Far from your average piece of televised advertising, the new campaign for Weight Watchers has managed to take commercials, media planning and music promos to an exciting and collaborative new level and Finish were delighted to be a part of the process.

The campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, featuring real Weight Watchers singing lines of Alesha Dixon's 'Do it our way (Play)', aired across all UK commercial channels on New Years day. When viewed online, the film is interactive, allowing you to click on the real Weight Watchers featured in the video and get their back story and testimonial (some of which were featured in the pre-Christmas teaser campaign).

Si & Ad from Academy approached Finish from the initial planning stages. Due to the magnitude of the production the film would have to be shot over two days but in the script it is meant to be one take.

Our challenge was where, and how, to create joins in the film that will never be noticed or compromise the creative. We carried out an in-depth pre-vis once the location was finalised. Marshall St. Baths and the streets surrounding were all modelled in CG so the camera move could be plotted in line with the directors' vision. This proved to be an invaluable tool for all involved, especially in terms of ensuring the timings of the camera in relation to the song which was lip-synced by different people throughout.

The complex shoot saw the camera weave in and out of interiors of offices, down three story buildings, back through a window, through another office, out the door, following people down the street, in and out of a shop, through a car (to get the camera to pass through the car it had to be filmed with the door off, this was later replaced in CG) at one point the camera submerges into a swimming pool and back out again! The film climaxes as we travel down the road towards a massive group of people, with Alesha Dixon at the helm. The entire film was shot intentionally without any motion control and with the camera handed from one operator to the next to give it a 'real' feeling. However, at times the movement was too much and distracting from the performances which were all key.

Si & Ad commented that 'The shot needed a lot of stabilisation. Especially at the points where the camera was passed between operators. Conventional stabilisation techniques weren't working, so the Finish guys invented a completely new technique which worked brilliantly well. It's this tenacious appetite for innovation that puts Finish at the very top of their game.'

Flame artists Jason Watts, Steve Murgatroyd and Paul Wilmot worked on the graded plates joining the takes seamlessly and combining layers of grades. 'As the film is 3'10" and one continuous camera move with no motion control, it was a big challenge for the team at Finish to carry out the required work within the tight deadline," says Jason Watts.

Finish also completed post on all the accompanying testimonial films and online content that complement the main Play film.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Director: Si & Ad
Production Company: Academy
Producer: Lucy Gossage
Agency Producer: Rebecca Williams
Post Production: Finish
Post Producer: Justine White
VFX Supervisor: Jason Watts
Lead Flame: Jason Watts
Flame: Steve Murgatroyd, Paul Wilmot
3D: Harin Hirani, Paul Wright
Nuke: Colin Ebanks
Data Lab: Andy Copping
Creative Director: Kate Stanners
Agency Creatives: Rick Dodds, Steve Howell
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards @ The Assembly Rooms
Telecine: Jean Clement Soret @ MPC
Audio: Grand Central

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