iloura’s CGI Drumstick ‘Summer Parade’
The commercial brings to life a fantasy street parade welcoming the arrival of summer in a typical Australian country town. The parade incorporates a host of canonised Aussie summer icons, from BBQ’s to budgie smugglers: big blowies and fly swats, sandcastles, a big friendly yellow sun and a hero Drumstick ice-cream dreamboat float.
Publicis Mojo, the Melbourne agency brains behind the novel and enjoyable spot, worked with iloura and Nice Trees at The Directors Group and used a mixture of CGI character animation, VFX and live action to realise their creative.
Darren Spiller, the creative director, comments on the idea driving the campaign: "Every summer Australian’s instinctively do the same things at the same time. Whether it’s making sand castles, having barbeques, wearing thongs or unwrapping Drumsticks, these things are the "rituals of summer". This TVC turns those rituals into a choreographed parade that marches through a typical Australian town. It’s a glorious celebration of everyone’s favourite event of the year, summer, and all the rituals that make it so great".
Iloura was first approached by Publicis Mojo with an initial draft of ‘The Summer Parade’ back in September 2008, and the team were immediately struck by the potential for a spectacular animated commercial.
Director Josh Simmonds of iloura explains, "While fairly simple in its premise, the concept evolved dramatically over the course of the following few weeks as we developed sequences and character designs, eschewing some of the more typical Australian summer icons in favour of the rather bizarre series of parade floats and participants. This was a close collaboration between iloura and the Mojo creative team, and while we both had preconceived notions of what the end result should be, the rigorous design process delivered some interesting and original results".
Around this time, Nice Trees were also brought onboard to shoot the live action component, and between Mojo, iloura and Nice Trees, initial storyboards were drawn up.
"The Nestle Drumstick clients were quite happy with the direction we were headed, and to their credit took something of a leap of faith, so with only minor amendments we were back into full production again in November. With now only a short turnaround we ramped up quickly, and embarked on a previsualisation, or ‘previs’ stage" said Josh.
The previs involved surveying the location and effectively rebuilding the town of Clunes in 3D and populating it with rough versions of the characters and some lo-res 3D stand-in crowds.
The previs worked not only to flag some issues regarding the sequences and design of floats, but was hugely instrumental in scheduling the shoot days. With only a day to shoot some 40-odd shots with 2 camera units, including several difficult VFX plate shots, the previs became something of a bible. Through the previs timings, camera angles and real-world lens choices were already established. The previs was also invaluable in communicating the direction of the TVC to client, as the offline edit of the shoot pretty much consisted of lots of angles of an empty town!
"Iloura took approximately 5 weeks to complete around 30 VFX/Animation heavy shots – thankfully a lot of the pre-shoot groundwork enabled the team to hit the ground running". says iloura producer Magdalena Bisogni.
"Our characters were already built, and in some cases animated and ready to drop into shots for further refinement. The team really rose to the occasion though, with many sequences involving complex effects work, including 3D fire simulations, a giant sandman with CGI sand streaming from him and the climactic Drumstick float featuring over a hundred characters dancing in spectacular tribute to the Busby Berkeley films of the 1930’s".
Josh sums up his team’s experience thus; "The Summer Parade job was an immensely rewarding experience for the iloura team. It gave us an opportunity to push the boundaries of what is creatively and technically possible in an animated TVC. I felt the close and easy working relationship between all parties served to strengthen the overall creative vision of the project, and despite the ambitious requirements and challenging schedule, the end result is something we’re all very proud of."
Client: Nestle Peters
Agency: Publicis Mojo Melbourne
Production Company: iloura/ The Directors Group
Director: Josh Simmonds/ Nice Trees @ The Directors Group
Creative Director: Darren Spiller
Copywriters: Leon Wilson & Sean Larkin
Head of Art: Christy Peacock
Head of TV: Corey Esse
Agency Producer: Tuesday Picken
Post Producer: Magdalena Bisogni
Live Action Producer: Craig Griffin
VFX Supervision: Sigi Eimutis
Animation & VFX: iloura
Character Design & illustration: Kate Moon
Storyboard Artist: John Skubinski
CGI/Animation: Josh Simmonds (Director), Nathan Mitchell, Chris Gray, Nick Tripodi, Kate Moon, Arran Potter, Simon Ross, Brad Noble, Ben Weller, Sam Jensen
VFX/Rotoscope: Keith Meure, Jarett Lee, Julia Egerton
Offline Edit: Jo Scott
Online Editor/Flame: Chris Betteridge
Colourist: Edel Rafferty