New York City (February 16, 2005)–Marshall Grupp of New York’s Marshall Grupp Sound Design and Music created sound design to support the incredible transformation of a wooden court into a team of aggressive basketball players for a new spot for Adidas. Conceived by San Francisco agency TBWA/Chiat Day, Improvisation introduces Adidas’s new Game Day Lightning (GDL) performance basketball footwear through a scenario in which Detroit Pistons star Chauncey Billups faces off against a parquet floor come to life.
An homage to the creativity of an NBA point guard, the spot has Billups practicing on an empty court. As he drives toward the basket, a portion of the parquet flooring bursts loose and rises up to assume the shape of an opposing player. Other wooden “players” erupt from the floor boards, seemingly trapping Billups, but he dribbles free and takes the ball in for a slam dunk.
Grupp’s task was to design and produce sound effects to accompany the incredible transformation of the basketball court, which was accomplished via CGI. “I was brought into the project early on,” recalled Grupp. “The agency wanted me to create sounds to match specific pieces of film as they were produced.”
Coming up with sounds that made the fantastic imagery seem believable proved to be a daunting challenge. “I spent a lot of time on a Foley stage experimenting with different types and sizes of wood,” Grupp said. “The agency wanted the sound design to be very realistic. They didn’t want any ‘weird’ sound elements, rather it had to sound like the court was erupting. In a sense, the court comes to life, but it’s not anthropomorphic. It doesn’t breathe or make vocal sounds-all of the sounds are derived from wood.”
Marshall Grupp Sound Design and Music