Verizon’s new 5G ad serves up some impressive visual effects to illustrate a world with lag

Tips & Techniques

Most commercials don’t interest me these days. But sometimes, you spot one that really grabs your attention. This one from Verizon called The Reset, to promote their 5G service, grabbed mine. And I’m not even close to being in their service area, living in a different continent n’ all.

The 2-minute video shows what the world would be like if we experienced video game “lag” in real life and it’s just packed with some pretty amazing (and occasionally creepy) visual effects. It reminds me a lot of the early days of World of Warcraft, with glitchy terrain, walking through walls and things not loading exactly where they’re supposed to be.

It was created by the VFX team at MPC with director Doug Liman and the Madwell creative agency. Chris Sojka, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Madwell told Shots

It’s never easy to create an alternative reality, but this spot required one. Our goal was to depict life in the style of hte omniscient wandering camera you might experience in a video game, then completely and successively subvert it until everything was falling into pieces. Quite literally.

We used camears in ways you don’t, we did effects in ways you otherwise wouldn’t, all to complete the illusion of a universe slowly and steadily degrading, unable to find the power necessary to render its own reality. The result needed to be confounding and captivating.

Between Doug’s vision and MPC’s tireless attention to detail we merged a broken video game into a broken “reality”.

They certainly seem to have pulled that off. That reminder of World of Warcraft for me is pretty solid evidence of that. But the visual feast that this ad serves up is extremely well done. Even though it’s an obviously surreal look at the world, it all seems very… real. Well, perhaps except for the cat and the pigeons which look like very obviously 3D renders.

I haven’t seen a behind the scenes video for which elements of this are actually real footage and which are CG, how it was all composited together and so on, but there are a lot of very cool effects in this video that offer an equal split of “How tf did they do that?!?” and “Oh, I bet I could do that in After Effects!”.

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