sportszone [ open, package | episodic sports show ]
Sportszone is a 30 minute episodic sports show produced in-house at RIT. My department is in charge of producing a full graphics package including a high energy 30 second open.
I directed, conceptualized, and did all of the motion graphic, 3d, and compositing work on the open. Post production lasted two weeks for this project.
The goal was to create a high-energy open that highlighted a specific set of sports that would be featured throughout the show.
The concept was that while highlighting each sport, the sportszone logo would be forming from hundreds of small pieces, finally coming together at the end.
I spent most of my time in after effects compositing live action footage with 3d objects rendered in element 3d. I used blender heavily to re-mesh and separate the text objects in order to have the break apart in controllably sized chunks.
I took advantage of element's ability to render the 3d objects as a wireframe in order to add complexity to the animation of the text forming.
To achieve the slow motion effect without having a high speed camera, I had the actors perform the actions in slow motion on the day. We shot at 60fps, so I was able to reduce the speed of the footage x2, effectively covering up any obvious fake-looking acting.
This process forced me to composite in the baseball, for example. There was a very tight deadline for this project, so in order to save time and energy, I decided to shoot all of the 'flying' elements practically. Hanging a baseball from some twisted string in our studio and letting it spin by unwinding worked perfectly.
I had to stabilize a low resolution version of the baseball footage in order to let after effects properly track it due to the fact that the ball was spinning, which would confuse the tracking algorithm.
After the baseball was stabilized, I could animate it however I pleased.
For the slow motion basketball, I simply had the actor hold the ball from behind and spin it slowly. Thanks to the magic of stabilization and the relatively short duration of the shots, this worked nicely.
Occasionally something is overlooked during the heat of shooting. Since safety is important, we couldn't allow our baseball player to be swinging at the plate without a proper helmet on.
The helmet was part of the element sports model pack, which I then took into blender in order to create a head to mask out the interior of the helmet to help with the composting.