Nice Shoes recently delivered VFX for a new spot for Under Armour shot and edited by Producers’ Rip Lambert and Dave Hudson. The studio, led by creative director Aron Baxter and colorist Lenny Mastrandrea, created a menacing winter storm to help promote Under Armour’s line of cold-weather gear available at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The spot opens with a school bus pulling up to a snowy stadium and a determined high-school football team solemnly filing out, uniforms in hand. A hard-barking narrator punctuates the visuals with motivational outbursts: “Tonight, we take respect!” The pulsating montage that follows weaves through the amped-up rituals of the pregame locker room and the swaggering, almost ferocious swaying of several teams collectively flexing on-field, ready to explode, oblivious to the rain and snow dumping on them.
Under Armour and Lambert challenged Nice Shoes to take scenes shot on an 80-degree day and transform them into menacing snapshots of winter fury. “Everyone did a great job setting us up, blowing fake snow over the live-action scene and creating small drifts for effect,” stated Baxter. “Then we took over in compositing and CG, creating a full-blast winter landscape in the background and foreground, adding or blocking snow as necessary, all against an edgy color palette true to Under Armour’s brand. We added to the tension of athletes in the midst of intense preparation by creating the breath streaming from them with a mixture of live-action elements and created particle systems.”
The hero shot is a dramatic composited close-up of beading water shot at 120 frames and a CG liquid water drop (at 500 frames a second), portraying the droplet landing and then trickling down, completely repelled by Under Armour’s charged cotton material. “We mocked this shot up two or three times, then referenced live shots and similar shots from our liquid CG simulation arsenal to create the final,” said Baxter.
Producers and Nice Shoes have collaborated on the Under Armour account for years. “I was thrilled to team up with them once again,” noted Mastrandrea. “We didn’t have a ton of time to work on this – just a few days – and both Producers and Under Armour wanted the spot to really shine. That’s where our years working together and our familiarity with the brand ethos came together to turn out an awesome spot.”