Pacman: Most Wanted

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 11 September 2012
Category: Reviews
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The yellow pellets are calling a bright-yellow Dodge Challenger but the ghost squad is too close for comfort in this short film that's a nod to Pac-Man and car-racing games.

Pacman: Most WantedFilmmaker Alex Kobbs has used stop-motion techniques to create a Pac-Man-inspired short film that uses 1:18 scale models of cars to represent Pac-Man and the ghosts, and LEGO bricks to form the maze.

Each scale miniature chosen by the director represents one of the familiar players in a Pac-Man game. "Pac-Man" is represented by a Dodge Challenger; Blinky, the red ghost, is represented by a Plymouth Barracuda; Inky, the blue ghost, is a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle; Pinky, the pink ghost, is a beautiful 1959 Cadillac Eldorado; and Clyde, the orange ghost, is a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The pellets are LEGO pieces and the power-up pellet is a sponge ball. The Pac-Man car amusingly "eats" the pellets with its bonnet and tries to complete the level before the ghost cars can catch it.

The animation is a bit crude but that just adds to the fun. Alex Kobbs uses a combination of top-down views of the maze as well as close-up views of the cars. The editing is very tight so what's lacking in slick special effects is definitely made up for in the great editing and pace that's set as we jump to different viewpoints; watch as the camera pulls out from a close-up shot to a top-down view of the maze and then zooms back in to another close-up shot of the action; and see the camera's focus pull very smoothly in a scene from a foreground point to a background point. Each frame was shot remotely using a DSLR camera that zapped it straight into a Macbook for later processing. Depending on the type of shot that was needed, the camera was either rested on a small platform close to the action or a tripod was used to reach higher angles.

Pacman: Most Wanted

The short uses sound effects from the games Pac-Man, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, and Forza 4 and the music is "Harmful Or Fatal" by Kevin MacLeod, whose music also appears in Sushi Cat, a free casual game we have previously reviewed. "Harmful Or Fatal" is a royalty-free piece that you can download for free (see the link in the "On The Internet" section below), although it's not his best work. However, Alex Kobbs has used sections of it well in this short to help to tell the fast-paced story of the Dodge Challenger that's trying to outrun the ghost cars and complete the level.

The mechanics behind the stop-motion animation are simple, but effective, and would be of interest to people who want to play around with their own short-film ideas. Unlike CSI: Legoland, which uses a combination of stop-motion animation and computer-aided special effects that have been applied in post production, Pacman: Most Wanted uses mainly old-school stop-motion techniques and tools to create environments and effects - a computer was only used for post-production editing, sound editing, and colour correction, such as when the power-pellet-fuelled Dodge Challenger eats a ghost car, causing the car to change colour as it flees. (For those interested, Adobe After Effects was used.)

The action is so quick that while watching you may miss some of the clever stop-motion-animation tricks that were used but some notable examples that you definitely will see include using cotton wool to simulate wheel spin and burning tyre rubber, and placing the pellets and power pellets on small metal rods in the close-up shots to make them appear to hover as they do in the Pac-Man games. Less obvious techniques include using a white sheet as the neutral background behind the ghost cars when they're in their starting point and a black sheet as the neutral background during close-up shots of all the cars racing through the maze.

Pacman: Most Wanted

A small model of the entire maze was build out of LEGO for the top-down shots of the action and the pellets in this maze are just small LEGO bricks resting on the table because from a top-down perspective you can't see that they should be hovering. Larger wall segments were also constructed to allow the camera to move in close to the subjects. These wall segments were rearranged as shots were taken and different scenes were filmed to make it easier for the camera to get in there - as the credits roll you can view some behind-the-scenes footage that shows exactly how they manoeuvred the camera - and to make it appear as if the entire maze exists in that scale whereas in reality it doesn't.

Pacman: Most Wanted is a fun short that's simple enough to inspire people to start making their own stop-motion-animation shorts but yet is still sophisticated enough to be engaging and thrilling.

If you liked Pacman: Most Wanted you'll also enjoy Smile and CSI: Legoland.


Tags: #lego, #pac-man, #screen, #watch





Watch Online Watch Online: Pacman: Most Wanted (2012)



brainwavez.org Opinion: Pacman: Most Wanted (2012)
Rating: 6/10



Key Facts: Pacman: Most Wanted (2012)
Year: 2012 (10 August 2012)
Running Time: 00:02:18
Genres/Keywords: Action, LEGO, Pac-Man, racing
Credits:
Publisher: Machinima
Director: Alex Kobbs
Advisor/Multimedia Manager: Ryan Silve
Colour Correction: Nick Novotny
Music: "Harmful Or Fatal" by Kevin MacLeod



On The Internet
Pacman: Most Wanted (2012): Watch Online Streaming Video YouTube
Nick Novotny: Vimeo



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