Tennis Star Maria Sharapova takes a stab at the media digs that she is ‘just a pretty face’ for Nike latest ad. It was left to The Mill New York to create the charged feeling and crowded environment of one of her large-stadium tournaments. Directed by Ivan Zacharias and posted at The Mill New York, the spot follows Maria as she is getting ready for an important match.
But her pre-game focus is overshadowed by a miltitude of singing onlookers. From the hotel maid, to the doorman, to her driver, to the reporters-everyone sings West Side Story’s “I feel Pretty” to Maria, as she passes them. Some sneer, some admire, but all realize her stunning presence. It is Maria who silences the crowd with one powerful swing of her racket, proving that beyond the beauty, lays a serious athlete.
The bulk of the work was accomplished with Massive, a software quickly emerging as a staple within The Mill CG department. With a shoot comprising of only one hundred extras, The Mill team was able to create a full stadium of 26,000 people by generating characters with Massive. With a compressed time frame, the CG team, led by Mill NY Rick Walia, began building the outline of the crowd in the stadium before the shoot had even begun.
Utilizing dimensions of the real stadium, the team worked on CG spectators in relation to where they would be placed in the stadium. The crowd appears authentic because of the software individual detail. Each character has a distinct action and ‘personality,’ such as sitting, standing, cheering or clapping. The result is a seamless line between live action and computer generation.
Creative Director/Lead Flame Artist Angus Kneale worked on overall enhancement for the piece. The visual effects team composited various plates of the crowd and finished subtle details such as added reflections in McEnroe commentator box and clean up of the signage in the stadium.
Mill London Colorist Seamus O’sKane worked with Wieden + Kennedy creatives via Minerva, The Mill transatlantic high speed link. The spot has a rich, filmic feel, in part because Seamus skillfully graded a print made from the negative.
Ivan talent shines through in his detailed preplanning. All the perfectly casted characters are prescripted, so that the song flows from shot-to-shot. Each actor has a mini mic recording them singing, allowing the real actors to perform the number on location.
Angus said ‘The highlight of this project was working with Ivan again, as it is so rare that he works in The States. We are always excited to see an Ivan project on the New York boards. His approach is refreshing, and thus, the work he turns out is more stylish than anything else on air.’
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