Three Mobile Film The Pony by Wieden + Kennedy London

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The Pony

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Industry Telecommunications Services
Media Film
Market United Kingdom
Agency Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Director Ray Shaughnessy, Dan Norris
Creative Freddie Powell, Hollie Walker
Production Blink Productions
Director Dougal Wilson
Service Agency MPC
Director Dougal Wilson
Released March 2013

Awards

London International Awards 2013
TV/Cinema/Online Film - Production | Post-Production Animation Silver Winners
TV/Cinema/Online Film - Production | Post-Production Visual Effects Silver Winners

Credits & Description

Never underestimate the power of a plucky little pony. And while all the seemingly stupid stuff we look at online on a daily basis, may seem silly- it's not- it's what connects us through the simple act of sharing it. Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London.
Category: Telecommunications
Client: Hutchinson 3G
Title: THE MOON WALKING PONY
Brand: Three
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Production: Blink
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Dougal Wilson
Creative Director: Ray Shaughnessy
Creative Director: Dan Norris
Creative: freddie powell
Creative: Hollie Walker
Post production: MPC
PRODUCER EWEN BROWN
MUSIC COMPANY WAVE STUDIOS
EDITOR TOM LINDSAY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JAMES BLAND
DIRECTOR DOUGAL WILSON
CREATIVE DIRECTOR DAN NORRIS AND RAY SHAUGHNESSY
ART DIRECTOR ANDY KELLY
ADVERTISING AGENCY PRODUCER MICHELLE BROUGH
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY LASSE FRANK
Brief Explanation
Shot against the dramatic backdrop of the Shetland Islands, the spot follows the story of a stocky little pony. But this is no ordinary Shetland pony. As we close in on the herd, our Pony starts to reveal is favorite past time. With the scrape of a hoof, a flick of his mane and some very clever VFX - he effortlessly moonwalks along to the sound of ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac. Ponies can’t moonwalk, only humans can and the creative potential of the spot relies on the success of the VFX.

Execution
Ponies can’t moonwalk, only humans can. But with the help of VFX, cleverly integrated with live footage, ‘Socks’ the Shetland Pony was able to realistically moonwalk his way across our screens.The team had to find a way to translate a human movement to a horse, making the end result look as cool and natural as possible. If the audience thought for one second that the pony wasn't real, the spell would have been broken. The biggest challenge therefore lay in dealing with something completely subjective, but something that needed to be photo-real. A PHOTO-REAL DIGITAL DOUBLEA photo-real Digital Double was created for the dance scenes, while a real pony was used for close-ups. The real pony was chosen because of his unique look, charisma and cute characteristics. He had punky Tina Turner hair, along with a real bounce and natural swagger in his step. The challenge was bringing those personality traits and nuances to life - replicating them in the moving CG Double. A skeletal rig was built, along with anatomical and muscle structure. The Digital Double was put through texture and look development, including lighting and grooming. This was repeated and tweaked for every shot. The team went through several stages of look development to ensure a perfect match. The tiniest details need to be considered; just by changing the subtlest expression it could have turned him from sweet to menacing and convey a totally different personality.HOW SHOULD IT MOONWALK?This was a big challenge. Firstly the team researched horse anatomy to capture a perfect, believable look. Next came the overall effect of the moonwalk - Michael Jackson’s moonwalk is so smooth, that when applied to a horse, it had no body movement, appearing to drift backwards. A number of tests were carried out to get the right movement including: speed, the size of gait, fluidity, timing and movement of individual parts and how he should work with the beat - until the perfect solution was found. For hoof close-ups the team chose to use prosthetic model pony limbs using resin and a realistic joint mechanism. These mimicked exactly how a pony’s leg would move. The legs were used to cut between in-camera close-up, dancing prosthetic hooves and the CG pony. The team extensively altered the environments, using a combination of compositing and matte painting.LIGHTING AND ENVIRONMENTSLighting environments to look photo real is very challenging. What started as a sunny shoot, ended pretty grey. Only the one of the shots was in the sun, while the rest were overcast. Sky replacements countered the changeable weather and were used to reflect the changing times of day. The team added lighting effects to mimic the early dawn through to the evening transitions. An additional challenge was that the pony also had to be artificially lit to fit within a sunnier environment.