Transformation takes time and we don’t always get to see the full impact of the change we begin, but we can plant the seeds…
The bourbon-loving masters at Noble Oak know that a small choice can make a big difference. So for every bottle sold, they plant a new sapling tree knowing that one day it will become a forest.
We wanted to capture the impact of these seeds of change through a reverse time-lapse of a fully mature oak tree returning back to the acorn it came from, in stunning CG and teasing shots of the product and that gorgeous amber bourbon liquid along the way.
By reversing and compressing a time period of 20 years into 60 seconds, we wanted to give a few other surprises along the way, because it’s not only the tree that is affected…
To really sell the concept, our tree had to have a photo-realistic look, so we began by researching the various stages of an oak tree’s life cycle. The R&D stage focused on a mixture of macro and micro style frames of the process and, from here, we considered how we could show time passing. If we really did ‘fast reverse’ the life oak tree over 20 years we’d see super quick changes in seasons, weather and time of day, so we wanted to reflect this in the visual execution as well.
To add more life into the scenes, we were also curious about what would happen to insects and other fauna if we reversed their growth too, so for example, a butterfly would reverse back into its pupa, but rather than repeat it numerous times over the course of the film, as would happen in the lifetime of an oak tree, we told this ‘sub-plot’ only once to help creative a more coherent narrative flow.
We lovingly modelled, textured, animated, lit and composited this wonder of nature in Cinema 4D using Octane renderer, giving us the hyper-realistic look we wanted to achieve. And, for extra intrigue, we added a subtle mystical quality to the art direction as well, taking creative licence with colours, textures and materials to make it feel almost ethereal at points. A sprinkle of Rivendell…
Hugh Ip & Stephen Marsh
Reeve Rixon & Anna Lisa Stone