Digital studio Radium/Reel FX, Santa Monica/Dallas, plays a radical game of JENGA infused with NBA finesse in the new :30 called “Style Points” via agency Tracylocke/UPROAR! NY. The spot features Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Timberwolves forward Kevin Love facing off with an unconventional game of JENGA on an NBA basketball court. This latest Hasbro spot draws inspiration from an ESPN tongue-in-cheek short, “Behind The Scenes at The EPSYs,” which featured Griffin and Lake playing a heated game of JENGA back in July.
To capitalize on the spoof, Tracylocke/UPROAR! NY tasked the Radium/Reel FX team, led by executive creative director Dale Carman and producer John Briley, and live-action production duo, Matt Docter and Jason Docter (The Docter Twins), to recreate the rivalry with an over-the-top twist. “UPROAR! and Radium/Reel FX have a well-established partnership that spans many years on various campaigns, including Hasbro, Play-Doh, Transformers and EA (Electronic Arts). We always look forward to working with them,” says Carman, who also worked as on-set VFX supervisor on the spot. In contrast, this marked the first creative collaboration between Reel FX and the Docter Twins.
In “Style Points” VFX and practical elements intermix to showcase each athlete’s talents. Actual blocks, glued and stacked together by hand, formed an incredibly tall JENGA tower for one shot. In the following shot, the blocks cascade down into a pile on the basketball court through effects composited in Autodesk Flame. In another shot, Love spins a JENGA piece on his finger – also thanks to Autodesk Flame. One iconic shot also imitates Griffin’s winning dunk from last February’s NBA Slam Dunk contest where he jumped over a car, but this time he’s flying over an orderly arrangement of JENGA tubes. Radium/Reel FX finished the spot using Autodesk Lustre.
Radium/Reel FX editor Quan Tran cut the spot in-house, “As a big basketball fan it was fun to edit the spot knowing Blake and Kevin’s back story on the ESPYs. It was definitely a unique challenge to cut with over 15 hours of footage to play with from three different camera set ups. Since we turn-keyed this spot, our team got to collaborate on everything from the shoot to the edit to CG and sound design. This collaboration was the key to our success and made the process easier since everyone was on the same page from start to finish.”