What is the project about? What did the client want?

This was our second time working for Laboratories Boiron and Swan Publicite (Paris), and this spot complements the graphic campaign we started last January.

This time, we had our characters exposed to a health-threatening situation, surrounded by sick people when they were riding on the bus towards their house after the man picked up his daughter from school. All people around them looks sick, and many of them are sneezing and coughing. Father and daughter look around, worried, and start feeling sick themselves. So the father pulls the strap of the bus, as to abruptly make it stop.

They arrive at their house, and in order to prevent infection, the man gives a dose of Oscillo to his daughter, and takes one himself, under the approving look of his wife.

The client was looking for a colorful, timeless, eye-catching style. The characters had to be  ordinary people, in order to have the spectator identifying easily with them. The backgrounds and scenarios had to be timeless, yet stylish. The bus was supposed to be an oppressive environment, in where the secondary characters would create an unpleasant atmosphere given their poor health situation. On the other hand, their house had to be a warm place, and the reassuring presence of the mother had to bring a feeling of comfort and safeness to the environment.

First steps.

Once the agency provided us with their firsts storyboards, we started the process of brainstorming, as to adapt the story to the animation style -and technique- we were intending to use.  We later made an animatic, to see the exact time each shot would be, and to set a starting point from where to develop the animation.

Once approved, we moved on.


by Carlos Lascano

February, 2010

Shooting actors.

After a couple of projects in which I worked with real eyes, I have become more comfortable with -and quite fond of- this technique.

I usually use light-colored eyes, since they provide more depth to the look, and they are easier to modify in case I need to change their color.

We shot the actors´ eyes and then digitalized them. Then, the eyes were added to the characters, according to their gestures and head movement. The hands were also real, but photographed -and painted afterwards- instead of filmed.

Transition / Editing.

One of the most important things to have under consideration, was the transition we would use to go from one background to another. It had to be original, fast and easily understandable. It had to simplify all the actions in between the father´s pull of the strap and the moment in which they arrive at their house.

We tried several versions until we found the one that worked the best.

Once all the elements (characters, backgrounds, transition) were ready, and the client provided us with the music and the sound FX, the process of putting it all together started. The making of some minor adjustments and “polishing” took place in order to achieve the final clip as we see it today.

Designing and creating the elements.

The design of the main characters and backgrounds came first, since those elements were the ones to set the aesthetics we would use for the whole commercial. This took a lot of back and forth, since the designs had to fit with the exact concept the client had in mind. Once the client was happy with them, we built the characters in cardboard, paper and wire, and photographed them.. Then we constructed them in Photoshop to adjust them to the design, and added detailed textures.  The characters were later deconstructed again into layers, in order to have them ready to animate with After Effects. The characters took many layers each, as to be able to achieve more detailed movements with their arms, clothes and bodies.

Some elements -from both the characters and the background-  were built in CGI 3D, as to contribute with the mixed-technique look I´m always after.

Another major challenge was to condense such a story into a 18 sec clip and to still make it understandable, since every shot needs to have a certain length in order to be consistent and provide enough “information” as to lead us to the following scene/shot. Given the storyboard provided, it was impossible to remove shots, so we had to be very careful in adjusting their length and retouching frames (sometimes even retouching a single glimpse) as to make them fit into the time parameters we had set with the animatic.

Technical challenges.

I believe the most difficult things to achieve were the characters expressions... by going from sick to safe, from worried to satisfied, all their facial features had to be modified in accordance: eyebrows, eyes, mouth... and it was quite a task to achieve expressions that could be easily recognizable.


THE MAKING OFvid_oscillo_making.html


Title: Le Bus.

Advertiser/Client: Laboratoires Boiron - Production Company FRANCE: Swan Publicitè - Executive Producer: Alexandre Charlet

Production Company SPAIN: Dreamlife Studio - Executive Producer: Paula Lema

Original designs and Direction: Carlos Lascano