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THE SYNDICATE HELPS ESPN KICK OFF 'MNF' SEASON
|September 12, 2006
The Syndicate teamed up with
directors/designers Matt Checkowski and Kurt Mattila on the :60 project.Calling on its commercial and
filmmaking expertise, The Syndicate combined design elements, CG and
live-action to create a mini-movie about a transformed city. Materials from the
open are also being used throughout the broadcast package.
The open begins with a live-action
aerial shot of a downtown at night. It fades to black then cuts to a close-up
of a football helmet, with the ESPN logo. As people pass by a young man picks
up the helmet, puts it on and a blue energy effect triggers a transformation of
the city: energy ripples up a skyscraper, stadium lights take shape among the
buildings, a bicyclist transforms into a player carrying the ball, and asphalt
morphs into field turf. A line of players rush past a storefront where TV sets
transform to display team logos and the ESPN Monday Night Football title.
Initially, The Syndicate shot on
location in downtown LA, but the environment just wasn't magical enough so the
studio rotoscoped people off plates they had shot and recreated the backplates
with CG or front projection mapped onto geometry. Assets they had collected
from other jobs were used to create much of the city too, but because this was
their first "night city" job, considerable reflections had to be added to the
A low-rez animatic was used to
give the directors and creatives a vision of how the city would be laid out.
For four nights, the team shot 35mm live action footage in downtown LA. The
open's first aerial sequence is live-action, enhanced with CG people.
Subsequent aerials are totally CG. An additional day on a soundstage was
required to shoot athletes performing the parts of the transformed football
A Photo-Sonics camera, shooting at 900 fps, was used to capture the
slow-motion leap over a taxi.
Crowds were further filled out with The Syndicate shooting greenscreen
elements. Additional background elements were captured on location with a
rented HD camera.Danny Braet created the blue
energy effect, which radiates from the magical ESPN helmet.
which is a lead sponsor for the program, has branding that appears throughout
the open. On one sequence, an animated, photoreal 2007 GMC Sierra truck barrels
down the street. A prototype of the truck was scanned to create the model. The
model was also used to create posters and signage that appears throughout the
city,The final shot, a :10 scene of the
fully-formed stadium, ringed by the city, is 100 percent CG. Matte painter Vlad
Bina helped lay out and composite the shot.
The Syndicate also customized the
show open to allow ESPN to insert a surprise celebrity guest into the third
shot following the appearance of the glowing helmet. Telecine artist/partner Beau Leon
created the dynamic color correction that includes dark blues, grays and
NewTek LightWave was used for CG.
Eyeon's Fusion and Autodesk's Discreet Flame were used for compositing. Adobe
After Effects and Photoshop were also used in creating the open, as was 2d3's
Boujou tracking software.