“This was an incredibly ambitious project to take on as a first time director,” says Brian Bacino, Swirl ECD who also directed the campaign. “But knowing Ntropic had our backs gave us the freedom to move on. We kept saying, ‘Nate'll fix it...’ chuckling nervously as we looked at our sweat soaked watches. I knew they'd make everything look amazing - graphics, film, and effects. But the best parts were the cuts. The cuts were butternut.”
In "Attack," flocks of baseballs come pelting towards the city, likened to a feathered-frenzy from Hitchcock's "The Birds" as citizens ward them off with baseball gloves. The spot concludes at the horror's epicenter where Giants sluggers partake in a batting practice dedicated to in-state rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers, before sending a gloved-citizen flailing over Bay Bridge-- the epitome of a sacrifice fly.
In "Chase," a detective's last-minute heroics in capturing a wise guy are stopped short when Fred Lewis and catcher Bengie Molina save the day, with a throw-out collision at home plate. "Interrogation" is deceptively gruesome: what seems like a brutal mob battering in a meat locker turns out to be a thug striking out against ace pitcher Tim Lincecum before reliever Brian Wilson "finishes him off." “Train” adds a comical twist to cinematic suspense, as woman riding the subway finds herself in a “pickle” before being tagged out by emerging superstar Pablo Sandoval.
To view the spots, please go to https://interdubs.com/r/ntropic/?al=14xWgiE&an=9PwMif&e=JFzVq1tKw
Ntropic was brought into the project early on, helping Swirl to refine its approach from a special effect perspective, and contributing VFX, editorial and sound design. Led by Founder/Creative Director Nathan Robinson, Ntropic’s VFX team created CG baseballs and birds, and crowd replication in “Attack,” as well as the uncanny meat-and-blood splattering in “Interrogation.”
“These spots are so refreshing, especially for baseball,” says Robinson. “Swirl really delivered great concepts for us to work with. They’re misdirects – you think the story’s going in one direction, but then realize that that’s not really the case. They’re very cinematic, like movie trailers.”
Executive Producer Mark Dwyer of Dwyer Productions assembled the entire production crew, which shot all four spots in just two days – a tall order, considering the principals were a Giants team in the heat of spring training.
“Planning was especially crucial in producing these four large-idea spots,” recalls Dwyer. “The Giants like a player presence in their branding spots, so we had to coordinate and schedule around the players. With multiple-shoot locations and a two-day turnaround, I’m really proud of how it all came together. Being huge baseball fans, the project was a labor of love for Brian [Bacino], Nate and me. It was key to have people who were willing to jump in and do it. Prepping and involving the crew very early on to work out issues beforehand was also critical.”
Due to the tight timeline, Robinson brought in Jay Herda (of David Editorial) to collaborate on the edit. In cutting the HD spots, which were shot in Super 16 on an ARRI camera, Robinson and Herda worked simultaneously in next-door rooms for a seamless and spontaneous process.
“It was such an efficient way to work – we literally ran between rooms, discussing our ideas,” concludes Robinson. “From an editorial standpoint, ‘Train’ was the most difficult because it had to build suspense, which we were able to achieve through the pacing and music. Mark and his team also provided production sound, which helped with my sound design. We had a lot of fun working on this campaign. From the people to the concept to the final product, everything came together effortlessly.”
Client: Swirl Inc. and San Francisco Giants
Spot Titles: Attack, Interrogation/Interrogation Alt, Chase, Train
Ad Agency: Swirl, San Francisco, CA
ECD/Director: Brian Bacino
Creative Director/Copywriter: Steve Anacker
Art Directors: James Philipps & Brandon de Jong
Production Company: Dwyer Productions, Sausalito, CA
Director: Brian Bacino (of Swirl)
DP: Andy Lilien
Executive Producer: Mark Dwyer
Producer: Susan Cunningham Dwyer
Where shot: San Francisco, CA
Editorial Company: Ntropic, San Francisco, CA
Editors: Nathan Robinson & Jay Herda
Assistant Editor: Jesse Boots
Postproduction Facility: The Syndicate, Santa Monica, CA
Colorist: Marshall Plante
Assistant Colorist: Daniel Becerra
VFX Company: Ntropic, San Francisco, CA
Creative Director/Inferno Artist: Nathan Robinson
Shake: Benjamin Mattress
Maya: Deb Santosa
Executive Producer: Dana Townsend
Producer: Kara Holmstrom
Music Company: Singing Serpent, San Diego, CA
Composer: Arabella Harrison for “Chase” and Richard Wiley for “Attack”
Executive Producer: Glen Galloway
Other: Brent Asbury
Sound Design & Audio Post Company: M Squared, San Francisco, CA
Sound Designer/Engineer: Mark Pitchford
About Swirl, Inc.
Swirl is a success-driven integrated marketing firm based in San Francisco. Founded in 1997, Swirl creates highly effective, award-winning marketing and communications programs for major brands such as eBay, Jamba Juice and Delta Dental. For more information about Swirl visit www.swirl.net.