Brian Bullock got a double charge out of a package of ESPN spots currently airing that his fairly new re:think studios helped create and produced. For one, the assignment from The Vault NYC allowed the company to showcase its photorealistic CGI and visual effects chops, and Bullock was in his element as an admitted long-time ESPN and college football fanatic.
The visually dazzling 30-second, with 15, 10 and 5-second versions, seamlessly combines a number of elements to promote the highly-anticipated Round One of the 2012 NFL Draft, exclusively broadcast on ESPN in primetime – 8 p.m. ET. – and sponsored by Budweiser.
“We had a great partnership with The Vault’s executive creative director John Paley and executive producer Sally Kapsalis,” says Bullock, re:think studios founder and head of CGI and 3D. “We shared ideas on the boards, and I have to say, I am very proud to have been part of the results.”
The promos showcase top NFL Draft prospects Andrew Luck of Stanford, Robert Griffin III of Baylor, Trent Richardson of Alabama and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State. Against a stunning nighttime background of Manhattan, where the draft will take place, the athletes pass a football from rooftop to rooftop, in various action posts, against their names in giant, glowing lights.
Bullock flew to Manhattan on a Friday three weeks ago and spent a long day into the night behind a Red Epic shooting various angles of the lit-up skyline for the background plate.
re:think editor Jessica Simmon combed through hours of The Vault NYC and ESPN’s digitally acquired footage to find the very best action game footage of the four favored college football players. This footage was rotoscoped with the New York footage and CGI that includes rooftop elements and dramatic CGI signage showcasing ESPN analysts, players and the NFL Draft logo.
re:think created and produced the spot in three weeks
In all, re:think handled production, CGI, visual effects, color, and finishing. “We worked with Audio Producers Group, who did an amazing job on the sound design and audio mix on the score,” singer/songwriter and rapper Cee Lo Green’s appropriate “Bright Lights, Bigger City” songs, notes Bullock.
The package was shipped to The Vault April 2, three weeks after re:think was assigned the project. It began airing on ESPN after delivry.
“Having the opportunity to direct ESPN’s 2012 NFL Draft promo was a dream come true,” says Bullock. “Having avidly watched their shows for years, I feel very connected with ESPN’s brand and our team was so pleased to be part of the project.”
Bullock and Jessica Simmon founded the company – now with a staff of six — in November, 2010 “to create whatever requires magical and complex imagery” says partner/director of operations John McGrath who joined rethink in October, 2011.
McGrath and Bullock are in perfect sync with about their mission, having worked together for nine years earlier when McGrath, Cutters’ general manager, later was managing director of Cutters’ Sol Design division and Bullock was director of CGI.
Some of re:think’s recent projects include spots for The Northface/Factory Design Labs, Colorado, a social/economic piece for Microsoft, presented at a tech summit in Zurich, via Ruth/Edelman Integrated Marketing, and commercials for Meijer department stores/McKinney, Durham, N. C.
The Vault NYC credits: ECD,Jon Paley; EP, Sally Kapsalis; production coordinator, Stephanie Mueller.
re:think Studios: Head of CGI/CD, Brian Bullock; EP, Nate Brown; senior editor, Jessica Simmon; senior Smoke artist, Chris Kreynus; 3D design and animation, Michelle Timpone; CGI artists, Cory Irvin, Nick Janeki; head of operations, John McGrath. Sound design and mix, Audio Producers Group.