Making the Aquaria for iPad Teaser Trailer

This was a really fun little teaser trailer to put together.

Aquaria for iPad has been in the works for quite a while now, and Alec and I had originally discussed making a trailer for it way back in March at GDC. Over the last few months, as development was wrapping up, we were discussing how to best get the word out about the new version of the game. One of the ideas was doing a short teaser trailer to talk about the development of Aquaria for iPad and talk about the new features that were integrated into the game. We didn’t really know what sort of form the video would take, but that was the general idea.

A few weeks went by, and I remembered the awesome World of Goo iPad video that James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot (from Indie Game the Movie) put together. It was basically exactly what we wanted to do, so I used that as a template for our own video. Thanks guys!! XOXOX :)

Aquaria for iPad

I’ve never done an ‘interview style’ video before, so I was a little nervous about botching the whole thing up, but I figured, the worst case, we could just re-shoot it, since it wasn’t going to take that long to do. I watched a few interview videos, wrote down a few questions, and got a rough idea of what kind of B-Roll I’d need, and that was it.

We shot the whole thing in about 2 hours in the corner of Alec’s Winnipeg Apartment.

This was the first time I’d also used a Lav Mic to pick up better audio than was was going to be captured through the VideoMic Pro I had hooked up to my camera. I fed that audio feed into Audacity on my laptop, and just let it record as we shot the interviews. Afterwards, i’d simply line up the two audio files, and replace the bad audio with the good audio captured from the mic.

Since I only had one camera, capturing multiple angles of the interview was going to be a challenge :) So the solution to that was to do the whole interview 3 times, to capture a closeup, medium and wide angle shots. It actually worked out really well, because after the last interview, things started to flow a lot better, and we got into a nice groove.

Aquaria For iPad Premiere Timeline Screenshot

Aquaria For iPad Video Premiere Timeline Screenshot

Cutting the interview was a lot of fun too. Basically, I went through the whole thing, and found as many little sound bites as I could, and did my best to find pieces from all three angles to merge together into something coherent. I was a little concerned, because after watching the whole video with just the interview sections in place, the whole thing felt a bit disjointed, but after covering all of the weird edits with B-Roll, it smoothed over the whole thing really nicely.

I shot this video on my GH2 and only used two lenses: The Voigtlander 25mm F0.95, and a Canon FD 50mm 1.8. I’ve mentioned this before, but I love the EXT feature on the GH2 that doubles the focal length on any lens. It’s so handy becase it allows you to quickly zoom in for a closeup without having to change lenses. It’s really a killer feature and I use it all the time.

Speaking of closeups, one thing I didn’t expect is how much dust and fingerprints would show up in HD. After looking at the footage, I was a little shocked that I didn’t notice how much dust there was on the screen in some shots. I just wasn’t able to pick up that kind of detail from the LCD on the camera. I painted out the dust and fingerprints in a few shots, but I left it in some others because it was too much of a pain to paint out, and I didn’t think most people would notice since they’ll be viewing it at a smaller size on the web. But that being said, next time I do a video like this, i’m bringing wetwipes, cloths, and a can of compressed air, and we’re cleaning that thing after every shot. :)

Aquaria for iPad

Anyways, I finished the video up by doing a small amount of colour grading with Magic Bullet looks, and that was that. I’m really happy with the way this video turned out, and there’s so many slider shots of the iPad it kind of looks like Apple/iPad porn, hehe.

After release, this trailer was covered on: Kotaku, TouchArcade, TAUW, IGN, Joystiq, IndieGames Blog, Gamepro, Destructoid, Pocket Gamer and!

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment!




  1. Jason Cobill says:

    Super slick presentation, Kert – really sharp. Love the colour grading and the camerawork is especially fantastic – your panning feels really dynamic and add a great quality to what could have ended up really static interview shots.
    Way to go – you’ve sold me! ;) I guess I’ll have to buy an iPad now.

  2. Michael Holroyd says:

    Great trailer Kert, a favorite game of mine ever since it came out with the Humble Bundle :)

    Whenever I try filming a user with an iPad, I run into frustrating moire patterns. Did you have to work around this for the trailer? Is there some trick to getting such high-quality footage?