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Discreet's InfernoŽ and FireŽ Used for Texas Lottery Mega Millions Spot

When DDB Dallas, the general-market advertising agency of record for The Texas Lottery Commission, conceptualized a spot for the Mega Millions game, they pictured money, masses of money bills flying around a remote Texas border. This was a clean and simple idea, but how to make the money look real was not so simple. So Hal Dantzler, Director of Broadcast Production for DDB, turned to the expertise of charlieuniformtango (CUT) and Good Girl Film Productions for the special effects help needed.

Mega Millions is one of the largest jackpot games in the country. With millions of people playing, jackpots can roll to multi-million dollar levels. The spot was designed to illustrate this fact and the phenomenon of large amounts of money coming into the state.

The spot entitled "Blowing In" opens on a serene, remote Texas road with a "Welcome to Texas" sign visible in the foreground. Dollar bills begin hitting the sign one at a time then quickly multiply in number. The angles of the scene vary as the pace of bills flying increase to the point of a large whirlpool of money.

Hal Dantzler states "It's quite an ambitious idea, to make millions of migrating dollars invade the Texas state line. The agency felt strongly, however, that if we kept our approach simple and let the scope and fantasy come from the concept and not the execution, we could deliver a compelling and visually striking introduction to the Mega Millions game. In broad terms, we wanted the film to be classic and beautiful, and the effects to be undetectable. So, we assembled a production team that shared our storytelling sensibilities and from there every aspect of the project was a collaboration."

Dave Laird, infernoŽ and fireŽ." artist for CUT, stated, "The creative team at DDB wanted to show the money flying through the air with an attitude that didn't exude anything scary or storm-like. The idea is that money is coming across the state line. First there was one dollar bill, then the next, then a quick build of money impacting the sign like fervent butterflies."

"We shot multiple plates both on location and on the blue screen and composited these layers inside Discreet's infernoŽ to simulate the money flying in from all directions. I also built quite a few particle generators to create the look of the money swarming into a vortex, but the money in the foreground remained the real thing. Also, using the Knoll lens flare spark from GenArts, created a great Texas-sun glare on the sign. To top it all off, we finished on-line on Discreet's ."

Chris Smith, Director for Good Girl Production, added, "After numerous meeting with Hal and David, we decided against animation to achieve a look that didn't feel too digital. The bills shot on the blue cyc were actually scaled in half, as was the "Welcome To Texas" sign. Using half scale "bought" us the perception of 80ft. of bill travel on a 40 ft. high cyc. This, along with under-cranking the frame rate by four times, created the effect of the money falling to ground for a longer distance and more quickly. We did an HD film transfer at Video Post and Transfer for we wanted to maximize our resolution options for mixing and matching the layers in 3D space. The rest of the footage was transferred at Filmworkers Club. All this, and the fantastic creative team at DDB, took us the distance to make this spot truly unique."

Bill Schwarz, Director of Photography, stated, " It was particularly great working with Hal Dantzler because he's one of the rare creative individuals who had the capacity to see the big picture while remaining detail oriented. He always makes decisions in the context of the entire project and what's best for it."

I/O Partners, Inc. is a high performance systems integrator, based in Irving, Texas with field offices around the U.S. Its solutions target advanced enterprise demands for custom networking, storage and advanced computer integrations for media and non-media companies. I/O Partners is proud to represent an extensive number of leading edge, technically oriented companies including Discreet, a division of Autodesk, which considers I/O Partners one of its largest integrators. I/O Partners has been distinguished as one of the fastest growing companies in America by Dunn and Bradstreet's Entrepreneur publication, and is recognized as the leader in television production, broadcast integrations, storage and network innovations. http://www.iopartners.com/