The adventure of the Sega advertising 35mm reels

Before we begin, I would like to thank the following people:

  • Vaergas Collec for the transport of coils

  • The invisible Drac for his help in photographing the whole project

  • The generous patron who wishes to remain anonymous

  • All the people who gave me advice on kickstarter, how to produce DVDs ... etc.

  • All the people I have talked to about Sega coils

  • Their former owner for trusting me by selling them to me

The adventure of the 35mm reels of Sega commercials was no small feat. She has a number of surprises in store for me. I went from joy to disappointment, from excitement to disgust, sometimes in the space of a few minutes.

The coils themselves were very tricky to handle, more than I expected. I'm amazed I saw the end of the tunnel to be frank.

This experience allowed me to familiarize myself with the preservation of cinematographic heritage. I was able to learn a lot in this area as I was only a novice at the time.

Let the adventure begin !!!

It all started with buying a game on Ebay. The seller seemed sympathetic to me, I began to converse with him. During one of our exchanges, he said to me "I have 35mm reels of the Sega commercials, they must be rushes, I can sell them to you if you are interested ..." In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Since I found it funny to own it, we agreed on a price. The next day they were mine. I did not yet know what I was getting into.

A problem arose: their transport and the cost for it, from France. The package was going to be large and heavy. The idea was to send them in two packages by Mondial Relay.

While discussing with my friend "Vaergas Collec" about my find and the complications related to the repatriation of these, the latter proposed to pick them up for me and bring them to me later in Switzerland. He will cross the border a second time at the end of the year, this time to bring back the famous Sonic disguise. A big thank you to you Vaergas for your precious help!

Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 2
Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 3

On the road, long live the km !!!

Transport bobines 35 mm des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi"

After the organization of the meeting between Vaergas and the seller, we were ready to ship these coils. My friend therefore took to the road and continued the km.

After about 5 hours of driving, there he is. And there, it is the poo, it is the disaster, the disaster! Unable to reach the seller, who no longer answered our calls ...
We thought it was over, that we were dealing with a scam. Fortunately, this was not the case: the salesperson had just not given the right phone number ... Another heat stroke in this adventure but this time, we could take a break.

A coffee later, the reels loaded, Vaergas could return home with a big smile on the corner of his lips and the satisfaction of his duty accomplished! Because it will not be often that he will be able to feel the satisfaction of having this kind of object in the trunk of his car. I would have liked to accompany him, it would have been a wonderful memory!

Finally returned home, he gave me a video report on his trip, the reels ... etc (not without having made me languish for long minutes, just enough time for this perfectionist to make a beautiful video). I was so impatient to know what, how ....

How to complete the project!

Patrick Borg orthographe bobines 35 mm des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi"
Archivage des bobines 35 mm des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi"

The rest was going to be delicate, how, and where to look at these reels? My first idea was to find a way to view them and do a simple recording of the screen. However, this reel format has almost disappeared from circulation and finding a movie theater that still has a 35mm projector has become an impossible task.

Also, as soon as we find a cinema that is still equipped, they still need to have the skills and know-how to project them.

I spent entire days on the phone calling various theaters. None of them had their projectors yet. The manager of a Martigny room seemed nostalgic to me when I told him about the project. He explained to me that he regretted that everything had gone completely digital and that the projectionist know-how was being lost.

Having abandoned the trail of local cinema, I headed for the Cinémathèque de Lausanne . As the reels had nothing to do with Switzerland , they "slammed" the door in my face. Although the projectionist seemed excited about my idea, it stuck higher. Like what, an institute specializing in the safeguarding of the television and cinematographic heritage manages to refuse to lend a hand !!!

I was mad with rage ... I, who work in the preservation of the video game heritage, at my expense, without asking for any help or subsidy in principle, this mishap proves to me once again that you have to rely only on yourself and that preservation organizations or associations often have only the name ...

Small anecdote, during a Swiss convention, in Conthey , I had the opportunity to meet "Patrick Borg" the voice over dubber of "Master Sega" . He autographed a few metal boxes for me. One thing is certain, he likes good Valais wine. Even you might like it !!!

In the meantime "The invincible Drac" came to my house to help me archive and inventory the reels. We spent two whole afternoons photographing them from all angles, a rather painful step because very repetitive but mandatory, to share them with you and leave a mark in the heritage of video games or, modestly, write a new page of the Sega story.

After a few calls for help on Facebook, a friend offered to lend me a 35mm projo to help me view them. Unfortunately, his precious help (and I thank him again) came too late. The reels were already on their way to be digitized ...

Feuille volante bobines 35 mm des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi"
Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 4
Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 5

Yes but for how much !!!

The real question, how much would I need to invest to digitize these reels in good quality? Today I am able to tell you that this operation was expensive, not far from 13,000 E !!!

Searching the net for all the companies offering this kind of service, I was able to obtain several quotes, all in the same price range. In the end, I chose a company 20 km from my home so that its manager can give me a quote "visually" directly at home without having to drive six hours there and back. I kept better traceability of my merchandise, living nearby.

To obtain financing, several options were available to me:

  1. Carry out a Crowdfunding campaign. The sum being important, I doubted succeeding in gathering it knowing that I do not have power of strike in the field, that I do not have a name in the medium. I could have been helped by a YouTuber, that's another story.

  2. I considered creating a Kickstarter . I would have liked this solution but would have required a lot of work up front without being sure to be able to collect the necessary money. I had thought of offering a DVD to those who invested in my project by just putting digitization compilations on Youtube . However, not having certainly the rights on the diffusion of the images, I was going to confront myself with legal problems without having the authorization of the having rights of the contents of the reels.

  3. Find a generous donor, a patron. This solution involved finding a passionate person like me, having the capacity to finance my project. It is this last solution which was chosen or rather which fell on me without really looking for it !!!

Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 6

After several months of discussions with my mysterious patron, the latter accepted the estimate and gave the green light.
In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.
As of this writing, the reels are being scanned. We have already had a sample of their digitization on a short video. The rendering being correct, we started the rest of the process. All will be available when this site is launched.

A little research

If there's anything I like to do, it's research. Thanks to the names on the claps, I was able to trace it back to " Jason Lehel " who was the director of photography for these commercials. To my surprise, he answered my email.

He owns a business called " First Breath Film " , certainly a production company.

Aperçu vidéo des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi"

The shooting lasted five days, two of which were planned for the pre-settings.
He took inspiration from the movie "Blade Runner" for the sensation. The lighting changed as the actor performed.
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
A hall called "H. Stage" was rented from "Shepperton Film Studios" now known as "Pinewood Studio" . The shoot took place in the UK .

These commercials having been shot almost 30 years ago, he does not remember them too much. I will not be able to push further into the investigation. We still don't have the name of the actor playing Punk !!!