Nathan Love of production company Mothership has ventured where few directors have dared to go -- inside the depths of Santa's beard! In a :30 spot promoting Oregon Lottery's holiday scratch-off game "What's In Santa's Beard?" Portland agency Borders Perrin Norrander (BPN) tapped Mothership's Nathan Love to create an animated world filled with kooky holiday characters and the potential winnings from playing the lottery game. "Beard World" breaks today, Nov. 1st.
Set to a whimsical holiday track, the commercial swoops inside Santa's beard to reveal a snowman in his kitchen, the sink running syrup from a candy cane wall. Next up, a pine tree decorates a man with ornaments, a walrus flosses his tusks, and French hens in red high heels gossip over wine in a hair nest café. The spot closes with a cameo of local Oregon legend D.B. Cooper, who in the early '70s infamously stole a suitcase of cash and parachuted out of a commercial Boeing 727, never to be seen again (the Oregon Lottery spot posits where he's been hiding all along!)
The all-CG spot is rich in detail, with a handcrafted feel and stop-motion-style animation. Risca and her team imagined Santa's beard as a clay-sculpted world inhabited by characters carved from wood and environments imbued with the look of miniatures. The one continuous camera move, which was inspired by Nathan Love Executive Creative Director Joe Burrascano's recent trip to Disneyworld, plays out like an amusement park ride as it takes the viewer through the different "rooms" inside the beard.
To execute the concept, the team cut storyboards while character designs were being refined, starting with a timed :30 2D animatic, then moving into a more detailed 3D previs during which time they also placed all the beard hairs into the various environments and finalized camera motion. The seamless camera move was split into six different shots, which were edited together concurrent to the compositing phase. Once animation was finished, lighting, rendering and compositing continued until the final look was achieved. A core Nathan Love group of about 10 was tasked with the project, with an additional 20 extra hands coming on board during production. The project began in August and delivered in October.
Nathan Love also produced the audio for the spot, working again with sound designer and composer Drew Skinner. Together they have handled their clients' audio needs for almost all of their previous work including the Pop Secret and Baskin Robbins campaign, and also their horror short, Blood Trail.