Absolute's Digital Techniques Unite Dogs And Cats
July 18, 2012

Absolute's Digital Techniques Unite Dogs And Cats

Absolute, BBH and Pretty Bird joined forces to deliver “A Bottle of Togetherness,” using computer graphics and live action to create a world where dogs and cats can resolve their differences over a bottle of Britvic J2O.
BBH enlisted Absolute and Pretty Bird Directors the Daniels to turn a house party into a wildly entertaining spot featuring rival animals thrown into normal human situations, united by their drink of choice. The live-action ad, augmented with CGI, captures a typical house party scene as a group of dogs show up to a party full of cats. As the cats begin to encroach on their unwanted guests, the tension is broken by a four-pack of J2O, leading to a night of dancing, hook-ups and hilarity. The feel-good spot even explores an unexpected romance that blossoms between a dog and a cat. All is right with the world, until a mouse shows up to the party…

"We first cast our office dogs Alfie and Larry to test different compositing techniques that would combine human bodies with animal heads,” explains Absolute Producer Dan Bennett. “Then we were very involved in the editing process, helping to select the dog and cat performances that best suited the movements of humans.” 

Absolute Flame Artists Phil Oldham and Michael Smith attended the shoot in East London to assist and supervise the shots for visual effects. The team initially intended to shoot the cat and dog heads in-situ as plates, however some of the animals were too big to fit on set. Ultimately a greenscreen studio was constructed, and the team captured the heads using two cameras shooting simultaneously from different angles.

“Ask any Flame artist what they find to be the most challenging and they will say head replacements,” says Absolute Flame Artist Phil Oldham. “That, combined with the fact that you can’t get a dog or cat to take direction, was no small feat. Thankfully BBH and the Daniels were trusting and are both incredibly well versed in visual effects. No explanations were necessary, and they pushed for the very best result.”

Working closely with the agency and production teams, Absolute used a mixture of compositing live action and CG augmentation to create the scenes and characters. Autodesk’s Flame, The Foundry’s Nuke and Apple’s Final Cut Pro were the main platforms used.