Recently, a number of white characters are ruling the television screens. They sing, dance, quarrel among themselves and yes they also play cricket. We have all been privy to these white, scrawny creatures with giant heads as they invade our TV screens during an IPL match. Yes I’m telling about the ZOOZOOs newly introduced by Vodafone. From the television ad’s it seems that the Zoozoos are animated characters, completely born out of a computer lab. But no, they aren’t animated characters. They are human beings who were made to wear body suits.
Six months ago, Vodafone briefed its agency, Ogilvy India, to create uncommon characters. Rajiv Rao, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India, tells that the only starting point for the team was that the character had to be simple to a stupefying level. And thus, the Zoozoo was born.“The design of the characters is such that one gets fooled into thinking it is animation,” shrugs Rao, which was indeed the very illusion that had to be created. “In a sense, it is ‘live’ animation!” he quips, referring to the fact that it was all shot live.
Prakash Varma, ad filmmaker, Nirvana Films, has directed the commercials, and reveals that the Zoozoos were a big challenge to create. The practical aspects of how they will move, talk, gesticulate and emote were very important. Essentially, costume design and artwork were crucial elements.“It took me three weeks of pre-production to understand how it will work,” says Varma. There were two fabrics that were considered for the body suits, and one was rejected for it had too many wrinkles and was shiny. The wrinkles would have shown when the characters moved, thereby shattering the illusion of animation. “So we chose the more practical, thicker fabric,” Varma explains.
The production team divided the outfit into two parts: the body and the head. The body part of the outfit was stuffed with foam in some places, while the head was attached separately. To make it look bigger than a human head, a harder material called Perspex was used, which in turn was stuffed with foam (with scope for ventilation).
If one wishes to understand the size of this head, here’s a fact: a human head would typically reach up to the mouth level of this giant Zoozoo head. “We kept the hands and legs thin, which is why we cast women – and occasionally children – wearing the costumes,” says Varma. The thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans. Sets were created to suit the size of the Zoozoos.
Cinematically, this ‘size’ was a trick: the creatures look smaller than they actually are on screen, to portray a different world of sorts. For this, the speed of shooting was altered: Nirvana shot it in a high-speed format to make them look the size that they do.
Furthermore, simple sets/backdrops were created and spray painted with neutral Grays – a color of choice so that attention isn’t diverted from the main characters. For a supposedly ‘outdoor’ shot, even the shadow of a Zoozoo was kept ‘live’ and not done in post production: it was painted in a darker shade of grey on the ground. An even lighting was maintained throughout. There was virtually no post production work done.
The films were shot by Nirvana in Cape Town, South Africa, with the help of a local production house there, called Platypus.
The making of the Zoozoos can be viewed at : http://www.campaignindia.in/news/watch_the_making_of_vodafone_zoozoo_spots
You might also like :