Rival Helps Bring Nintendo Spot To Life

Quiet moments of wonder build from a gentle droplet to a storm in the masterful new Nintendo spot. Here magic rains from the sky in the form of Pokemon balls as children look on with awe and wise understanding. The project is the result in an intensely collaborative process by the creative teams including agency Leo Burnett, Director Benjamin Blank, rival Editor Karen Knowles Zuniga and the effects team from Hi-Ground Media.

“The last five months on this project were incredible,” says Leo Burnett VP/Associate Director Tom Gorton. “The team vibe — from the Nintendo client to Karen and rival to everyone at Hi-Ground/Locksmith – made it one of my best production experiences, with a fantastic end result to boot.”

Shot on location in New Zealand, “Pokeballs” ushers the arrival of the new Pokemon as experienced by children around the world. For rival Editor Karen Knowles Zuniga, the challenge was choosing the most effective moments while providing exact timing for the photorealistic CG balls to be added after her initial edit was complete.

“(Director) Benjamin Blank delivered spectacular material – the casting and the imagery of the children is just incredible. So my job was to hand pick the most honest, subtle moments that would capture the inherent magic of the story,” comments Knowles Zuniga. “I also had to allow room, time and space, for the character of the balls so that the multiplying shower could be integrated seamlessly and with impact. That was really fun because I had to dig into my imagination and envision what was to come.”

“Karen and I really saw eye to eye. She understands subtlety and how small details can effect storytelling,” notes Director Benjamin Blank. “My goal was to create something epic, but rooted in reality rather than pure fantasy. Casting played a major role, as did the fact that we all saw the spot the same way and worked to that realization.”

Echoing the sentiment of both Gorton and Blank, Knowles Zuniga says everyone was committed to the concept and collaborated with the sole intention of creating something special. “We worked as true creative partners with a shared vision,” she concurs. “Each person brought their individual expertise and never lost focus, all the while working together. It was rewarding, and I think the energy and enthusiasm shows in the final spot.”

Client: Nintendo
Spot Title & Length: “Pokeballs” :60, :30, :15×2
Air Date: May 18th, 2007

EDITORIAL COMPANY: rival editorial/ Santa Monica, CA
Editor: Karen Knowles Zuniga
Asst. Editor: Jason Dopko
Executive Producer: Bill Fortney
vAGENCY : Leo Burnett, USA/Chicago
Producer: Juan Woodbury
SVP / Executive Creative Director: Bill Stone
SVP / Executive Creative Director: Dominick Maiolo
VP / Associate Director: Tom Gorton
VP / Associate Creative Director: Jason Wright
VP / Executive Producer: Mary Cheney

Director: Benjamin Blank
Executive Producer: Steve McDonald
DP: Ian McCarroll
Producer: Megan Francis

EP: David Hofflich
Creative Director/ VFX Supervisor: Duy Nquyen
Coordinator: Judd Rubin
CGI Artists: Adrian Diamond & Erik Lee

SOUND: Eleven Sound/Santa Monica
Mixer: Jeff Fuller
Executive Producer: DJ Fox-Engstrom

MUSIC: Comma Music/Chicago
Creative Director: Larry Pecorella, Bryan Rheude
Composer: Justin Hori

TELECINE: Company 3/Santa Monica
Colorist: Sean Coleman

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