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R!Ot and POP Sound Deliver The News For MSNBC

Provides a complete package of post services for a spot promoting MSNBC (August 23, 2004)

R!OT Santa Monica and POP Sound recently provided a complete package of post services for a spot promoting MSNBC that evokes the emotional connection between the news network and its viewers. The spot was directed by Brad Gensurowsky of Jesse Pictures Inc., Los Angeles.

Conceived by NBCs in-house agency and MSNBC, People are Watching consists of a series of vignettes with people watching televised news stories in their living room, at an airport, at work and at other locations. The vignettes play out in slow motion, a technique that adds gravity to the scenes and underscores the viewers involvement with the events transpiring on the screen. The voice-over, delivered in friendly but authoritative tones by Tom Selleck, notes that ?when our nation faces a critical choice, when the world is rocked by change?America is watching MSNBC.

R!OT Artists Les Umberger and Verdi Sevenhuysen were tasked with compositing the news footage into the television sets, a process that was complicated by a number of technical factors. In each instance, the camera recording the scene is moving which meant that the news footage had to be tracked to the background in 3D space.

?We met with R!OT prior to the shoot to discuss the best method of filming the monitors to maintain the natural ambient reflections of the environment while capturing the emotion and attention of the people watching the news events, recalled Jesse Pictures post producer Romi Laine. ?We utilized their suggestions in filming additional reflection plates as well as plates of separate monitors and environments where multiple activities and people would be crossing frame. The artists did a beautiful job of treating the low resolution news footage and seamlessly compositing it into the monitors within the filmed environments.

The slow motion of the backgrounds and the difference in the frames rates between the backgrounds, which were recorded on film, and the news footage, which arrived on Betacam SP video, presented additional hurdles. ?We had to do a time warp to match the speed of the news clips to the background, Umberger explained. ?We also had to adjust the time base of the video material to match the 24-frames-per-second speed of the film.

?When you slow down video footage it becomes very ?steppy. We used a number of motion tricks to make it appear more smooth, more dramatic, more of a filmic look.

Umberger and Sevenhuysen used a number of other effects techniques to improve integration, including adding reflections to the news clips to make it appear as though they are being viewed through a glass screen. They also color corrected the footage to match the ambience of the surrounding scenes.

Audio post was completed at POP Sound, where engineer Peter Rincon found the perfect balance between Sellecks voice-over and the spots lush orchestral score. ?We wanted to preserve the inviting, friendly quality of Toms delivery and at the same time allow the music, which is very moving, to come through, Rincon said. ?If we made the voice-over too loud, it would have lapsed into something very traditional, but if it was too soft, it would get lost in the music.

Rincons solution was to make a subtle adjustment to the time-base of Selleck's voice-over so that it matched the musics soft rhythm. ?It was challenging finding the right symmetry between the low, masculine tone of Tom Selleck's voice with that of the musical score, noted Laine. ?Peter experimented with levels and qualities until he created a blending of the elements, allowing the spirit of the piece to be expressed. He also designed a wonderful mnemonic to embellish the final MSNBC tag of the spot.

Additionally, Rincon developed a mnemonic tone to support the reveal of the MSNBC logo at the end of the spot. He then blended it seamlessly with the scores final chords.

About R!OT Santa Monica
R!OT Santa Monica is located at 702/730 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401. For more information, call Bill Frazee or Marcie Malooly at (310) 434-6000 or visit

About POP Sound
POP Sound is located at 625 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401. For more information, call Claudia Skimina at (310) 458-9192 or visit

About Ascent Media Group
Santa Monica, California-based Ascent Media Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L, LMC.B), provides creative and technical services to the media and entertainment industries through its Creative Services, Creative Sound Services, Media Management Services and Networks Services groups. At more than 70 facilities in the regions of Southern California, New York, London, Atlanta and Singapore and at locations throughout the world, Ascent Media Group provides effective solutions for the creation, management and distribution of content to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and other companies that produce, own and/or distribute entertainment, news, sports, corporate, educational, industrial and advertising content.

Commercial Credits:

Airdate: August

Title: People are Watching

Length: 30-seconds

Client: MSNBC

Agency: The NBC Agency, Los Angeles. Vince Manze, creative director/executive producer; John Miller, executive producer; Joseph Lee and Ron Hayes, creative directors; Vince Manze and Joseph Lee, copywriters.

Production Company: Jesse Pictures Inc., Los Angeles. Brad Gensurowsky, director; David Landau and Matt Van Buren, executive producers; David Landau, producer; Romi Laine, post producer; Manny Vouniouzos, director of photography.

Location: Los Angeles

Editing Company: The NBC Agency, Los Angeles. August Vouniozos, editor; Rachel Vouniozos, assistant editor; Romi Laine, producer.

Music Company: Adam Cohen Productions, Los Angeles. Adam Cohen, composer.

Post Facility: Rushes, Santa Monica, CA.

(The spot was finished at R!OT, see below.)

Visual EFX Company: R!OT Santa Monica. Les Umberger, lead compositor; Verdi Sevenhuysen, compositor; D. Todd Davidovich, VFX executive producer/producer.

Audio Post House: POP Sound, Santa Monica, CA. Peter Rincon, engineer/mixer.

Stock footage house:  News footage supplied by NBC.


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Related Keywords:R!Ot, POP Sound, MSNBC, R!OT Santa Monica, Brad Gensurowsky, Jesse Pictures, Les Umberger, Verdi Sevenhuysen, compositing, Romi Laine, POP Sound, Peter Rincon,

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