Case Study: Creating Complex Tabletop VFX for Vallarta

We leaned heavily on our team’s deep expertise and our comprehensive inventory of onsite Motion Control robotics for a recent commercial shoot with Hispanic grocery store chain, Vallarta. To produce a commercial where Vallarta’s vibrant fresh flavors come alive, the store’s meat, vegetables, herbs, spices, and citrus juices needed to collide on camera, choreographed in a midair ballet—not all at the same time, but sequentially. Vallarta knew what they wanted to see, but they needed Cobalt’s extensive background knowledge to realize their vision.

To deliver Vallarta’s delicious concept, we created one-of-a-kind rigs to orchestrate the shoot’s astounding array of manual, pneumatic, electromagnetic, and robotic elements. By shooting 1000 frames a second, a tenth of a second’s action was slowed down to 4 seconds onscreen. This enabled Vallarta to show audiences citrus juices meeting onions, then adding peppers, and so on, with ingredients crashing in the specific order and combination the client envisioned. Using our programmable logic computer, we empowered this production to trigger multiple rigs with millisecond accuracy, releasing slingshots laden with fresh ingredients so they’d spring into action in front of the camera. To simulate wood-fired grilling, we built a unique grill rigged with lights and gas jets to create the appearance of flames, embers, and sparks coming up through it. Then, a manually-operated rig allowed the camera to look up through the grill and flames, and pivot to look down onto the sizzling steak.

We specialize in solving complex technical challenges, so our Turnkey soundstage is well-equipped to support clients with advanced rigs and technology. Even with many decades of Motion Control magic behind us, the complexity of these shots and this installation’s uniqueness will stand as a testament to our “Science in the Service of Art” credo. With our unique rigs, Vallarta captured their food on camera from new and exciting perspectives. Their audiences will have the opportunity to experience the stores’ freshness and flavor in a whole new way. And, when the shoot wrapped, everyone left happy 🙂

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