The Coronavirus pandemic has brought the film, TV and Production industry worldwide to a near-total halt. Whilst Disney has paused production on all of its live-action movies, including the Avatar sequel and Home Alone, Netflix and Apple are postponing projects with the likes of Stranger Things and The Morning Show delayed to mitigate human contact and combat the virus spread. The outbreak has even interrupted film shoots at many phases of production, with some being cancelled only three weeks prior to shooting.
In times of social distancing and self-isolation, creative outlets such as animation and CGI are positioned as an attractive alternative to live-action content. If the pre-Covid19 trend was to adapt favourite childhood animations to photorealistic remakes – Mulan, The Jungle Book and Aladdin to name a few – now might be the time to reverse that change and consider animation and its benefits as an effective alternative.
However, there is still much chatter around whether or not animation works as an alternative. One thing is for certain, it should never be shoehorned in as a quick fix to live-action films. Like any production, it needs careful consideration and planning – that’s where our expertise comes into play.
From stylised to photo-realistic, hand-drawn to computer-generated, we’re experts in storytelling through animation. In 10 years of company history, we have created iconic characters and worlds for major brands, just take Aldi’s “Kevin the carrot” and Vodafone “Freebees” as an example. To give you a clearer understanding of animated content and whether or not it might be the perfect solution to your project, we outline the benefits of animation.
It can make the unbelievable believable
Fueled by imagination, animated content has the power to bring to life the most fantastical universes. There is no such thing as an environment too fantastical, or a creature too surreal – everything is possible. Think sleeping dragon in a cave or star destroyer rising out of a dune.
It can be reused
Once an animation has been realised, it can be reused. So, even though the initial outlay can feel lengthy and costly, in the long run, you have access to characters and assets to refresh campaigns or create new episodes, as opposed to needing to reshoot or redraw from scratch. Better yet, it can be re-used across all media platforms, from social videos to print, interactive, experiential and even digital animated series. Ultimately, this means no extra expensive re-shoots.
It gives you total control
Take our work with Beaverbrooks for instance: to celebrate the jewellery’s 100th anniversary, we produced the 30-second animated advert “Dear Love”, working from character design to modelling and direction. The project was fully CG, including the diamond ring featured in the end. Easy enough to replicate convincingly, the animated object gave us more control over its use within the video as opposed to filming it.
Another example is the animated sheep we created for Harrison Spinks’ first-ever TV commercial. The client wanted the character to have a slight strut as it walked through the dales and also little interactions with the cast. As you can imagine, finding a trained Wensleydale is not easy! An animated version of the animal gave us full artistic control over the advert.
It’s more flexible
It’s true that live-action can be much quicker to produce than CG. Once the shoot is done, the edit and post-production can be turned around fairly quickly. However, there are limits to what can be shot on camera. It can be less flexible too – if anything doesn’t go to plan on the day, or extra shots are required once the edits come together, it could mean re-hiring and re-shooting. With CGI, you have complete control. Plus, once assets are created on a computer, they can be used and re-used.
It’s not just for kids
Animation can often be wrongly pigeon-holed as just for kids. The reality, however, is very different. After all, animation is not a genre, it’s a medium. There are many different executions, styles and options to unlock boundless creativity, especially for advertising – just have a look at Compare the Market’s legendary “Meerkats” or Aldi’s “Kevin the Carrot” to get a sense of the range and potential that can be delivered.
The time is now
With cancelled shoots and remote working delaying 2020’s expected releases, animation may be a viable alternative for creative studios and brands looking to maintain their production output for the foreseeable future. And, with the many benefits of animation on offer, it’s even possible for studios to maintain a high-level production output for projects to come.