May 07, 2021

Gaming Glitches Come to Life with MPC in Doug Liman’s New Verizon Advert

The team combined cinematic storytelling expertise with cutting-edge VFX to turn common gaming lags into real-life scenarios along a seemingly normal journey.

To demonstrate that Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband will change connectivity as we know it—particularly when it comes to the world of gaming – MPC transposed common gaming lags into real-life scenarios for the wireless company’s latest campaign.

The powerful video game-style ad touts the benefits of 5G by taking us on a seemingly normal journey through a totally abnormal world – rife with ominous and unsettling lag-induced glitches—before teasing a seamless 5G future ahead on Verizon’s network. The film was made in close collaboration with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, Madwell, and MPC teams led by Alvin Cruz, David Piombino and Chris Bernier.



“Having the synergy of Doug and Hoyte (DP) on set was amazing; they dissected and directed the camera to move in exactly the same way as a videogame,” explained Creative Director Alvin Cruz, commenting on the importance of capturing data on-set for the immense scale of VFX in the film. “An extensive survey of the principal photography combined with the previsualization created a natural way to jump into the 250 CG assets build. The project is a combination of passion for VFX and hard work from the amazing MPC team who went the extra mile.”

The action begins as we find ourselves dropped in a nondescript neighborhood in the early morning. The houses are nearly identical – almost a little too perfect – and as we see people starting their days, we begin to get a strange feeling. By coupling this familiar world with unnatural digital distortions – the type we see on our devices – the film shows glitches that gamers will instantly recognize.  You see a cat glitching through a pole, a kid floating through the air next to their bike, and a bus driver whose face textures have not loaded in – to name a few. At the end of the spot, all our technical difficulties are resolved, and we get a taste of life as usual.



“Our goal was to depict life in the style of the omniscient wandering camera you might experience in a video game, then completely and successively subvert it until everything was falling into pieces – quite literally,” said Chris Sojka, Madwell’s Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer. “We used cameras in ways you don’t, we did effects in ways you otherwise wouldn’t, all to complete the illusion of a universe slowly and steadily degrading, unable to find the power necessary to render its own reality. The result needed to be confounding and captivating. Between Doug’s vision and MPC’s tireless attention to detail we merged a broken video game into a broken reality.”

“We knew from the start this was an ambitious project,” added Madwell’s Creative Director, Ryan Howard. “We needed to run a safe shoot during a pandemic and complete post-production remotely from different parts of the country – and despite those challenges we had to create something that felt extremely authentic to a diverse audience of gamers. Once we partnered up with MPC and Doug Liman, we knew we had the right team to bring our story to life. Together, they brought a wealth of cinematic storytelling expertise and exceptional VFX work to the table and were enthusiastic creative collaborators on- and off-set.”



“It was an absolute honor to be part of Madwell, Doug and Verizon’s ‘weird’ film built for gamers,” concluded Colorist Kristopher Smale. “The goal was always to achieve photorealism and make the VFX look as real as possible. This requires restraint, as a colorist. We are always seeking to push the footage to achieve a look. In this case, the VFX was the star.”

Visit MPC to see and read about Verizon ‘The Reset’.