Next to the exuberant eye-candy of "Gamebreakers" and "Mechanical Legs" this Nike ad looks like Borat in his bathing suit. Of course this is a matter of taste (with me simply not liking it), but easily the most interesting thing about this commercial has got to be David's teaming up with cinematographer Claudio Miranda -- who was granted his very first work as a commercial DOP!
Chilean-born Miranda worked himself up the ranks, starting out as a stage master, electrician and finally a gaffer. He first met David Fincher, when he served as a best boy on David's music videos for Madonna (Express Yourself) and Aerosmith (Janie's Got A Gun). Miranda's over-ambition clearly struck a nerve with Fincher, who called on him to work as a gaffer on THE GAME and FIGHT CLUB.
In 1999 came the turning point: David called Miranda, asking him to work as a gaffer on PANIC ROOM -- and Claudio turned it down. "I told him I had started to shoot, and that I wanted to go in that direction." And Fincher said: "Well, do you want to shoot for Nike?"
The coolest, isn't it?
The Nike "filmstrip", which was a series of six commercials, featuring athletes running in, well, film strips (what a concept!), thus was Claudio Miranda's first work as a commercial DOP. And flashforward to now, where Claudio works as the cinematographer on David's upcoming epic "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008).
As for the spot, it seems over-amibitious Claudio built quite a rig:
"There were bluescreens and huge top-light rigs that were completely adjustable and all on motors—it was quite a thing. (...) We took it to Los Angeles, North Carolina and Rome in order to follow the athletes. In Los Angeles, we shot for four days, but the rigs took two days to build. They took four days to build in Rome. There were a lot of pre-light days. Also, I did a lot of blue-screen testing to see how much money I could save, because the darker I could make it, the less lights I needed." (-- ShootOnline.com)
So, was it worth it?
Like I said, the commercial really doesn't tickle me, and I seriously hope you will gain more pleasure out of this. But considering this debut spawned a series of overwhelming collaborations (the Nike 'Gamebreakers', Xelibri's 'Beauty for Sale' and the Heineken 'Beer Run') and has us all anticipating David's next feature ...
-- Yes: Thanks, Dave, for giving him a crack at it!
The video in a very good quality:
And to see more of Claudio Miranda's work, visit his great website: