Creative in association withGear Seven

The Royal British Legion Rethinks Remembrance with Stunning CGI Poppy Advert

Post Production
London, UK
Gramercy Park Studios partner with The Royal British Legion and Y&R London to honour Remembrance in spectacular Poppy Appeal spot
The Royal British Legion asks the public to Rethink Remembrance. Launching 4th November on Channel 4, the 30 second poetic advert serves as a reminder of the yearlong support The Royal British Legion provides to the Armed Forces community, made possible by donations to the Poppy Appeal. 

The spot reframes The Royal British Legion in a contemporary light, demonstrating its support of the Armed Forces community past and present, as the symbolic flowers grow and blossom in a range of present-day environments. 

Against a narration of the war poem In Flanders Fields, the spot shows animated poppy seedlings slowly sprout from the ground in everyday settings, symbolising the ubiquity of the organisation and those it supports. The seeds grow gradually, cracking through the floor of a swimming pool concourse, a doctor’s clinic and café, as they bud and burst to life. The advert concludes as hundreds of poppies flourish into full bloom in a London park, reflecting the iconic Flanders field as a symbol of Remembrance. 

Every intricate detail of each carefully CGI constructed flower was crafted by post production facility Gramercy Park Studios. The facility animated the entire range of growth of the plants, from bud to fully bloomed poppy. Gramercy Park Studios executed its award-winning expertise in colour grading, 3D and 2D, VFX and Sound Design for the mammoth project.

On creating the spectacularly lifelike CGI animations in real settings, Matt Lowery, Head of 3D at GPS, says “Using 360 HDR images of each location and references of poppies, we modelled a myriad of variations and resolutions and added the material details to bring them to life. Using a combination of hand animation and cloth simulation, we managed to create a bloom sequence that stands up to very close inspection.” 

He continues “To make the poppies look like they were there on the day, we tracked the movement of a live action camera to recreate a 3D set. We could then cast shadows on the flowers, as if they were under the chairs, or in the shadows of the real-life set.”

To bring the sound of the plants to life, Head of Sound at GPS, Toby Griffin, committed to a number of Foley experiments. Explaining the process, he comments: “To create the sound of the poppies growing through floors, I used roof tiles and scraped them together at various angles. I added layers of wood creaking and debris falling to give the impression of a force below the tiles pushing the shoots through the floor. I experimented with a variety of sounds for the poppies - brushing hands across flower heads, picking leaves off stems, snapping stems and scrunching tissue paper, while the sound of the bud opening was created by popping edamame peas.” 

The Rethink Remembrance advert was launched with five two-second teasers revealed on Channel 4 and in the Premier League Stadiums on 28th October. The full-length TVC launches on 4th November.

Agency / Creative