Created out of the desire to connect with memories from the ’80s & ’90s, where nostalgia reigns supreme, and the adolescent self escapes to other worlds, while unknowingly on the forefront of what we now know as the digital frontier. The ’80s & ’90s have always been psychologically associated with the rise of video games, the home personal computer and nerd culture, and many people from that era hold these things close to their hearts, us included, with these things helping to shape how we identify ourselves, and one of the main reasons we felt so strongly about this subject.
We’ve all experienced going back to the road we grew up on, everything always feels so much smaller, while our reminiscing nostalgic brains always deceive with memories of scale and grand archways, it was early on we decided that the scale of the room needed to be from the perspective of a toy, the plastic toy soldiers serving as our reference point of view, creating an area that felt more expansive, with the whole room feeling more like a fun fair at night, than a traditional bedroom.
Working on this film allowed us to develop new workflows while also applying what we’ve learned from working in Interactive, Commercial and Hollywood Movie VFX Production, fusing them into a kind of Guerrilla CGI production. The Process video below takes a look behind the scenes, where we documented some of the workflows and process behind the creation of PLAYGROUNDS.
We had many conversations about how to approach the room design, this needed to the underdog’s bedroom, choosing Sega rather than Nintendo, and anime rather than Disney, for example. The setting would be the late summer of 1994, west coast America. We felt strongly that with American culture permeating British & Italian culture in such a powerful way, it was almost as if, this fictional bedroom we devised was the place we wanted to escape to as children. We brought together many references, always with the ‘Underdog’ theme in mind.
The armature for production was the Previz, which provided us with the structure and direction for the final film, from the beginning, the core concept of the parents arguing, and the younger sibling coming in to play with the older brother was there from the very first previz, which was our thematic anchor throughout. The Environment was roughly blocked out, which gave us a scene we would then use to setup all the cameras and would, in turn, be used as a guide for layout when moving to asset production. Like a virtual cameraman, we would go into the room and look for moments and shots that worked from a purely cinematic and communicative point of view, using placeholders while we developed the narrative.
Enjoy the FREE original poster and selection of social images made for PLAYGROUNDS.