Liberty Mutual commercials, is LiMu the Emu a puppet, CGI, or a real bird?

  • Puppet
  • CGI
  • Real Bird
  • Not Sure

0 voters

Liberty Mutual Commercials have a 70’s vibe with bright yellow and other colors. Think Baretta and Fred the cockatoo (cute and funny). The commercials also channels Starsky and Hutch.

Whoever dreamed up the character and colorful costumes did a nice job. The commercials are pretty entertaining.

Is the Emu a puppet, real bird, or CGI? LiMu has a female sidekick in this one.
https://youtu.be/B7HSPNwBV0A

Most likely CGI with possibly some puppet work. No way you can train an emu.

I thought the Emu’s neck sweater may be hiding a join between the CGI body and hand puppet.

The other bird’s body is conveniently hidden behind the table.

Actual answer, from Liberty Mutual’s marketing team:

A mix of CGI and a real bird.

Well that’s the definitive answer. Apparently LiMu the Emu has fans. I’m glad that I’m not alone.

Thanks kenobi

I also liked the Baretta cockatoo. It was a trained bird.

But Doug is pure CGI, right?

:smiley: the 70’s hair maybe CGI. LOL

Based on the video, I would go with real bird. They wouldn’t need to train the emu like they would a dog, but just have it be able to be still for a bit. There’s also no reason the person would actually have to be in the shot with the emu.

They could pull it off with pure CGI, sure. But I think it would be a lot more expensive to do it that well than to just use some real footage of an emu.

(Having peeked at the answer)
Given the reply from the company that it’s partly CGI, I would wonder if they mean it was composited into the shot, and possibly touched up a bit.

From the article to which I linked:

“LiMu Emu is a mix of a real bird and CGI. Live emus were used during the initial shoot on set. The final images of the emu in the commercials are a blend of footage captured from the live emus and our digitally created emu. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (Liberty Mutual’s advertising agency of record) collaborated with The Mill LA, a creative technology and visual effects studio, to bring LiMu Emu to life. For the commercials, the team created a digital model based on the live emu, which was used to supplement the footage.”

They fooled me. I thought the head and neck were a hand puppet. It may of been too expensive to hire a puppeteer.

Huh, “combination of real and CGI” is about the last thing I’d expect. Using a real animal, even slightly, has all sorts of complications: You need to find someone who actually has an emu, and then either need to get the film crew to the emu’s location, or get the emu to the film crew’s location. You need the animal to do what you want, even if what you want is as simple as “just stand there and look around”, or whatever. You’ve got liability issues if the animal injures any of the humans involved. And you’ve either got to get the ASPCA observing everything, or face backlash from not getting them.

Using CGI also has its own issues: Mostly, that you need to have a CGI model of an emu. Now, how big a deal this is can vary: The animation company might already have models of a bunch of different animals handy, and it’s just a matter of making a copy of the one you want. But once you do have the model, it’d be simple to use it for everything.

I can’t see that it makes sense to get all of the drawbacks of both methods.

As recently as three years ago, there was a man in Auburn CA who used to walk his emu around town on a leash. For all I know, he may still be out and about. So emus are at least minimally trainable.

I felt that it had to be a mix of real bird, CGI, and puppet.

I still find it hard to believe that “puppet” isn’t in the mix. There are several times when you only have a shot of the bird’s head doing some relatively simple movements, and it would be very easy and probably a great deal cheaper to do it by puppetry rather than using CGI.

Rod Hull is no longer available.

This is the longest shot of LiMu the Emu that I’ve seen. It’s pecking a punching bag and running on a treadmill.

https://youtu.be/ln8Im11I7FA

Once you have a CGI model of a character you can add movements almost as easy as writing the storyboard for the commercial.

It used to be not so easy, and an extra expense.

For the commercial with the changing filters, the various filters don’t look like real filters – they look like puppets and appliances. Granted that you could do the same thing with CGI these days, it seems weird to use computer effects to make something that’s supposed to be a computer effect look like a puppet when it would seem easier and simpler to simply use a puppet in the first place (especially the emu head at the end)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHdH_Pbili4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9YzJhSqSAI

The problem I have with that commercial is at the end, when LiMu sees Doug’s emu filter. LiMu starts pecking directly into the camera. But that’s not how laptop videos (and emus) work. He should be pecking at the emu image he sees on his screen. On my laptop, that would have me pecking at a spot about four inches below the camera. A mistake like that really spoils the whole illusion.

(I would like to submit this as the most nitpicky post of the week. Is there a mod I should contact about that?)

One vote for “Eldritch Abomination”