Throwing a poké ball on your phone's screen is one thing, but how quick would your reflexes be, if you spotted an actual Charmeleon walking towards you? If you’re one of the unfortunate Indians whose Pokémon Go stopped functioning as a result of geo-blocking, or just a non-millennial who never understood what the poké-fuss was all about, visual effects team Shutter Authority’s Pokémon-inspired YouTube films might be right up your alley.
As part of their series called Games in Real Life, Shutter Authority has created a realistic Temple Run, Super Mario and Candy Crush. Their driving desire is to populate YouTube with “Hollywood-level filmmaking for the new media world”, using games woven with traditional filmmaking principles and techniques of production.
Shutter Authority first began making videos 12 years ago, and launched their own YouTube channel in 2006.
"Initially, we made 2D hand-drawn animation, and a few live action films related to martial arts," said Raghav AK, one of the founding members of Shutter Authority. "Over last year, we created several videos basing these games in real-life scenarios."
Raghav AK directed the Pokemon GO Real Life UPDATE video starring pokémon Trainer Satish and an Onix, but the Shutter Authority team includes VFX enthusiasts and experts from Mysore, Germany, Slovenia and Cameroon.
With 51,772 subscribers on their video streaming channel, and another 50,000 on their Facebook page, the group's mixed media animations have found something of a niche audience.
One of their videos, featuring an actor named Neil Reuben who chases an irritated Pikachu (a popular Pokemon known for his ability to trigger electrical outages), around the streets of Mysore has chalked up more than 6 million views.
YouTube comments include Poké-fans wondering how much cellphone battery a real Pokémon hologram would require, to a fervent desire that Pokémon Go's creators visit Shutter Authority's page, and develop Poké-holograms of their own.
"That would end civilisation," said one user, "or at least the boring lives of drudgery...".
During the pre-production stage, Shutter Authority's members brainstorm together over Skype to outline a plot and develop a script.
"The storyboards are then made with the location and cast in consideration,” Raghav said. They usually take a few days to film the videos and then move on post-production. The entire process of making a single film takes about three weeks to a few months.
There is no criteria for the games Shutter Authority chooses to bring to life, apart from the games they love playing. Occasionally, a visual effect the team is experimenting with, makes the decision for them. Thus far, the team is happy with the response they have received online.
"We have had great feedback from very popular YouTube channels such has Corridor Digital and The Annoying Orange," said Raghav. "A very popular movie critic channel with over 50 lakh subscribers called Cinemasins said they enjoyed our Wall-E fan film."
Currently, the channel releases a video every fortnight. But soon, Shutter Authority plans to release their own science fiction web series.