Megalis Studio shoots stop-motion pizza commercial with HVX-200

Megalis Studio in Los Angeles, which produces comedic, stop-motion animation, selected the Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 HD handheld camcorder to capture an advertising campaign for Pizza Pan Restaurants.

The series of stop-motion animated commercials features talking food with an attitude, with characters including Pizza Pan Man, Lil’ Slice, Sammy Sub, Rocco Ribs and Tanya Tomato.

The Megalis Studio creative team, consisting of director Tom Megalis, production designer Jenn Bastian and artist Steve Bastian, has produced programming for Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, PBS, the Discovery Channel and MTV as well as dozens of commercials. Pizza Pan Restaurants founder Fred Peters approached Megalis Studio looking for a unique advertising campaign to help increase national exposure.

Megalis recommended stop motion as a proven attention-getting technique, and selected the HVX200 for the campaign after evaluating several cameras. Jenn Bastian and her brother, Steve, constructed the quirky yet edible-looking stop-motion puppets. Michael Pritt was hired as director of photography. The commercial spots blend the stop-motion animation shots with live action footage of the food — pizza and ribs — and the owner Fred Peter.

For the animated puppet segments, Megalis said that the HVX200 was connected to a MacBook Pro equipped with iStopMotion, a frame-grabbing software application for animators by Boinx, to capture the puppet animation. Like a live feed into the Mac, the HVX200 recorded HD content directly to iStopMotion [Pro HD] via FireWire (IEEE 1394).

The new Pizza Pan spots are currently running in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania; the campaign will roll out nationally in the summer of 2008.

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