Feed Me Light

Feed Me Light were lucky to work with UKTV on their Eastern campaign for GOLD, transforming some of Britain’s best loved comedy characters into colourful eggs in an easter egg hunt to remember.


The Brief

Pete Allison at UKTV explains what they expected from their Easter campaign:

 “Our objective was to attract viewers across the Easter holiday period through a unique and engaging creative execution. Our idea was to invite our viewers on an ‘Easter egg hunt’ to seek out and collect all of the comedy classics GOLD has to offer.

 ... The Easter eggs will be collected as the promo progresses until the basket is bursting with the comedy talent we all know and love.”

Not exactly an easy feat with a creative team all hailing from outside Britain, not knowing their Basil Fawltys from their Jim Royles. We don’t think we did too shabby a job if we say so ourselves, in fact, we might have created a few comedy connoisseurs in the process.

Creative Direction

When the brief was presented to FML initially, the client wished to pursue a live stop motion shoot. While we agreed this would result in a charming real feel, when taking into consideration all of the elements, we felt it was best that it was pursued in CG. We consulted with the client the advantages in flexibility and control over the amount of environments and characters and they were quick to take our lead, deciding that CG would indeed be the most beneficial and cost productive way of achieving their final product.

Although the environments and characters would be created entirely in CG, the FML team immediately began working on a creative style that brought a handmade, stop-motion feel to the campaign, playing on the tradition of collecting hand painted eggs.

 

Shader development using recycled character concept artwork

Our Creative Director, Denis Bodart, explains,

 “Using CGI enabled the team to go much more in-depth with the character animations than would have been possible with hand painted models in the time that we had. And the utilisation of Phenomene mouth shapes brought an additional element of realism."

Development:

The process began with a rough cut of shots from the Easter programme line up, featuring soundbites related to the Easter season from iconic characters. This would form the basis of the VO and provided an understanding of the content that would be needed. However, as storyboarding and development continued it was clear this was a mutually exclusive relationship as elements of the VO were shifted to suit the best visual sequence for the piece.

Character Dev

Feed Me Light enlisted the skills of talented character designer Emmanuelle Leleu to bring the iconic set of characters to life in all their handpainted, eggy glory. This process required a lot more refinement and feedback from the client than usual, as we had to ensure that the distinctive personality and appearance of each character would be instantly recognisable from the moment they appeared on screen.

Ironically, James Corden’s Smithy would become the most problematic character to transfer from screen to hardboiled egg, despite his rounded shape.


Once the characters were designed and coloured, the team proceeded to produce various phenomene versions for speaking characters as well as a number of facial expressions for each individual character in order to recreate a realistic sense of stop-motion animation techniques in CG.

Environment Dev

Benjamin Flouw took the lead in designing quirky cardboard cutouts to resemble the iconic backdrops of much loved television shows needed for the promo. Refinement in the design of environments was equally crucial in its attempt to create an instant recognition of what show the team were recreating, yet adaptability was needed to infuse the environments with some vibrant colours in order to bring the piece to life.

CG Lead Olivier brought both egg and environment from concept through to final product. He skillfully created shading networks and models that could trick any viewer into believing these assets were photoreal, as is often the case when people first view the promo, and brought the world together in a studio set environment that again added the sense of realism that harked back to a live stop-motion set.

Animation

In order to create the realistic stop-motion feel, the creative team decided to render only every second frame of animation, for playback at 24 fps. This meant that animator Benjamin Tron had to ensure that every frame of relevant action, as well as the animated phenomene mouth shapes, were landing on frames that would definitely be rendered.

On top of this, Benjamin matchmoved animation on a CG hand model to the live action footage that was recorded of hand model Brooke Colman. This ensured that the shadows being cast on the CG eggs were as realistic as possible to what would would have been achieved on a live action shoot.

[RAW SHOOT FOOTAGE]

On the shoot itself Brooke worked with actual eggs that had been painted a matte blue colour that would later be keyed out and replaced by their CG counterparts. Brooke’s masterful acting expertise was put to great use under the guidance of our creative team, whose skills in direction led to golden nuggets of instructions such as “Grab the egg as if you’re a fat kid going in for cake”.




Results

Viewers were sure to be taken on a nostalgic trip back to these comedy moments with the adverts appearing on UK:TV Gold in the week leading up to Easter weekend. The 40-second ad was supported by a 20-second cut down version, and four lower third screen overlays featuring key characters from the shows.

FML were thrilled to create these promos as part of such a large seasonal campaign for use across online and offline platforms, and the opportunity to bring such quirky and iconic British characters to life.

Creative Director, Denis, says of the project:

"It's rare that you have the opportunity to work creatively with programmes and characters which are such a major part of the UK’s cultural heritage. It has been an incredible project for Feed Me Light to take a leading role in.”

We hope you enjoy this egg-cellent campaign as much as we enjoyed making it! And you thought you’d gotten through a whole Easter related post without that pun, as if.




Credits

Client: UKTV GOLD
Head of Design UKTV: Peter Allinson 
Creative Manager UKTV: Tom Williams 
Producer UKTV: Latoya Collingwoode-William

Creative Animation Studio: Feed Me Light
Producer: Kiri Haggart

Lead Director: Denis Bodart
Co-Director: Anthony Bristol

Lead / Production Supervisor : Olivier Pirard
Environments Concepts: Benjamin Flouw
Character Concepts: Emmanuelle Leleu
Animation: Benjamin Tron
3D Generalists: Olivier Pirard, Mark Mullan, Denis Bodart
Compositing: Denis Bouyer, Olivier Pirard
Lighting Rendering: Olivier Pirard
Hand Model: Brooke Colman