Special Effects for Arena Football

On January 14, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


This BrabenderCox, Arena Football ad began airing right before Christmas. Since then we’ve had several emails and phone conversations asking how it was done. The interesting thing is that many of the scenes aren’t either video or film… they’re a series of still photographs, blended together to form a moving sequence.

At night, Pittsburgh is not a very bright city. To create the super luminescent “glow” of the city at night. Glenn Przyborski shot many of the scenes as 1/2 to 1 second time exposures. Using an intervalometer attached to a modified Panasonic GH1 camera, Glenn shot approx 300 digital exposures per scene. Using After Effects, these sequences of digital still images were frame blended, re-sized, then converted into 1080P high-definition video.

Phenomenon Post, visual effects supervisor, Thad Christen and digital graphic artist, Danny Johnson painstakingly rotoscoped the various buildings and objects to create multiple traveling masks. These masks allow the lightning and storm footage to replace the sky and create the illusion of various lights being turned off. The moving blur of the running football player was an actor filmed in slow motion on green screen using a RED One camera at WQED’s studio.

An effect driven spot is greatly enhanced by sound effects. Michael Goodis created original sound design and other audio effects that help “sell” the visuals.

2 Responses to Special Effects for Arena Football

  1. Johnstown TV guy says:

    You said you used the Panasonic GH1. Everything I read says the Canon 5D Mk2 is better. Have you used the 5D?

  2. I own a 5D, GH1, GH2, AF100, and a F900R. I am very familiar with the pros and cons of each camera. Right now there is no single camera that’s the best for every scenario. The 5D is an excellent “still” camera, but it suffers from aliasing which is due to the camera creating 1080 video by skipping every 3 horizontal rows of pixels (a process called binning). It also introduces moiré artifacts into certain images due to its anti-aliasing filter being designed for a 21mp imager, not for a 2.2mp 1080 video frame. This moiré effect appears like a rainbow that’s superimposed over areas of repetitive high detail. (for example, a brick wall or street) The 5D excels when you want a to create a scene with very shallow depth-of-field. I often use 2 or 3 different cameras on a single project…. Thanks.

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