Nike Basketball: “Bring Your Game”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy (Portland)
DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa

Nike loves their long-form commercials, which tend to play like short-films. I’m never quite sure how to classify them, because they’re a little of both.

Anyway, Nike’s “Bring Your Game” is an all-star celebration of basketball’s greatest players, as four kids travel across the country in search of their favorite player. This lends itself to all manner of self-mockery and humorous parody, as each player exaggerates their quirks and perceived eccentricities.

At five minutes in length, there’s quite a few shots that required various forms of clean-up and augmentation, all invisible to the average person, exempting perhaps, the holographic Anthony Davis.

There’s too many shots to list individually. But a few stand-outs come to mind. I tackled the KD dunk sequence, with removal of windows, furniture and wall fixtures, as well as a poster image replacement that the kid with glasses receives. Both the front image and the back color needed to be swapped, proving for some tricky tracking and re-integration.

There were a few day time shots that needed to be switched to night, due to continuity issues. The most challenging was the sequence with the kids boarding a bus on a busy afternoon street. Everything needed to be roto’d and color corrected, and in some instances, replaced.

And then there were a number of LeBron James courtside shots that required crowd greeking. In other words, if it wasn’t LeBron or the kids, then none of the audience could be recognizable. This was handled through face replacements, focal tricks, or median blurring, depending on what worked best for the shot.

I also managed the conform, which was a bit more challenging than usual, due to its length, and the constantly revolving editorial revisions.

Full Credits

Samsung Galaxy: “LeBron Dunk” | “Pencil”

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: “LeBron Dunk”

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1: “Pencil”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
AGENCY: 72andSunny

I clearly recall these two spots being a total pain in the ass. Both were focused on Samsung’s Galaxy family of mobile devices, the former “LeBron Dunk” on the Note 3, and the latter “Pencil” on the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. And both were poking fun at their main competitor Apple, and their mobile equivalents.

That brings me to “LeBron Dunk.” This was challenging for two reasons. The footage couldn’t be digitally altered in any way, since this was a comparison between the two screen displays. That proved difficult, when addressing content revisions, because both screens had to be reshot side-by-side, on their respective devices, under the same lighting conditions, to uphold the validity of the comparison. And there were a lot of revisions.

I worked on all the wide side-by-sides, as well as the endcard, which featured the only CG element. I also contributed concept work to deciphering the look of the background environment, which admittedly doesn’t look like much. But it took a lot of back and forth to arrive at the given dark nebulous space that appears in the spot.

“Pencil” had similar background challenges. Again, this spot was shot all in-camera. But finding the correct lighting and depth cues to reveal each device had to be refined in post. And the right shade of darkness on the background surface helped determine that.

I contributed the opening reveal, the side-by-side screen comparison, which also had the same complexities as “LeBron Dunk,” and the endcard, which again featured the only CG element.

Samsung: “LeBron Always On”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mission
AGENCY: 72andSunny
PRODUCTION CO: Park Pictures
DIRECTOR: Lance Accord

This is the longest Samsung spot I worked on, during my permalancer days at the Mission. It’s mostly a found footage celebration of then-product sponsor LeBron James, with some original shots peppered throughout, and the requisite endtag product shot.

Being found footage, there was a fair share of cleanup, particularly in the NBA game footage, but also in background signage and product logos. Also, there was a fair amount of screen comps throughout … phones, tablets, flat screens, etc. I was one of six that handled the workload.

Lastly, as was now my M.O., I tackled the endcard, this round being assembled from turntable footage that needed to be rebuilt in 2D to accommodate agency preference. Screen comps, clean-up, glints and glimmers, and a new background space.