June 20, 2006


Last year, the studio posted Lo-Def Productions presents...Cal vs. Stanford - The Play. The commercial used a magnetic football game to reenact one of college football’s most exciting plays.

This year’s spot, out of Durham, NC, agency McKinney, uses college hoops to illustrate the importance of a great HD set. Lo-Def Productions presents...Kentucky vs. Duke - Buzzer Beater uses mannequins, inflatable spectators and life-size 2D cutouts in an elementary school gym, all choreographed to audio commentary from the big play. 

Despite the spot’s “low-tech” approach, it was actually shot in HD by Santa Monica, CA’s Hungry Man. Serious Robots met with the studio during pre-production and the team decided to shoot at the 59.94 frame rate using Sony’s Cine Alta HD camera.
Hungry Man’s HD footage was then digitized directly into an Avid Nitris by Serious Robots’ editor Scott Roy, who cut the action - or lack of it - to the game’s original audio track. 

Using Avid’s DNxHD offline codec, Roy was able to load 4.5 hours of footage into his system for the HD offline. Roy cut in HD and was able to show the client both the HD, 16x9 output on one monitor and the 4x3 center-cut SD output on another simultaneously. 

“While the HD version used the full 16x9 frame, we needed to pan/scan the HD footage in the 4x3 SD version to capture the same feeling of those quirky shots,” he points out. “Being able to see the HD and SD outputs simultaneously gave us complete control in deciding whether the shots were usable in both the HD and SD versions, saving us time when we moved to online.”

Roy also did extensive rotoscoping, tracking and paint work to remove logos from close-ups of the mannequins’ sneakers. In addition, he animated the hand-scrawled signs showing the number of seconds remaining in the game.
Both Sony HDCAM and SD deliverables were created of the final spots - a :30 for broadcast and a :60 for Sony’s Web site.

Willie Elias remixed, restored and edited the original call of the Kentucky vs. Duke game at Serious Robots’ sister company, Blazing Music + Sound.