Brickyard VFX: Sprint

I’ve gotten a few emails about the new “Sprint Ahead” campaign, but I’ve been a little slow to post it (for reasons I’ll explain later). There are two “anthem” spots in the series that use the same concept as their foundation, just with varying degrees of production value. “Dreams” is all in-camera, giving it the low-fi indie look appropriate for Sprint’s consumer market, while “Charts” sports some high-end CG for the folks tethered to their suitcases and Crackberries all day.


Watch “Dreams” | Watch “Charts”

They’re both engaging spots, and I think Brickyard did a fantastic job realizing agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partner’s concept. I’m particularly impressed by their ability to render the same idea in two different “voices.” It shows flexibility and maturity on their part.

What I’m a little ho-hum about is the concept. It’s yet another example of an agency scooping up a YouTube trend, dusting it off and repackaging it for some corporate message that is only vaguely relevant. This concept of extended exposure stop-action photography has been popular for a while (look here or here for a small sampling), and I suppose it was just begging to be promoted to the big leagues.

At least Brickyard did a bang-up job of it. I have to admit that I prefer the more polished “Charts” over “Dreams.” I’m not sure what that says about me.

Watch “Dreams” | Watch “Charts” | Read the press release for a few technical nuggets

Big ups to Joe Clay and Justin for their tips on this one.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



No offense, but you’re completely nuts with this one, Justin. Not only is this concept nearly 20 years old (, and was recently done extremely well by Koichiro Tsujikawa (, but it’s still extremely fresh! And it may take a year or two for light painting to become something everyday people can enjoy.

In short, painting with light may be one of the coolest things ever!

Jeremy Pawlowski

Saw this stuff a long time ago over at , but it was nice to see it with some direction.


@Jeremy: Thanks for the link. I updated the post.

@Kevathens: *sigh* Please read the post again. I think you’ll find that I have no problem with light painting. I’m simply tired of big ad agencies repackaging otherwise cool ideas for messages that hardly relate to the ideas they’re repackaging.

And yes, light painting is an old artform. But over the last year, hundreds of new light painting videos have been soaring in popularity on YouTube, thus making them (in the eyes of marketers) culturally relevant. Again.

Despite all that, you’re right. I am completely nuts. :-)


I have no problem when big ad agencies repackage an idea when it’s done as well as these are. I saw “Dreams” on TV and it was like, “Holy shit! A good commercial!” Call me monumentally naïve, but it’s about time the corporate folk start pumping ads like these to mainstream TV.

Hopefully the future involves more people creating and enjoying magic sans cynicism.


(scratch “Hopefully” from that)

Joe Clay

I was mostly happy with seeing something I, stupidly, never thought to animate on TV. I love lightpainting! I too am upset that they dug up an underground art form for a commercial, but I guess that’s how this industry works a good bit of the time. At least they did it really well.

Also, thanks for the props :)


Nice work…

I would have done all the light effects in AE or Cinema depending on my mood.. And I kinda have a feeling they did too…


hey justin, im pretty sure picasso did it before some underground youtubers.


And he made movies of that? It’s one thing to make a still image of moving light and quite another to make a film of it.

Having said that, I’m sure it’s been done long, long ago. Just like nearly everything else posted on this site. The point is that the YouTube phenomenon is a new one, and that’s why Sprint and their agency latched onto it.


a film is a series of still images. thats not the point.

the point is that maybe the inxs director was inspired by picasso and pika pika was inspired by inxs, and sprint was inspired by pika pika, etc. etc. etc. down the foodchain.

i just wouldn’t say it started as a youtube trend. i agree with you though, that in this case it might have been chewed up and spit out by some ad execs with ponytails and blutooths.


I don’t get why people are so insistent on proving that this is unoriginal. It’s pretty decent, and some of these arguments are just for the sake of argument.

I’m one to speak negatively about some of these posts, but only because I think they can be better, not simply because I want to say it isn’t post worthy.


Originality is irrelevant. Having the desired impact on the intended audience is relevant. If the audience thinks the spot is weak, then it failed.

It’s very likely that these spots will catch the attention of a lot of viewers. Hopefully they’ll remember the product. The logo treatment (not mentioned in the posts so far) should help.


On a side note, I’m starting to see Sprint Ahead campaign ads on sites like, and that’s where I would draw the line. I imagine there may be billboards, magazine ads, etc. that do the same thing. Ick.

I live in a rural town so I don’t get a lot of the added joys of campaignage that others do.

Joe Clay

I don’t think they’re weak. Originality goes a long way, but the intended audience won’t know the difference.

I do wish they had treated the actual sprint logo as well, but I’m sure the execs would have denied that one, even with a transition. They need to maintain their brand, but it would have been cool.


Could be purely semantics, but in my opinion, “light painting” or “extended exposure stop-action photography” is the executional technique here not the overarching campaign concept, which is being played out over all sorts of media. (Saw a billboard the other day.)

The campaign concept is, basically, Sprint Ahead — at the speed of light — with Sprint.

Executional techniques have been appropriated since the beginning of time. How they’re adapted and used to bring a concept to life is what’s interesting to me. I like how it works here.

I’ve been a big fan and lurker for a while. Thanks for the insightful posts, resources, quickies…well, everything really.


i’m digging the charts ad more, especially the stairs shot with people
being the grid, adds some humour and humanity to the cold hard world
or chart design.


I have been doing light painting since 1989 when I discovered the Spirit Body process Performance Photography technique which has been used with great results by these folks at Brickyard. I wish they had given me credit for using “my idea” LOL!

Please check out my stuff and comment:

And please DO INCLUDE ME in your next time out if you need additional light painters on Maui!

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