The University of Salford 'Choose Your Future' Commercial, Directed by Yonatan Weisberg: Concept, Edit, VFX & more


Yonatan Weisberg’s University of Salford advert was released in October, with production handled by Chief. The film fuses silhouettes of students with affective imagery and iconic Salford landscape. The commercial's message is driven by an emotive monologue from Alumni member Maxine Peake, it challenges potential students to rise to their full potential and achieve what they have always wanted.


Yonantan developed the idea for the commercial with ad agency ‘Gyro’, there was a back and forth dialog that resulted in an advert far from a typical university recruitment commercial.

We wanted to make something that set The University of Salford apart as a brand, not just an institution for higher education. That meant creatively we were always on our toes, and doing all we could to push the boat out artistically.
— Yonatan



The commercial was shot over a single day at Chief’s in-house studio using our 6K RED cameras and overseen by Director Yonatan Weisberg. The shoot itself made use of The University of Salford’s own students and involved setting up a wide variety of shots for the advert, as well as profiles to be used for the VFX overlay segments.


The entirety of post production for the commercial was handled by the Chief in-house team. The visual effects are vibrant and reflect the sentiment of the advert. They were animated by Chief's James Cundill.

For a visual effects artist, The University of Salford project was one of those projects that was incredibly fun to work on. Achieving the double exposure look was challenging. It’s something that has been done incredibly well in things like the True Detective opening titles and artistic stills. However, I’ve seen it executed and copied very poorly elsewhere so, for me, getting that right was crucial. It was a process of matching up the correct shots with the right imagery, marrying the camera movements to the motion of the shot. Where this wasn’t possible I created new animations using a combination of 2D after effects animations and 3D camera mapping in Cinema 4D. We then treated each shot individually, adding blurs, grades and additional elements to gel the images together.

In some instances I created 3D elements from scratch so we could get the look we wanted without compromise (for example, the blood cells and the molecule structure). The girl turning to sand was particularly challenging. For that shot I built a particle system in Cinema 4D to achieve a realistic feel of depth.

The commercial was a joy to work on and something I think all involved with were really proud of.
— James Cundill

To see the commercial in full, see below.

If you'd like to find out more about how Chief Productions can help with commercial production, music video production, and more, just drop us an email or call us on +44 (0) 161 832 6001.