Wisconsin Dept. of Justice: The Fly Effect

As a haunting rendition of the nursery rhyme “The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” plays, the scene opens on details in a destroyed bedroom. The viewer relives the destruction as a housefly is pursued by a teenager, whose life has been equally destroyed by heroin.

With compelling footage from director Vinnie Besasie, our approach shows the chaos and darkness of heroin addiction: edits that leave the footage constantly drifting on broken items, muted color corrections, and the frenetic animation of our photo-realistic fly.

The lighting and short depth of field shots were extremely important to enhance the small scale of the fly. Live action visual effects direction was provided to the agency to ensure that the look and the lighting were right.

We did our homework before modeling and animating our fly. We studied house flies in slow motion, watching how they ate, how they spread their wings, and how they constantly adjust and clean their bodies.

Even though the fly was tiny throughout the spot, we designed it so it could be rendered much larger if needed, and still retain a believable, realistic look. The detail in its textures—down to the many eye facets—adds to its overall realistic appearance.
We also wanted to capture the iridescent quality of the common housefly’s body not only for realism’s sake, but for its beauty.