Photoplay’s Dropbear Fights For Our Forests in latest Greenpeace Campaign

Australia is undergoing a mostly hidden deforestation crisis of a globally concerning scale. To help spread awareness, Greenpeace has teamed up with Photoplay director Dropbear to release a compelling animated campaign that pulls on the heartstrings of all Australians who care about our native animals and environment.

Every two minutes, an MCG-sized area of forest and bushland is bulldozed in Australia, killing millions of native animals each year, while harming the land. To convey the devastation of deforestation, Greenpeace’s ‘Fight For Our Forests’ national campaign centers on a koala and its joey, illustrating the direct impact of land clearing to their home.

Employing 3D printed, hand-crafted, stop-motion animation, Dropbear brought the plight of Australia’s much-loved mascot to life by introducing their lush bush homeland teeming with life before portraying the intrusion of bulldozers and the ruthless methods employed to fell trees. Finally, the film depicts the brutal aftermath of this destruction.

To create the animation within a short production schedule, a replacement animation technique was adopted. This involved Dropbear working with 3D animator Duncan MacDonald, who modelled and built the animal characters using CGI. Once the animated sequences were approved, each frame was 3D printed and hand painted. (There were 77 individual 3D printed models used in the production). Each 3D printed model represented an individual frame of animation that was then shot on set using stop motion animation.

All the sets were hand crafted using traditional model making techniques and then brought to life using different lighting states and special effects such as haze. Cinematographer Ceaser Salmeron shot the spot with a probe lens to lend a sense of real-world scale to the models and sets, facilitating dynamic shots that immersed viewers in the miniature world.

According to Dropbear, the decision to use miniatures gave the film a tangible, hand-crafted quality evoking nostalgia and fostering a deeper emotional connection with audiences. It also allowed for shots and sequences that would be otherwise unattainable in a live-action format.

Dropbear says: “For a craft director, this project ticked many boxes and I’m very proud of the visuals that were created in such a short amount of time. The production values of this film are extremely high and I’m so thankful for all the crafts people and artists who contributed to the production to make my vision a reality.

“I’m also very grateful to the team at Greenpeace for trusting me with their campaign and giving me the creative freedom to make something that I hope motivates and engages audiences to take action to protect our natural heritage.”

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