FEATURE: The making of Nike's Great Return

A simple script featuring a boy running through inner-city New York has been turned into a visual feast thanks to impressive technical camerawork for this latest Nike ad.

Director Rupert Sanders created the effect, rarely seen within commercials, by attaching 50 cameras to antique golf cars.

These track the central character as he careers down the back alleys and sidewalks of downtown Brooklyn, New York.

Sanders toyed with the idea of using a small helicopter with a camera attached, but soon realised that he wouldn't get close enough to the boy and there were too many risks attached.

"I really wanted to use different camera techniques to float around him," he says, "but after carrying out tests, the images came out too smooth and seamless." Which is why Sanders hit on the idea of having multiple frames from all the different cameras creating a fragmented effect on screen.

"We needed to keep high levels of energy throughout the film and keep the ad jerky," he says.

One of the difficulties, explains Sanders, was actually keeping the boy in the central frame and moving with the 50 cameras at the same time as he was running. Even so, the shoot was completed in three days, and the effect of having multiple images onscreen is mesmerising.

To find the right person to star in the ad, Sanders went for street casting. "One day we were getting a feel of the area and I saw this boy shooting hoops in one of the basketball courts in the public squares. He was perfect for the ad, and got the part."

The music accompanying the ad was an important component, used to make the images appear even more jumpy and fragmented. It was created for the ad by Clint Mansel, the man behind Darren Aronofsksy's film scores in his feature films Pi and Requiem for a Dream.

The sound effects were created by Brian Elfik, who also devised the sound for Requiem for a Dream, lending the ad an air of laid-back urban cool.

Overall, the ad took three months to create from pre to post production. With the intriguing effect created in-camera rather than through special effects, the true test was for the editor. Some 560 hours of film were delivered to the edit, which was then scaled down to 90 seconds. Colour-balancing each of the 50 cameras was the last, painstaking task. But it certainly paid off.