The Sidewalk Super Mario Bros. Video Combines Reel with Real

A hand held camera focuses on an ordinary sidewalk curb. The curb is three feet high, grey in colour, and tapers at the top. The sidewalk has the same color as the curb and a granulated texture.

You can see various graffiti lines on the curb. A Super Mario Bros. graffiti design on the curb catches your eye. The design has the title of the game and its main character, Mario, standing on the brown platform.

The camera keeps focusing and then, like magic, the Super Mario Bros. graffiti design etched on the curb dissolves, and forms again with the entire first level of the game displayed on the curb. The legendary soundtrack of the game begins to play in the background. The camera tracks to the right of screen as Mario runs across the Mushroom kingdom, jumping and leaping over pits and evil mushrooms.

The ‘sidewalk Super Mario Bros.’ is a seven-minute video created by French designer and FX artist who goes by the nickname, ‘Surfap’.

At first, the video will astound you (as it did this writer). You may think it’s the camera that projects the game onto the curb while an invisible hand plays Mario. In actuality, this is a technique called match moving which is used in cinematography.

Match moving allows the artist to insert computer graphics on live-action footage. Once the camera has captured the moving shot, an identical virtual environment is recreated in a 3D animation program. Computer graphics are added to this virtual environment and then composited back to the original live-action shot.

The sidewalk Super Mario Bros. video has been created using the same procedure. A video of the sidewalk curb was shot first, and then the Super Mario Bros. game was reproduced in a virtual environment and composited back to the video.

Though it may sound easy, it takes a lot of technical knowhow and artistic precision to execute a match moving effect.

When you watch the video, you realize the amount of detailing that has gone into its execution. The graphics composited on the curb are an exact replica of the game elements used in Super Mario Bros. The seven-minute video has Mario completing all the stages and saving Princess Peach from Bowser.

Super Mario Bros. is one of the bestselling video game titles and an arcade classic that continues to inspire artists like ‘Surfap’ to create really cool stuff like the sidewalk Super Mario Bros.

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Via: Joystick Division