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I won a competitive pitch in February 2011 with McCann Erickson Sydney to create three 30 Second TV spots for The MasterCard Priceless Gig series. I pitched directly to the McCann's CD at the time, Michael Raso. This is the first spot in the series, promoting the Birds of Tokyo Gig at Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.


I directed each of the spots for this series of MasterCard commercials with a tactile in-camera approach, married with the playful transitional ideas I've become known for.


The production of the first spot, ‘Birds of Tokyo’ was pure grunt. We did everything in camera in as pure a way as possible. All the felt flames, the paper harbour maps, the buildings, the running kids, the smoke and dust from the hearts, everything was modeled and shot frame by frame. Looking back, we could have made our lives a lot easier by compositing and 3D modeling just a little, but the McCann's creatives were really into the purity of our approach, so what do you do? 


Most memorable moment would be DP Calvin Gardiner hand cranking the dolly and track camera move over the paper harbour set, climbing up and down a ladder to shoot each frame. That was an interesting evening!


My favourite part of the ‘Kasabian’ spot is where the red dot in the paper thermometer becomes a match head catching fire. The camera then pulls 90 degrees round the match head to see a hand holding the match. We achieved this by bringing in Lester Bishop a super talented key grip who often works with Calvin and Tony Gardiner, Engine's in-house DP. Lester devised a rig that allowed us to pivot the Red Camera 90 degrees around a hand holding a burning match, and then track across and down the set we had built. Well done Lester!


Just before starting work on 'Florence & The Machine’ we brought in Max McMullin as our new head of 3D. Max is a really great artist and I wanted to get him to re-create a stop-motion look in 3D. It took us a little while to convince the McCann's creatives, but in the end they gave us the CG rope to hang ourselves.


The result is a piece that starts in stop-motion, goes to a CG / stop hybrid in the breakfast scene and then continues through as pure 3D. We even mixed Maya and Cinema 4D in the final scene. Well, why not?


Apparently Florence's first stage name was 'Florence robot' and there actually is a robot restaurant in China, although I still don't know if the have paper ketchup there.



Client: MasterCard

Agency: McCann Sydney

CD: Michael Raso

Art Director: Celine Faledam, Brendan Willenberg

Copywriter: Rachel Guest

Agency Producer: Ros Payne / Colin Tuohy / Mandy Payne


Director - Simon Robson

Producer - Chris Seeto & Hayley Houlton

Production Assistant: Kaitlyn Mahoney

DOP: Calvin Gardiner ACS & Tony Gardiner

Lead 3D Artist: Max McMullin

3D Artists: Shaun Schellings /Sean Pow / Josh Edwards / Julian Reinhold

Lead Designer / Animator: Josh Edwards

2D Animator: Nick Petley

Design Assistants: Kiah Barker / Ben Thorn

Modelmakers: Josh Edwards / Nick Petley

Compositor: Lee Sandiford

Compositors / Animators: Mike Williamson / Josh Edwards / Kent Smith

Junior Compositor: Kiah Barker

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