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Constructing the Future

October 15, 1998|JENNIFER OLDHAM

About 15,000 digital extras and 5,000 digital cars join a floating piggy bank and a giant coin to depict a financial world that presents an "Orwellian nightmare" in a commercial from San Francisco-based ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney for First Union Bank. Here's how the San Rafael-based Industrial Light & Magic Commercial Productions created the spot.

1. Designers took pictures of downtown San Francisco to use as a backdrop and to provide perspective for each scene.

2. Figures wearing black capes and black top hats are shot standing against a blue screen. These shots are transferred to a computer, where they're placed on top of both digitally created and real buildings.

3. Using computer graphics, designers create thousands of digital people that mimic those shot on the blue screen. These people are traveling next to roads shaped as dollar signs where red and black cars dash about. This scene is placed on top of the buildings.

4. Designers add other graphic effects to the scene on a computer, including smog and flags shaped like dollar bills.

5. At the end of the commercial, the First Union tower rises out of this scene to present "a wide range of financial options to bring order to the chaos," according to the advertising agency.

Director Steve Beck said that these myriad elements should make viewers feel as if they're "lost inside a $50 bill."

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