NEW YORK - The USA Networks called on Edgeworx, here, to design and post the programming package for the 2003 US Open Tennis Championships in both standard definition and high definition. This is the first time the network has broadcast the Open in high definition.
Edgworx (www.edgeworx.com) created a signature opening graphic sequence used for each telecast, interstitials - such as transitions, bumpers and replay-wipes - and the entire insert graphics package. The elements were designed to repeat and remain fresh throughout the scheduled 90-plus hours of USA's coverage.
USA Networks looked to Edgeworx to future-proof the program packaging so they could use elements in Opens to follow. "We originally connected with Edgeworx as a result of our first Masters Golf high def telecasts and quickly realized that they offered a rather unique blend of multiple-resolution graphics experience and creative design capability," says USA's sports chief, Gordon Beck. "We needed to upgrade the graphics look for our premier sports property as well as prepare for a high definition future."
To complete the project, Edgeworx brought in designer Anders Hallgren, who teamed with several animators and producers Wendy Gardner and Ben Spivak. "One of the most interesting aspects of this job was the fact that we had to create the entire package for HD and standard definition," comments Gardner. "It required designing imagery that looked good in widescreen and 4:3 while having all the important information within the 4:3 title-safe area. One of the reasons we were chosen for this project is that Edgeworx specializes and excels in creating programming for multiple formats and in working in high definition."
For the interstitial package, which comprises most of the moving elements, Edgeworx developed a distinctive design that is a departure from the typical look of live sports programming. The opening title sequence - the longest component of the package - functions as the defining piece from which all other interstitial elements are derived from. The red lines from the USA logo and network branding campaign are used as a graphic device that move dynamically through and around still images of New York City icons (the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, George Washington Bridge). They sweep though different scenes and turn in sharp right angles reflective of those on a tennis court. The open and bumpers also feature footage areas where daily highlights provide a backdrop to the graphics. Background footage and stills are tinted blue and are consistent with the color palate for the graphic elements. The opening title sequence ends with an animated logo resolve of first the USA logo and then the US Open logo.
The graphics package, which includes scoreboard inserts, lower-thirds, over-the-shoulder graphics and full-screen graphics, was designed to refine and evolve the existing USA sports packaging identity. It has a clean look primarily made up of blue, black and red. "We needed an elegant but up-to-date sports look for our comprehensive coverage of the Tournament, something that we could grow with over the next few years as we expand into multi-resolution simulcasts," says Beck. "The team at Edgeworx started with our network design parameters and our own tennis-specific graphics philosophy and tackled this project with gusto. We threw a lot at them and they came back with the goods."
HD post was completed on the uncompressed Pinnacle CineWave HD with Apple Final Cut Pro editing software. Graphics were done in Adobe After Effects V. 5.5 running on a Mac.