Guinness Music Machine is Alive Inside

Guinness has launched a TV advert, “Music Machine”, in which cream-clothed stunt men bounce around inside a glass of the dark beer, bouncing off Irish drums (bodhrán), plucking harp strings and sounding horns. The visual-effects-laden spot provides an ‘uber-modern expression of a Busby Berkeley extravaganza in a glass’. The tagline: “It’s Alive Inside.”

Men inside Guinness on harp

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Guinness Music Machine ad was developed at Irish International BBDO by creative director Mal Stevenson, copywriter Mark Nutley, art director Pat Hamill and agency producer Noel Byrne.

Filming was directed by Steve Cope via Red Bee Media, with producer Edel Erickson.

Editor was Tim Hardy at Cut+Run, London.

Tim Hardy and Steve Cope worked together on the BBC Elvis promo ad and on the Monkhouse prostate cancer advert. Filming for the Guinness Music Machine ad included a multi-camera, four-day shoot with stuntmen and air rams that propelled them into real eight-foot drums constructed for the project. It also involved complex visual effects, exacting music production and editorial in a process a choreographed as the work itself.

Post production was done at The Mill, London, by production team Charlotte Loughnane and Lee Pavey, colourist Seamus O’Kane, lead Flame artist Richard Roberts, Flame Assists Leon Wood and Paul Downes, Lead Shake Darren Christie, Shake artists Grainne Freeman, Becky Porter and Pete Hodsman, Smoke artists John Thornton, VFX supervisor/lead 3D artist Juan Brockhaus, Lead Technical Director Tom Bussel, 3D artists Aidan Gibbons, Alex Hammond, Suraj Coledra, Ross Urien, James Rogers.

After a week of shooting in a greenscreen studio at Shepperton Studios with only one real drum, some ropes and three stuntmen, post production at The Mill began. During the shoot, the full-CG-backgrounds of the music machine were being designed and modeled back at The Mill by Ross and Aidan.

A CG replica of a stuntman had to be modeled, textured and rigged. Real stuntmen were used for the foreground shots, while all the characters in the background are CG. The animated characters were created in Natural Motion Endorphin by Juan and brought into XSI. Here the characters were finely tuned and timed to the music in each shot by Juan and Alex. Natural Motions Endorphin gave flexibility by creating different variations of realistic animations of acrobats hitting drums.

All the backgrounds are full CG, the only real elements are the close-up Drums. Aidan started rigging and animating the backgrouds to give it a liquid feel while Tom in XSI and Darren in Shake started to define the look of the backgrounds. Once a basic look was approved, Tom, Aidan and James started to set up all the other shots.

To enhance the feel of a liquid environment, the characters leave bubble trails and some also burst into bubbles when hitting the right tone. These trails and explosions were all created by Sid in Maya. In total the animators worked on over 50 shots (10 shots were completely CG) in about 8 weeks.

Once all the shots were composited with atmospheric effects and balanced out together, the final grade was completed in The Mill’s Data Grading suite. All the mid-tones were crunched out to achieve a more graphical rather than a cinematic look.