Client

AKQA

Brand

Nike

Production Company

The Mill

Director

Adam Grint, The Mill

Capabilities

Creative Direction / Spatial Design / Software Development / Real-time Animation / Editorial / Onboarding

Brief

Get the blood pumping via an immersive experience to hype the release of the new Nike Mercurial Superfly and Vapour 360 football boots.

Approach

We gave every visitor a taste of the limelight and a chance to show their moves in the Mercurial Arena. The interactive time trial put visitors in the boots and head to head with a goalkeeper on a futuristic pitch featuring a 270-degree surround screen, reactive virtual audience, and interactive lighting/sound. Every challenger received their own custom film for bragging rights, and their performance time on a global leaderboard.

Impact

120 automagically edited assets in 24hrs. 2m+ views on user shared films in first 24hrs. 300k+ views from Instagram user @Tekkerzkid alone.

“There's no substitute for experiencing innovation first hand. To provide event attendees - media, influencers and consumers - the opportunity to put the new Mercurial through its paces, we developed a football trial experience as innovative as the boot itself. On the face of it, Nike Mercurial was a Creative Technology project, but in fact it involved almost every discipline at The Mill, and this to me is exactly what Creative technology is all about - the coming together of varied skills of The Mill to create new types of content.”
Creative Director at The Mill, Adam Grint

At the centre of this was the Nike Mercurial launch event, taking place over 2 days at London’s iconic Printworks. Holding over 5000 people, the invites were sent to pro-footballers, including the likes of Neymar, Sanchez, Hazard and Ronaldo, influencers and celebrities such as Virgil Abloh, the global Nike team and collaborators as well the general public.

Our team created the graphic content surrounding the ‘arena’ on the 270 degree LED screens with a resolution of 15K. During the time trial itself, the screens were filmed by 6 cameras as part of a live shoot which went on to create 120 shareable films over 2 days. The filming of these screens as well as the original content itself helped support the content within each and every edit made.

The difference with this project was the innovative use of pre-vis which allowed for the project to be seen before even stepping into the venue. This meant that the director and team could define camera placement and tracking before they set up the installation itself, making the work within the office critical to the work that would be done on set.

The pre-vis also required the use of motion capture to estimate (with detail) the way in which the trial taker would move, in order to give a realistic mock up of any individual within the installation itself. The Xsens suit was used, giving a full body measurement in action, allowing for faster set-ups and cleaner data, feeding directly into both Maya and Unreal, the software used on this project.

To ensure the sequence felt as real as possible, The Mill collaborated with Andy Ansah of Sports on Screen to help choreograph the movements they would make once in the trial. These movements were translated into interactive light hot spots, which would indicate where the players moved to next and ultimately result in a shot on goal. This chronological series of movements were fed into specific places within each edit to ensure each asset was placed in the correct position within every unique cut. This aided the speed and delivery of assets.

With less than 72 hours in the venue before the event opened, the team worked to ensure everything was in place to ensure a smooth running of the installation from first to last take. Broadcast cameras were used to film, usually only used as part of Live Sporting Events. “By mimicking a live broadcast setup, the installation immediately felt more in tune with a real life sporting event. There were huge efficiencies and this streamlined the whole process ensuring we delivered the best results possible” states Head of Content Josh Davies.

Registration took place via an iPad to include photo capture and name tagging. The photo, and its filters, were then fed into the edit via Dropbox. The player then entered the arena, flooded with LED walls, each pattern and asset designed by The Mill Design team.

The purpose of this wall was to feel emotional, as if each player was able to feel like they were stepping into a stadium. The challenge was to create a realistic crowd within the scale given. In close proximity, it became apparent that only 4-5 rows would work. So how was this to be made to look interesting while keeping the idea of stadium seating and reaction within?

“The first part of the event was the on-boarding. This was one of the most important and toughest things on these events - managing the flow of people through the installation to ensure the setup was maximized within the timings of the event itself.”
Creative Technologist Noel Drew

Registration took place via an iPad to include photo capture and name tagging. The photo, and its filters, were then fed into the edit via Dropbox. The player then entered the arena, flooded with LED walls, each pattern and asset designed by the Mill Design team.

The purpose of this wall was to feel emotional, as if each player was able to feel like they were stepping into a stadium. The challenge was to create a realistic crowd within the scale given. In close proximity, it became apparent that only 4-5 rows would work. So how was this to be made to look interesting while keeping the idea of stadium seating and reaction within?

The answer was to push for a more abstract take on a crowd, allowing for innovative design and the style of Nike branding to pave the way into an animation that secured the sense of an arena within the installation.