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Nike once producing great bike ads like the three below, starring Lance Armstrong and a whole bunch of CGI effects. News on the CGI effects are below the third-party vids.
The Quickrelease.tv vids have now had 1+ million views. The top vid has had 176,600 views. This is to be expected when it’s some great footage from the Tour de France (the much better, more hi-res, longer version is available here on iTunes).
Lance the cyclo-crosser:
In the ‘Magnet’ ad, Lance is shown besting dolphins, buffaloes, freight trains, Hell’s Angels, geese, bats and bike couriers. But he wasn’t at any of the jaw-dropping locations. It’s not him on the cliff-top at Bodega Bay, California. He didn’t race the cyclists in downtown San Francisco. All his shots were done in a film studio in Austin, Texas. He was filmed against a green-screen and then composited into the ad using the same software that found Nemo. A body double was used to represent Lance in almost all of the outdoor shots.
The 90-second ad was directed by award-winning music video and commercial director Jake Scott for Wieden+Kennedy, Nike’s Portland-based ad agency.
The clever visual effects - digital animation known as CGI - were created by A52 of West Hollywood, California. Even the opening scene’s crashing waves were enhanced by A52’s CGI team. For tech-buffs, they used 3Dequalizer by Science-D-Visions to track the live-action footage, then created the CG water in the finished scene using Side Effects Software’s Houdini. The dolphins - like the other animals in the ad - were created using Houdini and Deep Paint 3D, rendered with Pixar’s Renderman (think ToyStory) and composited in Silicon Grail Chalice.
But who provided the haunting vocals? It was Kathy Fisher of Fisher The Band. Trivia: the other member of Fisher the band is Fisher’s husband, Ron Wasserman. He was responsible for the music in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.