Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The LucasArts/Xbox Kinect R2 Commercial

The commercial for LucasArts and Xbox Kinect with R2 hit the air on Spike TV last night, as well as the web, and I now have permission to say more about the shoot I did on May 19, 2011.

First, here is a copy on YouTube:

The official Facebook link to the commercial is here, and the producers and I ask that you visit that link as well. The ad will only appear on Spike TV and the web, leading up to E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles.

As promised, R2's role in the ad is short and sweet. R2 is trying to romance the Xbox Kinect, without any success. Finally dejected, R2 sighs and then the Kinect responds to his lament, and reciprocates. They live happily ever after. I definitely like it, although it's conceivable that I'm biased.

Most of the audio was dubbed in post-production, but I'm fairly sure the intro sounds were from the set. R2 was slightly sped up at the end, possibly due to the operator (i.e. me) not being quick enough on the stick.

The shoot was done at Swift River Productions, in Los Angeles, CA. Call time was noon, I arrived around 11:00am. At least three different spots were shot that day, with R2 being the only Star Wars-related ad. I'm not sure if I can discuss the other two, so for now I won't.

Both LucasArts and Microsoft had friendly representatives on-site to help facilitate and supervise the shoot.

The production crew was very friendly, and they provided snacks, lunch and water/sodas, so everyone was well taken care of.

R2's turn on set didn't come until a little after 3:00pm, as things were running behind schedule somewhat, which isn't unusual with these things. We went over the script, which I hadn't seen prior to stepping on the set.

The first shot called for R2 to motor in from stage right. I suggested that R2 glance over at the Kinect, back up a step, and approach, and that's what we shot. It's hard to tell in the ad that he backs up, but he does, ever so slightly. The back of the flat screen TV acts as a wipe-in.

A fair amount of time was spent setting up the lighting. R2 was not a problem, but some of the shiny surfaces on the TV cabinet and the Kinect itself presented challenges. There was a small monitor behind the TV facing me so that I could see how well R2 was in-frame, but I really spent most of my time looking at the floor to make sure R2 hit his marks.

We did three or four takes from this angle, having R2 try to get the Kinect's attention. I played sounds on the set, in case they would end up making the cut (and it sounds like some did), and as a guide track for dubbed sounds. The folks from Microsoft were in charge of firing up the Xbox when the time came for it to respond.

While the crew wanted to shoot the exact same content from the reverse angle behind R2, the production was running late enough that we skipped the drive-in, and went straight to R2 courting the Kinect, and the Kinect nodding its response.

By the time 5:00pm rolled around, R2 was done shooting, and it was time to whisk him off the set in order for the next spot to start shooting.

As always, I'm truly appreciative for opportunities like this, just as I'm appreciative for the many lower-profile charitable appearances I get to do with R2. Speaking of which, the next two weekends look to be busy. :-)

The full photoset is here.


Gunbu said...

That is awesome Victor! I will have to keep an eye out for the commercial on TV.

Victor Franco said...

Thanks Eric