Visual effects house Coffee & TV has created six talking horses to promote ITV’s coverage of the 2019 Grand National.

The horses play the lead role in ITV Creative’s promo, which is running on TV and online in advance of the race on 5 April.

The spot was directed by Tantrum Stephen Pipe, with Coffee & TV’s CGI team manipulating the images from a live action shoot to create a realistic, spontaneous conversation between horses playing ‘Guess Who’.

The shots were composited by Coffee & TV’s Flame department, which created the effect using animated CG horse heads.

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The company’s co-founder and creative director Phil Hurrell said: “Stephen Pipe’s vision was to have the horses chatting to each other in a casual manner, similar to people relaxing over a drink at a social gathering. When people or animals are relaxed, they become highly animated, so we were keen not to dictate any restrictions on camera or animal movement ahead of the CGI and animation process. Subsequently, the camera style is almost documentary-like; hand-held for the entire sequence. The horses’ movements were encouraged to be as expressive as possible to ensure the final film would be engaging and fun.”

ITV Grand National Credits

Executive Creative Director: Tony Pipes

Creative Director: Rachel King

Creatives: Megan Tedeschi, Henry White

Production Manager: Gemma Price

Producer: Jon Hinton

Director: Stephen Pipe

DOP: Oliver Schofield

Editor: Matt Chodan

Sound: Arge at Envy

GG & VFX: Coffee & TV

Grade: Simona Cristea at Coffee & TV