Eye Candy

This unusual commercial, titled Moving Life Savers, featured hundreds of real Life Savers candies in action. In 1989, I was hired by Limelight, a now-defunct production company, to bring said candies to life via stop-motion animation. The project was a huge challenge, particularly because the desired result required maintaining control of a large number of candies while using the very limited "old-school" technology of the time.

After an initial meeting to review storyboards, I never saw the director (name withheld) again. Evidently, he was missing-in-action due to personal problems. That situation actually turned out to be a positive one for me because, due to his absence, I was able to take full creative control of the project. The production took place at the Chandler Group stages in Marina Del Rey, where a backlit, translucent white, 8' x 4' table was set up for the animation. While I planned the action and timing of the animation, cameraman John Higbie prepared the motion-control camera which looked straight down at the table from above. I had to unwrap untold cases of Life Savers rolls and cut out sequential photographs of children who would subsequently interact with the candy.

The entire commercial had to be carefully choreographed and timed to fit precisely within 30 seconds. Although it appeared to have been filmed in one continuous take, it was actually divided into six separate shots that maintained the illusion of one. The candy was animated simultaneously with pixilated photo cutouts of children, giving the impression that all were together in the same world. Forgetting to move any of the pieces would have ruined the shot. To help prevent that from happening, John set up a video "tap", which saw through the viewfinder of the film camera. I was then able to observe the video image on a television monitor. Using a grease pencil on the TV screen, I marked the position of each piece before animating it. That technique helped me to track the movement of all pieces and ensure that none were inadvertently missed.

The end of the commercial required that a Life Saver shrink down as though it had been licked. I accomplished that illusion by using a q-tip dipped in water to gradually dissolve the candy. The finished product conveyed high-energy with an almost psychedelic look, and it turned out to be an innovation for commercial imagery. I was extremely pleased with the result.

©2013
Moving Lifesavers commercial ©1989 R.J.R Nabisco, Planter, Lifesaver Co.

Back

A look behind the scenes of art-making and other musings by .

fractal picture

See More Articles:

Howie and pumpkin from The Nightmare Before Christmas Skellington Incident

Pillsbury doughboy baking a pie Stop-Motion Doughboy

Aliens from Encounter movie Making ENCOUNTER

mouse riding motorcycle Stop-Motion Field Trip

nimslo camera Anaglyph Technique

Frog as a knight St. Frog and the Dragon

Mother and father Umblebum Meet the Umblebums

Carrot puppets from Red Riding Hood and the Well Fed Wolf Fairy Tale Surrealism

3 cavemen Sculpting Cavemen

A reindog and elf The Red-Nosed Reindog

Disney popsicles Making Mickey's Parade

Freddy nightmare Nightmares Made Real

tattooed lady Tattoo Parlor Diorama

face of fire dancer Painting RING OF FIRE

face of Night Scorp Gigantic Scorpions

face of Night Scorp Chroma Key Animation

bodybuilder Frank Zane posing The Living Body as Sculpture

Man runs in a sewer movie set Starting at the Bottom

Animated bottle cap character Zippy the Cap

Stone Giant stop-motion puppet The End of Dynamation

Candy on a boys face Eye Candy

Dancing figures Lucid Dream

Talking deer and moose hunting trophies Wacky Trophy Heads

Handstanding figure over river valley Making THE WANDERER

Portrait of man made of fruit Creating a Fruit Man

Colorful mandala design Mysterium Mandala

Portrait of Jack Skellington Nightmare Still Photos

Spacecraft Wreckage Spaceship Junkyard

Closeup of a robot Models and Props pt. 1

Watch shaped like a mouse Models and Props pt. 2

Train locomotive Models and Props pt. 3

Face of a cute dinosaur Young Iguanodon

ice skating hersheys kisses Lively Kisses

shopping mall Making Mall Mania

powerful super hero Extreme Heroic Poses

face of mother earth Earth Mother

The character Kait from Gears of War Motion Mixture

Clay fox sculpture in the snow Pee-Wee Christmas Title

Painting of a wild goat overlooking a valley One With Nature

© 2006-2019 Joel Fletcher
contact