Man… 2012. This year has been an incredible ride! After speaking at the 2012 Game Developer’s Conference and more recently at GDC China, I’ve received a flood of requests for people looking to make a cool trailers for their games. I wish I could work on everything coming my way, but between spending time with my new little boy, trying to be a good husband, managing my day-job with New Media Manitoba, and creating as many cool game trailers as possible there’s not much extra time left in the day.
With the new baby, a few things like updating this blog have taken a back seat to morning and evening story time In any case, to kind of make up for it, I thought it might be cool to post a little behind the scenes material from some of the other trailers I’ve worked on over the past year…
My first exposure to Hundreds was way back in March of 2012 at GDC. I loved the minimalist style of the game, and I would have played for hours if Adam hadn’t taken the iPad out of my hands. I knew I wanted to make a trailer for the game, but the release date was always a bit up in the air… I hoped that when things were finally nailed down, I’d be able to help out. Fortunately, the timing worked out perfectly, and Greg Wohlwend was able to create the teaser which I was away in Shanghai and I was able to work on the launch trailer once I got back.
Earlier in June or July, I was already playing around with some ideas, just doing some tests to see what kind of cool effects we might be able to make or use in the trailer. I mucked around a bit with Plexus and Trapcode Form, but we ended up not using the Plexus stuff at all. I love that plugin, but I just haven’t found the right project for it yet! Most of the tests and ideas weren’t used, except for the cool pull out through the matrix of cypher symbols at the end of the trailer. This trailer was super fun to make, and it gave me a good chance to really dive into Trapcode Form, Particular and 3D Stroke in a bit more depth than any previous project.
The above time-lapse video shows a few hours of RnD followed by the assembly of the animatic of the launch trailer for Hundreds. If you love puzzle games, you really owe it to yourself to give Hundreds a try.
So many words have already been written about how awesome Hotline Miami is, so I don’t need to tell you that it’s an amazing game. I was lucky enough to be brought on to make a trailer back in the summer of 2012. Originally I was hoping that we could do something live action, but the scope of what Dennaton Games was looking for was a bit outside my skill-set. So we decided that the live action trailers would be created by Mats Ek and I would handle the gameplay trailers. Mats did a killer job and the makeup and overall vibe of both of the trailers are amazing.
We ended up making three gameplay trailers all of which were fairly similar. The one thing I wanted to achieve with these trailers is to create an 80′s look without actually running the trailer through a VHS deck a few times, like I’ve done in the past. It took a while to nail it down, but I’m really happy with the overall look and vibe of all the gameplay trailers. The colour grade was a little bit more complicated than a simple colour correction, but basically it was achieved though a little bit of Mojo, Magic bullet looks, and copious amounts of lens distortion to give it a bit more of a analog feel!
Here’s a little gif breaking down the whole process:
Pretty much every time I end up working with Vlambeer, the trailer ends up coming together pretty quickly. If memory serves me, Rami said something along the lines of “It would be cool to put the U-Rauzer emerging from the water in a live action shot”. It just so happened I was heading out to the lake the next day, and it just so happened that there was a HUGE windstorm making some huge waves that make the lake look just like an ocean. I seriously could not believe that it worked out as well as it did. Generally the lake is super calm and the waves are very subtle, but the choppiness really worked in our favour and made for a really cool looking shot.
The storm lasted a few hours, and I took about an hour’s worth of footage of the lake, doing various zooms etc as the sun was setting over the course of the evening.
Compositing the ship wasn’t too hard, but nailing down the look definitely took a while. Luftrausers has a distinct monochromatic look to it, and I wanted to make sure that the live action footage matched the gameplay as close as possible. In addition to that, there’s some old damaged film elements being overlaid on top. I was really happy I was finally able to use these elements on something, since they’ve been sitting in my archives for quite a while now
Out of all the trailers from the past year, one of the ones I’m most proud of is the trailer for Jack Lumber. It was an absolute blast to put together, and the guys at Owlchemy Labs were awesome to work with. I managed to hook up with Owlchemy through Devin Reimer, a local game developer who collaborated with Owlchemy to design and program the game.
The hardest part of this trailer was nailing down the script, and really obsessing over every word, trying to add in as many puns as possible while still keeping things moving along as quick as possible. In our initial brainstorming session over skype, we talked about a lot of ideas, like those old deforresting videos, Ren and Stimpy’s LOG commercial, and the Troy McClure special, “Meat and you!”. All of these ideas kind of went into a big melting pot, along with the awesome back story of jack Lumber, and out came this trailer.
I wish I had a timelapse of the above google docs we were all editing simultaneously while this was coming together. It’s always so cool to have a bunch of people all editing the same file, and watching things develop literally right in front our our eyes. But if you take a look at the original, versus the final script, you can really see how much work went into trying out different lines and figuring out the punniest way to get things across :)Wiggly once again provided an amazing voice over, which really tied the whole thing together.
I couldn’t be happier with the way it all came together
Serious Sam, Indie Mega Booth, Spirits, Spell Tower & Ice Burgers!
There was also a bunch of super quick trailers for the Indie Mega Booth, the Linux/Android release of Spirits, Spell Tower, & Ice Burgers which was unfortunately the first and last appearance of Dubstep in any of my trailers hehe…
There’s some really cool stuff in the pipe for 2013, and I’m super pumped to see where things go from here!
If you have any comments or questions about anything, please feel free to ask!