April 1, 2008
The Skinny The description ‘smooth as silk’ takes on a literal meaning in Silk Flowers, a flowing and dreamy thirty-second TVC produced by Malaysia-based Carrot Films and post produced by Thailand’s Fame Post Production for Dove-branded chocolates from Mars Limited. The spot opens with the protagonist in a brown silk dress resting in an armchair in deep thought, set in a courtyard that is muted and barren. Reaching for a bar of Dove chocolate, she breaks off a portion and places it in her mouth. Closing her eyes to savour the taste of the confectionary, the gastronomical experience seemingly brings her into another world as the scene fades into a rich and delicious chocolate flow which transform into smooth, flowing chocolate brown silk. The camera then pans to the courtyard where chocolate brown drapes unfurl to adorn the once rocky surface, and extends to wrap around the woman’s shoulders as she looks on in delight. Wind-blown chocolate drapes then continue to move to the ground and each form chocolate roses that now spread across the once-barren courtyard. The protagonist then proceeds to caress a CG rose which appear fresh and alive as it sways with her touch. The courtyard continues to fill with silk roses which are blooming in the chocolate garden. Walking on in the wonder unfolding before her eyes, she turns around to see one of the drapes floating into the air before transforming into chocolate butterflies fluttering into the air. The TVC concludes with the climax of smooth flowing chocolate drapes, fluttering butterflies, and luscious roses as the lady looks on in awe at the magical environment enveloping her. The Production Prior to production, Carrot Films director Henry Ooi brought the entire production and post team through the concept in detail, with clear illustrations of the CG chocolate silk roses and butterflies. The key creative concept of live action mixed with CG then saw the team shoot footage of the actress’ actions, artificial roses and silk moving at high speed to be eventually composited with CG. Jeffery Chow, executive producer of the TVC revealed that the actress, in her thin silk dress, had to withstand very low temperatures on set during the shoot. The actress, with the help and guidance of the crew and director, then proceeded to ‘interact’ with CG elements that were added only during post production in what was the most challenging part of production. The Post Post production proved the most grueling stage for Silk Flowers as the entire process took an arduous two months to complete. The team at Fame Post used Autodesk Maya and After Effects to create the digital imagery and CG elements, The Pixel Farm’s PF Track for geometry tracking, and Autodesk Inferno for compositing and finishing. According to Chow, an extensive length of time was spent on producing the mock-up as well as matching the colour, lighting and size of the CG roses. And of particular difficulty was the scene that the protagonist caresses the CG rose as the actresses hand’s touch of the virtual flower had to “look real”. With particular attention paid to the contact as well as the ‘reaction’ of the hand and the CG flower, the latter was animated with a life-like ‘bounce’ following the touch to bring the chocolate rose to life. “Our CG animators performed many tests before the final result was achieved just for this sequence alone,” said Chow.