Converse's new sneaker walks onto the scene in a :30 by Houston HerstekFavat, Boston. The commercial is set in a factory run by biomechanicalminiature humanoids which transform the 1950s-style sneakers intopresent-day shoes. "We wanted the set to be cryptic-looking, dark, andscary, but we didn't want to use actual humans. If we had, the factorywould have looked more like a sweat shop, and that is a touchy subject,"says Fred Stuhr, director, U Ground, Los Angeles.
Video images of basketball stars are also used by the humanoids to assistin the footwear's transformation. An image of Dennis Rodman appears on avideo screen and is sucked through a grimy factory pipe. "The footage thatappears on the monitor was prebuilt in Discreet Logic's Flame and treatedso that it gave the appearance that a vaccuum [cleaner] was off to theright of the monitor," says James Bygrave, Henry operator at The FinishLine, Santa Monica.
Fred Stuhr and producer Steve Straghan, U Ground, shot footage of the pipelit only with a blue light. "The texture from the outside of the tube wasbeing silhouetted so that when we applied the image it would look like itwas on the inside of the tube," says Bygrave. Bygrave used Quantel's HenryMax software, motion blur, and hand animation to give motion to the imageas it moved through the pipe.
A second version of the commercial, starring Golden State Warriors hoopsterLatrell Spreewell, was done entirely in postproduction due to timeconstraints. A matte of the Rodman image was tracked in Henry in order toremove the image from the TV monitor. A dirt track was also created so thatthe new image would appear to be surrounded in grime. The Spreewell imagewas composited and color-corrected into the scene using Discreet Logic'sFlame. "Most of the postproduction was done in Henry because I feel it isextremely flexible and is very quick for doing clean-ups and editing," saysBygrave. "For this kind of spot there is no intense picture manipulation orclever distortions so the speed of the Henry was fast enough. We were ableto put together a shot with all of the effects in a short period of time,"he says.