By Marc Loftus
Issue: Animation - Aug 23, 2004


NEW YORK - The SciFi Channel, working with UV Phactory in New York and Lambie-Nairn in London, recently completed a broadcast identity rebranding geared at broadening its television audience.

According to SciFi senior VP of marketing and creative Dave Howe the rebranding is based on research the channel has done and incorporates more fantasy-themed concepts which it hopes will give the channel more of a human and mainstream appeal. As part of the rebranding, the channel commissioned 11 new IDs, each reinforcing the "if" concept, which is derived from the middle of the new purple SciFi logo.

In the longest ID, the :90 Tattoo Man, a young man goes grocery shopping, and as the spot progresses, the viewer can see hints of his partially-covered tattoos. When he returns home to his metropolitan apartment, he begins cooking an elaborate meal, rolling up his sleeves and eventually removing his shirt to reveal an assortment of gothic skin art. After he finishes preparing the feast, he takes a seat at the dining room table, set for four, and his tattoos come alive. A tarantula, gargoyle, butterflies and a serpentine dragon join him for the pig roast. The spot closes with a view from outside his apartment, suggesting that his while his neighbors are close, they have no clue as to the unusual happenings next door.

Smoke & Mirrors in the UK created the cinematic ID and its visual effects. VTR in London handled color correction and Final Cut, also in London, edited the spot. Sound Lounge in New York provided sound design, with Philip Loeb handling the mix. Discreet Flame and Inferno house Glassworks, also in London, handled the 10 shorter IDs, which are no less impressive. In Bird Eater, for example, a man's head opens to become a dragon's mouth, and in Merge, two fiercely grappling wrestlers are morphed together through force.

Howe and VP of brand marketing Adam Stotsky say the new IDs will run for three to five years and were produced with a higher budget than most IDs normally receive. "We're in an expensive genre," Howe notes.

Ten more IDs are already in the storyboard stage. These will probably be produced here in the US and are expected to be completed by year's end.