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Brickyard VFX Completes a Slam-Dunk for the NBA Finals

Press Release from Brickyard VFX

Artist owned-and-operated bi-coastal effects boutique Brickyard VFX completed work on the ad campaign for the 2009 NBA Final Championship Series beginning May 19 via agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Entitled "Elevated Moments," the four-spot campaign was directed by longtime Brickyard collaborators Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Bob Industries, and features NBA superstars Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal. The campaign first broke on May 10, and will continue to air throughout the 2009 championship season.

The :30 spots promote the upcoming NBA Finals with iconic moments in basketball history. The ads, which open in empty stadiums that gradually fill with cheering crowds, are powerful and balletic, slowing down the action and fading the players in and out of each shot. "Kobe to Shaq Alley Oop" features Bryant throwing his famous alley oop to O'Neal in game seven of the 2000 Western Conference Championships. "Bird Steals the Ball" showcases the Boston Celtics' classic "Now there's a steal by Bird!" moment in game five of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. Each spot builds excitement for the final championship games with the question "Where will amazing happen this year?" and ends with the "Where amazing happens" tag and NBA logo.

Working from archival photos provided by the NBA, Brickyard VFX assembled photo-real CG stadium backgrounds for the ads, painstakingly recreating the historical location from each iconic moment to seamlessly match with the camera angles in the original game footage. "Recreating the Boston Garden for the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson spots was particularly challenging since it's no longer standing," commented Brickyard VFX Executive Producer Kirsten Andersen.

Brickyard also provided previs to establish timing and camera tracking angles for the ads, along with extensive rotoscoping of players, referees, equipment and crowd elements, along with final compositing. "We created a matte painting of the floor so we could remove shadows and reflections from the crowds, and then inserted CG reflections from the empty arena," Andersen detailed. "The trick was to find a way to integrate the background plate into the look of the original footage. Each spot demanded a different technique."

Previous Brickyard work for the Dayton/Faris directorial team includes last year's celebrated "There Can Be Only One" campaign for the NBA playoff season, and campaigns for such brands as Burger King, Sprint, Visa, The Gap, Old Navy, Chevrolet and Volkswagen.