Working closely with Mother and Smuggler director Guy Shelmerdine, MPC concepted and developed the 15ft tall mammal as a continuation of MoneySuperMarkets ‘save money, feel epic’ campaign, focusing on the comparison site’s car insurance offering.
Kyle Harman-Turner and Martin Rose, Creative Directors at Mother wrapped it up below "Our ambition was simple: to make the most epic Money Supermarket film yet.
To achieve that we turned to some key ingredients. We took the badass swagger of Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction, the strut of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, a sprinkle of Michael Jackson in Billie Jean, served with the Single Ladies attitude of Beyoncé - and channelled them all into a 15ft African Bull Elephant and a slightly fat bloke from Coventry. We still can't believe that we get paid to do this for a living."
“The biggest challenge for us was creating an elephant that could pull out the moves with the best of them, yet was also believable and true to life. We solved this by ensuring his dance moves stayed within the realms of what a real elephant could do, which was surprisingly quite a lot – they are deceptively agile and can be trained to perform a huge range of funky movements.” 3D Supervisor Fabian Frank explained.
MPC’s 3D team began to concept their elephant two weeks prior to the shoot. A pre-vis laying out his size and basic flow of movement was then used as a guide for the rig on set.
Following the shoot, the team decided upon the look of the elephant and his subsequent texture. They settled on the male African elephant, embarking on the creation of an exact replica with added personality.
To help anthropomorphise him, the team started with famous characters in mind, such as Samuel L Jackson, then effectively taught our elephant how to dance. As part of this creative process the intricacies of elephant mobility and human dance moves were studied. A number of dance variations and moves were tested in order to create his final choreographed routine.
The second challenge for the team came with integrating the elephant into the shot footage. Matching the interaction between Graeme and the elephant were key, so Graeme was tracked and rotoscoped back into the shots - using select takes to perfectly match the elephants walk cycle.
A range of detailed matte paintings were developed, adding skyscrapers and lights to emphasis the ‘epic’ feel of the backdrop for our VIP’s.
Fabio Bonvicini, Luca Maccarelli, Mike Ford, Zoe Izzard, Andrew Roberts, Ryan Hadfield, Toya Drechsler, Yosuke Matsuno, Matthew Jackson, David Bryan, Daniel Marsh & Gian Luigi Granieri 3D Supervisor Fabian Frank