When you think of stop motion most people think of puppets and Claymation. However, the beauty of stop motion is that you can animate almost anything and make it come alive. We recently collaborated with Minneapolis ad agency Fast Horse on the launch of a new product Diet Coke has had in the works for over a decade. Diet Coke Cherry Frost is their newest creation, giving a new spin to the world of Slurpees. The agency came to us looking to create a short Vine video promoting the new drink. Our creative team got to brainstorming right away, landing firmly on our final idea. Create a cute, clumsy sledding cherry that would mistakenly launch into the air landing in a snow bank, causing the earth to shake and a Diet Coke Cherry Frost to emerge from the snow bank. The cherry is inevitably lifted up and swallowed into the drink.
Imagining this was just the beginning. Next came the creation process. Luckily we have a great team of fabricators who know just how to make a vision come to life. First things first; we needed to build a snowy hill that the cherry could go sledding on. There are a few ways to create something like this, but we went with cardboard for the structure and a white sheet lay over top for the snow. We tested out a few different types of cotton for the snow, but what looks a certain way in real life may look totally different on camera. One thing to always remember when shooting is that it’s not always what you see, but what your lens sees. With this in mind, having options for your materials is a must.
The sled and cherries were being created in another part of the studio. The fake cherries we were working with were a little too dark, so in order to get the nice bright red color we desired, we dipped them in white primer and then spray painted them red. Having more than one “hero” is also something you should take into consideration. Make several heroes and pick the best one. The sled was a whole other operation. Since we need things to be exactly how we envision them we make all of our props from scratch. We made the sled with popsicle sticks, barbecue skewers, metal wire, string and a bit of red paint to make it pop.
Once we had our set worked out we needed something extra to really make our cherry character come to life. We used an old pair of mittens and cut them up to create a tiny hat and scarf. After all he was going sledding, he would need to be warm.
Since the cherry was supposed to fly off a ramp and land into another hill, we needed to make him fly. One of the best and cheapest investments you will make when working in stop motion is fishing line. It’s almost invisible, easy to edit out (if possible), sturdy and very inexpensive. We use it in a lot of videos and this was no exception. We threaded a couple lines through the sled to allow us to “puppeteer” it just the way we needed to.
Another great tool you can utilize is clay. We don’t specialize in Claymation, but we certainly use clay from time to time for different things. The last part of the video is when the cherry is sucked through the straw into the drink, but we were using hard toy cherries that don’t change shape. This is when clay becomes useful. We created a clay cherry the same size and color as our hero cherry and gave it a stem. This allowed us to take off bits of the cherry and make it smaller with each shot, giving the effect of it getting sucked down.
Finally, sound effects are very important for every video. You don’t need to make the cherry speak per se, but giving the character sound can take the video quality to the next level. It gives the cherry that lovable quality where the viewer can’t help but smile while watching.
All in all it was a very successful day full of creativity and laughs.