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Super Bowl 2012

NFL - Timeline



GREY NY and Peter Berg show us the "Timeline" of American Football

Last year, GREY NY dazzled us with a tribute to classic TV in their AICP honored spot for the NFL, "American Family." This year, safety is front and center in "Timeline."

Directed by Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights fame, this trip through time and several different stadiums takes us from early 1900s football through the present day. With players' health and safety as its forefront concern, the NFL wants to raise awareness about new rules and regulations that have come to pass over the years.  In fact, our Digital team worked in tandem with the broadcast production side to develop a website for that features an evolutionary timeline of equipment and rule changes over the years.

The bulk of The Mill's work on this spot came in the form of populating the stadiums using the Massive software platform. Wyatt Savarese, Co-Lead 3D Artist explains, "We had to build over 20 different Massive agents from scratch, and each agent had to reflect the time period they were in." For instance, in the beginning of the spot most of the men are wearing fedoras and have period appropriate clothing.  As we progress through the film we start to see hints of the home team's colors trickle through the crowd, and by the late '80s to present day the crowd is in full-blown home team costume.

Co-Lead 3D Artist Ruben Vandebroek adds, "Since our goal was to make the stadiums and crowds for each decade look as authentic as possible, we spent a lot of time looking through NFL archival footage and pictures to figure out what the stadiums looked like in each era. Since the early decades of play were shot on a field in Los Angeles and the latter were shot at the LA Memorial Coliseum, we had to replace the existing fields with the appropriate stadium for each team and decade." Iconic stadiums such as Lambeau Field, Old Mile High Stadium and Soldier Field were completely rebuilt in CG.

In order to retain the authenticity of each decade, Senior Telecine Artist Fergus McCall collaborated with Lead Flame artist Westley Sarokin, GREY and the NFL clients. "The Color Correct was done over five or six sessions, starting with a technical grade and then growing in scale and complexity as the VFX were bedded in," explains McCall. "The aim with 'Timeline' was to create a visually interesting piece that, like the epic play itself, moved through the years seamlessly without interfering with the story.

"Various pieces of archive footage provided by the NFL had to bed in with our live action which was all shot on the Arri Alexa.  This provided quite a challenge." Extensive use of adapted 3D LUTs and multi layered color corrected passes that the Baselight handles effortlessly allowed color VFX to be executed quickly, work which would have previously taken days to combine in Flame.

"It's a work flow that allowed perfect creative flexibility and maximum experimentation," concludes MacCall. "Not all commercials can be posted this way but when time and inclination allows, it's a brilliant way of doing things."

Check out the complementary website here:




  • Agency: Grey NY
  • Producer: Alison Horn
  • Creative Director: ECD:Eric Segal
  • Creatives: Art Director: Eric Stiles, Copywriter: Katherine O’Brien
  • Account Director: Max Kislevitz
  • CCO and President: Tor Myhren
    Additional: Noorin Bhanji


  • Production Company: Pony Show
  • Director: Peter Berg
  • Executive Producer: Susan Kirson
  • Producer: Helga Gruber
  • Director of Photography: Tobias Schliessler
  • Sound Engineer: Phil Loeb at Heard
    Sound Design: Bill Chesley at Henryboy


  • Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
  • Editor: Damion Clayton
  • Edit Assist: Michael Horan

Post-Production / VFX

  • Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill
  • Executive Producer: Adam Isidore
  • VFX Producer: Dan Roberts, Color Producer: Dee Allen
  • Shoot Supervisor: Corey Brown, Joshua Frankel, Martin Rivera
  • 2D Lead Artists: Westley Sarokin
  • 3D Lead Artists: Ruben Vandebroek, Wyatt Savarese
  • 2D Artists: Adam Grint, Jade Kim, Ella Boliver, Randy McEntee, Gigi Ng
  • 3D Artists: Tim Kim, Joshua Frankel, Peter Panton, Atsuki Hirose, Jackie Liao, Craig Sylvester, Jonathan Lee, Zang Chen, Bogdan Mihajlovic, Kris Rivel, Naotaka Minami
  • Assist: Randy Krueger, Albert Cook, Rob Meade, Patrick Mahoney
  • Motion Graphics: Emmett Dzieza, Caleb Halter, Marco Giampaolo
  • Colourist: Fergus McCall
  • Assistant Colourists: DJ Miranda and Josh Bohoskey
    Creative Development: Ben Smith, Rama Allen
    Pre Vis Supervisor: Josh Frankel
    Pre-viz Artist: Daniel Bollwerk, Darryl Pfeil, Long-Hai Pham

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