Peacefully gliding down over an urban vista to land in a residential plaza, we find red bricks pushing up through the pavement to grow into a majestic, sheltering tree in "Tree Phase 1," a :40 spot directed and animated by New York City-based creative studio www.tronicstudio.com Widely acclaimed for its ability to bring inanimate objects to "life," Tronic's magical CG "brick tree" emphasizes the growing strength; stability and sheltering out-reach of Santander, one of the world's leading banks.
Agency WCRS expressed interest in Tronic having seen number of successful spots with a similar organic CG styling. "The producers saw examples of our work that spoke to the visual language they wanted to capture," said Vivian Rosenthal, partner, with Jessi Seppi, in Tronic. "The spot was a welcome challenge because it was a continuation of our earlier live-action and CG work for Sony, Target and Comcast, and provided an exciting opportunity to integrate live-action with CG in a beautiful London vista."
A Brick Tree Grows in London
WCRS presented a script that featured a CG red brick tree, a play on the brand's image and logo, growing to tower over an urban residential environment. "The bricks were the key element, and giving them the right feeling, not hard and cold but lifelike, organic and embracing, was the creative challenge," said Rosenthal. "We designed our style frames to retain a sense of warmth and humanity throughout."
Tronic artists conducted extensive design research to find the formula to make the tree "feel" comfortable to the people in the environment. "Every element, from the texture of the trunk and branches to the shape of the leaves and their candy-coated crystalline quality, to the expressions on people's faces as they encounter the magical tree, were carefully scrutinized. We asked ourselves, 'is this scary or is this welcoming?' as we sought to make the tree appear as soft and gentle as possible," added Dade Orgeron, Tronic creative director.
Creating Beauty in Bricks
Creating a sense of stability was important to Santander, which wanted a grounded, solid look. Initially Tronic approached the spot from an overall look and feel. "First and foremost we wanted to create a beautiful spot. Then we went through the rigors of figuring out how the brick tree should grow and move," said Rosenthal. "This approach was effective because it helped the client understand our thinking and to grasp that the movement would be the more difficult aspect to achieve."
Many of the most compelling moments are highly emotional, such as a bird with chicks in a nest, a cat looking out the window at the growing tree, and a young child reaching up to touch a branch, originated with the treatment and were key to telling the story. "We worked into the story from a wide view and then took the viewer into the details. Otherwise crucial aspects, like the 'candied' leaves, would get lost in a longer shot," noted Rosenthal. "We wanted to maintain a natural feeling of movement and we had the luxury of an extra ten seconds to expand the shots, to open the edit a bit and create a more cinematic look, all of which enabled us to tell a complete story without feeling hurried," concluded Ms. Rosenthal.
Shooting London as Europe
Tronic spent two days shooting in London, during challenging weather, to capture the feeling of the traditional city mixed with the new. In the closing scene the Santander tree grows high above the cityscape in an affirmation of the bank's continued growth and stability.
Jesse Seppi & Vivian Rosenthal - Co-founders
Brian Camp - Executive Producer
Dade Orgeron - Creative Director
Kieran Belshaw - Designer/Concept Artist
Sam Blalark - Simulation Artist
Joe Grundfast - 3D Generalist
Alex Scollay - 3D Lead
Alex Jacquet - Lead Compositor
Urosh Perishic- Compositor
Edwin Liu- 3D Generalist
Roman Rütten - 2D Animator
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: TIM ROBERTSON
CREATIVE: SIMON ROBINSON
TV PRODUCER: LESLEY WILLIAMS
TV PRODUCTION: JOSEPH PAWSEY
CLIENT MD: SUZIE SHAW
ACCOUNT MANAGER: HEATHER CUSS [less