Brickyard VFX Scores a Slam-Dunk for the NBA Finals Campaign
May 22, 2009

Brickyard VFX Scores a Slam-Dunk for the NBA Finals Campaign

Santa Monica, Calif. - Artist owned and operated, bi-coastal effects boutique Brickyard VFX completed work on an ad campaign for the 2009 NBA Final Championship Series, started May 19, via agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Entitled "Elevated Moments," the four-spot campaign was directed by longtime Brickyard collaborators Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Bob Industries, and features NBA superstars Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O'Neal. The campaign first broke on May 10, and will continue to air throughout the 2009 championship season.
The :30 spots promote the upcoming NBA Finals with iconic moments in basketball history. The ads, which open in empty stadiums that gradually fill with cheering crowds, are powerful and balletic, slowing down the action and fading the players in and out of each shot. "Kobe to Shaq Alley Oop" features Bryant throwing his famous alley oop to O'Neal in game seven of the 2000 Western Conference Championships. "Bird Steals the Ball" showcases the Boston Celtics' classic "Now there's a steal by Bird!" moment in game five of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. Each spot builds excitement for the final championship games with the question "Where will amazing happen this year?" and ends with the "Where amazing happens" tag and NBA logo.

Working from archival photos provided by the NBA, Brickyard VFX assembled photo-real CG stadium backgrounds for the ads, painstakingly recreating the historical location from each iconic moment to seamlessly match with the camera angles in the original game footage.

"Recreating the Boston Garden for the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson spots was particularly challenging since it's no longer standing," commented Brickyard VFX executive producer Kirsten Andersen.

Brickyard also provided previz to establish timing and camera tracking angles for the ads, along with extensive rotoscoping of players, referees, equipment, and crowd elements, along with final compositing. "We created a matte painting of the floor so we could remove shadows and reflections from the crowds, and then inserted CG reflections from the empty arena," Andersen explains. "The trick was to find a way to integrate the background plate into the look of the original footage. Each spot demanded a different technique."


Client: NBA
Title: "Elevated Moments"

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Creative Director: Jamie Barrett
GCDs: Ari Weiss, Stefan Copiz
Art Director: Devin Sharkey, Stefan Copiz
Copywriter: Craig Mangan, Ari Weiss, Jamie Barrett
Executive Producer: Tod Puckett
Producer: Timothy Plain

Production Company: Bob Industries
Director: Dayton/Faris

Visual Effects: Brickyard VFX
VFX Supervisor: Geoff McAuliffe
VFX Executive Producer: Kirsten Andersen
VFX Producer: Amy Appleton
Lead 2D Compositing: Geoff McAuliffe
2D Compositing: Jimi Simmons, Sean McLean
Lead Rotoscope Artist: Gina Downing
Rotoscope Artists: Sean Carroll, Henrique Ghersi, Anu Liikkanen, Charles
LaPage, Jessica Jacobson, Rory Fitzgerald, Jeremy Brown, Roto Factory
Lead CG Artists: Robin Hobart, Rusty Ippolito
CG Artist: Vinny LaCour
Tracking: Brian Morse, Chris Kwiatkowski

Sound Design: Brian Emrich, Eben Carr, Rohan Young
Final Mix: Rohan Young
Final Music: Fly by Ludicio Eiunaudi