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October 2014
Issue: August 1, 2007

EDITOR'S LETTER: IT'S DA BOMB

By: Randi Altman
Our cover this month, literally rocks. This Bomb da Bass commercial features two cars in a break dance showdown when suddenly giant speakers pop up out of the vehicles blasting classic hip-hop music and turning into Transformer-like robots.

This animated spot, promoting the Toyota Yaris and its MP3 capabilities, was directed, designed and animated by Tokyoplastic in conjunction with Picasso Pictures. Both are in London. Tokyoplastic’s Andrew Cope also provided the all-important sound design. (See our News section for more on the animation aspects of the commercial.)
“This was one of those rare occasions where we not only had great support from the client [Burrell Communications], but enough freedom to work on the animation and sound design simultaneously,” says Cope.

Acknowledging that sound is often the last aspect to be considered, he says, “We had a great opportunity for total integration, weaving the picture to the tempo of the music, whilst stitching it together with sound design.”

Tokyoplastic tends to work organically: blocking out simple animation and cameras then fine-tuning the timing and the general flow of the edit as they go. “This time we wanted the music to dictate all, so from a very early stage I created a rough sketch of how the music could work,” he  explains. “Just by cutting some beats together with what little picture we had, I could establish the general feeling.”

Cope, who works on Logic Pro, collaborated with composer Nick Faber, “who gave us a real opportunity to explore how the commercial could work and develop musically. As we progressed with the melody, we could cut the picture shot by shot. Or if this failed, reverse the process and cut the music to the picture edit and rework the arrangement later.”

Toward the end of the process, they started to put the nuance in the animation. “Likewise with the music — syncing beats to movement and replacing instruments with sound design,” he says.

When asked about the Transformers’ feel and if it was intentional, Cope says da Bomb’s idea was put in front of them a year ago, before “the whole ‘Bay robot hype’ had taken off.”

He explains that Tokyoplastic has designed a lot of creatures and a lot of robots but that this project was a bit more of a challenge for them. “Not only did we have to make a robot design out of speaker parts, but we also had to engineer a design that would make for a realistic transformation… a lot to think about within a two-second timeframe.”