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Can computer animation really compete with the big screen? Yes. Gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) and Unconventional Media have combined to pull cinema into the gaming fast lane via EA’s successful street-racing franchise, Need for Speed.

“I believe it’s the next level in game play,” states Eric Mofford, producer and founder of Unconventional Media, a Southern California cross-over film and new media company. “Gamers will have a real cinema-like experience with the upcoming release of EA’s Need for Speed: Undercover.”

Mofford, a film and TV professional, was initially approached by “24” colleague, director and production designer Joseph Hodges, to produce the cinematic portions for the game. “I was quite pleased to get the call. EA was looking for that same sort of visual style and immersive narrative that we bring to “24,” but the bigger creative challenge for us would be to develop something that was seamless with the game’s look, and keep it fresh,” explains Hodges. Mofford adds, “We focused on getting the most filmic look we could from digital cinema. What we ended up with were real sets, a huge lighting package, and the RED ONE.”

“I think the most important job for a Producer is to assemble the best team possible for the production,” says Mofford “especially with a first time cross-media endeavor.” Mofford brought on board long-time colleague, Director of Photography Jeffrey Seckendorf, who was enthusiastic about the prospects of shooting with the RED.  “We knew EA needed a digital delivery and they wanted high definition. And shooting raw with the RED ONE, we were able to deliver 4k dpx files along with color corrected masters, allowing EA to work at a much higher resolution level than in its previous games,” explains Seckendorf.  The result is a hot look for Need for Speed: Undercover that is virtually indistinguishable from a large-budget feature film.

“We’re excited about exploring this creative melding of gaming and the Hollywood experience. No one knows yet how far cinema in gaming can go!” Mofford concludes. Wherever that road takes Unconventional Media, you can bet the end-product will be anything but conventional.

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