LeBron… meet LeBron.
This past Sunday you may have seen basketball legend LeBron offering wisdom to his younger self in crypto.com’s Super Bowl ad. “If you want to make history, you gotta call your own shots,” LeBron says to a teenage version of himself while in his childhood bedroom.
In collaboration with agency Springhill and director CALMATIC of production company Prettybird, our team was tasked with bringing an adolescent LeBron to life in a realistic manner. After brainstorming various methods to achieve a seamless end result, the team decided the best route was to craft a fully CG head on their actor, Bentley Green. In addition to top-tier visual effects executed by our team, Mill colourist Paul Yacono added a colour grade to the Super Bowl spot.
Creative Director & VFX Supervisor Jimmy Bullard explains: “Our approach used a facial capture rig so we could capture both our actor Bentley Green and LeBron James performing the lines. Director Calmatic coached them through their performances on the facial capture rig the same way he directed them through the live-action shoot on set, getting just as wide a range of emotions and deliveries. This allowed editor Jamie Foord to go through the dailies for the facial capture and select which facial performance to marry with which body performance. This process gave us a base to use for our animation that we could then adjust on top of. The lighting/rendering and compositing teams then ensured that everything matched the plates. It’s a testament to the team’s passion and skill that they put such an incredible piece together on such a short schedule.”
VFX Supervisor Yarin Manes adds: “Creating a young version of Lebron James was very challenging, but it’s always tricky when it comes to CG humans. Especially when they are moving, acting, and talking but I am beyond happy with the effort and results from our VFX team. Working closely with the director and Lebron team gave us the best chance to create something we are proud to share with the world. The spot not only demonstrated great VFX work but also sends a great message.
As the VFX Supervisor on set, I had a chance to work closely with Lebron and the team, which was a great experience. Lebron is truly as professional on stage as he is on the court. We all worked effortlessly together, allowing for seamless 3D scanning performance and overall smooth production.”