He’s back - and he’s got some new friends in tow. The world-famous GEICO Gecko returns to our screens alongside the Avengers, in a comedic warm-up to the upcoming release of Avengers: Infinity War. Framestore partnered once again with The Martin Agency, Marvel, and Framestore Pictures Director Tom Routson to turn out the spot, which sees Gecko bolster his cinematic credentials further, having recently won hearts in a performance with Guardians’ Baby Groot.
Director Tom Routson of Framestore Pictures had fun mixing iconic characters from two different worlds, melding the brands to create an epic meet. The spot centres around Gecko’s coworker entering the room, snapping him out of his fantasy and bringing his Avengers troops down to (miniature) size. Routson focused on this stark contrast between the cinematic and the mundane, keeping the filmic language as monotonous as possible within the office shot. He also worked closely with the actress, cast by Routson for her ability to deliver the perfect comedic timing and set-ups for which Tom is known for.
Framestore’s flexibility in collaboration between its Advertising and Film division allowed complete creative cohesion through both the production and post processes. Using its advanced pipeline to cross departments, the creative studio was able to seamlessly collate work across their live action, advertising and film departments, where key assets were developed and are being readied for cinematic release.
The visual effects team, led by Creative Director Andy Rowan-Robinson, was involved in the project from start to finish, previsualising the live action shoot, during which Routson and Framestore Pictures shot the performance and plates for the office. From there, the VFX team edited the plates together and added animation, lighting, comp, and everything in between.
The cinematic world within Gecko’s imagination is designed to be a warehouse-type space, with heavy atmosphere and a sense of mystery. It was intentional to not fully reveal the Avengers, so that the viewer believes Gecko’s vision until they are brought dramatically out of the scene. The VFX team used visual techniques such as silhouette lighting, back lighting and fog to create the cinematic mood, drawing on effects references from an abundance of films to draw stark contrast with the mundane office setting.
“It was great to work with the assets from Marvel - and because our colleagues in Montreal and London were working on the 'Avengers: Infinity War' film itself, it was seamless for us to get up and running.”Andy Rowan-Robinson - Creative Director
With the opportunity to own the edit and animation of the creature, the Framestore VFX team had opportune moments of freedom in the creative process: placing pieces of each world into the other, referencing the warehouse scene within the office and vice versa, and spending time adding finishing touches and careful lighting.
With years of animating the GEICO Gecko under their belt, the character has become an integral factor in the VFX creatives’ narrative. Says Rowan-Robinson, ‘We’re proud of the animation of Gecko. The team did a great job with detailing movements to fit his personality, really honing in on the awkwardness of the situation and snapping him back into reality.’