Once back in the Think Media offices, figuring out how to actually create and implement the fire without making it look ”cheesy” was the guys’ main concern.
”We went up against two big things,” Hardy said. ”We were worried about getting a lot of flack that it’s like the Miami Heat. That was our biggest worry. Our second worry was, is this going to be [like the video game] NBA Jam? Because you don’t want to go either of those two routes.”
With the opener looming in a few weeks, the guys went to work. While Potoczak began piecing together the footage with the music they had selected, Hardy was given the duty of creating the fire effects, a technique he had to learn on the fly.
”I learned the software from scratch, basically,” said Hardy. ”I knew the motion tracking, in order to make it follow the ball. That stuff I had down. But the fire was fully created in 3D programming from scratch. I knew what I wanted it to look like. It took six days to get it to look like that.”
Extended office hours and all-nighters were common as Potoczak and Hardy worked to put together the final product. Because of the massive file sizes of the high-quality video, a four-second clip could take up to five hours to render. Eventually, Hardy got a handle on the fire, and added it not just to the basketball, but to the hands of Kyrie Irving and the eyes of Anderson Varejao. The guys were able to meet the deadline, and Potoczak and Hardy’s creation was ready for its big debut on Oct. 30.
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