Most people avoid working with animals and children, but it seems
food can also join the list. One of the first obstacles Jaffe Keating
faced when it decided to illustrate its Bacofoil ad with dancing food
was whether to use the real thing or animation.
The agency’s first port of call was Bacofoil’s home economics expert who
decided it would be more hygienic and believable to use food models and
animation, rather than attempt to put arms and legs on actual potatoes
She also advised which products should appear in the fridge, so viewers
could be educated in basic food hygiene while also being shown how to
wrap food correctly.
A major restriction on using real food is that it sweats if held under
strong light for a long time.
As the ad was going to consist of five different shots, each taking a
day to complete, a real piece of cheese would have melted after 12 hours
under intense studio lights.
The animation specialist, Puppetoon, was commissioned to create models
of two potatoes, a piece of cheese, an oven-ready chicken and two pieces
of fish as well as plastic arms for all of them. To make the food look
as realistic as possible, casting sessions were held to ascertain the
ideal size for the potatoes and cheese.
The original storyboard had two slices of bacon relaxing on the grill
tray, but it was decided two pieces of sunglass-clad battered fish with
arms would be more effective.
During the ad, each item of food wraps itself in Bacofoil - a challenge
which presented its own problems. Foil wrap is very sensitive and after
75 frames had been shot of the chicken wrapping itself in foil, the foil
was creased and not looking its best.
To counteract the effects of the light deflection, every possible
lighting angle was tested before each day’s shoot. Finally, any rogue
light deflections and creases were ironed out during a day of
post-production at Rushes using the Henry tool, Inferno.
The final shot of two potatoes playing tug-of-war with a sheet of foil
was very difficult, as it is hard to convey weight and strength in
stop-frame animation. The fact they were also standing on their own feet
and moving around made it hard to keep the flow of the shot.
The foil’s sensitivity added to the difficulty of the scene, which was
the only one in which the foil had to be replaced for the final shot of
the potato wrapping itself. As the purpose of the shot was to show
Bacofoil’s strength, any tearing or creasing would have undermined the