The Bear & the Hare is the first John Lewis campaign to embrace the emotive power of animation, a filmic technique so evocative of Christmasses gone by.
Elliot and Yves took the two most traditional and time-honoured animation processes – stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn 2D animation – and combined them to create something innovative and unique. Their aim was to do almost everything in camera, using real lighting, lens and film craft to build a world where the audience can see and feel the painstaking work behind it. The 2D animation’s physical interaction with the set and the human imperfections inherent in the process create a hand-crafted piece full of heart and integrity.
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The animation process involved constant shifts between 2D and 3D worlds. In order to achieve this complicated combination the whole film was first created in Blinkink Studios as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the modelmakers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.
Aaron Blaise (Brother Bear, The Lion King, Mulan) and his team of veteran Disney animators at Premise Entertainment in Orlando, Florida, designed and animated the characters. The 2D-animation frames were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser. Each frame (nearly 4,000 in total) was then individually hand-labelled before going on set. Feature-film stop-frame animators then spent 6 weeks bringing the world to life.
The set was built by our production designer John Lee (Aliens, Fantastic Mr Fox, Frankenweenie) and his team at Shepperton Studios before being transported to Clapham Road Studios ready for the stop-motion shoot.
Post-production was done in-house in Blinkink’s animation studio, and the final grade was completed at MPC.