alter ego has some fun with its new showreel: ‘oh look at those sparks’

Toronto-based commercial colour and visual FX house alter ego says the quiet parts out loud to great effect in its new sizzle reel—a wonderful blend of audio and visuals that rewards multiple viewings.

The two-minute video showcases alter ego’s work for a wide variety of marketers, from Rogers and Nissan, to SkipTheDishes and Shaw. It’s very watchable, but just like the best work from directors like Tarantino and Wes Anderson, it’s elevated by the music.

In this case, it’s an original song written specifically for the video by sound designer Jeff Moberg and Julie Neff (who also sings) that features winking lyrics that directly reference what viewers are seeing on screen, from slow-motion effects (“world in slow motion/to drive that emotion”) to explosions (“oh look at those sparks”) and so many shots of cars (“cars on the road, cars in the desert and on a turntable, whoa/even sporty cars”).

There’s a section dedicated to celebrities like Jon Hamm, Gordon Ramsey (“We’ve got them too”), sports (“sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports”) and nods that showcase the company’s other skills, from lens flare to sky replacement.

“We faced the big challenge of riding the line between being funny without being too cheesy, while also keeping the viewer’s attention with a fun track,” says Moberg of the ’80s, synth-inspired song. “I focused on putting together music that had an 80s flair, but with a modern production edge, and added sound design near the end of the process to give each scene a nice punch of cinematic energy.”

“I wanted to create a reel that is watchable from start to finish, making a little bit of fun of showreels in general,” adds alter ego partner and senior colourist Eric Whipp. “The lyrics of the song are almost like what we would say in our heads when cutting a reel, so why not say it out loud with some humour?”

Chris Powell