Vodafone “Street” and “Park” (2006/:30)

“Make the Most of Now”


In these two spots for Vodafone, users get lost in their own imaginary world while talking or texting. Of course, this ‘personalization’ of their surroundings doesn’t only describe the magic of mobile devices, but also stands in as a metaphor for personalizing your interface as well as your price plan.

At the beginning of each spot, the filmed frame shrinks down to a mobile phone screen size (this is pre-iPhone), and everything on the outside of that frame gets replaced by funky creatures as well as signifiers for communication. After considering a series of vignettes linked by graphic transitions, we decided to shoot the whole thing in one go, using a steadicam tracking backwards with outher hero for the entire length of the spot.

Shooting a one-shot commercial of course requires a great deal of choreography. We wrote a bunch of story ideas, of things crossing the path of our hero: Bicycles, dogs, strollers, kites, joggers and pedestrians. The real things within the center frame then turned into something more fantastical as they crossed the border to the outside world.


The two locations in Los Angeles were dressed to look like England: A bunch of greenery, a flower shop and smaller cars made 4th Street in DTLA appear like London, and a rose garden centerpiece lifted from Blow Up turned Whittier Park into Maryon Park.

When you want to create something that looks like handdrawn illustration, you obviously run into problems if you want to do at least some of the tracking in 3D. In these spots, there are drawings in the background that stay in the frame but get smaller over fifteen seconds. Not only do you want to keep the line weight consistent, you also want some interpretation of how an illustrator would draw less and less detail the further we get from the element. You’d want to do all of that without having to draw 700 or even just 350 frames by hand.

In the end, a complicated mix of all sorts of techniques did the trick. The animation is part pencil and part vector. The tracking is done in part through cel animation, in part through 3D tracking and in part by simple tracing of the live action footage.

The illustration styles of the two TVCs was also translated into a series of print ads, with photography handled by Melodie McDaniel.


Agency: JWT, LondonClient: Vodafone UK
Shot on location in Los Angeles

Production/UK: Partizan, London
Producer: David Stewart
Production/US: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Director: Jens Gehlhaar
Director: Rob Feng
Director of Photography: Andrew Rowlands
Production Designer: Robert Fox
Producer: David Wolfson

Design, Animation & Post Production: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Creative Director & Designer: Jens Gehlhaar
Lead Illustrators: Thomas Kurniady, Tim Koh
Cel Animators: Shannon Denton, Scott Koblish, Aaron Sowd
3D Artists: Robert Bisi, John Sadler, Kimberly Im, Matt Reznick, Jennifer Sata, John Velazquez
Compositors: Thomas Kurniady, Mark Kim, Anastacio Gallard
Additional Artists: Mac Gregor Harp, Andy Bernet, Greg Chen, Emie Lee
Flame Artist: Alan Latteri
Editor: Rob Auten
Producer: Devin Brook

Print Photographer: Melodie McDaniel

Music: The Only Ones, “Another Girl, Another Planet”