Mario's Magic Mushroom - VFX Short Film

Having grown up in the 80's with classic video games such as Mario Bros., I always wondered what would happen if Mario no longer had to run around trying to save one princess after another...

I've been wanting to film this comedic short film for a while now, but finally got together with Celina from Fables In Fashion to film the footage a few weeks ago. There was a surprising amount of post production work to be done on this Mario short, but I think it came out pretty nice in the end and quite close to what I had in my mind when I came up with the story.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the life of fat Mario and his encounter with the magic mushroom!

Post Production Details

I will cover some of the techniques for Mario's Magic Mushroom in later tutorials and VFX Vlogs, but I thought I'd give you a very quick overview of all the post production work that has gone into the short film.


Quite a bit of the Mario footage was a little too shaky for my liking so I stabilised almost all the scenes before Mario encounters the mushroom to make them feel more stable and calm. I used simple Motion Tracking in Adobe After Effects for this, but chose the 'stabilize motion' option of the tracker.

Colour Correction

I plan to do a proper tutorial to cover colour correction. It means fixing up any colour issues between consecutive clips and ensuring that each shot is properly exposed. Most clips we used for the Mario short received some sort of colour correction treatment.

3D Integration with Element 3D

I've been a big fan of Video Copilot's Element 3D plugin ever since it came out and I have even covered how to use Element 3D for cool 3D integration VFX in a separate After Effects tutorial . I used the 3D Camera tracker to prepare my scene and then placed the hidden block and the mushroom in the scene using Element 3D. I added some animation and glow and a simple environment texture reflecting my room.

Mario's Roof Destruction

In the last scene, Mario smashes through his roof before he realises what is happening. I took a photo of a house that I felt would suit my scene and cut out a small hole in the roof. I placed another image of a house interior below it so it would show through and the viewer could see 'into' Mario's living room.

Mario himself has been green screened so I could scale him up after he has eaten the mushroom and place him in the scene to poke out through the hole in the roof. Most of the destruction elements from the roof have been added from Video Copilot's Action Essentials 2 stock footage package. But I felt that the scene needed some shingles falling off the roof with proper physics and for that I used Cinema 4D.

I created a simple Cloner with a few roof fragments in Cinema 4D and animated an invisible sphere to smash through it. I rebuild some of the geometry of the house and the trailer so the shingles would slowly slide down and hit the ground. Finally, I gave the fragments a simple roof texture and rendered out the scene. I then placed this destruction effect over the footage of Mario smashing through the roof and masked out any foreground areas (like the fence) so the fragments would appear to fall behind them.

I added a little bit of camera shake and the destruction effect was complete.

Colour Grading

To finish off the visuals, I exported everything from After Effects and put it back into Adobe Premiere. Finally, I used Magic Bullet Looks to tweak one of their inbuilt presets to suit what I was looking for. I wanted something grimy, but colourful, not too dark. I applied the styling to every shot in the scene, except the Mario roof destruction one since the shot stood out nicer that way.

Music & Sound Effects

Finally, I finished off the music and the sound. When I start working on an edit, I like to use placeholder music and some simple sound effects to get an idea of how the final edit will look and feel. Once the edit was completed, I spent a bit of time in Logic Pro X to create a very chilled out, lazy music to start off the scene with Mario snoring on the couch. For the second half of the short film I used an element from the Pro Scores  pack by Video Copilot to add a feeling of wonder and surprise, increasing in intensity until the climax of the story.

Just as Mario crashes through the roof I cut off all music for comical effect and to make his final curse stand out much more strongly.

And that's all the work that went into making this barely 1 minute long short film. I hope you enjoyed it!



User avatar
6 Years Ago
March 20, 2014 @ 3:04 am
you really should learn using adobe audition because of the direct link to premiere, its really easy to edit, and you know basic effects, i think. i download short tracks from Incompotech, edit in audition, direct link to premiere, do more basic edits in premiere( Like volume keyframes) direct link really makes a difference.
User avatar
Surfaced Studio@ OnionFlipProductions
6 Years Ago
March 20, 2014 @ 1:47 pm
I know how to remove background noise in Audition which is all I really use it for anyways. Anything simpler than that I just do in Premiere, anything more complicated I do in a fully fledged DAW (Cubase)

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