MPC recently collaborated with Spike Lee and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners on a trio of NBA spots featuring Clippers point guard Chris Paul and New York Knicks legend Bernard King. VFX supervisor Jake Montgomery and producer Juliet Tierney led MPC’s VFX team on the efforts, while Mark Gethin handled the color grade.
For “Disappearing Act,” MPC integrated 2D and 3D work to make Paul disappear from the court in a cloud of dust and reappear in a restaurant booth where NBA all-timer Magic Johnson and Lakers guard Steve Nash are watching the game. To create the vanishing effect, MPC artists painted Paul out of stock game footage and restored the background, essentially inventing images that had previously been obstructed by the basketball player’s silhouette. The VFX team also executed a variety of compositing, cleanup and logo removal and replacement duties, using 3D technologies, including Maya Fluids and nParticles, to create the complex smoke effects.
“First we had to track all of the game footage and match move a basketball character into each shot to match up with Chris Paul,” explained 3D lead John Cherniack. “This gave us the ability to emit smoke on different frames and really customize how his movement was inherited into the smoke effect.”
“King of New York,” which features similarly intricate reflection replacement, compositing, cleanup and logo removal, is a trip through Spike Lee’s memories of Bernard King’s epic 60-point performance at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day in 1984.