When I first watched these three commercials by Australian director Liz Murphy and TAXI for RAC Insurance, I thought, “Man, this is awesome 3D!” Then, when Liz told us that it was all real props, shot on full scale built sets, animated frame by frame in one continuous shot, I was convinced that this was a winner.
All three spots are mind-bogglingly, painstakingly animated. I especially love the small, detailed secondary animations (specifically in the “Contents” spot); they add a lot of personality to the spots. As far as I know, these spots are among the largest and most technically challenging stop motion commercial projects out there.
Liz was kind enough to give us a little inside info on the whole process:
We used the new Dragon Stop Motion software to capture all the images—saved us so much time—and used two Canon 1D MkIIIs and a Canon 40D. Since both have “live view” features, we could onion skin really easily between previous frames, and frames about to be taken. This made moving the camera far more achievable, and prevented making major mistakes as there wasn’t much chance of going backwards once we started doing some major dismantling and camera movement. The car and building spots were shot in reverse.
The camera movement was pre-plotted with hundreds of meters of measuring tape on the floor, on set walls and on a variety of portable stands. Each camera and dolly or crane had a minimum of three lasers measuring tiny increments of camera movement on up to 5 axes at once throughout each set—sometimes moving the camera less than one millimeter per frame.
Each animator was permanently armed with a ruler and calculator to plot and co-ordinate the movement of thousands of objects in tiny increments throughout the sets. A small army of over 25 animators, 10 technical crew manning laptops and cameras worked on the 3 commercials, plus three mechanics who were on hand when the car was shot being dismantled.
Make sure to block some time off to enjoy all the spots, such meticulous work requires some real frame by frame viewing. Quoting one of our fellow contributors; “PES would be proud.”
Agency: The Brand Agency, Australia
Creative Director: Dale Simmonds
Copywriter: Kurt Beaudoin
Art Director: Josh Edge
Agency Producer: Paula James
Production Company: Taxi Film Production, Australia
Director: Liz Murphy
Producer: Andrew Wareham
DOP: Susan Stitt
Post Production – Cutting Edge
Sound Design – Pete Jones