Be it thriller or humor, Wilson Louis always unfolds an enthralling story with every feature film or television commercial. And now he presents fun for the auds with mix of CGI and Live Action Bangur Cement Truck and Elephant Commercials.
Is TVC main drama, emotion, comedy, action, vfx aur twist bhi hai is what he shares with AnimationXpress.com’s Zeenia Boatwala and she takes this conversation ahead to know the inside story about the making of these commercials from script to screen and what the future holds for Wilson Louis.
How did Bangur Cement TVC Series happen?
R D of Shree Ultra Cement Company appreciated my feature film ‘Kaalo’ and approached me to direct Shree Ultra Cement Commercial which was a combo of CGI and reality having a water creature. As they were happy with the way we brought out the concept and visual levels for this tvc, they decided to rope me in for Directing and producing a series of bangur cement tvc’s and other commercials.
Did Shree Ultra Cement share their expectations about the way they want the TVC’s?
Shree Ultra Cement offered me to direct 3 TVC’s and they emphasized on a ‘comical ending’. Comedy was welcome as I enjoy this genre to the core and wanted to explore it. Also, these tvc’s came as a refreshing change as I wanted a break from directing feature films. After working on numerous concepts, we zeroed down to three concepts, the elephant, the jail and the upcoming tvc which has a hulk. Then we set the deadlines for every stage of the production pipeline from script, story boards, character sketches, and modeling to the final edit. Without realistic deadlines the team is like a headless chicken running around! Alyque Padamsee , the creative director for these tvc’s oversaw that the message touched the audience properly with the right blend of elements in it. I’m happy and thrilled to reveal with that I’ve planned my next feature film revolving around comedy genre.
A blend of fun, little tension and unexpected climax could be a good description for these tvc’s -Please share more on this?
The approach, for all the Bangur Cement TVC series was to use a blend of live action and CG animation with the help of realistic animation style to bring out the fun element. There are some things I find imperative to storytelling, namely three things, one is a twist at the end of any story to be told, secondly the thriller, tension and suspense side of a story and thirdly the humor aspect. Humor, I believe, is a compulsion not just in films but in real life too, for looking at the brighter side of things and set issues right without offending anyone. But you rarely get a chance to use this element and execute it the way you want to and fortunately, I got an opportunity to showcase this talent in these commercials. In a twenty or a thirty second commercial, the duration being small, it’s all the more fun and difficult, and this was my challenge.
So how much reworking has gone into the concept and story line for the Bangur Cement Truck TVC?
In the Bangur Cement TVC having a truck, the head of Shree Ultra Cement wanted the truck in a ‘comical’ pose after it’s collision with the bangur wall and I wanted the truck to become a mini truck with three average physique prisoners becoming dwarfs after the impact. I was stuck on my version while they believed in theirs, so we decided to shoot both the versions but ultimately, we went ahead with the truck sliding into a ‘exaggerated’ position which was funny and worked better with the targeted audience.
And, did you have many story lines for Bangur Element TVC too?
In the Bangur Cement elephant tvc, we were bang on with idea of the elephant coming crashing down into small marble granules after hitting the wall made of Bangur Cement, though we also liked the option of the elephant flying off like a deflating punctured balloon. But when we worked on the animation with sound effects for both, the crashing down was funny and made a greater impact.
Please elaborate more on the locations and CGI areas in the tvc’s?
All the commercials were shot in four days time in a studio at Mud Island and some shots taken at Wilson Louis Films. Everything is composited with computer graphics being used to the optimum capacity. The interaction parts with the characters for e.g. the steering of the truck and the bed of the zamindar were real. The truck, the elephant, the wall, the village, the prison compound were all created with computer graphics and then a lot of VFX and composting gave us the final result. Honestly speaking, a lot can be achieved in CG and VFX with today’s software’s and plug-ins, it all depends on technique of using it within the given parameters of budget and time.
Could you put more light on using a truck and was elephant your final choice or you had something else in mind?
For the truck design, it had to be a huge trailer-truck with mammoth force, because the idea was to emphasize the strength of the cement used in making the unbreakable cement wall made with Bangur cement that can withstand an impact of gigantic magnitude. To show the impact to be of gigantic magnitude it had to be the biggest possible truck, a juggernaut and so, we took the truck in matrix as a reference. For the elephant commercial, an elephant was the only animal demanded by the client for competitive reasons. But then to make the elephant look real, we took elephants of different origins as a reference, even the African ones.
Did you create these Tvc’s keeping what you had in mind and then make the audience love your vision or you created the TVC keeping in mind only what the audience would like?
In a TVC, we go completely according to the client’s requirement of the brand positioning and it’s USP, and then we execute it with good concepts and treatment. Saying that, in these commercials, it was entirely handed over to me as far as it’s execution and for me, as a filmmaker, you have to give what the audience wants but at the same time, give what you always feel is right.
This is one of the best shot of the elephant tvc, we would like to know your thoughts on this!!
The scared villager was told to mimic the elephant and all I told him to do for that was to shake his whole body and limbs. He just got it right; with his vigorous hip movements in rhythm with the trunk shaking that is demonstrated by his hands. Yes, I was actually left making the sound-effects on shoot, the voice of the mad elephant roaring to get his actions in perfect synchronization with the sound. But to tell you a hilarious thing, after the shoot and post productions, we had to remove the smoke pipe of the zaminder at the last minute, because a certain channel had objected to the smoking action. We replaced the smoking hookah with a book.
How do you decide on fun elements?
Funny gags written and executed are two different things, and it turns out right only if you get a good (skilled) actor performing it. So the selection of your actor should not go wrong and I do take time in that department. As I said I love comedies and so when the opportunity comes, I see to it that it should happen the way I want it. My short film ‘Me Mumbaikar’, a comedy, had won several accolades and few awards. So I am now stretching this into TVC as well.
Please put some more light on the kind of technologies used for creating these tvc?
Truck Commercial: The Live Action was completely shot on chroma and composited using computer Graphic images. The whole set of the Jail was generated in CGI. The truck was a 3d Model the post production was a process of tedious Camera tracking and incorporating 3d elements with live shots, Elephant Commercial: Again the characters were completely shot on Chroma .The village was created in CGI and the characters were placed accordingly in compositing. The Elephant was 3D model. And to give you a detailed note on software’s it was 3D Max and Blender used for 3d Modeling, Animation and Lighting, After Effects for Compositing and Color Correction. Adobe Photoshop for Texturing FCP for Editing and Digital intermediate was done with Resolve and Smoke.
Be it when the truck tries to break the wall or when the guy jumps from the wall to the courtyard and tells about elephant, the sounds add more crisp! How did you decide on the sound choice?
Sound designing is what makes a commercial rich, if done properly. The sound used for all the aspects including background score, sound effects and voice-overs can totally make or break the desired effect of the commercial. Being a filmmaker, for sound, I prefer approaching technicians from feature filmmaking background because they give you a lot of variety to select from and also work on a comfortable and reasonable budget. For the voice-over when the pack shot is displayed, it was given by Vivek, one of the best voice-over artists I have worked with. Silence is also a great tool for enhancing the impact of the sound on the overall commercial when used in the correct places while designing sound for it.
For you, what are the factors which you consider to connect the tvc’s with the audience?
If a commercial has to connect to the audience, given that it’s viewed with ambient distractions, it’s more than a couple of shots and reactions of the actors that have to be taken into account, if one goes wrong over there, then your 30 second is useless, however overboard you go with high end VFX. Its content and actors reactions are what matters at the end. I was absolutely sure about my actors and their required reactions for such a small duration.
Can we have a credit run down for both the tvc’s?
There are a lot of names that deserve credit in filmmaking in which the VFX and animation department plays a crucial role and it is difficult to name every single person because it’s a team effort, the concept direction and production is done completely by us “Wilson Louis films” for all these advertisements of bangur the post-production in visual effects and animation and my company has a tie up with ‘JAVVADI STUDIOS’ headed by J. Ramji Achary and the respective teams put in a lot of efforts to get the best output. Louis bro’s headed by Mr.Alvan Louis did the production for W L F.
We would like you to share the breakdown of the time taken to complete each working stage for the commercials?
It takes around 45 days to complete one TVC, as far as post production is concerned. But from a wider perspective, it’s a parallel process as there are various departments in VFX and CG. So we have two three commercials being worked on simultaneously, with different work going on in the same time zone. To elaborate more, one department handles the modeling, another is doing the rigging and skinning for an already completed model, at the same time the texturing, shading and lighting will be in process for another commercial where the earlier two processes are already done, similarly with the VFX, rendering and compositing. So in my studio at a time, we can complete three such commercials in two given months.
A clean story boarding for a commercial makes way for a perfect output? Your views
The task of turning your screenplay into a Commercial can be very overwhelming. Figure out what you want these shots to entail and then transform those ideas into a series of storyboard panels. Stepping back and seeing your film in individual panels makes the project much less overwhelming.
Would you like to reveal some highlights of the final commercial in Bangur cement series?
My next TVC is the third one in the series for Bangur Cement, in which a ‘hulk’ like character is causing destruction in the whole city till it reaches the wall made of Bangur Cement and again there’s a funny twist. After that, is another series of Shree Ultra Cement where the water creature, will be back.
Any special announcements that you would like to make on AnimationXpress.com?
I’m having a nice commercial break, making a lot of cement Tvc’s, so one can say cementing myself in the world of commercials and yes, as a special announcement, my next feature film will be an out and out mass entertainer, loaded with visual effects and it’s going on floors from September. It will have a bigger twist.
You can view past works of Wilson Louis Films by following the links below;
Shri ultra creature commercial : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RpuGmFy4KQ
Film : kaalo : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V4COAfdLTk
Visual effects showreel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItR1NGgdOCs
And, also can email Wilson Louis at email@example.com