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Framestore Helps Nintendo Capture Mario's Mayhem

In this new spot for Nintendo, which was directed and animated by Framestore NY, the Mini-Marios are on the move.

Press Release from Framestore NY

In this new spot for Nintendo, which was directed and animated by Framestore NY, the Mini-Marios are on the move. Framestore skillfully captures the multiple levels of mayhem and the quick thinking that are the main features of the Mario Brothers vs. Donkey Kong game experience.

The spot opens with a teenage boy lying on his bed and playing the Mario vs. Donkey Kong game on a handheld Nintendo DSL. All appears to be normal until the action on the game leaves the handheld. The Framestore team created a parallel Mario 'Thinkerland' that allows the action to break the confines of the Ninetendo game system and fill the boy’s room. Creating these two parallel worlds to tell a story in an abstract fashion were the biggest challenge that Framestore faced. A thirty-second spot is a short time frame to get across such ideas!

The directors of the spot, Murray Butler and David Mellor of Framestore NY, wanted to show the viewer how engrossing the new game is to the player while also showcasing its fast-paced action.

“We were focused on injecting some dynamism into the static, everyday situation of a boy sitting on his bed playing a videogame,” said Butler. “And we wanted to make the spot feel as if there were two distinct styles. For one style we show the boy playing a game on a normal afternoon in an almost reportage style. For the second style, when Mario leaves the game and enters the boy’s room, we shot with wide lenses and low angles in order to give the spot an ‘out of the ordinary’ dream sequence feel.”

A Cloud Theatre was built to represent the boy's thought process, showing that while the teenager is playing the game on his handheld, his imagination is recreating it in Thinkerland. By shooting the boy from above Butler and Mellor were able to capture that very familiar look of a teenage boy totally absorbed in an enthralling video game. And by building an animated world above him, Framestore was able to capture the world he was creating in his head.

“We worked hard to find the balance between making the spot interesting and fantastical, but at the same time look like it could be real,” said Mellor.

The Framestore art team faced a different challenge in interpreting something so abstract and making sure that it looked authentic.

“It was challenging for our team to create a miniature scale world with the proper depth of field to give the spot macro feel, but yet give us creative control over the look,” said Mellor.  “We created our own HDRIs for inside the Mario theater, which was mostly internally lit, but with subtle lighting from the external bedroom as well.  Also, 75% of the spot is fully CG, which is always going to be challenge.

The resulting spot successfully captures the engrossing experience of the new Mario vs. Donkey Kong game from Nintendo, a game that is so exciting and fast-paced that it is hard to keep it from leaving the handheld and taking over your world.

Framestore Credits:Directors:  Murray Butler & David MellorSupervising Producer:  Jenn DeweyLive Action Producer:  Megan MooreVFX Supervisor & TD Lead:  Andy Rowan-Robinson

Modeling and Rigging:Bill DoraisJessenia NautaBen Fox

Lead Animator:Kevin RooneyAnimators:Chris CaufieldMichael GalbraithWill FrazierTyler HeckmanSeth GollubJohn WilsonBen Fox

Lead Lighting TD:Irene Kim-Ahiska

Lighting TDs:John MontefuscoLaura Sayan

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