All Spot, No Dialogue
September 5, 2012 by Screenmag
Portland, OR-based Hinge Digital recently teamed up with BVK to create a series of advertisements for Carrington College. The integrated campaign includes two animated and live-action broadcast spots, as well as three online outtakes, 24 print ads, plush toys and more, which all showcase original character designs by Hinge Digital's talented team of artists. "Carrington College Squirrel," the first :30 campaign promo, introduces new Carrington bird mascots, Goldie and Blue, and is now airing on TV, with a live-action spot to follow in September.
Under the direction of Hinge Digital's Alex Tysowsky, a 30-person crew delivered multiple pieces of the campaign from concepting and storyboarding to character design and modeling, animation, VFX, editing and more - all within less than three months. The team faced a number of complex animation challenges throughout, especially in making the characters stand out without dialog and adapting design elements to ensure they would work across all facets of the campaign.
"Truly unique, the first ad introduces Goldie and Blue for the first time without any dialog, so our animation really had to drive the story. The success of the entire campaign hinged on our ability to visually convey the story through our animation on this first spot," says Alex Tysowsky, director, Hinge Digital. "Adding to the challenge, we had to carefully design the characters to work graphically across multiple platforms: TV, twitter, pens, plush animals, billboards."
In "Carrington College Squirrel," an amiable squirrel atop a tree sees three other squirrels on a neighboring tree indulging in acorns - representative of the student demographic. Intent on joining them, he edges out to the end of the branch, but one look down below petrifies him, and he returns to the base of the tree defeated. Goldie and Blue, symbolizing Carrington career counselors, appear and encourage him to take a leap of faith. After confiding in Goldie and Blue, he musters the courage to leap across - joining his friends. Outtakes of the spot, which started airing at the end of August on Carrington's website, offer an uncut, insider's look behind the shoot.
"The creative process on this project ran smooth. BVK came up with the initial concept but gave us the freedom to design these characters and bring them to life in an interesting way that would translate across the campaign; it was pure magic," said Hinge Digital VFX Supervisor Michael Kuehn. "When you run through dailies with a client and receive a genuine positive, passionate reaction to the characters you've worked so hard to create, that's a great feeling."
"Hinge Digital offers the right mix of creative talent, artistry and technology that this sort of campaign requires,” says BVK Art Director Ryan Smith. “They were there for us throughout the entire creative process and played an integral role in developing loveable, believable characters that carry this campaign."
Producer: Terri Burmester
Art Director: Ryan Smith
Copywriter: Seth Gordon
Creative Director: Gary Mueller
CLIENT: Carrington College
Animation/Visual Effects/Post: Hinge Digital
Director: Alex Tysowsky
VFX Supervisor: Michael Kuehn
Producer: Laura Schultz
Executive Producer: Roland Gauthier
Editor: JD Dawson
Comp Supervisor: J Bills
Lighting Supervisor: Frank Ritlop
Live Action Director: Devon Lyon, Lyon Films
Live Action DP: Bryce Fortner