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elwoodesign, elwood design, charlotte metro credit union, fat cat, CMCU

elwoodesign Creates Spot for CMCU

Director Tony Elwood stepped back into the Charlotte Metro Credit Union (CMCU) ring to take on a Super Challenge: to concept, budget, write, produce (along with his producing partner Paul Barrett) and shoot a thirty second television commercial that was to air during the Super Bowl, Feb 1st, 2015.

Once a concept was accepted, the work flow began to create an animatronic cat puppet to star in the spot, aka Mr. Tom C. Ruffington. He would need to speak, show emotions, and be lovable, yet maintain a sinister character.

elwoodesign, elwood design, charlotte metro credit union, fat cat, CMCU

elwoodesign reached out to Blue Whale Studios of Orlando, Florida to bring the star puppet to life. The talented crew at Blue Whale had an almost impossible task, to create a believable animatronic puppet in just 3 weeks, peppered in among the Christmas and New Year holidays. But true to their professional nature, Blue Whale came through.

During the puppet creation, elwoodesgin reached out to The Groundcrew Studios in Charlotte, NC to help capture the voices needed for the spot. Talent was chosen and recorded, bringing the voices to life. With the amazing voices of Jeffery Pillars and Katherine Smith, all that was left was to see how the puppeteers and the voices would match up.

elwoodesign, elwood design, charlotte metro credit union, fat cat, CMCU

One week before the air date, elwoodesign went into the studios of Kent Smith of Charlotte and with the talented assistance of Jeff Hamrick of Big Bad Props and Andy Boswell, the set and props were assembled, giving our puppet its much needed home.

Finally the big day arrived and the Fat Cat puppet was unpacked from its suitcase and final touches were added. It was finally time to bring Mr. Tom C. Ruffington to life, with the assistance of three puppeteers, one using a remote radio controller to activate the servos that moved the eyes and ears.

elwoodesign, elwood design, charlotte metro credit union, fat cat, CMCU

Another puppeteer used his arm to control the mouth and body movement and, with his free hand, operated a radio control device to move the eyebrows and eyelids. The last puppeteer operated the arms.

Getting the team of puppeteers to work as a single unit took time and practice. But the final results speak for themselves.

The spot was edited by Tony and color corrected by Clark Bierbaum. With CMCU's final approval, the spot aired on time during the 2015 Super Bowl.

Elwoodesign, Crew, Charlotte Metro Credit Union, Fat Cat, CMCU, Tony Elwood

Watch a behind the scenes look at the making of Mr. Tom C. Ruffington.

See the final spot here.

 

 

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