New York-based conceptual design studio Suspect recently delivered “The Showdown,” a two-minute spot for client PictCake that marries a film noir sensibility with a ping-pong shoot-out.
PictCake is a new smart phone app that allows the user to upload a picture, and order a cake with the image painted in icing, which will be delivered in two days. The company asked SUSPECT to produce the spot from concept to finish.
Suspect director Tim Crean wrote and directed the short film with the help of co-director Yuichi Uchida. “The PictCake team back in Japan really wanted something more than a straight-ahead video tutorial for the service,” said Crean. “We needed to deliver something that was fun and a little bit crazy, something that would break through all of the clutter out there.”
The piece focuses on two opposing figures, one man the, king of New York City’s underworld, and the other a rebel hell-bent on claiming the throne for himself. The inevitable collision is solved over a ping-pong table.
“The whole gangster genre is quite a rich, fertile storytelling bed and a great way to draw an audience into that world,” explained Crean. “We amped up the impending air of confrontation, building on a pretty menacing, pretty dangerous sort of vibe. Would they pull out guns any second and start shooting? No. In a climatic twist, our ping-pong champ, still slamming away, pulls out his phone, takes a selfie, and orders his cake.”
Suspect artists handled crowd duplication, rig removal, retouching, set extension and, of course, animating and compositing the ping-pong ball in every shot. Finally, a gritty color grade was applied.