Cingular wanted to pay tribute to NCAA athletes in a variety of sports. The
goal was to show athletes exhibiting their strength as a metaphor to the strength
of Cingular's bars and superior reception.
The spot's tag line spells out the theme of the ad: "Here's to all NCAA
student-athletes, past and present, setting bars and continuously raising
them." The metaphor is driven home by the athletes' motion, which resembles the
familiar Cingular bars on a mobile phone.
Phasmatrope Studios shot the spot on a stage in Orlando
using 35mm film. To help ensure a successful and efficient film shoot, Shooters
editor Steve Wheelock worked on-site with director Peter Odiorne. The Shooters
team also produced animatics for the production team to visualize how the
athletes would interact with the bars. The film was transferred to Digital Betacam and
loaded into the studio's Discreet Fire system, which was used to rotoscope each
of the athletes, removing them from the background. The process was challenging
because footage was not captured in front of a greenscreen. Phasmatrope felt
that it could achieve a more stylized lighting effect of the athletes by not
using greenscreen techniques.
In addition to having the athletes arc over the bars, the producers also wanted
to achieve a media effect that showed how television technology had progressed
through the ages. To accomplish the aging transformation, art director/designer
devised five different treatments to simulate the early days of television up
until present day.
In order to meet the agency's tight turnaround, Shooters worked around the
clock and employed five Fire and After Effects artists to complete the job in
just four days. Rotoscoping, graphics and compositing was handled by Kevin
Fanning, Ted Devlin, Tim Bowman and Rob Graham. Graphic design and art
direction was performed by Kris Magyarits.