“Splendid Splinters” takes viewers on a journey of fan euphoria throughout the years, as legendary slugger Ted Williams gears up to hit a home run in front of a packed crowd in the Fenway Park of yesteryear. Mid-swing, Williams morphs into present-day icon David Ortiz – and the crowd, announcer, uniform and Fenway itself morph into their present day iterations as well.
Red Sox management selected rising star Chris Shaw to play Ted Williams. Shaw studied Williams’ signature swing to perfectly replicate it in action at the Fenway shoot, where he was filmed in a 1950s vintage Sox uniform using an actual vintage Williams bat. Waller filmed Shaw on a Vision Research Phantom camera at 1,200 frames per second, slow enough to capture every minute movement throughout the swing. Waller and crew returned during an actual Red Sox game and set up the camera in the exact same position to shoot Ortiz.
From there, Brickyard digitally replaced Shaw’s head with Williams’ by tracking Shaw’s head in 3D using 2D3’s Boujou, sculpting and texturing a model of Williams’ head in Picologic’s Zbrush from hundreds of reference photographs, and then doing the final replacement renders in Flame. The Brickyard team also used Flame to precisely line up Shaw’s body with Ortiz’s for a seamless slow-motion transition. They also digitally replicated footage of 50 extras in seven different ways to achieve the look of a packed crowd of 350 unique fans behind home plate. This had to be done twice – once for the vintage fans and once for the contemporary. Brickyard composited all these elements together in Autodesk’s Flame to achieve the final product, and also built the “100 Years” end tag logo in CG.
“Baseball is all about history, fantasy, and fulfilling dreams,” said Waller. “I wanted this spot to embrace all the legendary memories of Fenway in one powerful moment. It was fantastic to have so much support from the Red Sox to bring the magic of Fenway to life in every detail of this spot.”
Waller also directed another spot in the series, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which will air closer to the end of the season.