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Dieselfx Puts Atari in the Driv3r Seat

Studio Handles Post, EFX & Asset Management for Global Internet & TV Campaign (June 09, 2004)

Dieselfx recently provided an array of visual effects, post production and asset management services to Atari and Ridley Scott Associates for a unique Internet, television and print marketing campaign supporting the launch of the videogame Driv3r. The studios involvement in the project began with post production planning and supervision, continued through post and ended with the delivery of 29 individual elements including a 3:12 Internet movie, a series of television spots formatted for U.S. and foreign markets, and behind-the-scenes elements for a pre-sell DVD package.  The television campaign breaks in late May while the Internet movie can be viewed now on the Atari website The game itself releases June 1.

The project began when Atari approached RSA and director Sean Mullens seeking ideas for non-traditional ways of promoting the new game. Mullens responded with the concept for Run the Gauntlet, a 3-minute Internet movie, that would essentially be a live action version of the game with Tanner, the games hero, attempting to deliver a car while being pursued by hordes of gun toting bad guys.

Shot in the style of a Hollywood action movie, the film is packed end to end with high voltage gun battles, car stunts, crashes and explosions. ?Driv3r is a Hollywood car chase in its most perfect form, said Atari marketing director Mike Webster. ?The film remains true to the character and story of Driv3r while adding a cinematic dimension.

The television component of the campaign includes 30- and 15-second spots formatted for U.S. and international markets and comprised of a mix of footage from the Internet film and game action. Additionally, the effort includes an Internet teaser campaign with trailers and scenes from the film, as well as a nearly 5-minute ?making of documentary. Many of those elements are also packaged onto a DVD used to market the game. Additionally, elements from the film and spots have been repurposed for use in print advertising.

Due to the complexity of the production, the extent of the visual effects and the diversity of the deliverables, RSA brought Diesel into the project during the early stages of pre-production to provide technical and creative oversight. ?This would have been a challenging project had it only involved the Internet movie, said Dieselfx executive producer Carl Seibert, who acted as post production supervisor on the project. ?It was a very ambitious production with a lot of complicated visual effects. However, there was much more to this effort. We needed to prepare elements for different media and different markets. That added several more layers of complexity.

Seibert noted than, in addition to handling all of the traditional post production and visual effects work, Diesel played a role in helping Atari to manage data for media buying and trafficking purposes. ?Data management was a critical aspect to this project, he said. ?We needed to know exactly what had to go into each different version. Once we finished the 3-minute film, it became the ?master.  We used it to determine how to create each of the cut downs most efficiently.

Diesels role as visual effects producer included enhancing the numerous car stunt scenes. Many of those are composites in which artists Elliot Jobe and Craig Price pieced together foreground, middle ground and background elements to create a concentrated action scene. One of the most spectacular scenes in the film shows a car flying 40-feet through the air and exploding into flames as it lands. On Diesels end, that scene required extensive rig removal and the assembly of more than a dozen separate plates. Artists also used particle enhancements to increase the size and force of the blast that engulfs the car when it lands.

?The films climactic scene was largely done via CG, recalled Webster. ?In our camera shot, one of the cars was too far away. Diesel blew up the car and pulled it into frame so that we could use that shot?and that was extremely important. They created something that wasnt there.

Diesel also added to the magic of the film by created camera moves that could not be done practically. ?They created a push in that begins from a long shot, moves in on a Mustang and ultimately enters the car, Webster said. ?It was totally seamless and totally impossible to do in real life.

The artists also enhanced shots of car interiors to make the vehicle appear to be moving faster than it was. In one instance, Jobe replaced a cars tachometer and other dashboard gear to make them appear to be under stress.

Additionally, Diesel designed and produced the title graphics that appear in the Internet film and other elements. The movie title and talent credits appear as lettering molded onto the body of a speeding car. The studio produced the graphics by creating a photo-real CG model of the films hero car.

The completed film has been a spectacular success in attracting video game fans to the Driv3r website. ?Everyone involved in this project came into it with as much passion to it as Atari did, Webster said. ?Their individual commitment and concern resulted in a piece that is satisfying on all levels.

Dieselfx can be reached at (310) 394 9001 or

Commercial Credits

Title:                             Run the Gauntlet

Length:                         3:10   

Client:                           Atari

Artisans client:              Dieselfx

Agency:                        Atari (in-house).  Mike Webster, Senior Brand Manager, Atari.  All creative handled through RSA, Los Angeles.  Sean Mullins, director.  No traditional agency credits for this spot.

Production Company:  RSA, Los Angeles.  Sean Mullins, director; Marjie Abrahams, Jules Daley, Bryan Farhy, executive producers; Amir Mokri, director of photography; Mark Walejko, Simon Miller, producers.     

Location:                      Long Beach, CA.

Editing Company:         Chrome, Santa Monica, CA.  Nick Lofting, editor; Robb Hoffman, assistant editor; Christina Matracia, producer.

Music Company:          Amber Music, Los Angeles.  John Wood, composer; Michelle Curran, executive producer; Catherine ODonnell, producer.          

Post Facility:                 R!OT, Santa Monica, CA.  Clark Muller, colorist.

                                    Company 3, Santa Monica, CA.  Stefan Sonnenfeld, colorist.  

Visual EFX Company:  Dieselfx, Santa Monica, CA.  Elliott Jobe, Craig Price, artists; Carl Siebert, producer.

Audio Post House:        Eleven, Santa Monica, CA.  Jeff Fuller, mixer; Mike Franklin, assistant mixer.

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Related Keywords:Dieselfx , Atari, Ridley scott, Sean Mullens


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