I was commissioned to make a film and shoot a set of images by ESPN for Wilson, to show the manufacturing process of their tennis balls for the US Open. We flew to the factory, shot the film and stills in one day then flew home. Its an amazingly complex manufacture, requiring 24 different processes to make the final ball. It was hot, loud and the people who worked there, worked fast. So much beauty in each stage. I love the mechanics of how things are made, it fills me with great pleasure. I hope you enjoy the film.
See blankets of rubber-based core compound get crushed! See the molding of half-shells! See optic yellow felt panels wrapping around the cores! It’s all pretty cool. ESPN has the break down of each step here with gifs.Next in slow motion, watch a racket flatten a tennis ball at 142 mph. Plus: Baseballs – How It’s Made.