MPC’s Seductive Snakes for Smirnoff

Created by Mother London to launch the new Smirnoff Apple Bite signature serve, the intriguing spot features a quintessentially Smirnoff world of temptation and mystery. Johnny Hardstaff directed the spot, devising a timeless otherworldly bar where everything isn’t quite what it seems. MPC provided all VFX, including the creation of multiple CG snakes.

MPC’s VFX team were led by Adam Crocker, who said “In addition to making sure our CG snakes were distinctive and realistic, the team had a lot of fun helping Johnny realize his vision for the strange world the characters inhabit. This involved peppering the spot with surreal details that are not necessarily noticeable on the first watch. Despite the tight turn around, working with a naturally creative and intuitive director such as Johnny made the project a lot of fun to be involved with and I think this shows through in the work.”

Amongst the additional details were a number of ‘false reflections’ and multiple versions of the omnipresent bartender appearing as various band members. He was filmed playing numerous instruments, and the footage was then composited together to appear as one shot.

MPC’s 3D team created the CG snakes from scratch, modeling using Maya then adding individual texture and colours. Snake behaviour and movement were studied extensively to bring the boa constrictor, viper and cobras to life. Lighting was generated with Arnold renderer from Solidangle, employed to give an instantly rich and realistic look.

The bartender was filmed in-camera with rigs designed to mimic snake movement inside his clothing. The CG snakes then appear as if to emerge from his sleeves. Extensive rig removal was carried out throughout the spot, including the removal of an ice crusher and bike chains that were used to squeeze the apple. A set extension was created for the wide bar scene to replicate the art-deco style ceiling.

Mark Gethin, US Head of Colour Grading completed the grade via remote in LA.

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