I first saw Paperbark at PAX East. I really loved the art style and the adorable wombat, so I handed them a business card. Several months later they contacted me about making a trailer! If you've read my other behind-the-scenes posts you'll know that I get most of my gigs by referral; this is a nice exception that shows sometimes handing out cards DOES lead to work!
This is a simple teaser, but it doesn't mean that I don't have anything to say about making it. The build I was provided for the game was just one area, which was fine because this was just to tease the game and reveal the 2018 release date for PAX Australia, At PAX East I played it on an iPad; the wombat walks towards where you tap, and if you tap in the white space, some of the world is briefly revealed with the paint effect you see in this trailer.
The game starts with a lovely shot of the camera coming down to the wombat's lair before it stumbles out. Unfortunately this shot was too long, so I initially shortened the shot via a dip to white. For the final version we ended up creating a luma matte so that I could start the shot later, but retain the painterly reveal effect. I wanted to make sure it was as true to the game as possible, so lead programmer Ryan Boulton rendered the matte out, and I added it in Premiere.
One thing I have to remind myself is that game devs and video editors often use different terminology to describe similar effects. I had to explain what I meant when I said "matte." Maybe someday I'll make a glossary of terms to facilitate communication between our disciplines.
I was once asked how to approach a trailer for a game where there's not much action or movement. The answer is that "action" is relative.
This is a short teaser, and all of my clips are some variation of the wombat walking through the woods. So I had to pick just a few moments that had more going on in them than the wombat walking. Compared to walking, the wombat eating grass is pretty exciting! The wombat getting stuck in the log is EVEN MORE exciting, and it has an element of suspense to it. Will the wombat get out?? (also, awwwwwwww). Then the wombat hops over a different log and surprises some birds. The wombat getting stuck, then circumventing the other log is the climax of this trailer. Then the wombat rolling in grass, sneezing and walking away is the denoument.
See? Even a relatively sedate trailer can still follow a trailer's 3-act structure. At least, that was my thought while making it; maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. While making this I knew that I was mostly leaning on how cute the wombat is, but that doesn't mean I didn't do my best to follow the same ideas about trailer structure, music editing and game capture that I hope to bring to all my projects.
So the lesson is, that action and excitement can be found in everything as long as there's contrast!