When it comes to the food chain, you just never know what’s going to come out on top, or end up inside. At least, that’s the way things go down in the collective imagination of Buck. In a shiny new station ID for the United Kingdom’s popular Channel 5, the creative minds and 3D talents at the bi-coastal design-driven studio helped agency DixonBaxi create a rapid series of evolutionary ingestions that begin with a bright orange “Dumbo Squid” and end in a bright red armchair.
DixonBaxi founder Aporva Baxi commented, “The experience of working with Buck on Five was very creative and highly collaborative. The process was seamless and everything they did was to an exceptionally high standard, taking our high expectations and consistently managing to exceed them. “
“DixonBaxi was rebranding Channel 5, and they had an idea for what they called ‘creative bursts’,” says Ryan Honey, Creative Director at Buck. “They wanted 10 to 15 second, weird, unexpected stories to grab viewers’ attention between content, and remind them what channel they are watching. We threw this open to our entire team and gave them a chance to be really creative. We have incredible talent at Buck, and we wanted to leverage everybody’s skills and come up with something unique and fresh. Out of the 14 concepts we submitted, ‘Food Chain’ was the most abstract.”
Opening with an oddly cute little Dumbo squid swishing around in sunlit water, and next to a Channel 5 logo, the ‘Food Chain’ camera suddenly widens to reveal a yellow fish with green fins and long sharp teeth. No sooner has the yellow fish inhaled the Dumbo squid than he himself is sucked up in the vertical journey of a bigger fish before it breaks the surface with a splash. Before he can enjoy his meal, however, the fish lands on the beached pink tongue of a four footed toaster, which is quickly entrapped within the plaid and buttoned tongue of a hungry armchair, which is soon chewing with evident satisfaction.
“We pride ourselves on attention to detail,” says Honey. “While this was a fun and cute spot, we also wanted to give it a highly polished surreal look with a little edge. This was really driven by our 3d team who used there photorealism skills to come up with a almost unsettling look for our characters.”
And these characters are all Buck. Although Honey and his team referenced all manner of ocean life for inspiration, the only fish that is ‘real’ is the Dumbo squid which, to be honest, looks kind of like a cartoon even in real life. Associate Creative Director Jeremy Sahlman opted for a hybrid ‘claymation’ style that would add a whimsical feel without making the spot feel like a cartoon. The texture and lighting team then went about creating the surreal scenario and surrealistic look. Compositor Jon Gorman added light rays, plankton, and tiny bits of water distortion to further distinguish the scene.
“Everybody enjoyed the little details,” says Honey. “The blobby, reflective water; the squirming feet on the toaster; the precise reflection of the extending tongue in the toaster before it’s devoured; we had a lot of fun making it. Everybody got a chance to show their skills.”
Specializing in design-driven creative, Buck’s directors and artists use animation, visual effects and live action to collaborate with clients, from concept to delivery, producing work that is visceral, innovative, and diverse. From offices in New York and Los Angeles, Buck works with a broad range of clients in the advertising, broadcast, retail and entertainment industries.
“Food Chain” Credits:
Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
Senior Producer: Nick Terzich
Associate Creative Director: Jeremy Sahlman VFX Supervisor: Doug Wilkinson Art Director: Chris Lee 3D Animation: Matt Everton 3D Artists: John Niehuss, Thomas Madreiter, Randa Mohtady, Csaba Letay, Michael Colarik, Kyle Raffile, Ivan Sokol
Compositor: Jon Gorman
Audio: Cypher Audio
Software: Maya, After Effects
Creative Director: Simon Dixon
Creative Director: Aporva Baxi
Executive Producer: Gareth Evans