Forget CG, Japanese Drink Company Shows The Magic Of Practical Effects

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube
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Drink maker Pocari Sweat has made a number of terrific commercials over the years. This latest one, which uses a bunch of practical effects, is one of its most impressive to date.

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In it, Sena Nakajima is walking down the hall at school, but then stops, turns around, and starts pushing her way through the crowd of students.

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube

She breaks into a run, and the hallway gets surreal.

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube

After stopping at the door to the outside, she throws them open and runs out into hanging wisteria and a flurry of cherry blossoms.

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube
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This is all rather amazing, I think!

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube
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You can see the full commercial below.

And the main set pieces were all practical effects. Here you can see what the hallway looked like.

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Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube

Nakajima had to practice her run. Note the safety gear as she got the hang of it.

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Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube

Then, when it was time to shoot, there was stuff flying all over the place.

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube
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Which made things harder!

Gif: 大塚製薬 公式チャンネル@YouTube
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For this spot, an 85-meter (278-foot) long, moving set was built.

As you can see, there was some wirework when the two students met up—and I’m guessing the wires were removed in post-production.

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CG can create some truly memorable sequences, but there’s something to be said for practical effects—namely, I love them and they’re great.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

DISCUSSION

So gorgeous. It reminds me a bit of the practical effects used for surreal effect in Spike Jonze’s ad for Apple Home. CG allows for amazing things these days, but there will always be a place for practical effects.