Friday, May 28, 2010

Dogs on Film

About 10 years ago Brian and I worked on a commercial for Purina ONE dog food.

The spot (which ran for a long time) featured a newspaper cartoonist (actor) who did a daily strip inspired by his dog (dog).  It was mostly a shot of him talking in his studio and cut aways to the dog doing cute things.  Overall it was a very well produced ad.

We did a few little bits of animation for it.  One shot had a close up of a newspaper "come to life".  The final shot had the animated dog run in to cue the logo.

What we had the most fun doing was making some of the dressing for the set.  These included a series of dummy comic strips and a comics page to put the animation into.

Of course, these strips aren't visible but the model drawings we created are.

This was all done by the great Ron Barrett.  Readers may be familiar with him as the artist behind the book "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs".  Older folks might recall his "Politenessman" strip for the National Lampoon.

Regrettably, I can't find the comics page he made.  It contained maybe 20 or so original comics, some his own take on classics like "Beetle Bailey" or "Blondie".

You can catch a brief of the top of "Nothing But Action" as the camera lands on the strip.

Ed Smith, one of the great dog animators of the past hundred years, did the animation.

The live action was shot on film and the agency had concern about matching film stock (that's what they get paid to bring up). We also shot on film using their same film stock. The dog at the end was shot in three passes: a matte pass (black on white), a fill pass (black line on white dog) and a texture pass (the paper texture). This was all composited in a very expensive edit room.

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