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08/02/2006

Rushes complete new Halifax spot

Rushes have just completed work on ‘Moocher’, a spectacular, 1920’s inspired commercial for Halifax mortgage advice service.
This is the first Halifax ad in some time not to feature the well known face of Howard Brown, introducing instead a couple of new hand picked staff members.
The spot opens on a confused male customer sitting at a Halifax mortgage adviser’s desk. Two advisers, a male and a female, suddenly break into their own version of ‘Minnie the Moocher’ as the background slides from modern day bank foyer into sparkly speakeasy. The advisers, now dressed as crooners in glamorous twenties outfits, are backed by exotic chorus girls as they sing about the fantastic mortgage advice they have up their sleeves. Gangsters in three piece suits, cigarette girls and seductive jazz tones entice the bemused and ecstatic customer… until he finds himself back in the Halifax office – with a contented smile on his face.
Rob Clayman, Creative at DLKW, commented on his inspiration for the commercial: “Halifax was keen to insinuate greater participation with customers than previous films had depicted. And if audience participation is what you're after, they don't come more perfect than the Cab Calloway classic, 'Minnie the Moocher'. Taking the song's cameo in The Blues Brothers aside, we wanted to take it back to its roots - as a set piece of the Harlem Renaissance and the famous clubs from that period, including The Cotton Club and Connie's Inn.
Early on in pre-production, we had a very definitive vision for Moocher. It had to look opulent and sensual, but more importantly, we were trying to capture the energy and look of classic 70's movies - the rationale being that previous Halifax commercials have had a very glossy, promo feel. Moocher had to visually feel a little more narrative and 'live', to match the unbridled swing of the musical performance. This was achieved firstly by Dawn Shadforth's uncanny sense of choreography and seamless coverage, including using a 'b' camera to capture the energy of the performers and audience interaction.”
Rushes Matt Jackson added: “We were brought in early on in the project by DLKW. After looking at the storyboards, we came up with a plan for shooting the end mnemonics, working alongside director Hugh Johnson to see this through to the compositing stage. Shooting on the ‘A’ stage at Shepperton studios with 200 extras, the crowd replication shots were captured using a number of different plates and camera angles. These were composited on set using Combustion linked up to the video assist.
“We also created a POV through a telescope inspired by Georges Melies’ 1902 film 'A Trip to the Moon'. The shot comprises of practical elements re-animated in inferno to create the final flight-path of a rocket and the attached banner. The trick was to get the desired balance between legibility and the required dynamic movement. Other effects added include some pyrotechnic typography that was camera tracked into a scene, with added scaffold and rigging all added in inferno. The overall effect is one of a theatrical transition between worlds with an 'in camera' feeling to it all.”
There were a multitude of ‘concealed’ finishing touches that were added to the main sequence of the film such as: replacing signage and posters for branding purposes, retiming some of the in-camera elements to enhance continuity.
(GB)
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