Thursday night, June 13th on ABC, millions of viewers will see Game 4 of the 2013 NBA Finals match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and the defending champion Miami Heat. This will also be their fourth chance to watch the spectacular new Broadcast Open for the NBA Finals produced by the creative force Juniper Jones (www.juniperjones.tv) through its continuing relationship with ESPN.
Going back several years, Juniper Jones founder and creative director Kevin Robinson helped create ESPN’s Conference Finals Open. The invitation to pitch for the new Finals Open was yet another tall order, and Robinson and his colleagues pulled out all the stops to make it sensational. According to ESPN senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan and his team producing each of the 2013 Finals telecasts, the new Broadcast Open was a two-month project. “It puts all the focus and attention on great players, great teams and great moments that only happen at the NBA Finals,” he said.
“The montage is definitely front and center,” Robinson explained. “That’s the main piece, and I credit editor Eli Mavros as being the driving force of this project. Around those visuals, we set out to drive the overall Open with the additional elements we shot and the animation and visual effects that make the montage feel even more part of the live event.”
Continuing, Robinson added, “It was a balancing act of enhancing the story and not distracting from it. We wanted it to feel like this big screen was physically in the stadium at the NBA Finals, and get viewers excited about the special moments they are about to behold in this season’s championship series.”
Once everyone agreed on the storytelling approach for the two-minute Finals Open, the Juniper Jones studio in Brooklyn was in operation around-the-clock to deliver the finished piece. Naturally, the montage opens with great moments from past NBA Finals, before featuring some of the league’s most famous dynasties. For example, the rich history and culture of the legendary Boston Celtics is enshrined first, before the Los Angeles Lakers of the “show time” era take center stage. Next come game-changer Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls who are elevated into the heavens, before viewers are pulled back into the arena with Shaq and Kobe. For the Spurs, Juniper Jones’ artists feature their Texas locale and branding, and when they get to the Heat, sparks fly with their flaming logo.
“We tried to give everyone their moment and tried to give the proper weight for the different dynasties,” Robinson said. “And for the final celebration, we just tried to make everything feel spectacular.”
All around the movie screen in the center of the new Open, viewers see stagehands and other live-action elements interfacing with the screen. Those plates were shot by Robinson, director of photography Scott Maguire and others during one long day of filming at City Stage in Manhattan, where the ARRI Alexa digital motion picture camera system was used to capture principal photography on green-screen. “Knowing that the goal was to create a new Open that is meant to last for the next eight years, we tried to do as much as we could within our timeframe to make it special,” Robinson concluded. “What we delivered is built to evolve, and because our clients were so fantastic, we were able to get it all done in time and make the strongest Open possible.”
For ESPN, credit goes to Executive VP John Wildhack, Senior VP Mark Gross, NBA Finals producer Tim Corrigan and producers Valerie Fischler, Mark Teitleman. Along with Kevin Robinson, Eli Mavros and Scott Maguire, Juniper Jones’ credits include executive producer Susie Shuttleworth, senior producer Ryan McRee, associate producer Kyle McKeveny, art director Lloyd Alverez, TD/CG supervisor Caius Wong, 3D generalist Joe Nguyen, 3D VFX Joe Gunn, compositor Chris West, designer/compositor Steve Lee, designer/animator Naomie Ross, rotoscoper J Bush and assistant editor Jonathan Rouzier. The 2013 NBA Finals Broadcast Open features the music track “Legends and Heroes” from Peter Zepina of Mibe Music, and the sound design and mix are courtesy of Joe Just of Vidiots.
About Juniper Jones
Based in DUMBO on Brooklyn’s waterfront, Juniper Jones is the creative force dedicated to creating custom-tailored solutions. The firm’s rogue team of award-winning directors and designers believes beauty is always in motion, and that forging deep collaborative experiences with clients yields epic results. Leveraging the brand expertise of its clients, the force’s meticulous diligence reveals spot-on insights, which then benefit from legendary storytelling craftsmanship. At Juniper Jones, all things are real and beautiful and anything is possible… and our mission is to bring your stories to life. Ready to begin? www.juniperjones.tv.
–SHOOT Publicity Wire