Wed, 25 Aug 2021 14:55:00 GMT
This year, Nice Shoes teamed up with Gillette and agency Grey NY to bring Deion Sanders’ 1989 NFL Draft Night into the 21st century. For nostalgic sports fans, it was a dream come true to see Deion Sanders appear in his full 80s glory.
The ad, part of Gillette’s 21/22 NFL season campaign, captured attention by showing what looked to be the real Deion getting ready just moments before the 1989 NFL Draft — but it was actually filmed with a Deion look-alike, whose features were replaced in post-production.
In the ad, Deion can be seen in a mirror telling the audience: “When you look good, you feel good.”
And while deepfake technology has had its controversial moments, Nice Shoes has shown how the AI-generated video software can have a transformative effect on audiences by bringing past cultural touchstones into the modern day.
LBB caught up with Harv Glazer, executive creative director at Nice Shoes, who also directed the spot, to see how they pulled the ad off, made the deepfake Deion appear seamlessly, and what it was like getting Deion’s approval.
Harv Glazer> The agency came to us with the idea, but they weren't sure how to execute it as there were multiple ways it could work. It was actually the perfect time to come to us, as with our creative process we like to get ideas in before things are set in stone.
Harv> Deepfake tech can only be described as insane. It basically works by training AI to recognise the person you're trying to replicate, to know what they look like from every angle, and to be able to know the face they are replacing in the same manner. It’s a lot more technical and a lot more time consuming than a snapchat filter. And when you see it done well, you won't know you're seeing it.
Harv> The team at Grey NY are actually my favourite team in the industry right now. Not only do they think outside the box, they think outside of the cupboard the box is in — and they aren't afraid to take risks. We get along well and they trust my instincts when it comes to how to bring their amazing creative ideas to life.
Harv> This ad needed to feel like it was shot in 1989 — that was the original idea at least. That doesn't mean throw a filter on it with scan lines and scratches and voila, it’s 1989. Lesson number one: scan lines are a television artefact, and scratches and noise are a film artefact. Don't mix them, kids!
It was more about the art direction, the lighting, and figuring out what the lavish bathroom needed to look like it was from 1989. We had a great time watching back to back seasons of Miami Vice to figure that out.
Harv> Maria Carratero killed the colour on this spot. It's not overdone. It's not faked to be old. It just looks classic.
Harv> We definitely worked hard to find a black male with the similar build to Deion in 1989, that's not an easy thing to cast for when you can't use the words Deion Sanders. In the end we found the perfect Deion. He was amazing. Although, we cast the whole thing online due to COVID so it wasn't until we got his sizes that we realized he was a full foot taller than Sanders. Diana Abbatangelo the production designer adjusted the set to fit him properly and it was all fine in the end.
Harv> We cut the spot with the raw talent and once it was locked Chris Ume, VFX artist, went to work on the face replacement. It was a back and forth process — true deepfake isn't “hit a button and it works,” it takes time. The process actually starts weeks before the shoot when in true “Weird Science” fashion we literally hook jumper cables up to a barbie doll and start feeding the computer every piece of video and photography available of the subject.
Harv> It's only controversial in the wrong hands. It's definitely not okay to use it with bad intent, but Chris and his team at Metaphysic are pros and their vision for this technology is much bigger than what anyone else is thinking. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Harv> He loved it. He was involved, which is awesome. I have a video of him watching it for the first time, that was pretty cool. I'll add that to my bucket list of amazing things that have happened to me, it’ll sit beside that time the Simpsons spoofed a scene from Drake's Started From the Bottom video that I also happened to appear in. Deion was a God to me as a kid, I still have his Sports Illustrated cover around here somewhere.
Harv> It took some time but nothing out of the ordinary. I think our post workflow was 4 weeks.
Harv> Getting the clients to trust us, that we could pull this off and make it look great. All great creativity starts with trust.
Harv> For us, the project is a perfect example of showing that Nice Shoes is a production problem solver and we deliver especially when faced with complicated creative requirements.
I will definitely be using AI again, and I'm in talks about another project right now. Chris and I make a great team and I can’t wait to work with him again.view more - Behind the WorkNice Shoes, Wed, 25 Aug 2021 14:55:00 GMT