British Gas – Jake at the Studio
The British Gas campaign was a fun project and was very involved, from concept and initial brainstorming at the agency to delivering the final finished post heavy results.
After careful copy writing and storyboarding, the next stage was to begin designing the character of Jake in 3d. We knew that Jake would feature across all forms of media, need to speak, show emotion and emphasis with his movement and be flexible enough to work in different environments, so digitalia got to work with maya to create the models, textures and skeletal structure to bring Jake to life. Next we recorded a voice for Jake, and ensured that we had enough takes and lines to manipulate the timings as we needed. When it came to shooting the live action a long time was spent dressing the studio to look like a busy studio (if that makes sense), everything that can be seen on the film was carefully placed and choreographed, every light stand, cable and monitor was where it was for a reason. We shot using steadicam to give the sensation that we were seeing what the journalists cameraman was seeing, keeping a hand held shooting style caused difficulties but was necessary to fully sell this style. We used an actor who was a midget to practice getting all the timings correct so that when we shot the master take, everyone involved in the shot would know where to be and when. Because the commercial is effectively a single shot, and there wasn’t really any penguin there, it took many takes to get a shot where everything worked and sold the idea that a penguin could realistically get from A to B in the time allowed and perform his necessary moves and lines. Once the shot was in the can and we had wrapped the set, the 35mm film was transferred and graded using telecine. We selected the best take and began the process of tracking the shot in 3d using maya live and boujou, before mocking up the 3d computer generated animation, careful to ensure that Jake hit all his marks and felt a part of the set. Once the exhaustive process of animation, texturing and lighting was completed, and the final render passes had been finished, the final part of the puzzle was to composite Jake into the shot, layering all the animation passes, retouching the shot, removing tracking markers, inserting the video feeds into the monitors, matting foreground elements, adding shadows, powder puffs, the mirror reflection and the camera graticule effects. All the compositing and effects work was carried out on Autodesk Discreet Flame. The straplines and legal text was added and the final audio mix done.
Client: EHSRealtime / British Gas