Calabash Goes Bolder While Blending CG and Live Action for Starkist
September 13, 2018

Calabash Goes Bolder While Blending CG and Live Action for Starkist

CHICAGO – Looking to go “bolder,” Calabash once again teamed with agency Quench (Harrisburg, PA) to create the latest two-spot campaign for Starkist featuring beloved brand icon Charlie the Tuna reunited with actress Candace Cameron Bure, perhaps best known as D.J. Tanner on the classic family sit-com “Full House.” 

“Mixing live action with animation creates a challenge that’s both creative and technical,” John Gilbert, Quench’s Group Creative Director. “Calabash is incredibly skilled at nailing both sides of that. They’re not just involved, they’re right there in the room with us, responsive at every step starting early in the process, helping us avoid obstacles and even helping advise our client on executional details. Sean, Wayne and their incredibly talented team make Charlie the Tuna the larger-than-life character he deserves to be.”

Similar to last year’s campaign, the setting of both spots are the set of one of Bure TV projects where Charlie literally drops in, dangling causally from a fisherman’s hook naturally, to inform her of Starkist’s latest creations. 

The first spot, titled "Tuna Creations BOLD," finds Bure filming an action sequence, dressed in a red superhero jumpsuit. When the off-screen voice of the director is heard asking Bure for a ‘bolder’ performance, Charlie seizes the moment to tell her about the Tuna Creations line of bold flavors such as Jalapeño. In the second spot, entitled “Chicken Creations,” we see Bure between scenes on a living room set in a bright yellow dress reacting excitedly to Charlie’s news about their new Chicken Creations line.   

“Both spots needed the animated Charlie integrated into the live action environment with a believable interaction between Charlie and Candace,” Wayne Brejcha, Calabash’s Creative Director. “Playing off of Candace’s warmth and energy, Charlie’s performance came together very naturally.”

For the project, Calabash Executive Producer Sean Henry attended the shoot in Los Angeles to work closely with Director Peter Siaggas to ensure the live action and animation would integrate perfectly in post.

“The spots are very tongue-in-cheek and don’t take themselves too seriously,” Henry says. “’Bold’ was shot entirely against green screen with most of the environment being fabricated in post. Candace was a great sport and a real pro when it came to maintaining eye lines and acting against an imaginary co-star. Petergave us great material to work with, in both the beautifully-composed shots and the performances from Candace.”

Brejcha adds that because Charlie’s style straddles the worlds of 3D and 2D, it remains a creative and technical challenge to get the CG model to look like it belongs in the real world. 

“There’s no way to treat our Charlie CG model like a conventional, straightforward stop-motion puppet — the artists have to distort his shapes to match our guide sketches,” he says. “It looks good from the camera’s point of view. Always a great challenge, but very rewarding when we pull it off.”