Fireflies CGI Tesla Fan Ad Proves Yet Again Why Tesla Doesn’t Need its Own Commercials

When it comes to advertising budgets, few multinational companies in the world have an advertising budget as small as Californian automaker Tesla Motors, and even fewer manage to create the same kind of buzz around their products for so little ad spend.

Then again, few companies can lay claim to the sheer volume and breadth of positive fan-made content, reviews and unofficial ads that Tesla can. What’s more, the majority are shot on high-end camera equipment at worst, or professionally edited and shot at best.

The CGI is beautiful throughout this ad.

The CGI is beautiful throughout this ad.

So far, we’ve seen talented directors and producers use heartfelt testimonials delivered over an inspirational music track, people reacting to the Model S’ acceleration for the first time and even a kid with an imaginary rocket ship to encourage others to dump the pump for a Model S.

But the latest video to catch our eye — an entirely computer-generated animation — is quite possibly one of the most beautiful and carefully produced ads we’ve seen.

Enter Fireflies‘, a labor of love by Sam O’Hare, founder of Parachute VFX, who has spent the past year and a half producing this full CGI short in between other pieces of work. 

The film, set before dawn (or perhaps dusk) along a quiet road some time in the near future, focuses on a single firefly as it flies in and around a deserted building, complete with cracked pavement and fast-growing weeds. Landing on an old abandoned 9-volt battery, electricity sparks between the firefly and the battery, before then sparking to other fireflies slowly swarming around the building. In the distance, the viewer’s attention is subtly drawn to a large number of wind turbines, quietly turning in the pre-dawn quiet.

As the focus shifts, we start to realize that the fireflies are actually flying through and interacting with an old, disused gas station, left abandoned at some point in the past.

Gradually, the fireflies begin to interact with the abandoned gas station and each other. Sparks of light — and therefore energy — pass between them and the abandoned building. Slowly and surely, lights long forgotten spark into life, and the number of fireflies and sparks between them rise to a crescendo before coalescing into what we think looks like a Tesla Model 3.

Its hard to believe this is computer generated -- but it is.

Its hard to believe this is computer generated — but it is.

The car, now fully formed, sparks to life as the original ‘hero’ firefly passes over its dash board and touch screen display. With all its lights switched on, our hero drives off into the sunrise, before the film fades into the Tesla logo and then to black.

After watching the film this morning, our imagination was so captured by this stunning computer-generated short that we reached out to Parachute VFX to ask what the motivation for creating the film was. A company which specializes in visual effects for commercials and branded content from their New York offices, this particular short was clearly more than just a chance to test out some new technology — and we wanted to know more about the team behind it.

Sam, who’s the founder of Parachute VFX, is from the UK,” explained company cofounder Sara Eolin in an email to us earlier today. Having never seen fireflies before moving to the U.S., the experience of seeing them was particularly special for him. 

“The first time he saw them, he was mesmerized, like a little kid seeing them for the first time,” Sara continued. “That got him thinking about how they’re such a lovely metaphor for natural, sustainable energy. One of the Partners at Parachute owns a Tesla and we’ve all been really taken by the premise of Tesla Motors as a phenomenon. He thought of this story and we worked on it between jobs for about a year and a half.”

The Tesla, fully-assembled, drives off into the sunrise.

The Tesla, fully-assembled, drives off into the sunrise.

To model and light the entire video, Sam used 3DSMax, V-Ray and Fusion software, with assistance from a number of colleagues, including Andy Gilbert, Eugen Sasu, Jesse Holmes, Nicole Melius, Todd Danielle and Gil Franco. With Sara Eolin doubling up as executive producer and the music and sound design from Syn (, the resulting video matches the output of some of the best advertising agencies and CGI houses out there. 

We’re keen to know what you think of the video — and if you think it’s a Tesla Model S or a Tesla model 3 represented.

Leave your thoughts and reactions in the Comments below.



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  • Michael Thwaite

    An inspiring and amazing piece of work.

  • Wow! Nice!

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