Nike promotes the Zoom shoe with an NFL TV ad featuring San Diego Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson. Tomlinson steps up to the line of scrimmage with his characteristic, unwavering focus and determination. Surveying the defensive alignment, he closes his eyes, mentally planning his attack. The action happens on the field, yet we remain in Tomlinson’s head at the line of scrimmage. Up field, Tomlinson cripples the opponent with speed, agility and tenacity working his way to the goal line. Avoiding the last defender and into the end zone, he does his signature celebratory move. The camera snaps back to Tomlinson waiting at the line of scrimmage for the ball — envisioning the play in his head.
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The Nike Plan was developed at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, by executive creative directors Steve Luker and Jelly Helm, associate creative director/copywriter Joe Staples, associate creative director/art director Shannon McGlothin, agency producer Matt Hunnicutt and agency associate producer Jessica Staples.
Filming was directed by Michael Mann (The Insider, Ali) via Alturas Films, with director of photography Dante Spinotti, executive producer Marshall Rawlings and Jeff Rohrer, and line producer Steve Fredrickz.
Editors were Chan Hatcher and Angus Wall at Rock Paper Scissors, with post executive producer CL Weaver. Colorist was Stefan Sonnenfeld at Company 3. Sound was designed by Ren Kylce at Mit Out Sound (MOS) and mixed by Loren Silver at Lime Studios.
Visual effects were developed at Asylum by VFX Supervisor Robert Moggach, VFX Producer Mark Kurtz, VFX Executive Producer Mike Pardee, CG Supervisor Sean Faden, CG Producer Jeff Werner, VFX Coordinator Chris Tuason, Associate Producer Ryan Meredith, Inferno artist Chris DeCristo and Roto Supervisor Elissa Bello. Asylum lead staff were Andy Cochrane (tracking), Greg Stuhl (Survey/Modelling), Dan SmicZek (Massive Pipeline), Denis Gauthier (Lighting Pipeline), Robert Moggach (Inferno) and Marion Spates (On-Set Tracking).
W+K producer Matt Hunnicutt talks about the partnership with Asylum…
“We came to Asylum with the task of re-creating an authentic looking NFL game. Joe (Staples), Shannon (McGlothin) and Michael’s (Mann) idea was to shoot the spot “inside-out” and give people an intimate view of LaDainian that they hadn’t seen before. We’ve all become accustomed to watching football in one way, from the fixed broadcast cameras in the stadium and sideline. So shooting the action from a player’s perspective on the field outward exposed our biggest weakness…that we’d be filming an empty stadium. Fitting 50,000 fans in to Qualcomm stadium of course wasn’t possible and stock footage or shooting crowd plates to replicate would have restricted us to certain actions and angles on the field. The environment had to feel 100% real and we needed full freedom with up to seven cameras running to capture everything LaDainian and the other NFL athletes gave us, regardless of background.”
VFX Supervisor Rob Moggach talks about his team’s creation of the crowd scene…
“Our team was able to fully re-create an entire stadium filled with CG people using the Massive software. The only people who were real were the actors on the sideline. Mapping of the stadium took place beforehand and exact dimensions of the seats and capacity were made during the shoot. Extensive light readings were taken, so it wasn’t necessary to match the lighting during post. We had a five person team capturing lens information from as many as seven cameras operating simultaneously.”