Nike Total 90 Tracer Crazy Making Details
Behind The Scenes -Nike Total 90 Tracer Ball Reveal-
As in my previous video, it took precision planning and execution to bring this concept to life. I was able to re-use my plans and materials for the Nike logo set, and from my last shoot I learned a few tricks to help the shoot come together more smoothly. For instance, I learned that I needed to inset the logo deeper into the tabletop, so that the paint would fill the logo and spread more evenly across the table.
Another big change was turning the set black — black background, black tabletop. At first, I had the idea of shooting it with both a white set and a black set, which would switch back and forth in the final edit. In the end, however, I choose to stick with just the black set, which felt more dramatic and different.
The paints needed to be thoroughly tested before we began shooting, so we could anticipate where and how quickly the paint would spread. I called up an old friend and painter, who knows paint better than any one I know. Thank goodness he was up for a challenge! Some of the paints needed thickening and had to be put out the night before, while others were too thick and needed paint thinner added to become runnier. After plenty of experimenting, we found the perfect consistency for this time-lapse.
Many details of this shoot were similar to my previous time-lapse, but there were some very challenging elements my team and I had to deal with. I had to juggle the mechanics of spinning a ball on cue, controlling paint speed, lighting and synchronizing six cameras. My hands were definitely full on this one!
I was eventually able to solve the problem of the ball itself, which had to begin spinning with paint already present on the table, which I didn’t want to smear or splatter. The ball had to be secured to a stand with an internal mechanical component that controlled the spinning. After a few trips to the hardware store, I was able to assemble the necessary components, which included some plumbing piping. I was able to spin the ball from under the table, using a big bar to control the spinning, and make many small movements. This allowed me to take a ton of shots so the spin would look really fluid.
I learned from my first time-lapse that I was going to produce tens of thousands of images in a very short period of time. I’d already developed a system to help me organize all those images, which made post-production that much more efficient. For this particular shoot, I ended up with a total of 10 unique time-lapses, each containing hundreds of images. One of the larger time-lapses contained 3,500 images — and that’s after removing the unusable frames in which someone’s hand appeared on-camera to make a mid-shot set adjustment.
Shooting this time-lapse contained a secret weapon. For the main angle, I used a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with a Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85mm ZE prime lens. I shot ISO800, at an f/4 aperture with 1/6 second shutter speed. The image quality of this setup is incomparable, capable of producing each frame at a 21 megapixel RAW image. At more than 5600 pixels across and 300ppi, we effectively created a 5.6K video…way cool!!!
On an average shoot, I might generate 1,000 images. With these time-lapses, however, I have to organize and process over 30,000! After my first time-lapse, I was completely blown away by the sheer number of files we produced. It’s all worth it, though, as capturing so many images allows me to very precisely control the speed of the motion in the final edits. As in the first time-lapse, my toughest step in post-production was the Photoshop scripting. Normally this step can be quite easy and only take a few minutes to run, but when you’re handling so many images it makes things tricky. My process involves first going through a single time-lapse and grabbing about 10 random frames, including one from the beginning and one from the end. Then I choose the image with no paint and begin work on that. I get my basics down first: color correction, white points and black points. Then I add a sharpen layer, with some contrast and saturation. When I’m done, I export those 10 images and check each one and compare it to 10 images from each of the other time-lapses, before running an action on the rest of the time-lapse frames. I believe this process has helped keep the same look and feel to each time-lapse, so that they can be edited seamlessly together in the final video.
The pressure was high to get everything perfect in a single take because once you start pouring paint, there’s no stopping!
This was definitely a team effort, and it was a great experience working with this group of talented individuals. I am very proud of all the hard work that went into making this series of creative and unique time-lapse videos. The solutions to each challenge are creative and interesting.
These time-lapse videos were shot on top-of-the-line digital cameras with quality that is nearly impossible to beat. At 5.6K, the imagery is sharp, clean and very crisp. Each individual frame is captured at up to 21 megapixels in size, allowing for plenty of editing headroom. Additionally, still frames from the video can be used as part of a coordinated print campaign. The stills from this shoot are stunning, high-quality images in their own right.