Chicago Bulls unveil new "Running of the Bulls" video at 2014-15 home opener
Team celebrates 20th anniversary of the player introduction video
October 31, 2014 – The Chicago Bulls unveiled the sixth iteration of their iconic player introduction video, “Running of the Bulls”, at tonight’s home opener vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls remained true to the tradition of the “Running of the Bulls”, which is marking its 20th anniversary this season, while modernizing the film by incorporating cutting-edge innovations in visual effects technology.
Today, player introductions are presented by BMO Harris Bank, and the new player introduction video incorporates BMO Harris Bank, Magellan Corporation and United Airlines.
“The Bulls are proud of our history as a leader in blending entertainment and live sports,” said Michael Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls President and COO. “The reimagined ‘Running of the Bulls’ integrates the latest in visual technology with the tradition that our fans love and expect from our team. The new video, paired with enhanced graphics on the United Center’s new 3-tier LED ribbon boards, as well as concert-style lighting design and special effects, elevates the fan experience to a whole new level.”
The Bulls served as the main production company on the new player introduction video project led by Michelle Harris, Bulls Director of Entertainment, and Josh Kahn, Bulls Creative Producer. The Bulls closely collaborated with 5D Global Studio, the design studio at Wondros. Alex McDowell, founder of 5D, directed, and Jesse Dylan, founder of Wondros and partner in 5D, served as creative director.
“We started with the idea of how fans think about the animated bulls and the relation to the city. That evolved into pulling the spirit of the bulls from the fabric of the city which then developed into a notion of shadows and lights, and bulls coming out of the shadows,” said McDowell. “We knew from the beginning this would be a fully integrated CGI film but more enhanced than the last version. To get both the reality of the everyday and the city of Chicago, we layered the mythology of the bulls on top to use the combination of visual effects and live action plays.”
The new iteration includes photorealistic bulls designed by Visual Effects Supervisor Jason Bayever of Rhythm & Hues, a leading visual effects company with film credits including Life of Pi and The Hunger Games. The creative team also worked with local award-winning visual effects company Method Studios who were tasked with overseeing the VFX production and worked alongside their sister companies - Beast who edited the piece; and Company 3 who provided the color grade. Led by freelance VFX Supervisor Gil Baron and Method’s senior VFX Artist Mark Anderson, the team was responsible for creating the time-lapse effects and bringing the shadowy figures of the raging bulls to life.
The video, paired with the instrumental lead-in of “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project, has become one of the most well-known player introduction sequences in the NBA. Since the United Center opened in 1994, over 19 million Bulls fans have watched an iteration of the player introduction video while at the United Center, and in that same time more than 218 million have watched it on local TV broadcasts.
To celebrate the connection between the team and the City of Chicago, well-known landmarks are incorporated into the film, including: The Chicago Theatre, City Hall, Daley Plaza, Cook County Building, Board of Trade Building, The Wrigley Building, The Art Institute of Chicago, a Chicago Transit Authority “El Train” and the United Center, among many others. The film’s cast includes several native Chicagoans from the Bulls Entertainment Network.
In 1994, the team debuted the first “Running of the Bulls” at the United Center. Subsequent versions of the film were created in 1997, 2001 and 2005. The version that appeared until today was created in 2006 by award-winning film-makers, the Wachowskis, who wrote, produced and directed The Matrix.
In 1977, the Bulls were the first NBA team to kill the lights during player introductions, and in 1985, began doing it for every home game to elevate that pre-game moment into a theatrical and concert-style experience for fans.
Production for the new video began in late August, with editing, visual effects, musical score, sound design and post-production taking place over the last eight weeks. The video ran for the first time at tonight’s game.