INTERVIEW WITH ERIC REICHERT PRESIDENT OF EAGLE ONE MEDIA, INC.
Eric Reichert, President of Eagle One Media, spent some time with us to discuss the upcoming Street Fighter: Round One Animated Comic DVD based on the highly successful UDON graphic novel of the same name. He reveals some juicy details including special features, voice-overs, comic-balloon options and the planned DVD sequels. Plus, scroll to the bottom to view a 4 minute clip!
Ryu & Ken go "Dramatic Battle" against Akuma
SFD: Eric, thank you very much for taking your time to speak with us.
ERIC: Pleasure to let you and your readers know about our upcoming series of Street Fighter DVD products and fill you in on the details.
SFD: How did Eagle One Media and UDON Entertainment come together on this
ERIC: We first approached CAPCOM about obtaining a Street Fighter product license based on the type of product we wished to produce and once CAPCOM came aboard we then talked to Udon Entertainment about being able to utilize their art and stories for the comics. We showed them what we had done for our Voltron: Defender of the Universe animated comic DVD so they could see what this is all about. While being able to secure a product license from CAPCOM was one part of the equation, working with Udon Entertainment was of course critical since they would have to supply us with the actual comic book page art files used to publish the original comics. We would not have been able to assemble and animate the materials or create the DVD video without their help.
SFD: How long has this DVD been in development?
ERIC: Each DVD takes about 5 months to complete. We’re essentially creating a full-length animated video story with the artwork from a complete graphic novel and adding in animation elements, voice-over, music, and special effects. It’s not a simple cut and paste process because you have to see what the pace of each story element is and perhaps move certain clips around so it makes sense in video form. Then figure out where the animation and special effects should be added and where music and sound effects should be injected. Fortunately Udon produces such a high quality comic book with their artwork and storytelling, it all translates very well on screen.
Notice Akuma isn't wearing his beads in this flashback
SFD: Will there be any special audio/visual options? Subtitles? Language tracks?
ERIC: We actually have two versions of the video included on the DVD. One version has the video play and look similar to an anime-type movie with the voice-over, animation, music, etc. The second version has all the same elements but we include the comic book word balloons that pop-up on screen as the dialog is spoken. That way in the first version you’ll actually be able to see more of the Udon art that was created for the published comics but were covered over by the word balloons. And with the second version you more or less have a read-along video that could be used for younger viewers because they’ll see the words on screen as they are spoken.
SFD: What are some of the bonus materials?
ERIC: We’ve included a comic cover art gallery for fans to see the various images Udon used for the covers of the published books. We also have a nine minute extended clip from our Voltron: Defender of the Universe – Revelations animated comic DVD.
SFD: What music and sound effects are you using?
ERIC: We first attempted to look for ways to incorporate some of the sound bites from the Street Fighter video game but the quality we were supplied really was not suitable so all the sound stuff in the video we pulled together and did from scratch.
SFD: What will appeal to hardcore UDON fans and people who may just be tuning in?
ERIC: Well, fans are going to see the complete Round One Fight! Udon graphic novel portrayed as a bit of an anime-style movie. All in the imagery comes directly from the comics. And all the dialog and story are directly from their books. Udon received great praise from Street Fighter fans for the stories they’ve put together based on the property and we feel we’ve captured that on screen.
Lesson learned: Never jump at Guile
SFD: How did you cast your voice actors?
ERIC: The voice talent came from local Chicago actors and we essentially looked for voice-over that matched the Udon-imaged characters, mannerisms and dialog. This is always a bit of give and take because of all the previous Street Fighter anime that has been done before and people may have preconceived notions of how the characters should be and sound. But we wanted to stay true to what we thought was portrayed in the comics.
SFD: Seeing how this animation is coming from static comic pages, what cinematic techniques were you able to use to strengthen your scenes?
ERIC: We tried to incorporate as many animation elements as we could without going overboard. The Udon art really speaks for itself and we didn’t want to distort this. Sometimes a simple pan and scan is all that may be needed but in the many action scenes we wanted to inject enough movement and tweaks so you get the sense of full anime-style fights. So the viewer is not just going to see static image panels on the screen.
SFD: Did you request specific art edits from UDON, such as Ryu's arm cut off so you can animate it, or do you take care of this in your studio?
ERIC: All the art edits were handled in house. Our guys have animation/video game/comic art backgrounds and since we had the actual digital files from the comic art it wasn’t necessary to tie-up Udon with these element requests.
SFD: Where would fans be able to purchase this DVD? Will it be available in both stores and online?
ERIC: You can purchase the DVD at a number of on-line retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Borders, Barnes & Noble. We have a list post on our website www.eagleonemedia.com with direct links to the stores. Or you can even purchase the DVD from us directly. We’re also working to have the DVD available in various brick-and-mortar retail/video stores but I do not have a list at this time.
Vega confronts Ken & Eliza
SFD: For fans who enjoy this DVD, what other movies do you recommend from Eagle One Media?
ERIC: Well, we’ve just made available on DVD a computer animated martial arts film from Hong Kong titled DragonBlade: The Beginning. It’s actually the first computer animated martial arts ever made (beating Kung Fu Panda by a couple years). The film was produced by Stanley Tong, the acclaimed action director of Rumble in the Bronx, SuperCop and may other Jackie Chan films. We also have similar animated comic DVDs based on the Voltron: Defender of the Universe property. You can go to our website to check them out and view the trailers.
SFD: Are there plans on continuing with UDON's Street Fighter series? Round 2 perhaps?
ERIC: Our plan is to do an initial series of three DVD based on their comics. The second DVD to hopefully be released later this year.
SFD: Any added words for the Street Fighter community?
ERIC: To get an actual sense of what our product is all about, Street Fighter fans can actually view the first 4+ minutes of our Street Fighter: Round One – Fight! DVD on YouTube:
SFD: Thank you again, Eric! We look forward to seeing more excellent work from your studio!
ERIC: It’s my pleasure. And we hope Street Fighter fans enjoy the product.