Blomkamp Redux

Following a line similar to Neill Blomkamp s rise to feature film director, a self-funded Sci-Fi short film has netted Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez a hefty Hollywood deal.  The short, titled Ataque de Pánico! ( Panic Attack! ), is reported to have been produced for $300.  It s netted Alvarez a $30 million film deal from Sam Raimi after the buzz took off once it hit YouTube last month.  It has more than 4 million views as of this post.

The short depicts a mysterious otherworldly attack on Montevideo, Uruguay.  Where it s light on setup, it s heavy on visual effects and mostly watchable because of its solid direction.  Alvarez should have friends to thank at professional animation company Aparato, which is credited for creating the visuals for the short film.  If the reported budget is accurate than they did it for a song, and quite possibly a chance of their own at getting Hollywood work.

Watch it at YouTube.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Dec. 7

Ad Age lists the top 10 viral videos for the week of Dec. 7.

A gaggle of Google videos have hit the chart as new entries.  If you missed it, the most compelling is the painstakingly produced video for Google Chrome.  It uses a clever offline approach to showcasing the web browser’s online features.  The others are for Google Goggles (juicy product, bone-dry video) and Google real-time and local search (needed this query: smell smoke in my house ).  A fourth new entry has a worthy cause raising awareness for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen but as a Danish state ministerial production has all the trappings of an overfunded, under-produced government video.

A nifty video that Ad Age has as a returnee to the chart is Samsung’s Extreme Sheep Art promoting its LED HDTVs.  For videogames, Microsoft Natal is still drawing enough eyes to stay frozen in the middle of the pack, while Activision’s Tony Hawk: Ride with hotdog Tillman just barely hangs on at the bottom.

Ad Age’s chart includes number of views for the week and percentage change in views for videos that stayed on the chart.  The list is compiled by Visible Measures.

Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Fiery Concoction

Disney’s upcoming racer Split/Second has to be the product of one spirited brainstorming session.  Take the speed and street styling of Need for Speed, the linear destruction derby of Burnout, the combat racing of WipEout, and the environmental mayhem of Twisted Metal, and add many, many more explosions.  That’s the[a]listdaily’s take anyway, and it s too multilayered a cake not to take a slice from when it hits shelves.  In the meantime, we can salivate over trailers that Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich might fight over to direct.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Shell Shock

Eidos has a trailer for Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days that shows more like a scene from a traumatized war veteran film than a promotion for a co-op shooting game.  What’s more, the action scenes don’t exactly come across as anything related to the original game’s organized crime setting, instead seeming eerily reminiscent of real-life images of urban warfare.  Maybe it’s that empty soccer field, or the grainy footage.  That confusion of premise aside, and despite foregoing any glimpses of the game, it packs a punch.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Top Viral Videos Chart

Online video pusher Unruly Media, which based on their web site wallpaper just might be responsible for making you watch Evian’s Rollerblading Babies, has a great tool for tracking viral videos.  They have a site that charts top videos based on viewer traffic and provides metrics for each, such as online mentions in different languages and where the videos were included in blogs and Tweets.  Their top 100 chart tracks videos of all kinds, whether branded, user-generated or music videos.  Essentially it’s a list of whatever s drawing eyes.  But they have category charts, for instance to show only the top brand or game  videos, and also the ability to beak down what s been drawing the most traffic by day, week, month or year.

While the[a]listdaily will continue to feature Ad Age’s weekly chart of top ten brand videos, this is a great one to bookmark and keep track of the latest, greatest.  If anything, use it to spot a goodie and be the first to send it to friends. FTW.

Check it out at Unruly Media s site.

Leveling The Footie Field

EA has launched a viral campaign for FIFA 10 tapping into two traits applicable to just about any sports fan: adulation of the pros, and the competitive drive of even the most average of talents.  Most notably, the publisher’s competition based campaign has found a way to level the field so that the average Joe can compete with soccer pros.  EA put out a video challenging fans to match the ability of some of the sports biggest stars in keepie uppie, or juggling a soccer ball as it’s called on this side of the Pond, and post their videos to a FIFA 10 YouTube channel.  Since those skilled enough can create something akin to a circus act out of their ability to juggle a ball, EA has added one key criteria: it’s blindfolded keepie uppie.  As the video proves, it s called foot-eye coordination for a reason.

Watch it at Brand Republic {link no longer active}.

It’s Not Da Vinci’s Internet

Google uses just about every craft known to man in a creative video promoting Google Chrome.  It s an involved production, one that seems to have enlisted enough artists and artisans to put together theatre.  In a sense it is channeling that altogether analog medium, full of irony in its setting and moving along with the help of whimsical devices.  It s certainly memorable, with a few how d they do that gimmicks but mostly punctuated by just how long, and how many takes.

Watch it at YouTube.

Honda’s Layers Of Expertise

Honda is promoting its Civic model in the UK with a nifty new spot getting a big kickoff, launching as a cinema ad running before the upcoming big budget film Avatar before moving to TV.  BrandFreak calls the spot a marvel of engineering, and rightfully so.  The outlet is playing in the message in the ad that Honda products like the Civic benefit from its expertise in engineering all manner of things motorized, from ATVs to Asimo the high-tech robot.  The spot is, however, a true marvel of engineering from a video editing perspective.  It s a collage of discordant scenes juxtaposed and layered together on the screen at the same time, and edited skillfully both audio and video to become harmonious.  BrandFreak provides a few details of the work that went into it.

No word on whether the ad is getting localized for the U.S., but the message in the spot seems a decent response to Chevrolet’s recent ads prodding Honda for not just being a carmaker, but cranking out lawn mowers too.

Read more and watch it at BrandFreak.

‘Christmas Light Hero’

Here s to the greatest Christmas lights display ever, fist pump, two-hand Rock salute.  Ric Turner has turned his Burbank, California, home into an ode to Guitar Hero using more than 21,000 Christmas lights.  The most amazing part of it is that it s a playable version of Guitar Hero, making it not only the most rocking holiday display but probably the first-ever fully interactive one.  CNET explains how it’s done.

Tips to neighbors: you won t beat this guy at front lawn productions.  Turner is a special effects engineer at Disney Imagineering.  Just keep practicing Cliffs of Dover.

Check it out at CNET.

Best Of Viral 2009

Mashable has a list of the ten most innovative viral videos of the year.  The list speaks for itself: it says there s no set formula for what content goes viral.  Certainly not in the sense that Hollywood, television and traditional advertising have established formulas for how to engage their audience.  With viral it s mostly people watching, and with that exercise anything that engages enough to fill a bit of free time seems to fit the bill, whether it’s mild amusement, moments of sheer awe, or babies.

The list is compiled by Josh Warner of viral video distributor The Feed Company.  No plug for Warner s service here, but there is one formula for executing viral: proper distribution to set the momentum.

Check out the list at Mashable.