We were happy that Alabama A&M University really liked our campaign to help increase enrollment (you can revisit that here). So we were even happier to be tasked with creating a television commercial to promote the football team's season ticket sales.
The biggest challenge was production right in the middle of summer — when the average college campus is a ghost town. Fast cuts, quick camera moves, and high shutter speeds helped us create the illusion of football season excitement with just a few people.
The locker room scene had a few production tricks in it. Originally planned as a pure black-and-white scene to contrast with the vibrant colors of the rest of the action, the maroon jerseys in the lockers looked so cool that we decided keep the uniforms in full color while the rest of the scene stayed monochrome. That was a bit of post-production work, but we thought it was worth it.
The dolly track actually ran about 30 feet, the full length of the room all the way up to the player — but it was digitally removed in post.
To land the dolly shot perfectly on the extreme close-up of linebacker Embrel Vaughn's face with the framing just right and the focus razor sharp (the depth of field was less than an inch), the scene was actually photographed backwards — in reality the camera started with the close shot and pulled back, and the footage was reversed in editing.
For the ultra-low perspective of carrying the ball, it would have been impossible to push a conventional camera dolly anywhere nearly as fast as a college player can run. So a Jeep trailer-hitch rig was created to mount the camera an inch off the ground to follow quarterback Jaymason Lee on the field's running track.
Fantastic Plastic's Todd Terry wrote and directed the commercial, with Phil Schmidt producing. Joey Skelton edited and color graded the production, and created the sound design as well. Los Angeles voice actor Kyle Chapple provided the narration, with John Rice on the announcer tag at the end.
We can't say enough good things about A&M Athletic Director Bryan Hicks and equipment manager Hank Harris. Hank coordinated all the people and locations, and even got us one of A&M legend John Stallworth's actual playing jerseys to use as a prop. We were very careful with it... promise.
This commercial was produced for the university's agency, The Driscoll Group.