Comcast Xfinity: “Summer Project” | “Long Distance Relationship” | “When 2 Becomes 5”


Comcast Xfinity: “Summer Project”

Comcast Xfinity: “Long Distance Relationship”

Comcast Xfinity: “When 2 Becomes 5”

COMMERCIAL CAMPAIGN
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor & Finisher
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

The gag for these Xfinity spots is the continuous and seamless “one-take” shot. Of course, each is comprised of many shots, not all continuous, nor seamless, with all types of nudging and fudging to get the transitional moments to align. Consequently, some spots flow more smoothly than others, each relying on their own visual techniques to tell the story – time-lapse, wipes, screens, morphs, etc.

The conforms were a bit tricky, getting all these elements to sync correctly, requiring a lot of counter-animation, repo’s and timewarp/speedramps, with the accompanying cleanup. Plus, an assortment of screen comps, and in some instances, rebuilding of background plates to align foreground elements.

These three spots come from a larger campaign, amounting to six in total. I chose these three, because I was the 2D lead for each. I contributed to the others, but only in a support capacity.

Comcast Business: “Going Up”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Ogilvy & Mather (New York)
DIRECTOR: Oskar Holmedal

I really like the technical and creative challenges of this Comcast spot. Unfortunately, I was only able to assist for the latter half of its schedule, so I didn’t get to contribute as much as I’d hoped.

That said, I handled a number of screen comps in the various rooms that are seen as the camera ascends the building. These were a bit tricky, due to the extreme nature of the camera move, as well as the accompanying lens distortion. For the most part, the standard plate undistorts and 3D tracks proved ineffective, meaning most of it had to be hand-tracked. The exterior window glass didn’t help either.

I also handled roof extensions and transitional wall patches for the opening ground level shot, up until the camera reaches the first visible office. There was a lot of give and take here, since this opening movement set the pace for the remainder of the spot.

The most exciting task I handled was the entire concluding rooftop sequence, which was shot practically, but needed extensive augmentation. All the buildings needed to be straightened, due to the natural curvature caused by the camera lens. The sky needed to be replaced, with all the integration issues that come with it – reflections, grading, lightwrap, etc. Birds were added, just because … And timing and camera movement needed additional adjustment to work seamlessly with the one-take motif utilized throughout.

Johnny’s X-treme Adventure


BROADCAST: SHOW SEGMENT SKIT
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: John Hudson

Dressed in his trademark Cult wifebeater and bandana, Johnny X-treme was the alter ego of Smoke Artist/Editor Jason Cheung. When Jason wasn’t cutting on-air promos, he was living the life of Johnny, a recurring character on the former game-centric network G4.

The only thing you need to know about Johnny is that he’s “extreme” just because he says so.

Well, Johnny eventually decided to put his money where his mouth is, “releasing” his very own “extreme” video game, titled “Johnny’s X-treme Adventure.”

Of course, the game itself wasn’t real. But the parody review of the fictional video game was.

Created specifically for the popular review show “X-Play, “Johnny’s X-treme Adventure” promised the most “extreme” gaming experience ever. What debuted was the ultimate mediocre 8-bit 2D scroller … ever.

For the game, I designed many of the characters that Johnny battles: the sharkasaurus, lava monsters, and snakes with jetpacks. I also contributed a number of environments: the ice caves, the lava planet, and the White House lawn. I even designed an “extreme” poster for the game. See below.

Incidentally, “Johnny’s X-treme Adventure” only received a rating of 2 out of 5 stars.

JXA Poster

Filter Holiday Hitlist


BROADCAST: SHOW OPEN
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: John Hudson

The directive behind “Filter’s Holiday Hitlist” was to do something completely different from every other product-oriented show out there. Of course, that’s a fairly typical ask. You know, do what hasn’t been done, as if that’s even a possibility these days.

Nevertheless, being young and bold, I clearly took that as creative license to do whatever I the hell I wanted … and I did.

A bit of backstory, for context … G4 had just acquired the deceptively innocent animated series “Happy Tree Friends,” which was remarkably subversive and ridiculously violent, once you peeled off the feel-good happy surface.

Coincidentally, I was really into collage animation. And since, the powers-that-be were looking for an unconventional take on Christmas, it all kind of clicked. And in a spontaneous evening of rapid-fire design, I opted for a punked-out Santa and a reckless staff of snowmobile wielding delivery Squirrels as my premise.

There was no grand plan to make all this happen. Just a week on the schedule and the freedom to run with it. Surprisingly, it went pretty smoothly. And it was a ton of fun.

Video Game Vixens


BROADCAST: SHOW OPEN
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: John Hudson

A beauty pageant for sexy female video game characters …

Honestly, the premise for this show was completely ridiculous … and most likely, inappropriate … particularly, when viewed through today’s “me too” filter. But it happened back in ’05. And despite the titilating “filler” aspect being the predominant force in its inception, this show’s graphics package was a lot of fun to design and execute, offering some unique animation challenges, and a particularly entertaining live action intro I got to supervise.

The premise was simple: video game characters crash a traditional beauty pageant, kill the competition, literally, and steal the crown. Lara Croft’s shooting the place up. Bloodrayne is making short work with her dual wrist blades. And there’s another character I don’t recall, who steals the crown.

The graphic open was a bit tougher, since I was restricted by the sanctioned stills for each character/contestant. But through some simple and direct 2D animation techniques, somewhat inspired by anime techniques, this portion came together strongly.

G-phoria: “Pre-phoria” | “Crashing G-Phoria”


BROADCAST: SHOW OPEN | ON-AIR PROMO
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: John Hudson

G4’s annual video game award show “G-Phoria” was a major event for the popular pop-culture network. They wanted to “own” the video gaming audience. But in order to do so, they needed to steal the thunder from MTV and Spike, to name a few of their more successful competitors.

So they went all out, getting the Black Eyed Peas and the Bravery to perform, adding some “star” talent like Dave Navarro, Carmen Elektra, and Anna Nicole Smith to be presenters, and broadcasting the entire show live from an outdoor location in downtown Los Angeles.

For the graphics package, they also hired some expensive firm to shoot punk-styled footage in the spirit of “The Warriors.” A great idea in theory. But also some of the worst footage I’ve ever seen, not to mention unintentionally hysterical as well.

As lead designer, I was told to fix it however I saw fit. To make a long story short, I sort of winged it in Flame until something worked. And that’s how I ended up with this monochromatic punk-out flyer-style treatment of animated scribbles and bleached out streets.

Attack of the Show


BROADCAST: SEGMENT TITLES
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: John Hudson

“Attack of the Show” was G4’s somewhat irreverent variety show, emphasizing pop culture entertainment and emerging tech from a hip youth-oriented slant. There’s gadget segments, movie and dvd reviews, comic book coverage, video game features, comedic skits, interviews, musical performances, etc.

When these segment headers were commissioned, the show’s look and feel had already been established. The directive was to expand upon that foundation … specifically, embrace the subversive tone, explore the deconstructivist style, and utilize old cold war propaganda-styled imagery, while mixing in a little bit of ’80s punk rock attitude and humor.

As one might guess, these segment headers were a heck of a lot of fun to design and animate, particularly “What’s Up with Japan” and “The Feed.” It’s refreshing to be able to create without limitations, where the freedom to try anything is encouraged.

Digital Digs


BROADCAST: SHOW OPEN | ON-AIR PROMO
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: Julie Fields

In an effort to involve their audience more directly in the programming, but not succumbing to the “reality” approach, TechTV came up with the idea of giving a lucky viewer a $100,000 tech makeover for their home, and consequently filming the process from start to completion.

When TechTV was acquired by G4, the show carried over to the more youth-oriented network. As a result, the tech makeover had a few more X-Boxes and Playstation’s attached to the prize.

The design directive was to update the existing graphics to fit the G4 tech-savvy youth aesthetic. This wasn’t so much a redo as it was a revision, keeping the general structure of the graphics package, while updating the palette, fonts, and coating it all with a bit more gloss.

The walking house that begins the clip is actually taken from a promo that occurred after the initial airing of the G4 version of “Digital Digs.” I had a bit more freedom to create on this one, since it was an entirely new deal. And since I’m a fan of collage animation, and I was asked to do something with a house, I came up with a silly transformer-style arachnid mobile home.

Screensavers


BROADCAST: SHOW OPEN
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: Julie Fields

Following G4’s acquisition of TechTV, the latter network’s classic tech-variety show “Screensavers” was the first to get retooled and updated.

Being less tech, and more tech-entertainment, G4’s brand of video game-centric ideas permeated the new “Screensavers,” giving them a new day-glow, romper-rhumba-room colored set, and a new list of topics to cover – comics, movies, and of course, video games.

As G4 was already abounding in enough video game imagery, the creative direction went towards comic book language instead. The idea was to keep the existing logo and narrative structure from the old show. But update it with a new pop-art comic look and So-Cal setting (vs. the old San Francisco setting).