With the goal of capturing Black Adam electricity and to further fan anticipation, ESPN CreativeWorks and Stept Studios created a spot featuring a similar larger-than-life hero, LA Chargers Linebacker, Khalil Mack.
Utilizing cutting-edge virtual environment tech, Stept Studios blended the use of virtual and live-action production with the unique skill set of director/VFX/editor Gianluigi Carella to transport Mack into the world of Black Adam.
— Khalil Mack (@FiftyDeuce) October 17, 2022
Behind The Scenes
Carella was engaged to not only help bring their vision to life but to give it that extra Black Adam-style punch. His process started by mapping out the entire spot in previs within his treatment, then building out his locations in Unreal. Before the shoot even started, ESPN CreativeWorks was able to see all the locations and how they would interact with the VFX and the talent. The digital worlds can be adjusted on set if the ESPN CreativeWorks team wanted to make adjustments, which is a huge plus versus working with a practical location.
By the time everyone made it to the set, they were able to see an image in camera that was very close to the final output. On the fly, we were able to adjust lighting, the time of day, and physical elements of the location.
“The flexibility of Unreal Engine allowed us to shoot in multiple locations within minutes of each other by simply swapping out the computer-generated environments. We were able to change camera direction, time of day and weather conditions within the amount of time it took for a wardrobe change and re-dressing the set,” explained D. Ryan Reeb, head of VFX and animation at Lockt Editorial.
“The interactive backgrounds also move in real-time in relation to our camera movement, helping sell the digital worlds as reality. After the shoot, Lockt Editorial handled the post-production and added an additional layer of VFX work that was delicately integrated to tie everything together.”
Director Gianluigi Carella’s strong background in VFX and editing, was the perfect fit to bring their vision to screen. “Gianluigi is really gifted at bringing abstract concepts together by mixing live-action production and VFX work,” says Nick Martini, Stept Studios founder and CEO.
The Mack spot aired on SportsCenter on Monday, October 17th at 7 am eastern standard time.