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How BLOCK & TACKLE created the graphics package for ESPN’s SneakerCenter

Creative studio BLOCK & TACKLE handled the complete graphics package for ESPN’s SneakerCenter series—including the show’s branding, packaging, and custom narrative animations. BLOCK & TACKLE worked with the client, the editorial house, and the director—all through Frame.io—from concept to delivery. Their biggest challenge? Managing the hundreds of stock footage and photographic images it took to create an accurate “timeline” of collectible sneaker history. The outcome? A seven-part series for a devoted fan following.

A collaborative studio

With a top-tier client roster that includes ESPN, AMC, FX, TBS, SYFY, and Time, Inc., NY-based BLOCK & TACKLE are driven by a shared ethos of collaborating closely with their clients to form solid and enduring relationships.

A tight schedule

Episodes were in production—and post- and graphics-production—concurrently as they were delivered to ESPN on a staggered schedule. B&T used Frame.io to collaborate throughout the project, but also to deliver final elements to editorial. 

A lot of moving pieces

Wrangling all the graphics elements, along with the found and archival footage that the director wanted to incorporate into the show’s open, required super-fast turnarounds for securing clearances.

Athletic branding

B&T are no strangers to innovative, graphically complex packages. From sports to network promos, their work displays the range of their design and branding sensibilities.

But this project wasn’t about just one brand. It was about nailing the branding of the 100 sneaker illustrations they needed to create. Celebrity-branded shoes are serious business for serious collectors.

“We created the designs in Adobe Illustrator and used Photoshop for textures, and then loaded them into Frame.io so the director could pinpoint exactly where we needed to adjust colors or designs,” says B&T creative director Adam Gault. “Every detail needed to be accurate.”

Running fast

An OG “sneakerhead,” director Bobbito García of Hock Films is what B&T describes as a “high energy” guy who was constantly on the move during the show’s production. Having used Frame.io on previous projects, it was Bobbito who suggested they use it for this project—because he was only able to have one face-to-face meeting with B&T.

“Often we’d get into the office in the morning to discover that he’d left us feedback somewhere between midnight and 2am,” says senior producer Megan Anderson. “His infectious energy just came through,” says Adam. “Even when we were just reading his comments, we always felt as though he was intimately involved with this project.”

B&T also used Frame.io to help track the numerous pieces of archival footage and photographic elements that were part of the show open. Beginning with over 150 pieces for the 20-second open, Megan was able to frame-accurately track each piece, determine the duration, and contact Hock Films for clearances. She generated a detailed Google sheet to ensure that every element had been cleared and approved. “Frame.io was a lifesaver when it came to keeping it all organized.”

Tying it up

Beyond the logo, animated open, and the show package toolkit, B&T was also responsible for creating approximately another 30-60 seconds of animation for each of the show’s seven episodes.

“We used Frame.io with Hock Films to take in their rough cuts so we could see where the graphics needed to go. And because the delivery schedule was so tight, we were able to deliver the final graphics files as ProRes 1920 x 1080 so Hock could drop them into their cut,” Megan said. “Collaborating is the most important aspect of what we do,” says the B&T team. “We love projects where we can work closely with our clients to find the best solutions.This package was ideal in that respect.”

Not unlike a well designed athletic shoe, Frame.io was comfortable to use and boosted B&T’s speed, performance, and results.

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