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The adventure of the Sega advertising 35mm reels

Before getting to the heart of the matter and presenting to you, on the following pages, my work of preservation and archiving of the 2h30 of film used during the shooting of the Sega Mega Drive commercials with the Punk (Scans, photos and videos ), let me tell you about my adventures in connection with these!

The project  de  digitizing the 35 mm reels of the " ega is stronger than you" advertisements was no small feat. This challenge had many surprises in store for me. I went from joy to disappointment, from excitement to disgust, sometimes in a matter of minutes. I finally got there to offer you their content freely.

The rolls  were very delicate to handle, more than I expected. I'm amazed to have seen the end of the tunnel to be honest.

This experience allowed me to familiarize myself with the preservation of cinematographic heritage. I was able to learn a lot in this area, I who was then   only a novice. This universe is fascinating, perhaps even more than the video game!

A brief overview of the 2h30 filming of the French Sega commercials  Megadrive

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

Let the adventure begin!!!

Browsing the online auction site Ebay, my interest fell on an unusual and intriguing object that could correspond to my line of conduct as a collector.

After buying it, I still don't know why, I started to correspond with its seller (Christophe, fictitious name) talking about everything and nothing. The current going well, he offered me 24 35 mm reels corresponding to the rushes of the Sega Mega Drive advertisements with the Punk.

“Years after the end of the project, I am still in contact with him. It's the magic of the internet, you can meet incredible people there."

Also being a movie buff, the opportunity to own such items was too good. I needed them, they were going to make the link between my two passions, cinema and video games. So we agreed on a price for their acquisitions.

"I didn't yet know what I was getting into. I would do it again without hesitation!”

Living in Switzerland, in the Valais Alps, a problem arose : their transport and the cost for it from France. The package was going to be large and heavy. The idea was then to send them in two parcels by Mondial Relay to the Franco-Swiss border, in Évian.

"Come say hi, I'll give you some chocolate!"

Explaining the complications related to the repatriation of the metal film storage boxes in Switzerland, a friend, Vaergas Collec, offered to help me pick them up on site and then deliver them to me. He will cross the border a second time the following year to bring me the famous Sonic mascot used during the British Formula 1 Grand Prix sponsored by Sega in 1993.

“One less worry, in addition the  transport was going to be secure! I was finally going to be able to put a face to the pseudonym of my acquaintance.”

Aperçu pellicules des pubs, publicités SEGA Megadrive "SEGA c'est plus fort que toi" photo 1
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 miles!!!

Caught up in a frenzy to cut the road and hold in his hands historical museum pieces, Vaergas, driving his car, chained the km to his destination.

“I would have liked to accompany him. The memory would have been imperishable. I wonder how he managed to put the 24 coils in the small trunk of his vehicle!

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

Five hours of travel  later, crossing part of France from Paris, he arrived in the picturesque little village of the seller. But nothing went as planned, it was impossible to reach the seller on the phone, he did not answer our calls.

“We thought it was over, that we had to deal with a scam, 600 km in a vacuum...”

Fortunately it was not: Christophe had just not given the right phone number... Another heat stroke in this adventure but this time, we could breathe.

35mm reel transport report, the first time we could touch them

After having a coffee with Christophe, after having rebuilt the world with him, he could return home with a big smile on the corners of the pupils and the satisfaction of the work accomplished!

"It won't be often that he will be able to feel the ecstasy of having this kind of object in his hands."

Finally returned home, he gave me a video report on his journey, the reels etc. not without making me languish for long minutes, just enough time for this perfectionist to make a great video.

"I was so impatient to know what, how...." 

How to complete the project!

My first idea was to find a way to view them and make a simple screen recording. However, this reel format has almost disappeared from circulation and finding a cinema that still has a 35 mm projector has become almost an impossible mission.

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

I spent whole days on the phone calling the cinemas in my area. None of them had their 35mm projectors yet. The manager of a room in Martigny seemed nostalgic to me when I told him about the project.

Archivage des bobines

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

“He explained to me that he regretted that everything had gone completely digital and that the projectionist's know-how was being lost.”

Having abandoned the path of local cinema, I headed for the Cinémathèque de Lausanne. As the reels had nothing to do with Swiss broadcasting, they were unable to help me.

"He had nothing to gain from it, yes!"

The projectionist archivist seemed enthusiastic about my project but his superiors didn't want to hear about it.

"Like what, an institute specializing in the safeguarding of television and film heritage manages to refuse to help an individual in his preservation process..."

This misadventure proves to me that you have to rely only on yourself and that preservation organizations or associations only have   often the name...

Patrick Borg, en convention, en train de signer les bobines.

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

"I was mad with rage, I who work in the preservation of video game heritage, at my expense, without asking for any help or subsidy!"

During a Swiss convention , in Conthey, I had the opportunity to meet "Patrick Borg", the voice-over dubber of "Master Sega". He autographed some canisters for me.

“One thing is certain, he likes good Valais wine. Even you, you might like it!!!”

Meanwhile "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 it is very repetitive but obligatory. video game heritage or, modestly, write a new page in the history of Sega.

After a few cries for help on Facebook, a friend offered to invite me to his house to watch them. He had just picked up a 35mm projector. Unfortunately, his precious help (and I thank him again) came too late. The reels were already on their way to be digitized...

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

Yes but for how much!!!

The real question, how much would I have to invest to digitize the films in good quality?

"Today I can tell you that this operation was expensive, not far from 13,000 E !!!"

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

First digitization draft to validate the rest

The amount needed for such an operation is exorbitant. I could have found cheaper. Some organizations have offered to help me, which I have declined. I wanted to have full decision-making control over their digitizations and the posting of my archiving work online.

“We could have paid even more for a better rendering. The decision was made to take the middle of the range of the different prices offered.

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 house so that its manager could give me a quote "in person" directly at my house without having to drive six hours there and back. I thus kept  a better traceability of my goods, living nearby.

To obtain financing, several options were available to me:

  1. Do a Crowdfunding campaign. The sum  being significant, I doubted I would be able to bring it together knowing that I had no striking power in the field, that I did not have a name in the business. I could have been helped by a youtuber but that's another story.

  2. I considered creating a Kickstarter. This solution would have pleased me but would have required a colossal amount of work beforehand without being sure of being able to collect the necessary money. I was thinking of offering a DVD to those who have invested in my project by only putting compilations of the digitization on youtube. Certainly not owning the rights to the broadcast of the images, I was going to face legal problems without having the authorization of the rights holders of the content of the reels.

  3. Find a generous donor, a patron, an enthusiast with the financial capacity to sponsor my project. It is this last solution that was chosen or rather that fell on me without really looking for it!!!

After discussions of several months with my mysterious patron, the latter accepted the estimate and gave the green light.

A little research

If there's one thing I enjoy doing, it's research. Thanks to the names on the claps, I was able to trace back to "Jason Lehel" who was the director of photography for these commercials. To my surprise, he replied to my email. He owns a company called "First Breath Film", certainly a production house.

The shoot lasted five days, two of which were planned for the pre-settings. He was inspired by the movie "Blade Runner" for the feel. The lighting changed as the actor performed.

A hall called "H. Stage" was leased to "Shepperton Film Studios" now known as "Pinewood Studio". The shoot took place in the UK.

pub megadrive moto

These commercials having been filmed almost 30 years ago, he no longer remembers them. I will not be able to push further in the investigation.

The actor who played the Punk was identified thanks to the research work of fred_derf. He accepted an interview which you will find on another page of this file dedicated to Sega Mega Drive advertisements.

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


Thanks :

  • Vaergas Collec for material transport

  • The invisible Drac for helping to photograph and archive the reels

  • The generous patron who wishes to remain anonymous

  • The previous owner of the material for trusting me by selling it to me

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