MPC partnered with W+K and Dougal Wilson through Blink on the 60” and 30” TV and cinema ads, featuring a Shetland pony moonwalking and dancing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.”
The piece opens on a picturesque mountain landscape. As we zoom in on a herd of Shetland ponies, one of the ponies begins to reveal his special talent.
MPC were brought in at a very early stage, conceptualising how to create a photo-real pony. The added challenge was that it would need to move in ways a real pony never could.
VFX Creative Director Jake Mengers said, “The shoot on the Shetland islands was incredibly beautiful but quite challenging. Ever changing lighting conditions meant that we were constantly on our toes. Dougal mimicking a dancing pony as an animation guide ensured there were plenty of laughs, despite the best efforts of the freezing wind to dampen our spirits.”
The hero pony, ‘Socks’ was cast based on his colouring, movements and personality.
“One of the biggest challenges was getting the movements to look totally realistic- difficult considering ponies never moonwalk! A digital double of the pony was created in CG, to allow us to cut between CG and real-life footage. This required very precise attention to detail to ensure the matches were seamless.” Jake said.
In order to create the moonwalking effect prosthetic model pony limbs were built using resin and a realistic joint mechanism. These mimic exactly how a pony’s leg would move. The legs were used in the edit to cut between in-camera close up dancing prosthetic hooves and the CG pony.
Sock’s fur was created using MPC’s advanced in-house ‘Furtility’ tool, originally developed for MPC’s film pipeline and has since been utilized for a number of advertising and film characters.
The team altered the environments extensively, using a combination of compositing and matte painting. References were taken from Dougal's extensive collection of footage from the area. Additional work included looking at the way Socks interacted with each environment as well adding extra elements such as birds and waves.
Sky replacements were required to match the changing times of day and the inclement weather experienced on shoot. The team also added lighting effects to mimic the early dawn through to the evening transitions.
Jean Clement completed the grade, seamlessly replicating the change from day to night.
Hollie Walker and Freddie Powell
Josh King & Sam Davidson
Fabian Frank, Christopher Antoniou, Grahame Curtis, Tom Rowell, Alberto Della Regina, Robert Hemmings, Tim Van Hussen, El Suliman, Dominic Edwards, Ted Lister, Michele Svaeren
Yosuke Matsuno, Graeme Eglin, Oliver Caiden, Vivekananthan R, Grant White, Alex Cernogorods, Sundaramoorthy, Sugarmar S, Sivakumar R, Venkatesh R, S. Rajesh, Arun Kumar, Silambarasan R P, Rajinikanth R, Rajkumar C, Ragesh Ramchandran, Vishal Kaushal, Jacob Oomen, Pinto Sasikumar, Dheeraj Hebbar, Adam Leary