If you’ve been following my posts on the production values of the new Obama ads, you’ve seen the gushing from film pros about how good they are, next level type work, etc. But there’s been a separate thread of emails from folks familiar with the biz who are quick to point out that this kind of audio engineering used to be very complicated but that new, cheaper software makes it a lot easier and doesn’t require any “Hollywood ringers.” Even the guys who do video editing here at TPM are like, pfft, we could whip up effects like that, no problem.
Here’s an email along those lines from a reader who does post-production work in commercials:
Wanted to come from a more post-production oriented perspective. The most interesting thing about the “The Problem” ad is that, much more than needing a “Hollywood ringer” creative type, you need a bunch of talented kids using After Effects. While the “Firms” ad is more based in one, solid creative idea, with pretty solid execution, the “The Problem” ad requires a moderately skilled use of Adobe After Effects filters and a solid understanding of movement.
There are legions of kids (probably early 20s now) growing up with this program, learning Photoshop and other industry-standard design software in high school, and being influenced by video game ads for “Battlefield 3” and “Call of Duty” and other games that have been using these techniques (rolling static-noise filters, the blow-out white flashes) for years already.
Coming from a post-production background in commercials, this ad was executed by one or two 20-somethings who learned After Effects early, not a “Hollywood ringer.” No doubt in my mind.
From what we’ve been picking up today about who produced the ad, this is looking pretty on the money. I don’t think that cancels out the gushing about how effective the ad is, or is a slight to those who produced it. It’s just interesting additional context.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.