How does DirectTV keep creeping me out?
August 4, 2007 11:48 PM   Subscribe

How the fuck do they make those DirectTV ads?

You know the ones, scenes culled from old movies but with the actor pitching DirectTV. The Wikipedia entry says "The original actors from these productions normally reprise their roles, and are inserted in using blue screen technology". Normally reprise them? What do they do the rest of the time? They look so good it seems like it has to be more than just make-up...or maybe I'm underestimating a simple make-up/cgi combo that thoroughly makes Charlie Sheen look twenty years younger. Does anyone know exactly what the process is?
posted by Roman Graves to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Bringing Marlon Brando back to life

Sigourney Weaver looks as if she put on a wig for the close-ups, though; no CGI there.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:01 AM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Don't know how those specific commercials were made, but this kind of technology is interesting either way...
posted by holympus at 12:44 AM on August 5, 2007

You know, this was clever and I don't have the complete answer but it's kind of cool how they did it. Apparently, DirectTV did a crazy thing where they aggregated the most popular films on all of their hosted networks and formats over the years 2002-2006 and made a list of who they could get (think..."Major League"). Turns out everyone's available! Then, they get a deal where they buy the relevant film content for a fraction of the price (because these are films that are the stock and broth of cable TV(why are we still capitalizing TV, since we don't cap "internet"?) and build it into a program where they drop in the highly made up faces of well-known, but considerably less-famous-than-they-were-fifteen-years-ago actors and actresses into a production-quality blue screen and simply create the necessary scenario for the structure of the ad. It's hilarious, mainly because it's so simple. And more hilarious because Les Moonves didn't get the idea first.
posted by parmanparman at 2:04 AM on August 5, 2007

William Shatner was interviewed by a morning radio show in Detroit a few months back, and they asked him about the DirecTV commercial. He admitted that the new footage he shot for the commercial is computer-manipulated to make him look younger.

So there's definitely computers involved there. After that, I have nothing helpful.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 6:01 AM on August 5, 2007

Sigourney Weaver though looks 20 years younger. Good makeup job?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:09 AM on August 5, 2007

Here's a short article on the process they used to achieve similar reverse-aging effects on X-Men 3, which was all done on computer.
posted by puritycontrol at 7:30 AM on August 5, 2007

Maybe it's just me, but Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) looks like the walking dead in the Back to the Future version of the ad. My guess is that they rely heavily on makeup. Sometimes it works better than others.

Oh, and pamanparman, we capitalize TV because it is an abbreviation. If we started calling the internet something like the I.N., then we would capitalize that too.

posted by jknecht at 3:09 PM on August 5, 2007

Earlier MeFi thread on Mar-L Brando clip.
posted by rob511 at 4:15 PM on August 5, 2007

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