Abbey banks on Super Squirrel
Abbey the UK banking group is highlighting their Super ISA savings offer in the UK with a series of TV adverts featuring squirrels. In the most recent spot we see the emergence of Super Squirrel. Red squirrels fossick around below a pair of oak trees, picking up acorns where they can. One squirrel notices some choice acorns up on a high branch and, realising that extraordinary measures are required, darts into a handy nearby red Abbey cube. He bursts out, transformed into Super Squirrel, complete with cape and chest emblem. Speeding through the sky and zipping through the two trees, he makes short work of amassing a splendid collection of acorns. For the final shot he stands atop his piled up hoard and hurls the red box towards the camera, where it morphs into the end device.
Click on the image below to play the video.
The Super Squirrel ad was part of a campaign developed at WCRS, London, by creatives Simon Aldridge and Vince Chasteauneuf with agency producer Sarah Bailes.
Filming was shot by director Trevor Melvin via Weilands, London, with producer Trine Pillay.
Post production was done at Framestore, under the supervision of Flame Artist Tim Osborne.
“With so much of the spot being created either in Flame or by our 3D team,” says Osborne, “The actual shoot consisted largely of my taking many, many shots of the tree (designed by Art Director Tom Brown) that (duplicated) is the scene of much of the action of the spot. The cube from which the squirrel bursts out was exploded courtesy of air cannons, which were shot using a photosonics high speed camera. The acorns that don’t interact with the squirrel are models, too.”
Melvin’s storyboarding of the spot, with work by animator Nicklas Andersson, was used as a guide for camera angles and other aspects of the shoot.
“We had to put it all together quite fast,” recalls Dan Seddon, Head of 3D, Commercials, “Rendering over 20 shots in around four weeks, which is pretty snappy. Although we’ve done a lot of squirrels over the last few years, they’re all different, each creating their own unique problems. This lot – for the first time – were red squirrels. Red on a white background is a tricky sort of colour range to light. The groom had to be spot on. We did a lot of passes, upping the render time somewhat, necessitated by the tricky fur colour. This gave the compositors a lot more to work with when they were constructing the shots – sometimes 25 or more layers were in play.”
William Bartlett constructed a pipeline through which the post work could proceed, and this was undertaken in Flame by Ben Cronin, George Roper and Chris Redding.
The work was given a final digital polish in the form of a DCP by Senior Colourist, Dave Ludlam.