SOLdesignfx’ Markos puts new swing into an old image for Two by Four’s new White Sox campaign

As a spot in the new White Sox campaign laments, they “haven’t won a championship in, like, months.” Since then, however, the Sox have assumed the responsibility of offering baseball fans a new look at an old favorite pastime.

SOLdesignfx artist Chris Markos directed the two-day shoot for Two by Four agency.

The two-day production utilized two remote controlled high speed HD video cameras that shot at 1000 fps, during an actual game.

A total of nine spots ultimately will be cut.

“For a while we only catered to people who already loved the sport,” said Markos, who partnered with the agency on the conception of the campaign, “but we were missing out on a whole demographic who weren’t, per se, baseball fans.

“These are people who would be intrigued by the commercials and then tune in because of what they saw.”

The new campaign forgoes the traditional ?sprint and catch’ game highlights, giving a harder edge to White Sox baseball. Whether it’s to intimidate the rest of the league or just their cross-town rivals, this club has never seemed tougher.

The initial concept was based on agency print work that uses the same slogan: “We are Chicago baseball.” In it, black and white photos were put over a white background, and the hope was that they could be reinterpreted for television.

The original idea for the television campaign was to shoot players over white in super slow motion, mimicking the design of the print campaign.

“It had to be scrapped because of logistical reasons,” although Two by Four creative director David. Stevenson recalled that “after the setback, our motto became ?let’s just shoot baseball with this super slo-mo camera and see what happens.'”

Markos did just that over the course of two games, subsequently laying voice tracks over the footage. Shooting during live games prohibits choreographed movements, but it did enable them to capture the natural evolution of the players’ actions.

“Super slow motion equates to a certain intensity of watching real life things,” explained Markos. “Their expressions, the chunks of grass flying, the uniform blowing in the wind; the natural drama of their movements is brought out.”

By limiting the ?local feel’ of the spots, this campaign is intended to play on a national, even international, level. The sentiment is that, with a series of eight or nine spots and plenty of tricks up their sleeves, viewers will be hard-pressed to find redundancy in what they see. The graphics only heighten the intrigue.

Stevenson said of the creative freedom accorded SOLdesignfx, “We value their opinions and creativity, and the process was a lot more collaborative than a traditional job. There was a fair amount of trust.”

Markos also edited; Neal Cohen was executive producer; Traci Weingardt, senior assistant/editor; Joseph Lawrence, animator. Audio by Another Country’s Robert Marshall.

SOLdesignfx is located at 515 N. State, phone, 312/664-2500. See www.cutters.com.

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