CRAFT: CRAFT SECRETS; Deft directing helps Hibbert give Adidas a Renaissance feel

Mairi Clark finds out how an Italian fresco came to life on a computer screen

Mairi Clark finds out how an Italian fresco came to life on a computer


Adidas’s recent campaign for Euro 96 featured five footballers: Marcel

Desailly, Matthias Sammer, Fernando Hierro, Paul Gascoigne and

Alessandro Del Piero.

The five films each starred one of the players and took their creative

lead from their nicknames: Desailly was ‘the rock’; Sammer was

‘firehead’; Hierro ‘the locomotive’; and Gascoigne the ‘magician’. Del

Piero’s nickname, given to him by his Italian home team, Juventus, is

‘Pintoricchio’, a Renaissance painter, so his film was set as a

painting. Of the five films it stands out as a work of art, but the spot

actually owes more to the directing than to the computerised painting

techniques used.

It was directed by Jerry Hibbert, the managing director of Hibbert

Ralph, who shot just two or three actors at a time. Del Piero was filmed

in Milan, while the rest of the actors were recorded in London. After

shooting the live versions of the different scenes, Hibbert overlaid the

films so it looked as if the characters were filmed en masse.

He crafted the whole spot scene by scene, inserting the actors and Del

Piero, as and when they were required. All the London characters were

rehearsed together, but because they were filmed in different sections,

each actor had to remember where Del Piero would be in the shot so that

they could appear to look at him when he was toying with the ball.

Each scene was done in a studio against a blue backdrop to limit the

amount of shadow. The goalkeeper - who in the spot fails to save a goal

kicked by Del Piero from 20 feet below - was filmed on his own, leaping

in the air to save the goal, safely landing on a mattress. In the

finished scene, the mattress is disguised by clouds generated on Henry.

As soon as all the scenes were lined up, the next step was to set them

against the final background, which had been created especially for the

film using images taken from Renaissance paintings.

Once the background was added and the finishing touches had been made on

Henry, Hibbert ran the film through a computer painter program which

added cracks and gave the film the roughened surface look of a painting.

Hibbert believes that his art-school training helped him. ‘I tried to

look at the scenes as if I were a Renaissance artist painting in a

chapel. They tended to compress an event into 12 feet of scene, so I

wanted to get across how a football match would look if the pitch was

that size,’ he explains.