Kobe at the “Rose Bowl” – Working as a Team to Fake the Future

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It was just after Christmas when I got the text, “You’re on, you’re filming Kobe tomorrow at 11” and with that, in twelve hours, this happened:

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Late December we began work with one of our favorite customers, Corporate Magic on a segment for the Rose Parade. Producer Stephen Dahlem asked Granbery Studios to help develop a visual transition to bridge the two main events of the Tournament of Roses. It was an honor to be asked and exciting to be a part of this iconic New Year’s Day tradition.

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Coverage of the Rose Bowl Game begins immediately following the end of Rose Parade. Tens of millions of people in over 170 countries watch the telecast every year. Thanks to intense collaborative efforts with other great creative teams, in less than two weeks, Granbery Studios delivered the story, graphics, and final footage for the Grand Finale of the Rose Parade presented by Wells Fargo Where Flowers and Football Meet.

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With our client in Texas, their client in Pasadena, Granbery Studios in Orange County, and effects being done in Los Angeles, communication was key. Thinking about years past, we’d all have to be in the same location, but now we are all just linked in. Technology today makes collaboration easier than ever.

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The first task was to write the storyline. Steve Banta created the original boards very quickly. It is a testament to his incredible talent and professionalism that we were able to go right off of his work into filming.

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The next challenge was to create this footage of a football, flying like a missile from the Rose Parade to the Rose Bowl Game, weeks before they actually happened. We did not have access to the Rose Bowl and we couldn’t possibly use 2019 parade footage before the volunteers had even started placing the fresh flowers on the floats. This was the start of a quest, scanning through archived Rose Parade films to find footage that was new and general enough to look like the 2019 parade – which was still in our future but when the piece aired, at the end of the live broadcast New Years Morning, fresh in the minds of the viewers. After choosing just the right scenes, a combination of Maya and after effects were used to cover dates and any other features that would identify it as previously attained, as well as create the flying football, smoke, fireworks, and other special effects.

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Due to time constraints, we could not get a shot of the actual Rose Bowl. However, from the air, a field looks like a field. So we shot 4K video by flying a drone over the Charger practice field in Costa Mesa at just the right elevation. Co-director Paul Hollingsworth at Digital Wizards Studios, who took the ball and ran with all the CGI magic, was able to lay the Tournament of Roses logo on top of the grass footage. He used a texture map to make the logo look like it was actually on the grass, then dropped a shadow of the ball moving over the logo. Paul’s attention to detail accomplished the polished end result of a piece that was both entertaining and hyper-realistic.

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A big shout out to Kobe for arranging our access to the Hoag Performance Center.

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By the time we were shooting the segment with Kobe we had a tight, tight window. There is no way we could have done it without our dedicated 9 man film crew pulling together. Kobe has a busy schedule and the Chargers were getting ready for a game so we had to set up quickly in their practice field and then, very quickly get out. In addition, right next to where we were filming there was a steel structure that was being dismantled. We had about 20 minutes with Kobe to get the shot and as people in the industry know, this is when you will always have a persistent lawn mower or leaf blower interrupting the filming. In our case, it was a really noisy saw, spraying sparks everywhere.

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With the limited time and the background noise we ended up with one clean shot of Kobe with his line and that’s the one that ended up in the show. Then we packaged it all up. We had about a week and a half to put it all together and we delivered it New Year’s Eve to air New Years Day. We just made it! That’s the result of everybody working really hard over the holidays. It was the power of collaboration in action. You can’t do everything on your own and I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with on this project.

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See how it all came together.

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