This 6 Nations campaign, the first for Three’s sponsorship of the Irish Rugby team, explores all it takes to play for Ireland, delving into the physical and psychological obstacles the players must overcome to be the best.
The stirring voice of Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt grounds the piece in reality, which gave us licence to create something visually intriguing but also, felt true.
‘Destroying your opponent’, ‘getting butterflies’ and ‘feeling the burn’ are all familiar phrases in sport, so our challenge was to bring these idioms to life in a new and unique manner. However, it’s one thing to write ‘Johnny Sexton bursts into butterflies’, it’s a whole other thing to make that happen.
We worked closely with Director Brett Foraker and post-house Electric Theatre Collective to ensure each player’s visual effect felt ‘real’ and would capture Irish rugby fan’s attention.
The Rhino was built from scratch with a rig to simulate muscle and skin movement. This gave the animal a real life feeling of weight and mass. The challenge for the explosion was to create a dramatic yet beautiful effect that was symbolic of how O’Connell mentally and physically destroys his opponents.
The butterfly sequence had to strike a tricky balance between violence and beauty. The break up required ferociousness, while the butterflies themselves needed to retain their natural delicateness. Three different CG simulations were expertly combined and composited to achieve this effect. Close attention was also paid to the colour of the butterflies so they took on the individual tones of skin, jersey, shorts and ball.
The stadium behind O’Connell was built entirely in CG with and mixture of digital and real lens flares, We gave real consideration to the amount of stadium architecture that was visible; just enough to feel it with out showing too much, as this would take away from the action.
The overall result was a stunningly complex visual effects piece that most importantly supported rather than detracted from the core message – all it takes to play for Ireland is…everything.