LEGO was a vital part of my childhood and is definitely one of the reasons I'm an engineer/designer. I remember drooling over the LEGO sets in TV ads back in the 1990's and I was always so envious of the kids who got to build the sets in fast-motion.
Advance, a Danish ad agency, has been in charge of making LEGO TV spots for decades now. They recently dug some ads out of their archive and added some amusing commentary. I've always been fascinated by movie magic and, well, throw in some LEGO for the perfect combination. Watch Advance's YouTube page for more great videos over the coming weeks.
From Christian Faber, art director at Advance:We shot this in London or LA, I can't actually remember! It was one of the first motion control spots we did. At 0:15 we used a kind of 'magic building' technique where the bricks are held on the end of metal rods and then pulled apart. And if you look closely at 0:00 you can actually see the edge of the studio in the top left corner.
The set filled a whole studio and we used a lot of analogue techniques—the planet is just painted cardboard and the backdrop is just a screen with little holes in it and a big light behind it. The hands you can see moving the sets at 0:05 and 0:21 secs are actually wax hands. I had quite a lot of explaining to do when customs asked why I had a bag full of fake arms!
We shot it in a specially built 10-metre tunnel that was hand-painted and filled with smoke. While it may look straight, if you look closely at 00:15 you can see the yellow lines bending slightly—that's because at this point we filmed the car in a carousel to make it look like it was speeding forward! The animatronic hand was cast on a girl's hand so it was a perfect fit and gave her the control she needed in the more complicated movements.
We juxtaposed stills of the LEGO sets being 'magic built' with lots of scenes from classic American Westerns. The last few shots featuring the fight scene were filmed and then graded to fit in with the rest of the background scenes. The magic building techniques shown here are actually illegal now—the law today requires that toy sets that need to be constructed have to be shown being built by hand.