Preproduction began in the summer of 2007. The first step was to create a 2D animatic of the full trailer, and decide exactly which characters, locations, and events would appear. The obvious choice was to use The Ocarina of Time
(the Zelda franchise's most popular title) as the story basis, with a few nods to other titles in the series. Special care was taken to include many easter egg bonuses for fans of the game.
The next step was to begin the casting process. For the two lead roles (Link and Zelda), actors would have to be found that fit the clearly defined, famous visages that fans knew and loved. After reviewing over 10,000 headshots, we came upon JR Killigrew
and Camille C Brown
. The IGN staff agreed they were a great fit for their characters.
The supporting roles were filled with actors we have worked with many times before, and have developed strong relationships with: Gregory Lee Kenyon
, Camden Toy
, Raiya Corsiglia
, Ken Lyle
and Carolyn Palmer.
For the daunting task of creating the iconic costumes, we turned to costumers Andrea Wakely and Joe Piela. Andrea runs her shop Twin Roses Designs
in Bristol, Virginia, and was up to the challenge of designing all the clothing for Link & Zelda, closely following the official artwork from The Twilight Princess
. The Master Sword, chainmail, pauldrons, vambraces, and other metalworks were created by master blacksmith Joe Piela of the Lonely Mountain Forge
Location scouting came about late in the game, with only a week before shooting. Hyrule Castle exterior and market was shot at Church of the Angels
, in Pasadena; the interior also doubled as Sahasrahla's Chapel. The Gerudo Desert was created out in Santa Clarita county. A horseback trail in Topanga Canyon
became Lon Lon ranch. And finally, all the bluescreen work was done at Ready Set Studio
, a 20,000 square foot stage in Sun Valley.
Since a major series of shots in the trailer focused on the epic fight between Link and Ganon, sword training and choreography would be required. We turned to longtime collaborator Vincent Fatato to be the stunt coordinator, and design a fight that incorporated the game's signature moves. JR Killigrew and Gregory Lee Kenyon trained to move in their characters' stylistic traits, while wearing full armor.
and Melissa Cueva
were brought in for their skills in makeup, hair and prosthetic design. Nikki's biggest job was to create Ganon, a demonic Gerudo thief with prominent features. Transforming actor Gregory Lee Kenyon into this character took many layers of latex prosthetics, as well as a full wig, beard, and eyebrows (this process took around 5 hours). Link and Zelda required prosthetic "elf ears" - Link also was fitted for a custom-styled wig. A couple weeks before shooting, the entire cast participated in a costume/makeup test day to make sure all the pieces were coming together.
Filming took place in September. The trailer was shot 720p HD on two Panasonic's HVX-200 cameras, one with the Redrock Micro
35mm adapter to achieve a film-like look. Footage was transferred via P2 media cards to a MacBook Pro laptop and 1TB LaCie firewire drive. A wealth of footage was shot, well beyond what was needed for the trailer (the entire three minutes could have been made from Link and Ganon's swordfight). In the end, no one wanted to leave Hyrule - but after three days of filming, production wrapped.
The post process took over three months; nearly every single shot in the trailer incorporates a visual effects element. Director Sam Balcomb, who also works as a VFX producer at L2 Digital
, enjoyed recreating some of the more recognizable places and creatures from the Zelda universe, including the Temple of Time, Hyrule Castle, Zora's Domain, Gleeoks, and Peahats. All 3D animation was done in Cinema 4D
, with camera tracking by Syntheyes
, and compositing/color-timing in Adobe After Effects
. All the work was accomplished on Apple Mac Pros
composed the original score, with nods to Koji Kondo's famous themes from the game. He worked on Motu's Digital Performer
software, and incorporated vocals by Jahna
, and guitars by Michael Perricone
. Stuart is widely recognized for his work on the Batman Animated series in the 1990s, and is the father of Sam, the director.
created the soundscapes of Hyrule with his sound design, using Cubase
software and Mackie
hardware. Jeff began his relationship with the Zelda trailer in the summer of 2007, and has since worked closely on every Rainfall production. In the week before the trailer's premiere, he mastered the final sound mix to ensure the perfect audio experience.
Watch the making-of video
for more information.