In the end, it was just a crazy pace out there, running back and forth in the hot sun and painting a huge wall sized stop motion animation."
"This is probably one of the most interesting and demanding projects we've done so far", says Mikko Vormala, Piñata animator and creative. "We got a brief from advertising agency DDB and director Pekka Hara, and got inspired right away! But in all the excitement, we knew there were some clear challenges with the actual execution of the film!"
Jaakko Kastari and Netta Stenius DDB had contacted Pekka Hara to create an unique and artistic film for Tikkurila paint products, focusing on the extreme weather conditions and seasonal changes the paint can endure. The true Tikkurila power of color!
Director Hara wanted to focus all the creative visuals; illustration, animation planning, design and post production, on one studio, at which point Piñata came in. Piñata producer Sari Tani describes: "We have a versatile team of creatives, so we could easily find a perfect talent for each phase of the pre and post production of the film. Of course Hara had his own team of extremely talented camera and art departments with producer Ari Laitinen overseeing everything"
The project kicked off by Mikko and Tuomas collaborating on finding the right style together with DDB art director Jaakko Kastari. "Finding the right style turned out to be a bit of a challenge. We did a huge amount of different versions, went through different compositions etc. before landing on one style.", Mikko describes. "But that was just the first part. We also had to modify the landscape from season to season. Bring a special touch for each phase in the story!"
After that, huge effort was made to bring the illustration to life. Mikko and Piñata designer/compositor Henri Tani worked together to create an animatic - in this peculiar case a small animated short film - depicting the change of colors and landscape on each season.
The small animation was later transcripted by Henri into a design and animation document to be used on the set. "It was a huge help in the shoot. It wouldn't have been possible to shoot the film in Buenos Aires the way we did it, without the animation reference document Henri had made. He even had calculated the amount of PAINT we needed for each frame! It was amazing to see the level of detail and time he spent on creating it all. Simply an amazing effort!", Mikko describes.
While creating the animation was on the way, some initial testing was done to calculate how much time it would take to paint a wall this big so it would be possible to composite a stable schedule for the shoot. We also painted some of the moving elements, like the falling leaves, in our studio, later to be transported on location in Buenos Aires.
"Luckily I learned animation technique while people were still making the classic exposure sheets. I don't know if it would've been possible to keep track of all the stop motion animation happening on the huge wall.", Mikko reminesces.
Hara sums the stop animation process up shortly: "Basically the technique is fairly simple. Set up a camera and start shooting it frame by frame. For example, we shot around 95 000 single frames, using 5 cameras."
Mikko continues: "In the end, it was just a crazy pace out there, running back and forth in the hot sun and painting a huge wall sized stop motion animation. Painting a small part. Running away from the scene. Taking a picture. Running back to the wall again. Over and over again. We had a lot of talented artists and art students from Buenos Aires and a mural specialist Otto Maja to help us with the painting process. But still, it was a week of hard work and 20 hour days."
"This kind of film is really demanding for the director. One has to keep track of what is happening in the animation and on the set, all the while directing the film crew."
A few weeks later, Henri started working on the final material, grading and doing minor polishing to the material. "The point of the film is really make it feel authentic and underline the collaborative effort of these artists and individuals. But there are always little things you can polish, really make the film stand out.", Henri says.
"What made this project really interesting, is the collaborative effort of all the creatives we got to work with. Not only the actual painters, but our own studio artists, the crew on location, and the amazing new people we got to meet. I think we all got pushed off our comfort zones a little. Personally, this made it interesting for me.", Mikko concludes.
Director Hara concludes: "It's a project I'm really proud of. One of the best spots I have ever directed. Have to thank all the beautiful people who put their heart and soul into this one."
Agency: DDB Helsinki
Art Director: Jaakko Kastari
Copywriter: Netta Stenius
Creative Director: Vesa Tujunen
Account Director: Anne Aikala
Strategic Planning Director: Tomi Hakanpää
Project Manager: Kaisa Kinnunen
Director: Pekka Hara