DURACELL AND MIKROS MPC BRINGS THE ICONIC MASCOT IN A FIRST-EVER FULL CG MOVIE ON ITS NEW OPTIMUM CAMPAIGN: “BUNNY TV ADDRESS”
Now in their 8th year of collaboration, Duracell and Mikros MPC have developed campaigns which have brought the brand’s mascot in more than 40 countries. This long-standing partnership has led Duracell and Mikros MPC to team up on the latest Optimum “Bunny TV Address” campaign. Initially planned as a live-shot project, the COVID-19 crisis forced the 30 sec to be produced in full CG.
The Mikros MPC team was involved from the project’s early stages, from storyboard to final delivery.
Ana Rodrigues, Executive Producer at Mikros MPC explains: “The photorealism of the movie was paramount to our client. A perfect photo-realistic reproduction in 3D was required. Thanks to our experience, we offered Duracell a complete range of services including pre-production, direction, production, filmmaking, …. Up to the final delivery and all nine shorter length versions of the movie.”
As his first full CG movie as a director, Shaun Severi has been involved in all the process. Based on the agency’s script, he developed a storyboard and “paint-overs” that gave the opportunity to check what was working or not. From there, Augustin Paliard, Head of Animation, developed a previz whilst working remotely and made frame changes, adjusting the camera to meet the Bunny’s movements and for the voice over that was provided by the agency. This step proved to be essential in the completion of the project, particularly in the conditions of work from home for all the team.
Shaun Severi comments: “A full CG movie requires a lot of interactions between the director, CG artists and the production teams. As the project was mostly completed under quarantine, we adapted our way of working with regular video conferences. Being part of the Mikros MPC team aided my direction, as I knew all the processes, how to get the best results from the artists, what was creatively possible or not, what shots were needed or useful or not. And of course, I was available for the teams and the clients anytime. In the end, I believe we were 10 times more effective.”
More than a character or a mascot, Bunny is regarded at Mikros MPC as an icon that deserves particular attention. As the Duracell Bunny evolved over the years, Mikros MPC teams have been continuously exploring his features, movements and emotions and have been able to alleviate the technical and artistic limitations that were imposed by its visual identity charter by developing with great details its rig. This in-depth work led to a great number of controllers associated to pickers and maps for the animators to bring Bunny to life in the easiest possible way. It also allowed them to enable more subtle expressions, and make Bunny look less theatrical – to bring a higher level of acting to this mascot. Bunny has developed its own personality and can now deliver its emotions through body language. In this particular Bunny movie, he’s cheekier than before, more energetic, happy and fun.
Anna Rodrigues adds: “In TV Address, Bunny becomes a communicator, a selfless politician, that urges household appliances to get the best of them, while also sending messages to humans.”
Since 2012, Mikros MPC has become the guardians of Bunny’s visual identity, ensuring the consistency and integrity across all media worldwide, be it TV, digital, social media or print. This is why Augustin Paliard, lead Animation at Mikros MPC, developed a comprehensive asset library based on previous movies and new improvements that gather all posing, facial expressions but also mouth shapes according to phonemes that can be used in every country. No less than 50 expressions are listed in this library and approved by the client that ensure the standardization of all the creative intentions on Bunny. For this movie, five different animators worked on the mascot while ensuring a coherence. The library was key to allow different animators to work seamlessly in parallel.
Besides Bunny, the settings have also been created in full CG by Mikros MPC. Four different environments were necessary for this campaign: a store, a living room, a garage, & a town. To create these environments, the teams carried an extensive research on all the assets that will populate the difference sequences while matching each environment. These items were introduced even in the previz to get the validation of the client on every aspect. To meet with the requirements of the project timeline, the team used paint-over techniques to be able to present more quickly different versions for the ambiance to the clients. At first sight, the settings look pretty basic, but they are in fact full of details to make them photorealistic. The teams even worked on some almost invisible details such as sockets, wires, TV stickers, kids toys and pencils in order to make the environment credible. This required detailed work on texturing, shading and lighting to fit the ambiance of each setting. For the settings, the previz proved as well to be essential as it helped the CG team to understand the frames, how to spotlight Bunny in its various environments and the global rendering given the visual identity guidelines constraints.