Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao directs Budweiser’s Clydesdale Super Bowl spot

Work February 17, 2022

Budweiser has released their Super Bowl spot directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao.

Alongside agency Vayner, production company Superprime, and director Chloé Zhao, we joined forces to help bring to life this story of resilience. From replacing backgrounds with matte painting, and creating CG dust, the team worked meticulously to ensure the spot was Super Bowl ready. Topping off the spot is a grade by Mill colourist Paul Yacono.

The emotional film follows one of Budweiser’s famous Clydesdale horses who suffers a debilitating injury. With the support of a stableman, a veterinarian, and a loyal yellow lab, the Clydesdale is able to get back on its feet and make an inspiring recovery.

“We all fall down in life and the journey to healing is often painful, long and solitary,” said Zhao in a statement. “To tell a story of perseverance, hope and friendship through the lens of the beloved Clydesdale really resonated with me.”

“One of the biggest challenges was making the sequence of the Clydesdale falling down and injuring itself feel believable. In the final edit it looks like the Clydesdale falls hard to the ground after jumping over a broken fence, but in reality this was filmed as a series of carefully planned actions in which the horse was gently guided down to the ground in stages by a professional handler onto a soft bed of sand. Our VFX and CG teams created detailed dust effects and manipulated areas of the ground where the horse lands in order to intensify the effect of the fall and to make this sequence feel as dramatic as possible. The end result is a powerful moment where you really feel the weight of this incredible animal.

We also composited separate shots of the fences around the Clydesdales to ensure they were safe while performing the jumping and falling sequences in the film. Finally, our artists did sky replacements, and created multiple matte paintings for nearly every exterior shot.

Oh, and the horse’s breath in the barn? That’s CG too. It’s a seemingly small detail, but it’s an important signal that the horse has finally gotten its strength back and is ready to get back to work.”
-Mario Stipinovich, Creative Director & VFX Supervisor

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