UTOKA, the end-to-end creative company, blended live-action footage with seamless, photo-real CGI and motion graphics for a multi-platform spot showcasing the cutting-edge technology behind MIZUNO Maxcor, MIZUNO's high-performance baseball bat.
MIZUNO, a high-end global sporting goods company, called on the Atlanta-based studio to create a stylish spot that showcased the features and technology behind the new aluminum Maxcor bat. UTOKA's full range of live-action production, CGI, motion graphic and editorial service were tapped to create a video geared to high school, college and traveling baseball players that want to take their game to the next level.
Ed Dye, UTOKA's CCO, and director Ken Soons took MIZUNO's internal creative down to its core, developing a visual story with a minimalistic approach and intensity that focuses the viewers on the forward-thinking engineering and features designed to up their game. The team collaborated with John Petri, creative director of MIZUNO USA, and Manny Marquez, art director for Baseball/Softball and Volleyball on the refining of the concept.
The scenario called for live footage of a batter going through his paces, as well as imagery of the interior of the product revealing the components of the unique engineering and the innovative technology behind its enhanced features.
The video was shot in UTOKA's studio on an ARRI Alexa mini camera with Cooke S4 Prime lenses. The entire set was painted black to create the look of a nighttime game. Soons worked with director of photography Jeff Dillon to create the dramatic feel of the dark background that draws the eye to the product.
MIZUNO's engineers provided UTOKA's team with a Maxcor bat, split in half, exposing its high-tech infrastructure. The team photographed the features from all angles ensuring the accuracy of the CGI. CGI artist, Cesar Carvallo, created photo-real replications that seamlessly matched the video and photography, using Adobe After FX, Maya and Cinema 4D. Soons then edited, and color graded the footage using a mix of equipment, including Adobe Premiere, Adobe After FX and DaVinci Resolve.
The spot opens with a baseball player in full gear, exiting the bullpen, selecting a Maxcor bat and heading onto the field. Standing over the plate, he gets into batting stance and takes a warm-up swing. A succession of design elements and statistical data builds the technology-driven feel of the video.
Tight shots of the batter's face beaded with sweat convey his intensity and photo-real CGI reveals the interior of the bat's pioneering engineering. At the same time, callouts identify key features of the bat, such as 'dynamic damper reduces vibration,' 'two-piece construction composite handle, reduces weight and vibration,' 'hot metal(tm) with Coretech(tm),' 'VP sleeve creates backspin for increased distance.'
The exterior of the CGI bat rotates to highlight the '63% larger sweet spot'. The camera pulls back creating a smooth transition between the CGI world and the shot footage just as the bat makes contact with the ball and it takes flight. The spot closes with the tag phrase, 'Details Matter,' followed by the MIZUNO logo.
"Seeing the project through from start to finish really helped on the back-end workflow," adds Soons. "Knowing the exact lighting set up we would be using in the studio on set, allowed us to mimic that look in post for seamless matching of the real and CGI elements."
UTOKA handled the job from concept through delivery, completing every element of the project in-house except for audio. The creative agency teamed up with Circus Act's Nikos Mavrommatis, who created the sound design and mixed the audio
"This was a challenging project that tapped the full scope our services," adds Michael Zarrillo, CEO. "UTOKA's ability to come up with strategic and creative solutions to deliver on our clients' needs, even when budgets are tight, and expectations and asks are high, is what makes this team amazing."
The MIZUNO spot is slated to be integrated into its marketing campaign, as well as run on social media and the company's website.
PRODUCT: MIZUNO Maxcor
TYPE: Multi-Platform Spot :30
CLIENT: Mizuno USA
Creative Director of Mizuno USA: John Petri
Art Director for Baseball/Softball + Volleyball: John Petri
CREATIVE AGENCY: UTOKA / Atlanta
Chief Creative Officer/Creative Director: Ed Dye
Concept - John Petri/Mizuno
Producer: Kirsten Thieman
PRODUCTION COMPANY: UTOKA / Atlanta
Director: Ken Soons
DP: Jeff Dillon
Assistant Cameraman: Grady Upchurch
Digital Imaging Technician (DIT): Steve McCrary
Production Assistant: Trent Chastain
CGI /MOTION GRAPHICS CO.: UTOKA /Atlanta
Motion Graphics Designer: Cesar Carvallo
CGI Artist: Cesar Carvallo
EDITORIAL COMPANY: UTOKA /Atlanta
Editor: Ken Soons
Color Grading: Ken Soons
Finishing: Cesar Carvallo
AUDIO SOUND DESIGN COMPANY: Circus Act
Sound Designer/Mixer: nicos
Sherri Golden, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-212-683-1777