Sony "Plato" Puppet 

For Client Sony, Agency Young and Rubicam, and Production Company Epoch Films, TCS created a bizarre little alien puppet named "Plato". Several verisons were actually produced, with interchangeable parts. There were two main bodies; one for walking scenes, and one for shots where the puppet was seated in one place. There were two different heads: a close-up animatronic head and a lighter weight "walking" head. A separate set of animatronic insert arms was made, as was a set of insert gloves, for even more dexterity. The joke behind some of the spots was that this fuzzy blue critter is really attractive to women, but as we were operating him on the USC campus, it turned out that this wasn't just a scripted concept. A lot of the coeds there really DID take a shine to the little guy! Strange!

He featured radio controlled moving eyes, winks and blinks, moving ears, and antannae. His fingers could either be posed, or curled via cable pulls, depending on the set of arms used. Rods attached to his head, wrists, and feet allowed for gross body movements.

One of the coolest things about this puppet was that several times, he did walk. This was done via using a version of the Japanese Bunraku technique, in which the puppeteer making him walk is linked to his puppet: foot to foot, hip to hip, arm to arm, and head to head. Afterwards, the puppeteer and rig is erased in post production. Download "Audrey" and "Language Lab" to see this technique in action!

Here are some pix that show Plato's evolution: Early concept sketches, sculpture, painted and flocked sculpture, mechanical innards, nolds and parts, and the finished product...



Plato gets a trim for an ad appearing in Rolling Stone

Download the spots!:

Sony Plato "Spaceship" (270 x 180, :58, 20 MB)

Sony Plato "Language Lab" (270 x 180, :31.25, 7.5 MB)

Sony Plato "Audrey" (270 x 180, :30, 8.6 MB)

Sony Plato "Dog" (270 x 180, :30, 11.4 MB)

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