POP Sound in Santa Monica, Calif., prepared Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mixes for two cinema spots promoting Microsoft’s new game platform, Xbox 360. Peter Rincon helmed the recording and mix sessions for the two ads, which preview some of the game titles available for the new system from the point of view of diehard gamers.
Sniper features play from the World War II shooter game Call to Duty 2. In the accompanying voice-over, an off-screen player plots to gun-down a competitor, boasting—in a nod to the quality of the game’s graphics—“I can see everything, every cobblestone, every wisp of smoke.” What he doesn’t see is his rival sneaking up from behind.
The second spot, Variety, includes footage of several game titles. Two players, again depicted as off-screen voices, are engaged in playing the games with the one ribbing the other as he beats him in each one.
Rincon recorded the voice-over talent and manipulated the recordings to make it seem as though the men are playing the games live. “We EQ’d the voices to create that illusion,” Rincon says. “Their reactions and interactions had to be timed perfectly to coincide with the onscreen game footage. The spot finishes with the Xbox logo, where we fully utilized the surrounds, as well as the subwoofer to great effect.”
Rincon finished the spots in HD, delivering a 5.1 mix and a stereo down-mix for standard-definition television broadcast.