Everybody wants to be a star, and in a newly reprised Freeman and Partners, MacKenzie-Cutlercampaign for Fox Sports' National Basketball Association, basketball wannabes Alan and Jerome live out a sport fan's dream thanks to Flame artist Johnnie Semerad and his teamat Quiet Man.
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Everybody wants to be a star, and in a newly reprised Freeman and Partners, MacKenzie-Cutlercampaign for Fox Sports' National Basketball Association, basketball wannabes Alan and Jerome live
out a sport fan's dream thanks to Flame artist Johnnie Semerad and his team at Quiet Man.
The package features the vivid fantasies of two tough talking, short, pasty wannabes who imagine they can take on the NBA's best. And in four spots, the dorky duo, thanks to Flame artist Johnie Semerad, do manage to outshoot, out-dribble and out-taunt the best the NBA can throw at them.
Writer Eric Silver, Cliff Freeman and Partners, and editor Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie-Cutler, got things started by selecting actual NBA footage that was never intended to accommodate visual effects, and handing it to co-directors Tom Koontz and Mike McGuire. The directors shot Alan and Jerome against greenscreen and roughed them into the scene. Then it was up to Quiet Man.
"We had to erase the entire opposing team and replace it with these two little guys," explains Johnnie Semerad, Quiet Man founder and master compositor. "We did a lot of it using sections of the court to cover over the players, but it was more difficult when the player appeared against a crowd. Then, we had to find clear-looking faces and track them over the player. We did that again and again until each player disappeared."
However, the challenging were the players who remained in the scene. When the removed players overlapped the remaining players, eerie holes appeared in the still partly visible players. Players' missing parts had to be restored bit by digital bit. From there, Alan and Jerome were tracked into the scenes, with reflections and shadows added to heighten the realism.
"Even two years ago, this job would have been impossible," says Semerad. "One would have approached it completely differently. You would have tried to shoot as much of it live as possible. But from now on we're going to see more and more effects in live action scenes. To get the heightened realism that every compositor and effects artist strives for, you're going to see less and less staging and more and more real scenes used. This is going to be a lot of fun."
"We took the original idea and went much further than we could have
before," Semerad continues proudly. "Just a couple years ago, you'd have had to carefully plan out the shot to make the effect work. We've all seen movies where a moving camera suddenly locks off and it's, like, 'here comes the effect!' Now, you can use real footage for a more realistic look."
Indeed, if Alan and Jerome are any indication, the integration of digital effects into live action is an important trend. What's more, it gives hope to all that is undersized and clumsy in each of us.