Sony seem to have got into the habit of making quietly impressive adverts for their Bravia televisions. First there was the one where a load of coloured balls were sent bouncing through the streets of San Francisco, then there was the even more bonkers one which involved spaying enormous volumes of coloured paint all over a housing estate.
Now when I first saw the “balls” one, I assumed that it was a clever bit of computer-generated animation. After all, nobody’s going to be crazy enough to drop a quarter of a million bouncy balls downhill, are they? Well, it seems they were that crazy, and somehow got whatever permissions they needed to do the bouncy thing.
Having realised that, I wasn’t really surprised to find that the paint one was also done in real life. Yup, lots and lots and lots of water-soluble, non-toxic paint. Cleaning up took a while, apparently.
The latest one involves lots of coloured Plasticine (or possibly Play-Doh, the description refers to both) bunnies in New York. Again, the sensible way to do this would be to film the locations, then add your animated bunnies electronically. Or at least to shoot your stop-motion bunnies against a green screen and combine them with the filmed locations. The totally bonkers way would be to do the stop motion thing in live locations. So that’s what they did.
All of this is a lot of fun, and really impressive. Is it more impressive because it was all done live rather than by using more obvious technology? It’s not as if you can really tell how a promotional film was made just by looking at it, so I can only assume that they’re making their ads this way because they can. Which is either very cool, or a great way of spending a lot of money.
It reminds me of a scene in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which Ford Prefect tries to explain the origin of the universe to Arthur Dent by describing a demonstration involving filling a conical black bath with sand, then allowing it to empty while filming it. You then watch the film backwards to see the sand spiralling into the bath. Arthur asks Ford if that’s how the universe began, to which he replied
No, but it’s a great way to relax
Which seems as good an explanation as any for the Sony ads…
Update: I used to have links to the videos on the Sony site, but they’ve either moved them or lost them