McCann Erikson / Small Hotels
McCann approached us with an impossible deadline - can we design, model, animate and comp a lifelike baby in a womb, give him a Swedish accent and make him cheeky and cute. In a month. We shucked our teeth and said 'Errr. Sure... but...'
First off, we needed to create a model. To save time we bought one and then adapted it to our needs - why re-invent the wheel right? We needed to texture it and in our own way so we spent a lot of time on the look dev, developing sub surface scattering on the skin that feels life like, and paying particular attention to the eyes. As thats the gateway to the soul (so they tell us...)
Whilst we did the look dev we took the script and boarded it. Once that was signed off we assembled it into an animatic to get the timing right and gave it a temp VO so that the whole vibe of the film started to come together. The next step was to figure out how our baby would move. Babies develop in whats basically a sack of water, so it would make sense that Erik (geddit?) would be floating and gently treading 'water'. After a lot of work we got Erik's gentle motion feeling great, and with a constantly moving camera (thats also floating and bobbing about) we were good to start lip sync... oh wow. LIP SYNC!!
Needless to say we worked day and night. I don't think we had a break for 5 days straight - but we got there. The eyes needed to feel expressive enough to emphasise what was being said. And the mouth needed to be just cheeky enough to be 'knowing'... Once that was finished it was 'just' a matter of comping and editing the shots together. We gave the film a lot of floating particles to give us that underwater vibe and then colour graded the final film, reducing the black point and contrast, and giving a shallow depth of field to the camera to ramp up the intimacy..
Everyone was really pleased with the finished film. It was launched in LA at the end of 2017 to great reception. We went to sleep for 3 days. After beers....