LeBron James, Alfred Hitchcock, Windows 7 and Ancient History
Marty Martin’s work is assured, but he’s basically self-trained. “I didn’t know anyone in the film community here in Seattle,” he says. “I hadn’t shot anything. I wasn’t one of those kids who went to film school or made short films in high school, so I had to figure it out for myself. Probably most of my editing techniques came from watching films over and over and watching trailers religiously.” He owns his own equipment, including a Canon 5D Mark II and a 7D and two editing workstations, but rents a Red camera when a project demands it. He does color-correction in After Effects.
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Motive NYC and The History Channel took “Best VFX/Animation” honors for their “Battles BC” promo, part of a package of show opens and promos Motive created for the cable channel’s recent series about the savage, bloody battles fought hand-to-hand thousands of years ago with crude weaponry. In a lightning-speed flyover of various battle scenes, such as the infamous Persian invasion of Greece at Marathon, the spot races the viewer with frenetic immediacy back into the center of the action. Said festival judge Patrick Davenport, vice president of operations at Method, “The dynamism of the promo reflected the essence of the piece. Plus, the ambitious VFX had great aesthetics and were appropriately used to enhance the story.”
The creative department at Chiller, NBC/Universal’s horror-slash-thriller network, is not large. In fact, creative director Shea Pepper was a department of one until very recently. Chiller’s budgets are equally small. So last year, when Pepper learned that the network was running a rare marathon of Hitchcock films on New Year’s Day-unfortunately not a regular event, thanks to a new owner of the Hitchcock catalog-she called on the team at Motive NYC to flesh out and execute her promo ideas. One minor problem: The team had to rely mostly on stills, not actual footage, save for a tiny clip, from the films themselves. The resulting spot, “Chiller: Hitchcock,” manages to do much more with less, using an edgy sense of movement to push viewers through a mashed up, 3D world of iconic Hitchcock characters and scenes. Pepper says it brought record viewers to the fledgling network for the marathon, which was part of an effort by the channel to move away from its late-night, creature-feature reputation and toward a wider demographic with intense thrillers and new independent films. The spot was recently recognized with a nomination at ProMax and tied for the “Top Spot” prize in Studio’s Top Spot Festival.
The “Shake It” video is engaging and sends a message in just 30 seconds, but Martin says the client was made a little uncomfortable by how much it abstracted the idea of a user interface, using a nearly empty football field as a metaphor for a computer screen. “They were really hesitant to go out with that ad,” he recalls. “They were worried people wouldn’t understand the spot. We had storyboarded everything, and I think the legal department came and said, ‘Football players don’t stand on the field like that!’ But it was about illustrating something in a humorous way.”
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