PlayStation Homage Invites Sultry Cast of Characters Together for "Michael"
Sony PlayStation's "Michael", the latest installment in the
"Long Live Play" branding campaign, features a dreamy cast of
characters most any gamer or adventurous soul would fancy having a
pint with. Sweet Tooth, Solid Snake, Little Sister and other PS3
favorites gather in an Inn to share their war stories and herald
the devoted gamer who brought them together in the first place,
Michael. Via Deutsch L.A., directed by Simon McQuoid and with VFX
from The Mill L.A., the extended version of "Michael" is at nearly
9 million hits and climbing in just over one week on YouTube.
"The biggest challenge was to bring the 3D game characters in to
the 'real' world so they lived in the environment that was shot but
remained true to their in-game characters," says John Leonti, The
Mill L.A.'s 3D VFX Supervisor on "Michael". "There was a great deal
of back and forth with the game developers to get all the details
correct. The gamers out there are notoriously critical of anything
that interprets the characters they love."
Having logged in hundreds of hours on PlayStation consoles,
Junior 3D Artist Matt Vogan was enlisted as The Mill's resident
gaming expert. "Matt was invaluable to the team throughout the
entire project," says VFX Supervisor Phil Crowe, The Mill's Lead 2D
Artist along with Pete Hodsman on Nuke. "Character nuances that
might escape the average gamer were not lost on Matt. He helped
Simon and our entire team deliver a spot that was very authentic to
Inherent to this authenticity was the look of the final film.
Mill L.A. Head of Telecine Adam Scott graded "Michael", bearing in
mind references most colorists would envy-Blade Runner,
Inception, Inglorious Bastards. Working on a
Baselight 4, he used a DI 2K feature film workflow, enabling him to
create a pre and post VFX grade. Scott explains, "Simon wanted a
very cinematic feel, so he shot 35mm Anamorphic. And DP Jan Velicky
filmed everything in relatively low light, which proved invaluable
to creating the dark and mysterious ambience of the finished
"Simon was meticulous in his pre-shoot planning and incorporated
our VFX advice," Crowe explains. "One of the trickiest shots was
making Kratos look like he was 9-feet tall, when in reality he was
a normal bloke. We worked closely with Simon to plan the shots so
this effect could ultimately be seamless. And a similar technique
was used to increase the size of Little Sister's head."
"Given the complexities of bringing so many gaming characters
together, the final film owes everything to the entire team's
collaborative approach," agree Crowe and Leonti. "From the amazing
guys at Deutsch, Simon the director, Editor Steve Gandolfi and our
super talented team at The Mill, everybody played their part making
'Michael' the perfect project."