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Bob Cole
eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:55:19 pm

For a parody, a client is thinking of a take-off on the eTrade spot of the baby talking about his investments.

The parody would go on a small screen on the client's website and we wouldn't need to aim for national-spot quality - part of the gag is to look low-budget, and it could even afford to look like a webcam video at low frame rates.

But I would appreciate any insights as to how the makers of those eTrade spots achieved the effect of the talking baby.

Thanks!

Bob C



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Todd Kopriva
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:22:09 pm

This article about face replacement should give some insight.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 3:33:29 pm

Here's another take on it. I think this is most likely the way the Etrade baby was done, since you can't replace a baby's face with another real face, since babies can't talk yet.

http://www.studiodaily.com/main/technique/tprojects/Cutting-Edge-Face-Repla...

It's a WHOLE lot more expensive, and you need to hire a company with the vast expertise in 3D and Motion Capture that are needed. Good luck with the project.

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:12:29 pm

Well, if it doesn't have to look GOOD......

Shoot a baby in the proper environment. Ugh. Ever try to direct a baby? You'll acquire new levels of patience. For starters, multiply the amount of shooting time you think you'll need by a factor of three. Remember, those eTrade baby shoots are done on a locked-down camera.

Cut together the sequence using dialogue on a scratch track. Take careful notes on the movement of the baby's head in conjunction with the dialogue. EXTREMELY careful notes.

Shoot an actor speaking the dialog. With makeup, make the actor's mouth area look as much like a baby mouth as possible. Don't rely on AE as a substitute for makeup replacement -- you'll shoot yourself in the foot. The tough part for the actor: he or she will have to match the baby's head movements as closely as possible. Again, it'll take lots o' time, with lots o' blown takes. It goes without saying you'll have to match angles on the baby shot and the actor shot.

Use the face replacement tutorial Todd links to. OR.......

For extra cheesiness, just animate a feathered mask around the actor's mouth to replace the baby mouth, and position by hand.

Now here's a really arcane reference: CLUTCH CARGO LIVES!!!!

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:32:47 pm

Dave -

You hit the nail right on the head - SPINNER AND PADDLEFOOT! They were far beyond limited frame animation - they were NO animation! Of course other than the cheeezy soft-wipe that let the real mouth show through - often not quite in the right place. If you're going for laughs, this could well be the way to go. Sometimes going over the top beats shooting for the top (in price, anyway).

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 4:56:06 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "....SPINNER AND PADDLEFOOT!"

Glad to know I'm not the only one who remembers this weird stuff.

Y'know, if we take this to the logical next step, we might have the solution for the original poster: SHOOT STILLS OF THE BABY!

It would take TONS less time to shoot, there would be no need for a scratch track, and shooting the actor would go a lot faster, too!

The eTrade baby done Clutch Cargo style -- it's cheesy on top of cheesy! Creepy, too... ESPECIALLY if you include the eyes, which wouldn't be too tough on a still shot. I LIKE it!

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bob Cole
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:46:09 pm

Thanks, all. Love the idea of the feathered mask. I had an idea for keeping the baby looking into the camera: teleprompter showing a cartoon (or showing Mom?).

I have this awful sinking feeling that they're going to go for this....

Yours in cheesiness,

Bob C


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: eTrade baby
on Feb 25, 2010 at 10:14:54 pm

Bob -

Never forget that it's corn and cheese that make the world go 'round. Here's your reference piece:







And as Oscar Wilde once said (I think it was Oscar Wilde):

"No one ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American public".

Let the cheese begin!

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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Dean Paris
Re: eTrade baby
on Jun 8, 2010 at 12:42:44 am

Hey, did I imagine it or did I actually see a pretty well done commercial posted somewhere on the site here... It had talking, adult heads placed on baby bodies; seems like there were 3 of them in the shot in highchairs. Was it a car dealership commercial? Someone please help me find this, my memory is fragmented on this one...


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