Animation treatment spices up season-ending NBA Top Plays segment

An example of the season-ending animated NBA Top Play put together by segment producer Tim Dwyer.
An example of the season-ending animated NBA Top Play put together by segment producer Tim Dwyer.

“Marrying animation with reality, Tim edited the piece on his MacBook with Photoshop and finalized it in SQ-edit and edit in the Digital Center.” – Scott Turken, ESPN producer

“There’s a really sweet piece airing on SportsCenter and various ESPN platforms this weekend.” – Layman’s terms, Author translation

Turken, with some shoptalk, was describing how the season-ending animated NBA Top Plays piece was put together by segment producer Tim Dwyer.

“It was Tim’s vision,” Turken said. “His proposal wasn’t just, ‘We could do this’. The one-sheeter he presented was a well thought-out idea. We gave him some feedback along the way, but his work was bringing a cool concept to life.”

Dwyer’s affection for the work of animator Pat Truby got the idea chilling.

“With about a month and a half left in the season, something of his popped into my timeline on Twitter and I started trying to come up with ways to work with him,” Dwyer said. “Pretty quickly I had an idea to cut a Top 10 and have him animate the plays. One of our APs, Baron Damm, came up with a list of about 40 plays, and he and I traded Vines for the next couple days of anything awesome that had happened in the NBA all season, and we whittled it down from there. Pat was really receptive to the idea and was excellent to work with.

“As for production of the piece, I did the blending of the plays and animations in Photoshop, then worked with Alex Muñiz from content edit in a great three-hour session that helped make the final product,” Dwyer said. “And, [assignment editor] Kara Van Hoose was a huge help getting a call cleared on a particularly tricky play.”

The animation was released on Vine (used on Twitter) and Instagram in the 10 days leading up to the day it ran on SportsCenter>.

Dwyer also credits segment producer Dan Duquette and content associate Nick Rago for helping him achieve the “goal” on his proposal: Memorable content to run on TV, digital and social.

Mission accomplished.

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