MIAMI — CMT called on 2C Creative (www.2c.tv), here, to help promote the move of the popular scripted show Nashville to the network, as well as the new season, which began in January. The creative agency was asked to build anticipation while reassuring the show’s existing fans that this is the Nashville they already know and love, just on a new network.
“A show like Nashville is so beautiful that putting together a launch campaign was a little like building a movie, because you want to capture the same beautiful cinematography and rich, organic tapestry of emotions,” explains 2C Creative’s live-action director Brian Eloe. “I’m really grateful that CMT trusted this vision…that we could make something stunning in camera that would really speak to the core of what the show’s about.”
Working closely with the network, 2C conceived an ambitious campaign around two major concepts: the show’s true homecoming to CMT and its story-arc tease of tragically flawed or broken characters who try to piece their lives and relationships back together. The team surrounded the Nashville cast with a swirling mix of shiny particles, fragments and glass shards that slowly reform. The glamorous world is anchored by the intense character emotions.
2C had to navigate the talent schedule and a show that was in the middle of its production cycle. Intense previsualization helped to set the roadmap, determining different scenarios and knowing what interactions wouldn’t be created in-camera. 2C produce a fully-3D animatic, followed by numerous storyboards, sketch boards and style frames. Then, they methodically planned shoots, dividing between two talent days and two effects days.
The talent days were all about capturing the varied emotional performances over greenscreen. As a bonus, each character was given his/her own lighting style to reflect different moods. To capture an authentic voice of the show, 2C worked closely with the Nashville show runners and writers, crafting the monologue that ultimately serves as the narrative of clip spots.
Early on, 2C decided to create a stylized environment symbolizing Nashville’s new home on CMT. However, the overall aim was to create a dreamy, fanciful world versus something literal, so the decision was made to create the sets in CG. In order to give a sense of a familiar place, the idea was to also pull in elements of the physical show sets. One major caveat to all the dreaminess: the particles, fragments and glass shards needed to feel authentic, so it became clear that a practical effects shoot was necessary rather than trying to formulate those in CG.
“We wanted to use glass and highly-reflective materials like glitter, so shooting these things was really the best way to go,” explains Eloe. “Elements like this can take months in CG with no guarantee that we’d get the realness and impactful nuance we were able to capture in camera.”
2C began by fabricating ¾-inch inch glass replicas of each letter in the logos for CMT and Nashville, and used pyrotechnics to blow them up. Tapping the expertise of cinematographer Chuck Ozeas, the agency used a Phantom 4K Flex high-speed camera to capture the explosions in elegant slow-motion detail. Each letter was detonated separately and then meticulously reassembled in post to recreate the CMT and Nashville logos.
2C’s design experts, led by design director Luis Martinez, then got to work on marrying the live-action components with special effects in post. To create the GC environments required many weeks of work in Cinema 4D. As a final touch, a custom version of the folk song “Wayfaring Stranger” was produced by CMT. This musical queue featured the vocals of Leigh Nash from Sixpence Non The Richer fame.
In total, 2C delivered eight different spots, a multimedia toolkit for use throughout the season, including unique episodic talent IDs, and all digital assets required for billboards, print and Web promotion.