin Peichl

Stop Motion Animation Company: House Special

Executive Producer: Hammack

Creative Director: Kirk Kelley

Animation Director: Paul Harrod

Animation DP: John Nolan

Senior Producer: Rebecca Bowen

Project Coordinator: Casey Follen

Music Company: JSM Music

CEO/CCO: Joel Simon

Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello

Composers: Nathan Kil/Joel Simon

Audio Finishing: Formosa

Mixer/Sound Designer: John Bolen

Executive Producer: Lauren Cascio

Source: Method Studios

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