Smuggler's Brian Beletic, who directed, is versatile in FX-driven films, explains The Mill's Co-Head of 2D, Westley Sarokin, who VFX Supervised the job. "Brian understands the process of visual effects, what plates need to be shot and how it all will come together," Sarokin says. "In pre-pro, we laid out various scenarios in front of him such as players crossing over each other or making body contact, body doubles and the like, so that when the time came to shoot, we would know what elements we needed and how to best capture them. It was a very involved three-day shoot with three cameras, and we collaborated to keep track of a lot of plates and layers, and to make sure all the coordinated action was performed properly."
Smuggler prepped the job well, says Gigi Ng, our Lead Flame on Jordan "Do Whatever It Takes." For instance, they used decals on the floor of the court at USC to match the Nugget's Pepsi Center arena colors and painted temporary tattoos on the stunt double Carmelo Anthonys.
There were a very limited number of extras on set, Ng explains, so she worked with a lot of crowd plates to make the commercial look as if it was filmed in a sold-out stadium. Aside from one shot with an entirely CG background and a very real airborne Carmelo Anthony in the foreground, the rest of the commercial's details were done in Flame.
"We made banners to match the signage in the Nuggets' stadium, matched skin tone and thickened the necks of the body doubles and comped crowds in almost every shot," Ng explains. "In one wide shot, we ended up using 28 plates."