11:11 Mediaworks Animates DJ Rick Dees For The Holidays
Digital visual effects company 11:11 MediaWorks has created its first stop-motion animation project, a parody of the Rankin-Bass special RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER for client ClearChannel Radio and KIIS-FM. The 30-second TV spot promotes KIIS-FM radio on-air personality Rick Dees, who appears as the story's Santa, with deejays JoJo Wright, Gary Spears and Valentine as elves, Poorman as Yukon Cornelius and Ellen K. as a sexy Mrs. Claus. Previous commercials promoting the Rick Dees' show have riffed on popular culture, so imitating the familiar Christmas show was a fun project for the MediaWorks crew, despite the tight 14-day turnaround time. Striving to mimic character designs and costumes to match those in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, 11:11 MediaWorks worked with SOTA Sculpture and Design, a toy design company that had recently worked on prototypes for a line of toys based on the Rankin-Bass Christmas special, A YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS. The artists drew puppet designs from headshots of the deejays and a sculptor created wax prototypes, molded them in resin and painted them for the studio. A costumer then sewed the miniature costumes, evocative of the Rankin-Bass originals, while ClearChannel Radio supplied a parody of the special's signature song, "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." For the spot, 11:11 MediaWorks created 3D animatics for shot design and timing, then high-resolution footage was shot with a digital still camera, which allowed camera moves to be done digitally rather than on set. Completed frames were dumped directly into the shop's Macintosh G4 computers. Finishing touches included adding 2D snow, 3D dollar bills and dirt and hair, to give the spot a filmic quality. Credits for 11:11 MediaWorks include producer Von Freeman; director Roger Nall; lead animator Michael Walsh and digital animator Richard Kratt.