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Pac-Man Makes Comeback With Help From Spy Post & Umlaut

Pac-Man makes a triumphant return in feel-good spot for GameTap (December 15, 2005)

Pac-Man Makes Comeback With Help From Spy Post & Umlaut

Pac-Man Makes Comeback With Help From Spy Post & Umlaut

The arcade classic pac-man makes a triumphant return; only this time it's in the form of a Mexican puppet show. This is the premise for a new spot by ad agency Mullen for GameTap, a first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network launched by Turner Broadcast. Spy Post provided postproduction services and Umlaut edited the :30 spot, which features the tagline, "GameTap. Expand Your Playground."

In "Mexican Puppet Show," a traveling roadside puppeteer puts on a puppet show for the children of remote town that follows the simple story of a winning game of Pac-Man. The heartwarming commercial celebrates the love that people have for video games. GameTap offers gamers of all ages the opportunity to play over 300 hundred of the greatest games of all time, all in their original format, right from their broadband connected PC.

When one thinks of Pac-Man, what automatically comes to mind is the character that lives inside the "lines of resolution" world of video. Director Tommy Means wanted to portray Pac-Man in a completely opposite direction approaching the visuals from a purely analog environment yet retaining the same excitement people get from playing Pac-Man. The production team decided to shoot in a neighborhood outside of Tijuana, Mexico.

"The art department did an amazing job of creating a puppet theatre that looked as if it had been traveling the Mexican outback for 25 years," remarks Means. "The postproduction process, particularly color, was such a key element of this project. The spectrum of color on location in Tijuana was amazing. Golden sunlight refracting through the airborne dust and smog onto the painted storefronts made for an incredibly visual canvas. Chris [Martin] did an amazing job of capturing that feeling of place in the colorization process. The guys from Mullen really dug coming into Umlaut and working with Ed [Feldman]. He is that perfect combination of an editor that brings a totally fresh cut and is completely open to helping the creatives realize the client's goals."

From the minute he saw the footage, Umlaut Editor Ed Feldman knew the spot was going to be special. "Conceptually and visually, the footage Tommy [Means] and his team delivered was so different. They did a great job capturing a small Mexican town in a very documentary way. The footage was so rich in texture and character. All the elements they shot immerse you in a world south of the border. The concept is brilliant in that it takes a classic, well-known digital icon and turns it into a low-fi analog one. The creatives had a strong vision going into the spot, and were very collaborative. With the great direction and art direction, we all knew that it was going to work out very well."

For Spy Post Colorist Chris Martin, the spot marks another successful collaboration with Director Tommy Means who he credits for being open minded to different concepts and methodologies. The team used the feature "Traffic" as a starting point for the look they wanted with the spot and then developed from there.

"I worked closely with Tommy Means and DP Andy Lilien, who approached this project from a documentary style," explains Martin. "We wanted to preserve an intimate feel to the piece creatively, but do something different at the same time. To promote the fact that the spot was shot in Mexico, we used a 'south of the border' warm-color palette, playing up the reds and yellows. The kids are the stars of the spot. They have such beautiful faces and I emphasized the ambers in their glowing skin."

Martin also says it was helpful to have the capabilities to do the dailies transfers in-house at Spy Post. He worked on the dailies first on his own and then had calls with Means and Lilien to revise as needed. "The strength of being a boutique with these services is that it allowed us to give them dailies tapes that were 80% done in terms of the look so they could cut with the overall look in place and then show to the clients."

Spy Post's Darren Orr executed the compositing and online edit putting together various takes of shots to ensure continuity in terms of lighting and performing dust cleanup.

"This was one of those spots where we just knew it was going to be great," concludes Orr. "It was a pleasure to work with Mullen, Tommy Means and Ed Feldman. From a color perspective, Chris [Martin] made it look wonderful. The whole process was very seamless and easy."

Client: Turner
Product: GameTap

Spot Title/Airdate: "Mexican Puppet Show" :30/November 2005

Agency: Mullen/Wenham, MA
Chief Creative Officer: Edward Boches
Group Creative Directors: Ted Jendrysik, Jim Amadeo
Producer: Brian Smith

Production Company: Mekanism/San Francisco, CA
Director: Tommy Means
DP: Andy Lilien
Executive Producer: Pete Caban
Producer: Stef Smith

Where Shot: Tijuana, Mexico

Editorial Company: Umlaut/San Francisco, CA
Editor: Ed Feldman
Executive Producer: Gina LoCurcio

Postproduction Company: Spy Post/San Francisco, CA
Colorist: Chris Martin
Online Editor: Darren Orr

Sound Design Company: Umlaut/San Francisco, CA
Sound Designer: Nathan Petty
Freelance Mixer: Jeremiah Moore

For more info on Spy Post: Telephone: 415.621.7791.

For more info on Umlaut: Telephone: 415.777.0123.


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Related Keywords:Spy Post, Umlaut, Pac-Man, GameTap, postproduction, Colorist,


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