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17/09/2002

Post future arrives served up with Waffles

Framestore CFC has recently completed work on a landmark TV commercial 'Cow and Bear' for Kellogg's Eggo Waffles.
The 30-second spot, which aired on US television in September, features two animated plastic containers (a chocolate syrup-filled cow and a honey-filled bear) fighting about which of them will have the pleasure of dispensing their contents over a plate of Eggo Waffles.
The commercial is something of a coup for Framestore CFC, as it is the first time that the company has had the opportunity to create photo-real character animation for such a prominent US client.
The spot also marks a first for the company as it points the way to a total transformation of the usual client-director-agency-post-house relationship with 'Cow and Bear' claimed as the world's first virtually-produced commercial.
Following the two-day shoot of real elements, every aspect of the post-production of 'Cow and Bear' has been handled via the internet. Using Framestore CFC's proprietary interactive television system, a communications system was set up which linked London, Chicago and Los Angeles. The models and textures were created in Softimage XSI, and the early decisions about how these should look were all made using high quality still images transmitted on the internet.
A few weeks into post-production, Stuart Robinson, Framestore CFC's E-Services manager, flew out to Chicago and LA to supervise the installation of the set-top box that allows rapid transmission of DVD quality film and video material. This enabled the director (James Wahlberg for Visitor, based in LA) and the agency (Leo Burnett USA in Chicago) to communicate with Framestore CFC on a daily basis, receiving DVD quality updates of work-in-progress.
"It has been fantastic," said Framestore CFC Producer Lara Hopkins. "Our rep in Chicago had shown the agency our reel, and they were keen to work with us on this project. The set-top box, and all the benefits it implied, really clinched the deal."
On the practicalities of the virtual network Hopkins added: "We can do almost a day's work on 'Cow and Bear' while it’s night time over there. The work is then ready for approval and comment at the beginning of their working day, and they can send us a response by the end of ours. It’s an extremely efficient way of working.”
Framestore CFC, www.framestore-cfc.com
(SP)
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