Last night on ABC, millions of viewers saw Game 4 of the 2013 NBA Finals match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and the defending champion Miami Heat. The broadcast open for the NBA Finals produced by the creative force Juniper Jones.
For several years, Juniper Jones founder and creative director Kevin Robinson has helped create ESPN’s Conference Finals open.
According to ESPN senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan, producing the new broadcast open was a two-month project. “It puts all the focus and attention on great players, great teams and great moments that only happen at the NBA Finals,” Corrigan said.
“The montage is definitely front and center,” Robinson said. “That’s the main piece, and I credit editor Eli Mavros as being the driving force of this project. Around those visuals, we set out to drive the overall open with the additional elements we shot and the animation and visual effects that make the montage feel even more part of the live event.”
“It was a balancing act of enhancing the story and not distracting from it,” Robinson continued. “We wanted it to feel like this big screen was physically in the stadium at the NBA Finals, and get viewers excited about the special moments they are about to behold in this season’s championship series.”
Once everyone agreed on the storytelling approach for the two-minute Finals open, the Juniper Jones studio in Brooklyn started to work on the finished piece. The montage opens with great moments from past NBA Finals, followed by some of the most famous dynasties.
All around the screen in the center of the new open, viewers see stagehands and other live-action elements interfacing with the screen. Those plates were shot by Robinson, director of photography Scott Maguire and others during a one-day shoot at City Stage in Manhattan, where the ARRI Alexa digital motion picture camera system was used to capture principal photography on greenscreen.
“Knowing that the goal was to create a new open that is meant to last for the next eight years, we tried to do as much as we could within our timeframe to make it special,” said Robinson. “What we delivered is built to evolve, and because our clients were so fantastic, we were able to get it all done in time and make the strongest open possible.”
Along with Robinson, Mavros and Maguire, Juniper Jones’ credits include executive producer Susie Shuttleworth, senior producer Ryan McRee, associate producer Kyle McKeveny, art director Lloyd Alverez, TD/CG supervisor Caius Wong, 3D generalist Joe Nguyen, 3D VFX Joe Gunn, compositor Chris West, designer/compositor Steve Lee, designer/animator Naomie Ross, rotoscoper J Bush and assistant editor Jonathan Rouzier.