Close-Up: Live Issue - Fuglsig lets the balls fly for Sony Bravia TV ad

Fallon's ad for the Bravia TV features 250,000 bouncy balls careering through the streets of San Francisco.

Fallon's two-and-a-half-minute film for the launch of Sony's new Bravia LCD TV set is as much art as it is advertising.

The premise was simple: what would happen if 250,000 bouncy balls were catapulted down some of the steepest hills in San Francisco?

Randomness is central to "balls". The team had no idea what would happen when they put the idea into practice. "It was mind-blowingly crazy," the ad's director, Nicolai Fuglsig, says. "The balls flew down the street much faster than we predicted. Local San Franciscans were gob-smacked. People were hanging out of windows everywhere wanting to see it."

"It was one of those ideas where you didn't need to write a script - there was no real narrative," Juan Cabral, Fallon's creative on the ad, says. "The idea is something that's in every child's mind - to throw things down those steep streets and see what happens."

Over two days, 250,000 balls were dropped from the scoops of mech-anical diggers and shot into the air by cannons from the top of the hill, while 23 crew on six cameras recorded the results.

Fuglsig and Cabral chose the bouncy balls for their colour - to communicate the colour quality of the Bravia TV - and for their unpredictability.

"It's all about the balls: the moods, the colours, the vitality and organic flow," Fuglsig says.

The team began planning the filming back in April, scouting San Francisco and measuring up streets with laser equipment. Six streets were chosen: Levenworth; Filbert; Sanchez; 22nd; Broadway and Kearney.

"Kearney Street is so steep you have trouble even walking across it," Nell Jordon, the producer at MJZ, explains.

Nets and plastic shields were put at the bottom of the hill to catch the balls and protect the crew. Everyone wore crash helmets - Fuglsig himself wore riot gear for the shoot - and all the sewer drains had to be covered. Despite the precautions the balls damaged 32 prop cars and six houses. It took 45 people to collect the balls, although more than 1,000 remain at large in the city.

What adds that extra bit of soul to Sony "balls" is there was no cheating during the filming, no illusion and no CG tricks whatsoever - it is all in camera. Cabral says: "Sony is saying the TV is like no other. That's the heart of why we've done this, why we've bothered, because it really is like no other. We've done it for real."

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