Framestore recently helped a purple army of “Joyville workers” take to the skies for Fallon’s latest Cadbury’s spot. Directed by Tom Kuntz, the ad celebrates the launch of Cadbury’s new Bubbly bar.
Framestore’s VFX team – led by Ben Cronin (2D) and Robert Kolbeins (CG) – used their effects as a way of adding scale, supporting that ad’s narrative and lifting Kuntz’s quirky vision to the next level. 2D work included plenty of greenscreen compositing, clean up and compositing of in-camera art-department plates. The CG department was tasked with creating a multitude of zeppelins, chocolate parachutes, air-bound men and flying cars.
The team used references from Werner Herzog‘s The White Diamond combined with Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion car as a starting point for R&D. Once the look-development had been narrowed down and approved by Kuntz, work began on building the mother zeppelin which went on to set the design for the ad’s many other elements. In total, the CG team crafted more than ten zeppelins and hundreds of hand and procedurally animated chocolate parachutes. They also recreated the live-action inflated men and cars in CG to match the plates. Kuntz, as a master of detail, collaborated closely with the CG team to establish specifics like the mechanics of the zeppelin’s gondola and extras such as ropes, propellers and Cadbury’s livery.
The production’s most technical challenge (apart from completing its immense amount of work in just four weeks from plates) was to make Joyville workers and their kooky machines feel as though they were really high up and giving scale to the fleet.
To nail the ad’s quirky feel, the VFX team went beyond the call of duty in terms of detail. For example, while VFX-supervising the shoot, Cronin and Kolbeins had the foresight to film additional elements, like an actor to replace the dummy in a driving shot. They also went to great lengths to create highly detailed extras, like some fully CG cars. These were created with textures worked to the highest possible standard so that they would stand-up to inspection in close-up shots on cinema screens.
The film was shot in a wintery Richmond Park by DP Lasse Frank. Lasse worked with Framestore’s colorist, Steffan Perry, to grade the film with the halcyon feel of a low-contrast print. In fact, because the schedule did not allow for a final film print, Framestore’s VFX team used this low-contrast look as a stylistic inspiration for their digital environments.