VISION Q&A: MEET YOUR MAKER

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With a godlike being called "the Creator," and pint-sized models of basketball players, adidas' "Made to Perfection" required some heavy lifting in effects. Method's Cedric Nicolas uncovers the visual secrets behind the spot.

The hand of the Creator is obviously one of the most impressive visual effects here. Exactly how was it accomplished?

The hand had to feel huge in a normal environment. To achieve that, we built a gray replica of the dome of the stadium relative to the size of the hand. Then we shot the background plate of the stadium, with interactive debris and the right light. The hand was shot inside with the maximum depth of field to convey its huge size. And the outside hand was actually shot outside with the model matching the depth of field where the actor ripped off the roof of the model.

How were the models of the players inserted into the arena?

We used rigs to drop the players into the location. [Modelmaker] Stan Winston created three scale models used in the Creator workshop and dropping sequence. So the real hand dropped the scale figures on a model floor. The model had the right skin color and jersey color, so the imprint and the light bouncing on the figures would match perfectly with the live-action players. Every shot where you see the models inside the Creator's workshop is a combination of the model created by Stan Winston and the actual player.

How was the roof of the arena removed?

It was a melange of real debris, smoke, dust that was shot on location in Pittsburgh and a model created by production designer Dominick Watkins. The match of the model of the stadium and the real stadium was so good that we were able to keep a lot of the real dome and use the model just for the destructive part of it.

What was the biggest visual effects challenge?

Trying to keep the scale right and consistent so you're never confused about what you're looking at. You always know where is it, what is it and how big or how small it is . . . which is an important part of the story.

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