Am I Collective Takes the Time to Make It Right
The first documented usage of stop motion animation was in 1902. It was created as a way to simulate an impossible live action filmed experience in the third dimension before more sophisticated effects were available. At the beginning it was crude and limited, but as the form developed it turned into it's own art form. Now that computers are capable of animating anything we can imagine, stop motion is entirely elective. We choose it for the way it looks and feels rather than out of necessity. It is created from practical elements shaped in real life, so textures and three-dimensional depth of field are far above what computers can generate, even today. It is an affirmative choice made out of love for the form, and the affinity for authenticity. Am I Collective took advantage of that inherent connection for their spots for Budget Insurance.
Stop motion is a demanding form, moving the subject nearly imperceptible distances for a single frame, each frame captured separately as a photograph. Since 24 frames equates to only one second of final footage, means it can take an entire day to create just a few moments, especially when the movements are as complex as the choreography for the Budget videos. Am I Collective dug deep into this process, as is verifiable through their Behind the Scenes video. In it you can see Am I Collective designed every pose, mouth movement, and color far before animation began. Since stop motion is so time consuming, a very specific preproduction plan is crucial for successful execution, and to ensure no moments are wasted. Unlike live action filming where take after take can be captured, the time demands that each shot of stop motion is perfect. It’s exhaustive and exhausting, but the results are equal to the effort.
Ultimately Am I Collective used a combination of practical stop motion and computer digital effects for the final spot. This combination allowed them to focus on the subjects of their stories. The human figures and their movements were entirely animated, while the backgrounds were filled in during post. But that’s how the spots ended up telling the story they needed to tell. The texture of the characters provided an element of humanity that would be flattened out using pure computer effects (without a lot of time and extra money). The practical elements ensure an immediate emotional connection to that which exists in the same world, and helps Budget Insurance make their pitch in a much more personal way.