LONG-FORM TRIBUTE SPOT ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor VENDOR: The Mill AGENCY: TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A.
Gatorade celebrates Dwyane Wade’s career with this found footage tribute spot, featuring music by John Legend. Inspiration is drawn from School House Rock, for those old enough to remember. Lots of clean-up and creative problem solving, thanks to legal.
COMMERCIAL ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor VENDOR: The Mill AGENCY: TBWA\Chiat\Day PRODUCTION CO: Caviar DIRECTOR: Amir Farhang
These humorous Gatorade spots depict the sports-themed daydreams of average guy Cory, who envisions himself as an integral player in the games of Bryce Harper, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmie Johnson. The campaign featured two additional spots with Serena Williams and Peyton Manning. But I didn’t work on those, so they’re not included here.
My favorite of the three is Bryce Harper, mainly because I was allowed to design a fantasy baseball stadium with impossible physics and stylized aesthetics. With the exception of Cory, Harper, and the background players, as well as the foreground field, the entire environment was replaced with 2D matte painted cards. Flame camera tracks were utilized for placement, with some additional hand tracking for finesse. Flares and filters used to shape the dream-like ambience.
The Dwyane Wade-centric spot also required background augmentation. But in this case, since the crowd’s mostly shrouded in darkness, exempting the occasional camera flash, these replacements/extensions could be more suggestive than literal. Auditorium lighting and scoreboards were also added. Cory’s gravity defying moves required the typical greensceen comp work.
Peyton Manning was the most and least straightforward of the three spots I handled. The work was simple because only a few background matte paintings were needed, along with some minimal cleanup and augmentation. The complications arose from the actual stylings of the race track environment. There isn’t a lot of screen real estate to work with, so the background bleacher scale proved challenging, to achieve a proper read on it. Ultimately, the client chose to obscure most of it by a thick layer of haze/smoke, which fortunately, lent itself to the dream aesthetic. Additionally, some repo/timing adjustments were needed for the time-lapse pitstop sequence.