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Walking windshield wipers.

2003-04-17 20:50:37.770104+00 by Diane Reese 25 comments

After months of 'takes' that didn't quite work, finally they got it: That Honda Ad. (Flash6 required.) Tres cool. All live action, no computer animation involved.

[ related topics: Animation Coyote Grits Theater & Plays Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-04-17 21:19:43.211119+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thank you. I've been trying to view that on the UK site and haven't ever gotten it to download. I might have to go order The Way Things Go now.

#Comment made: 2003-04-17 21:35:48.594652+00 by: Diane Reese

Be sure to give a glance at the story in the Daily Telegraph about the making of "Cog" (as the commercial is called). Quite a fun read.

#Comment made: 2003-04-17 22:02:35.336301+00 by: Pete

Uh, you know there is an edit, right? It's not a continuous take.

That, and the Easter Bunny isn't real.

#Comment made: 2003-04-17 22:28:24.365098+00 by: Diane Reese

Right. There's a seam in the middle where the muffler is rolling along the floor. They didn't have a room big enough for the whole thing. (But each of the two sides of that seam are unedited.)

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 13:38:17.673078+00 by: ziffle

Well I watched it and really don't see what all the fuss is about. Should I get stoned first?

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 14:35:56.957928+00 by: meuon

Ziffle. You are JADED.. If that's real. It's amazing that they got it to work. But getting stoned or tripping is not a bad idea. :)

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 15:11:15.852253+00 by: markd

I think that 606 (or however many it was) takes and not having a homicide involved is as amazing as the actual short.

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 15:30:56.649618+00 by: ziffle

How is it any different from 'Claymation' ?

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 17:04:05.031253+00 by: other_todd

Oh my god, this is beautiful.

Ziffle, Claymation is stop-motion; you put the figure in one position, take a picture, change its pose a little, take another picture, etc. This is a working Rube Goldberg machine using gravity etc, and precise placement of objects. Just the planning involved in this (and the patience!) makes me go wow.

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 18:13:22.703211+00 by: Diane Reese

One of the first comments from a member of the high school robotics team when I showed this to them at yesterday's meeting was, "Wow, think of the hours of math they had to do ahead of time!" Indeed.

#Comment made: 2003-04-18 22:34:43.644497+00 by: markd

somehow I don't think they could film 2 minutes of Wallace and Gromit in a single take (or even just 2 takes)

#Comment made: 2003-04-19 01:45:08.809598+00 by: ghasty

Very suave

#Comment made: 2003-04-19 19:46:11.663902+00 by: ziffle

Well - I watched it several times - its not real - the change in momentum of the parts, the rolling of the muffler, and more, -- its a stop-motion or computer generated is more likely...

#Comment made: 2003-04-19 21:14:49.868659+00 by: TheSHAD0W

http://www.keithdevens.com/weblog/3714 -- has a link to a .mov version of the commercial, at .

#Comment made: 2003-04-19 21:35:44.938605+00 by: Diane Reese

Have it your way, Ziffle, but you're wrong. (We already mentioned that the seam in the two parts is in the middle of the muffler-rolling sequence. Did you read the two news stories from the UK press?) Beauty and precision, that's what it is: and it's fantastic. It makes me want to proclaim joy throughout the land.

If I'm wrong and it turns out to be computer-generated, I'll walk naked through San Francisco next month. (Oh. Wait. That's Bare to Breakers, oops, sorry, I'm already going to be doing that... we'll have to think up something else.)

#Comment made: 2003-04-20 03:51:15.846704+00 by: Shawn

I'm not ready to say that it was stop-gap or computerized, but I have to agree with ziffle a little bit. I didn't look to me like all the parts moved as I would expect them to under normal circumstances. (But then no modern video runs smoothly on my 500Mhz K6-2 any more...)

#Comment made: 2003-04-20 05:43:25.725983+00 by: Dan Lyke

Go read the articles. They had to do some funky weighting of the tires that roll up the ramp, and there were a few other places where things were done to give objects non-obvious behavior.

#Comment made: 2003-04-20 06:12:51.418084+00 by: dexev

Shawn, my K6-2 400(Win98) did fine with the (full-size) video. My K6-2 450 (Linux) sucked. Go figure.

#Comment made: 2003-04-20 17:53:09.955395+00 by: ziffle

The articles are clear - but -- it still seems to me to be not real - kind of a 'ray tracing' thingy - and have marketing departments ever enhanced a story? - lets look back in a couple of years and see if an alternate truth about this emerges - at least Diane will have already fullfilled her bet if it runs out to be cgi. <g>

#Comment made: 2003-04-21 11:32:27.435557+00 by: meuon

Diane.. You could run naked through the streets of Chattanooga instead. :)

As for those of you who say it's not real, and contend that the parts do not move realisticaly, lets take a couple of Honda's apart and see what we can make happen.

#Comment made: 2003-04-21 18:26:34.302992+00 by: ziffle

This whole thing has been bothering me. I do not understand why its of interest. To me its simply a coincidence - like any other coincidence - a random event. (If it was real) It worked once out of 606 times - is that so wonderful?

Better that they had shown mastery of the science, and made it repeatable, and had gotten the whole process under control, like melting metal or refining oil, or somethin'. That would have impressed me. This impresses me: http://www.discover.com/may_03/gthere.html?article=featoil.html

But a random, not really repeatable event - I don't understand.

#Comment made: 2003-04-21 19:15:13.944344+00 by: Larry Burton

If they did it once, they can do it again. Something like this is repeatable once you figure out all the gotchas, sort of like those trick pool shots, you can do it over and over but the failure rate is going to be fairly high. It isn't anything to get obsessed over or watch over and over again but when you see it the first time you have to say, "Hey, cool."

I will admit, though, that turning turkey processing waste into light crude is much more cooler to me, still I'm only going to be impressed by the operation once.

#Comment made: 2003-04-24 22:04:33.361953+00 by: TLundin

Sorry folks, but the math doesn't work out on this one. The Telegraph "making-of" piece states that it took four days and nights to film 606 takes. OK, that means about 150 takes per day. There are 1440 minutes in a day. That comes out to a little less than 10 minutes per take, average, over four days and nights.

Now, some of the bungled takes maybe could be reset within that timeframe, but not after more than two or three segments of the contraption were involved.

Besides, the article also said an inadvertent trigger would undo "hours" of work.

So, what is it, boys? Did the filming take more than four days, or were there fewer than 600 takes involved, or was the final piece integrated in post-production from multiple takes? Check the math.

#Comment made: 2003-04-29 17:32:29.991339+00 by: subtexture

Well they didn't say that the 4 days and nights were consecutive did they?

#Comment made: 2003-04-29 18:31:23.362261+00 by: TLundin

Quite true, and that's my point. The implication was so, perhaps owing to poor copy editing. But if the truth of the matter was that it took four days and four nights over a three-week period (for example), I could accept that statement without challenging its veracity.