January 28, 2001
7:07 PM   Subscribe

Quoth the Ravens, nevermore. 34 - 7, and the Vince Lombardi trophy goes back to Baltimore. My favorite spots were...
posted by baylink (35 comments total)
 
man, i wasn't really bummed about the Vikings loss until i saw the Ravens dismantle the Giants. how is it that Trent Dilfer could pass on them and the Vikes couldn't?
posted by Sean Meade at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2001


... in no particular order, Southwest Airlines' pigeon-tender, the American Legacy laryngectomy spot, Coach meets N'Sync for Budweiser, the two VW spots, the two diametrically opposed Whassup? spots, the Invesco football coach spot, Snickers, crunching every cliche in the world, Levi's jean donor spot, which was kind of a chuckle, and the Pepsi/Viagra spot (the punchline of which *really* shouldn't have been let out ahead of the game; whassup with that anyway?)...

but, for me, the top two spots were Kasparov beats Hal for Pepsi, and the Cingular "the gimp" spot.

The *worst* spots were every other Cingular spot, and those stunningly useless Accenture spots.

Adcritic promises to have all the spots ripped and online within a half hour after the game; go vote for *your* favorites.
posted by baylink at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2001


etrade chimp, etrade chimp!
posted by mathowie at 7:28 PM on January 28, 2001


My favorite spot was the impromptu 30-second ad that Phil Simms and Greg Gumbel did for Ray Lewis in the fourth quarter. It's heartwarming to know that one year after he either witnessed or committed two murders, Lewis is determined to contact the families of the victims at some undesignated future date.
posted by rcade at 7:35 PM on January 28, 2001


I thought the EDS Running with the Squirrels commercial was cool, even if they did a similar commercial last year.

By the way, it's pretty neat that you can go from most violent person to most valuable player in a year - uh, yeah.
posted by moural at 7:37 PM on January 28, 2001


"What are you doing?!". That one was great.

I thought all the Cingular spots were pretty good, but the Accenture one's were pretty horrible. My favorite would also have to be the eTrade chimp, how I love chimps. Pepsi's were bad, except for the Bob Dole one which was clever.
posted by Mark at 7:41 PM on January 28, 2001


Thought the Cingular ones were pretty bad in that they played on your sympathetic side. The quality was good, but the idea wasn't.
posted by hobbes at 7:44 PM on January 28, 2001


I'd have say the E*Trade chimp took it again. But the "What are you doing?" Bud spot was also excellent. Accenture had no business a) creating such a horribly unmemorable name and b) wasting so much cash on such useless television spots. By the way, does anyone know whether all of those music "artists" were represented by the same record company? Just curious.
posted by jacobris at 8:02 PM on January 28, 2001


In the halftime show, you mean? That's a *very* astute question; I don't know, off hand.
posted by baylink at 8:14 PM on January 28, 2001


The Cingular Gimp ad has to be the most tasteless commercial I have ever seen in my life. Literally jaw-dropping. Think about it: They used a guy who can't talk to promote cell phone service. Will he be their mascot now? "Come see The Cingular Gimp this weekend at Kroger! Timeports only $29.99! Gimp art lithographs free with $100 in groceries!"

You may pay worship to Cingular's "celebration of the power and beauty of the human spirit and its self-expression" here.

Otherwise, I was very disappointed in the quality of the ads this year. I'm glad the dotcoms are gone, but the replacements didn't seem to be much better than the ads you see any other day of the year. Though I admit I liked the lily-white yuppies doing "What is going on?" and alien Bud ads. And the Kasparov ad, though it wasn't as good as it could have been.
posted by aaron at 10:02 PM on January 28, 2001



Can someone please tell me why she wore tube socks on her arm?
posted by mathowie at 10:56 PM on January 28, 2001


Public decency laws require that she keep something covered.
posted by aaron at 11:26 PM on January 28, 2001


Dear God! She is wearing the fur of the Pets.com sock puppet!
posted by kindall at 11:39 PM on January 28, 2001


The King Gimp ad was about the power of expressing yourself, not the power of speech. If you're going to be that literal-minded, I think you should be much more concerned with the exploitation of squirrels and Bob Dole.
posted by rcade at 11:48 PM on January 28, 2001


Why the hell were Penn and Teller called upon to hustle pizzas? That, along with the squirrel ad, seemed to me another strained effort from Madison Avenue to create illusory (read: safe) wackiness.

The nod to the pets.com sock puppet in the eTrade ad and Bob Dole's willing self-deprecation were among the highlights. The Cingular commercials were a terrible idea, particularly the exploitative Gimp and the stuipd guy dancing against a white background.

And Gary Kasparov and Pepsi made about as much sense as kosher pork.


posted by ed at 12:31 AM on January 29, 2001


jacobris: Nope. Mary J. Blige and Nelly are on Universal, Britney and N*Sync are on BMG, and Aerosmith is on Sony. Looks like the major record companies that lost out were Warner Bros. and EMI, unless I've forgotten one and there really are more than five major record companies left.
posted by jjg at 12:58 AM on January 29, 2001


I'm personally more interested in that cacophonic mish-mash they pumped out before the artists took stage. You know, that collection of what seemed to be a fraction-of-a-second snippet from Every Mainstream Song Ever Made. Are they even going to try to sort out the royalties on that bad boy?
posted by youhas at 2:01 AM on January 29, 2001


Did they do the Matrix Replay Thing?
posted by fullerine at 3:31 AM on January 29, 2001


During the 5 minutes that I watched the game, I saw the Matrix Replay thing, and I must say that I was very impressed. They used it after one of the Ravens ran a touch down- from a kick off. (Forgive me, I'm not a sports fan). The shot that was seen live, the guy was furthest from the camera on the field. During the replay, as he was running, they moved the POV so that he was closest, and you could see that he was inbounds.

I also had the displeasure of seeing the Cingular Gimp ad- I felt played. I couldn't believe that was a commercial for a cell phone company. I was waiting to see something heart-wrenching, some company that's making it possible for disabled people to create and have access to art programs, etc... but NO! It was a stinking cell phone commercial. I hope that he got paid well.

I definitely enjoyed the "running of the squirrels"
posted by TuxHeDoh at 6:15 AM on January 29, 2001


A friend of mine found a list titled "Pick a slogan for this year's Superbowl" or something like that. My favorite:

"Accenture -- Even we don't know what we do."

posted by CrayDrygu at 6:29 AM on January 29, 2001


I was disappointed by the Matrix replay effect. I guess my expectations were very unrealistic. The rotating camera motion was too jumpy, and with the players frozen. Thirty cameras covering 270° means one every 9°, and that must be co$tly but still insufficient for a smooth rotating video pan (is that the term?).

As for the ads, the E-trade chimp was the absolute best.
posted by tremendo at 7:12 AM on January 29, 2001


EyeVision was, IMHO, pretty damned impressive for the first time out of the gate. Remember: the officials take for reply whatever the network gives them, so that's what *they* saw, too.

I concur that the resolution wasn't quite up to snuff; I'm blaming the storage system rather than the cameras. I don't know the technical details yet -- I assume it was a bank of synchronized DDR's; Tektronix Profiles or the like -- but I'm sure that TV Broadcast or TV Technology will have a story out in the next couple weeks. When I spot it, I'll link it.

And as for The Gimp (what an amusing confluence - artistry wise, I mean :-), I liked it, myself, because it was the only one of their commercials which *met* it's target premise: "self-expression". Ads are *supposed* to "play" you; that's the point.

Yeah, the Kasparov ad could have been done a bit better... but they probably couldn't afford Ridley Scott.

I was actually a touch surprised that I Did Not Hear Also Sprach Zarathustra Once During The Game.

I figured that the acute lack of 2001 takeoff commercials this year was just because everyone was *waiting*... <sigh>
posted by baylink at 7:29 AM on January 29, 2001


I was disappointed by the Matrix replay effect.

What you saw in the Matrix was the result of 100's of hours of non-realtime, multipass CGI rendering using ultra-high quality footage shot on film. What you saw in the Stuporbowl was the result of 10-20 seconds of on-the-fly rendering using fairly low quality video footage. Had they used HDTV videocams (I'm pretty sure they didn't), the effect would've likely still been jerky, but much less grainy.
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2001


I thought the Eyevision replays were great, especially on the Jermaine Lewis kickoff return and the Jamal Lewis touchdown. The image quality wasn't great, but they showed stuff that would have been impossible to see otherwise.

King Gimp was like a lot of the good ads in the Super Bowl -- the company tie-in was the weakest part. Will anyone remember that was a Cingular spot in six months?
posted by rcade at 8:19 AM on January 29, 2001


> What you saw in the Matrix was the result of 100's of hours of non-realtime, multipass CGI rendering using ultra-high quality footage shot on film.

Well yeah, but I'm guessing that the Gap TV commercials didn't spend that much to get the same basic effect. Unless I'm completely off-base here, I thought the eye-vision would be based also on the Virtual Camera technology.

> they showed stuff that would have been impossible to see otherwise.

I don't believe the rotating effect really added much, a simple wipe to the last camera viewpoint would have been enough in most cases.

I don't want to be The Grinch that stole the superbowl here, it's just that I set myself up for disappointment. I am still waiting for that kick that will convince me that we are in the 21st century.
posted by tremendo at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2001


I think there are two things that establish the newness of this century: the hospital in England that has been stealing the organs of deceased children and mad cow disease. Both of them sound like things straight out of a cyberpunk novel.
posted by rcade at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2001


"Well yeah, but I'm guessing that the Gap TV commercials didn't spend that much to get the same basic effect."

Actually, the Gap ads used the exact same technique used in the Matrix. Lemme see how well I can explain without drawing diagrams...

First, of course, you have your stage. Let's say we're doing a 180-degree rotate from left to right, freezing the action in the middle. On the left and right sides of the stage, you place two normal video cameras. In a semicircle between sit as many still cameras as you can fit. They're all rigged together to fire at the exact same time.

So you've got your people on the stage dancing around, with camera A on the left filming them. Shortly before you want the Matrix effect, you start camera B filming. Then, at just the right moment, you press the button to have your (say, 100) still cameras take a shot of the action.

What you're left with is a full-motion video clip of the action leading up to the freeze, still shots from 100 different angles at a single point in the action, and video from the freeze until you stop filming.

You then feed those 100 shots into a computer (or just use high-quality digital cameras so they're already there), and use software to fill in the minute gaps between the still shots that would otherwise make the video look choppy. If you've got enough shots, it's not hard to do, especially since the subjects didn't move from frame to frame, just the angle.

Once that's done, you have video up to the freeze, video *of* the freeze, and video after the freeze. Splice them together and you're done.

There used to be examples on The Matrix website showing how it was done (QuickTime clips of the "Bullet Time" scene before, during, and after computer editing).

That's the basic idea, anyway, TimeTrack works ever so slightly differently but follows the same principle. The only differences between this and the SuperBowl's EyeVision are as follows:

1) EyeVision uses far less cameras, resulting in choppier movement
2) EyeVision needs to pull together a product in seconds, whereas TimeTrack can take as long as it needs to.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:22 PM on January 29, 2001


Ok, *some* more detail, based on technical coverage before the game and a little background in broadcast:

EyeVision uses 33 cameras rigged to track the same point on the field as a cameraman flies a pedestal with a set of lens controls and a viewfinder.

Each of those cameras feeds (very likely) a separate (channel of a) Digital Disk Recorder, probably something like a Tek profile or that thing from Pinnacle that I forget the name of. All 33 of those channels record continuously off of their specific camera, probably in a continuous loop (DDR's are good for that), capturing, maybe, the last 30 seconds of action. Maybe a minute.

When a play stops, the replay guy hits the stop button (or maybe the A/B select button, and a different set of loops starts running), and the recorded loops are then placed under the control of a slow-mo controller (t-bar and some point marker buttons, usually), and *all played back in sync*. The output desired to feed the production truck is then selected, on a frame by frame basis, by a big 33-positino knob that lets the operator pan around the stadium.

That's based on some speculation, but I don't think it will turn out to be more than about 15% off.

This, frankly, wasn't really all that hard to do; it will be interesting to see if the $2.5 million figure *includes all the gear*...
posted by baylink at 12:47 PM on January 29, 2001


big 33-positino knob

Is that like a positron or a neutrino? ;)
posted by kindall at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2001


I highly suggest everyone interested rent the Matrix DVD (actually, I think they have the making thing on the VHS as well). The Making Of feature explains pretty well how they did it, and it's a lot easier to understand when you see their setup.

I think one of the biggest limitations of the EyeVision system apart from the fact that it has much less cameras and time to work, is that the cameras have to actually move up and down the field to follow the football. In the Matrix, it is setup in a circle around the actors, and the cameras stay still as they take the shots.
posted by swank6 at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2001


Does anyone have a definitive answer as to when this technique was first used.

I have been quoted a Van Halen video, a Bluetones video, which are both supposedly Pre Gap Advert.

(It's to settle an argument)
posted by fullerine at 4:10 PM on January 29, 2001


Aerosync gave me the willies.

Lil Spears' mic seemed way too quiet -- wonder if they didn't like how she sang it?

Mary J. kicked ass. Mary J. and Steven Tyler looked rockin' together.

What demographic were they reaching with Sync & Spears Co.? Do young teens watch the Super Bowl?

posted by amanda at 7:28 PM on January 29, 2001


Spears' mic was quiet, though not quiet enough.
posted by Spirit_VW at 11:56 PM on January 29, 2001


No young teens watch the superbowl, but plenty of old pervs. (Ha! Betcha didn't see that one a-comin'!!)
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:35 AM on January 30, 2001


TTBOMK, the simultaneous-fire-camera-arc technique was in fact original to the production team on The Matrix.

According to an interview with Visual Effects Supe John Gaeta here, the move is actually called "Flow-Mo", but he doesn't comment on whether it's original or not.

This piece, OTOH, says that the technique is not new, having been invented for motion analysis studies, but that this is the first time it had been applied to motion pictures.

Of course, that *still* doesn't answer the question at hand...
posted by baylink at 7:38 AM on January 30, 2001


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