ESPN on "The Spot":
After "The Shot" I think we can now say there is "The Spot"--the new Michael Jordan Nike commercial, "Second Generation," that brings chills to me and many other VC readers. Now ESPN has a lengthy story on the spot's creation here. Most interesting is the strong implication that all the spots were recreated live without help from computer generated graphics, including "The Dunk" from the foul line. An excerpt:
In order to film the spot, Wieden + Kennedy held casting calls around the United States looking for kids of various backgrounds and ages who could make the moves, ranging from Jordan's tongue wagging to his gum chewing to memorable moments like his foul line dunk from the 1987 Slam Dunk contest, the fist pump after "The Shot" over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Craig Ehlo in the first round of the 1989 playoffs and his fake out of Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell that gave the Chicago Bulls the title in the 1998 Finals.

Although all the spots were filmed in Los Angeles, the goal was to show kids imitating Jordan in all parts of the world. Jordan's defensive stance is portrayed by a kid dressed in a jersey that is African inspired. Another scene is set on another continent, where an Asian boy famously palms the basketball like Jordan. Other moments are supposed to hint at play taking place in U.S. cities, like Chicago and New York.

The only attempt at reconstructing specific scenery is the point in the ad where a young player imitates Jordan's most famous dunk. Because the dunk is supposed to happen in the present, the producers didn't have onlookers wearing clothing from the late '80s, but Mark Adamson, Jordan account executive for W+K, said the crowd was spaced out to look like it appeared during Jordan's dunk with the colors matching those of the insides of old Chicago Stadium.

While one might think that the kids were shown the specific Jordan moves before they were performed, W+K execs maintain that was not the case. The kids did what they remembered as art director Jesse Coulter fine-tuned to make sure the moves were as technically accurate as possible.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Chills II
  2. ESPN on "The Spot":
  3. Cool in a different way:
  4. Chills:
Ugh (mail):
Be afraid, be very afraid, for what lurks is the high-tech wave of the future. Known, as Michael Jordan.

--Come Fly With Me 1988
3.2.2006 4:49pm
Guest #42:
I read that as a strong implication that computer generated graphics were used in the creation of the spot. An art director most likely would be involved in pre- or post-production, rather than giving instructions to actors on a set.
3.2.2006 4:52pm
Ugh (mail):
I think it was completely obvious that they used graphics in the foul-line dunk, but the others look pretty real.
3.2.2006 5:37pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Well, they did sanitize the Byron Russell play by omitting the push-off.
3.2.2006 6:37pm
TC (mail):
I would love to see someone splice together the original clips for comparison -- and for those (like my wife) who can't quite appreciate how brilliant this is.
3.2.2006 9:16pm
Serenity Now (mail) (www):
VFXTalk - "The most famous foul line dunk shot is comprised of numerous live action plates, all of which were shot using motion control."

No clear idea what that means, but all the 'stunts' including the dunk look genuine. It sounds like CG 'enhancement' was limited to background elements.

Juris, I was thinking the same thing about the missing push-off. Even this Jordan idolator thinks they should have included it in the play.

If anyone can find a link to a hi-res *downloadable* clip of this ad, I'd be much obliged.
3.3.2006 6:58am
Henry Woodbury (mail):
Can anyone find a video of the original Bryon Russell push off? I don't remember it being at all flagrant. It sure didn't enrage me at the time.
3.3.2006 10:19am
bcn (mail):
I remember the push off and I thought that it was an important part of how he got so open. In this ad the player has his left hand on the defenders hip, but it does not look like he pushed him as hard as MJ did.

Overall I like the ad, I have never been a big MJ fan, but this is certainly a good show, the music is perfect for this. This is one of those times where I can really appreciate the talent of the producers, they hit it perfectly.

3.3.2006 10:58am
Who cares about some stupid basketball commercial

And who cares MJ, who could only lead his Bulls to victory in his last only because the referee thought the Bulls should win rather than do his job
3.3.2006 1:25pm
Does anyone remember a Nike spot from around, I think, 2001 that was a montage of athletic and pseudo-athletic activities strung together so that each cut bled into the next at least w/r/t the motion being carried out? I remember that it included a baby, Golden Tee, swimming, running, and some winter sports. All of it was held together with orchestral music.

It was, I think, the best advertisement I've ever seen.
3.4.2006 12:23am
Hi-res, but not downloadable as far as I can tell is on the website. Click on the red shoe on the main menu, and a menu should pop up on the left side of the screen. Click "launch" or "watch" under the "let your game speak" option, and a very high-res version of the video will load up.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a way to download it.

Thanks, reader. Apparently you care enough to comment.
3.4.2006 3:25pm