Press Release from Framestore
Framestore has helped AMV and Partizan’s directing collective, Traktor, find surprising ways to spend hypothetical money for the latest Lotto campaign. Comprising four TV commercials, the campaign shows hilariously over-the-top ways to splurge a Lotto jackpot win. Framestore’s diverse VFX brief included primate face replacement, building a 3D spaceship and bringing a robot to life.
Monkey Sanctuary sees a generous Lotto winner donate their stash to a sanctuary in order to give the animals five-star luxury; Rocket sees a father take Guy Fawkes night to a whole new level of neighbourly competitiveness; Bath sees a kooky woman install a supposedly serene bathtub into her stretched limo; and Robot centres on a lotto winner who’s too pampered to dress himself.
Framestore’s creative director, Mike McGee, provided on-set supervision to offer creative and technical solutions that complemented the directors’ vision in what was a complex VFX project completed over a short schedule. McGee then oversaw the VFX process back in Framestore’s HQ to ensure hi-end results were delivered on time.
Monkey Sanctuary was filmed using performers dressed in orangutan, chimpanzee and gorilla suits. Framestore’s 3D team, led by Simon French, created and animated face replacements for the chimp and orangutan by stamping animated faces over the actors’ suited faces to make for more exciting and realistic expressions. This started with modelling and texturing faces to match reference supplied by the directors and then matching the fur from the suits to create a seamless and convincing blend. Traktor wanted performances that reflected natural, anatomical monkey behaviour rather than anthropomorphic expressions. So the 3D team combed natural history footage for references and matched them to the actors’ performances, mimicking how a real-life creature might behave in this scenario. The gorilla’s face was animatronic and so only required some augmentation in 2D, with the VFX team adding life to its eyes and expression to its brows. Face replacement work was blended in by finessing hairlines.
Lead animator, Nigel Rafter, said: “Because we were working with monkey suited actors, we didn’t have a blank canvas. This meant we had to create realistic facial expressions that matched the actors’ performances. Once we’d established some basic subtle snout and mouth movement, the process just flew along. The next difficulty was in getting the rig to handle extremes: everything from a stretched pout with curved and puffed lips, to chewing mouths. But we managed to overcome these problems with a bit of 3D ingenuity.”
For Rocket, a 3D spaceship was built in the style of craft from NASA’s halcyon days of early space exploration. Model lighting was key as the scene needed to feel Spielberg-worthy: grand and dramatic with light from fireworks interacting with and reflecting off the rocket. The biggest challenge was posed by the 3D rocket’s scale. At 400ft, this 3D rocket had to reach high into the sky, which was filled with live-action fireworks. To help visualize how the CG rocket would fit into the live-action plates, McGee created a precision technical pre-vis. Measurements of the garden were recorded on set and taken into Maya. He then factored in the scale and size of the rocket and used the resulting data to calculate that an angle of 34-degrees was needed to get the rocket ‘fitting’ correctly. Maya was also used on-set to enable lens changes and shot framing. It also provided a safety net by confirming that the rocket would sit well into the live-action plate.
Bath required some cunningly placed 2D foam to protect the actor’s ‘modesty’. The 2D team was also responsible for cleaning-up water leaks that came from the car whilst also adding candles, stabilising the shot and removing rigging.
Robot required rod and shadow removal that came from the set’s five lycra-clad puppeteers; a challenge to paint out due to the fluid nature of the camera moves which were needed to create the spot’s fly-on-the-wall feel. The robot was also enhanced by the 2D team with digital displays in its breast plate and further characterisation in the form of cheeky eye lights.
AGENCY AMV BBDO AGENCY CREATIVES Richard Baynham and Ian Gabaldoni AGENCY PRODUCER Yvonne ClaytonPRODUCTION COMPANY PartizanDIRECTORS TraktorPRODUCER David StewartVFX FramestoreCREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike McGeeTELECINE Steffan Perry
Framestore is an Oscar-winning visual effects company and the UK’s leading authority on stereoscopic 3D. Framestore uses innovative talent and technology to create hi-end images for every platform. In addition to working for Hollywood studios, advertisers, ad agencies, production and gaming companies, Framestore also generates its own paid-for content: eg – VFX in Your Pocket and Polar Peril.