MPC NY and Havas Breathe Life Into New CG Animated Mascot, Hopper the Kangaroo, for DISH


Last Updated: March 24, 2014 2:41 pm GMT
(New York, United States--March 24, 2014) In their first collaboration with DISH Network, MPC NY and Havas partner to reinvent Hopper the Kangaroo as a fully animated talking mascot for the all-new campaign directed by Renny Maslow of Smuggler. Featuring the voice of award-winning actress Rebel Wilson as the cheeky kangaroo, this light-hearted spot offers a humorous take on what viewers may experience as the satellite video provider turns Internet television into reality. The multi-million dollar campaign debuts during the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

MPC was approached by Havas to help design, animate and bring to life this witty character. “The ambition is to make Hopper a brand icon that everyone will recognize as soon as they see her, and immediately associate her with DISH,” says MPC NY Head of Production, Derek Macleod-Veilleux. “Keeping in mind that a few months ago Hopper was just a few pencil sketches on paper, we’re thrilled by all the potential and possibilities, and excited to see where she gets to go next.”

Helmed by Senior Creative Lead/VFX Supervisor Chris Bernier and 2D Lead Gigi Ng, MPC worked closely with the agency team and Maslow on character concept and development, ensuring the photo-real stuffed kangaroo was loveable in appearance yet sarcastic in approach. “From the beginning we had a very clear brief to work with - an animated stuffed kangaroo. This gave us a solid foundation to design the character in a way that was grounded in realism. We paid attention to every small detail that you’d find in a stuffed animal, from the refraction of the eyes and the cloth below the fur, all the way down to how the fabric seams are stitched together,” explains Bernier.

“With great references, direction, writing, and audio track, the end result is something we’re all really proud of,” says MPC NY Managing Director Justin Lane. “This project proved to be both creatively inspiring and a true collaboration. The partnership and trust between DISH, Havas, Smuggler and MPC really allowed everyone to focus on creating this character from the ground up and establishing her personality and story. We couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.”

Character Development
Drawing upon character animation expertise and proprietary tools originally developed within MPC Film for the likes of “Narnia” and “X-Men”, the NY advertising team leveraged MPC’s extensive R&D into both animal behavior and fur grooming attributes for DISH - expertise and creative tools which MPC NY had previously utilized with award-winning results for the Dell Thomas campaign.

MPC was integrally involved from the initial series of concept sketches through to character development to bring Hopper to life. Bernier explains: “The unique challenge and opportunity was to create a character that looks like it exists in the real world while also instilling an approachable, expressive quality that would bring a smile to everyone’s face. This affected how we rigged and animated Hopper. Together with Havas, we decided it was interesting to focus on her eyes; the size and positioning were really important to create realism, as opposed to adding too much dexterity in the mouth and the face which could tip her into a ‘cartoony’ realm.”

The team paid close attention to bring out Hopper’s sassy quirks by adding creative details, from twiddling her hair and ears through to curling her eyelashes as though she has makeup on. “We even gave her a beauty mark,” adds Bernier. “She needed a bit of Cindy Crawford.”

From a strong character development basis, the team then shot two model kangaroos, which acted as stand-in references on set. Following the shoot, the 2D team led by Ng assembled the passes, tracked the animated character to match her movements, and composited the CG into the scenes. The grade was crafted by Colorist Adrian Seery, helping to fully integrate the CG character into the real world.



Agency Head of Production (North America): David Evans
Agency Senior Producer: Liz Hodge
Additional Agency Producers: Joe Tipre and Amanda Clay
Agency Chief Creative Officer and Co-President: Jason Peterson
Executive Creative Director: Carl Rogers
Creative Director: Ecole Weinstein
Associate Creative Director: Benny Jackson
Copywriter: Chelsea Berger

Director: Renny Maslow
DoP: Fred Elms
Executive Producer: Lisa Tausher
Line Producer: Rhonda Vernet

Executive Producer: Justin Brukman
Head of Production/Account Manager: Derek Macleod-Veilleux
Producer: Hana Shimizu
Senior Creative Lead/VFX Supervisor: Chris Bernier
2D Lead: Gigi Ng
Lead Animator: Grae Revell
VFX Team: Jacob Fradkin, Anthony Traviesco, Ty Coyle, Charlotte Bae, Mike Marsek, Andres Weber, Paul Liaw, Chris Gereg, Kelly Bruce
Character Concept Artist: Andrew Brooks

Colorist: Adrian Seery

About MPC:
MPC is a creative studio who craft spectacular visual experiences in any space, on any screen. They have been global leaders in VFX for over 25 years with industry-leading facilities in London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, Bangalore, Montreal, Amsterdam and Mexico City.

Renowned for adding visual wonder and creative expertise to the advertising, film and entertainment industries, some of their recent projects include films such as ‘Life of Pi,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘The Lone Ranger,’ ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and ‘Man of Steel’ and Advertising campaigns for brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Sony, EA and Dell.

Their broad range of skill-sets provide a multitude of creative solutions, including concept design, previz, shoot supervision, 2D compositing, 3D/CG effects, animation, motion design, software development, digital & experiential production, color grading for advertising and any combination of these services.
MPC is a Technicolor Company


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