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Budweiser Stadium Wave

Budweiser Beer launched the television advertisement, “The Wave”, at the NFL Super Bowl in February 2006. The ad features a stadium of thousands of fans who create the impression of a bottle of Budweiser being poured into a glass and being drunk.

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Football players watch as human glass fills with Budweiser beer

The ad begins with an aerial view of a stadium. A close up of fans shows them holding and lifting their color-coded placards. One one side of the stadium a bottle of Budweiser appears. On the other side is an empty glass. Golden liquid pours around the end of the stadium to fill the glass as football players watch. The glass empties, to the sound of gulping. The camera moves to fans throwing their heads back and letting out a giant ‘Ahhh’ of satisfaction.

Budweiser ‘The Wave’ was created at advertising agency DDB, Chicago by chief creative officer Bob Scarpelli, group creative director Barry Burdiak, creative director John Hayes, creative director and art director Steve Bougdanos, creative director and copywriter Patrick Knoll, agency producer Kent Smith, and production business manager Patty Phassos.

‘The Wave’ was directed by Paul Middleditch, the director of the Carlton Draught Big Ad and Bud Light Fridge. Production was done through H.S.I. Productions, New York, with director of photography Ross Emery and executive producer Ellen Jacobson-Clarke, producer Tim Kerrison.

Editor was Hal Honigsberg at Chrome, Santa Monica. Chrome host Budweiser Wave as a 7.8 mb quicktime video.

Colorrist was Mike Pethel at Company 3. Music was composed by Jonathan Elias at Elias Arts, Santa Monica. Audio Mixer was Loren Silber at Lime Studios, Santa Monica. Sound was designed by Brian Chapman at Beacon Street Studio, Venice, California.

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Aerial view of stadium in Budweiser Wave TV Ad

Visual Effects were developed at Method Studios. VFX staff included Lead 2D VFX artist Mark Felt, CG creative director Laurent Ledru, 3D VFX artist Chi-Wei Hsu, Chris Smallfield, Dan Dixon, James LeBloch, Todd Sheridan Perry, Junior 2D VFX artist Kyle Obley, visual effects shoot supervision Laurent Ledru, Previsualization Pixel Liberation Front, software developer Andrew Bell, visual effects executive producer Neysa Horsburgh, visual effects producer Kim Wildenburg. Method Studios host the ad in quicktime format (6 mb).

The Budweiser Wave TV ad was made using only 300 actors, just like the Carlton Draught Big Ad. Massive Software’s artificial intelligence-based 3D animation systems were used to make up to 97,000 actors. By modifying Massive’s Ready-to-Run Stadium Agent, Method Studios placed a digital character underneath each card that would behave with all the randomness and realism of a real individual in a stadium scenario. Method Studios were able to add believable characters, such as spectators and football players on the stadium field, at the last minute without practical elements or new shoots.

Massive was founded when Stephen Regelous programmed a unique piece of software for director Peter Jackson to make creation of complicated visual effects scenes involving hundreds of thousands of digital characters a practical reality.

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