Mastercard – What’s Priceless to You?

As UEFA’s Champion’s Leagues men’s final approaches, Mastercard celebrates its sponsorship with a moving film featuring a de-aged version of…
Mastercard "What’s Priceless to You?"
Case Study

As UEFA’s Champion’s Leagues men’s final approaches, Mastercard celebrates its sponsorship with a moving film featuring a de-aged version of football legend Lionel Messi.

In the film, Messi reflects on his voyage from Argentina to Spain in 2000 when he left home to launch his football career. In a decisive moment, past and present versions of himself meet: “I love football,” young Messi declares during the encounter, to which his future self replies, “I do too.”

In collaboration with director Peter Thwaites at The Corner Shop and agency McCann, our team of VFX specialists, led by Creative Director Matt Pascuzzi, utilized “neural rendering” technology, an AI-based technique, to craft teenage Messi. This spot marks the first time this proprietary VFX process has been used in a commercial – pioneered by The Mill’s VFX Supervisor, Thiago Porto.

Neural rendering is an entirely new VFX method using zero CGI, and instead, a synthetic Render is developed using artificial intelligence. This process involves feeding data to an AI Neural Network in the form of, thousands of references of young Messi. Numerous photo and video data of his likeness and movements were fed to the AI, with the addition of video captured of child actors with his likeness. The AI was then able to use this data to generate the final digital image (Synthetic Render) we see in the commercial. Once our VFX team created this Synthetic Render of Messi, it was passed on to our compositing team who integrated it into the live-action shots. Topping off the film is a colour grade by Mill colourist Mark Gethin.


Agency: McCann XBC
Executive Producer: Judi Nierman
Co-Chief Creative Officer, New York: Pierre Lipton
Chief Creative Officer, Europe: Adrian Botan
SVP, Group Creative Director: Ethan Schmidt
SVP, Group Creative Director: Pebble Goh

Production Company
Production Company: The Corner Shop
Director: Peter Thwaites
Executive Producer: Jay Shapiro
Line Producer: Nick Sutherland-Dodd

VFX: The Mill
Creative Director: Matt Pascuzzi
Senior Executive Producer: Camila De Biaggi
Senior Producer: Sally Wnek
2D Lead: Thiago Porto
2D Artists: Julien Aucouturier, Tim Crean, Tom McCullough, Jorge Pereira, Yashvardhan Jain, Rajesh Kaushik, Scott Winston
DMP Artists: Ivo Horvat, Mark Ross
BLR Producers: Gaurav Joshi, Ameya Prakash Chitnis
BLR 2D Lead: Yogesh Ahire, Mahendra Reddy, Manmohan Singh
BLR 2D Artists: Sandeep Mishra, Nithish Nandaa, Shailesh Madhav, Ajith Raj
BLR 3D Lead: Elangovan Ganeshan
BLR 3D Artists: Suman Sahu

Colour: The Mill
Colourist: Mark Gethin
Colour Assistant: Nate Seymour
Executive Producer Colour: Meghan Lang Bice
Senior Producer, Colour: Caitlin Forrest, Jessica Amburgey

Editorial: No6
Editor: James Duffy
Assistant Editors: Shannon Strong, Evelina Gokinayeva
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Head of Production: Laura Molinaro
Producerz: Charlotte Delon, Elizabeth Gelhar
Graphics: Dave Gerber

Audio Post: Sound Lounge
Mixer/Partner: Tom Jucarone
Senior Producer: Dana Villarreal

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