NEW YORK — Conceptual design studio Suspect (www.suspect.tv) recently created a two-minute spot for PictCake, Japanese a social media service. The Showdown marries film noir sensibility with a ping-pong shoot-out between an underworld boss character and a daring young competitor.
PictCake called on the studio to produce the spot from concept to finish. The film is designed to introduce PictCake's new smart phone app that allows the user to take a picture, position it to scale, crop it over a template of a cake, choose the composition, and upload it for delivery of custom cake with the desired image in two days.
Suspect’s Tim Crean wrote and directed the short film with the help of co-director Yuichi Uchida. “The PictCake team back in Japan really wanted something more than a straight-ahead video tutorial for the service,” Crean explains. “We needed to deliver something that was fun and a little bit crazy — something that would break through all of the clutter out there.”
The piece focuses on two opposing figures, one man the indisputable king of New York City's underworld, the other a brash rebel, hell-bent on claiming the throne for himself. The battle is solved via a white knuckle, heart pounding, winner-take-all ping-pong game.
“The whole gangster genre is quite a rich, fertile storytelling bed and a great way to draw an audience into that world,” says Crean. “We amped up the impending air of confrontation, building on a pretty menacing, pretty dangerous sort of vibe. Would they pull out guns any second and start shooting? No. In a climatic twist, our ping-pong champ, still slamming away, pulls out his phone, takes a selfie, and orders his cake.”
Suspect handled crowd duplication, rig removal, retouching, and set extension. Most importantly, the studio meticulously animated and composited the ping-pong ball in every shot. Additionally, a gritty color grade added to the underworld vibe.