“Cancelled” and “postponed” are, unfortunately, two of 2020’s biggest buzzwords. No live sports, no fairs, no live gatherings, no big crowds.
Like so many industries, TV, too, was hit hard by COVID-19, with production on hold for much of the year and with very little ability to hold big shoots for live sports.
When Munich-based UnitedSenses rebranded the sports channel of Swisscom-owned pay-TV giant Teleclub into blue Sport, it needed to create super slo-mo sports action, mostly around football (soccer in the U.S.).
To do that, UnitedSenses had to rethink its daily workflows and routines to reduce the number of participants on a shooting location to a minimum and to increase the space in between each person to accommodate social distancing.
So Instead of filming in a studio with a big crew, the agency chose motion-capture technology and 3D post-production.
In the end, only three people needed to be in the studio—a creative director, a 3D designer and an athlete. Also needed: a precisely planned schedule to avoid time overlaps and a perfect location—partly inside, partly outside, depending on whether the scenes being shot were football or hockey.
To accomplish this, UnitedSenses put athletes from different sports in motion-capture suits, recorded the action and then transferred that to 3D avatars.
As a result of COVID, post-production also became more complex. But UnitedSenses discovered almost anything is possible after shooting specific movements of all of the different kinds of sports needed for the blue Sport rebrand.
Once the motion was captured, UnitedSenses created 3D-animated silhouettes of athletes and made them run, slide and kick. With the appropriate use of light and shadow, the team could create hard and impressive contrasts in the new world of blue Sport. After that, the team added camera angles, camera movement and designed the look and feel.
To easily distinguish individual formats, such as UEFA Champions League, UnitedSenses developed different color codes and lighting accents.
And, of course, everyone involved kept their distance.
The whole project was conducted without a single personal client meeting, thanks to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.
Rebranding blue Sport wasn’t the first partnership between UnitedSenses and Swisscom/Teleclub. In fact, it was the fourth time the two had collaborated since 2006.
“2020 has yet again demonstrated that experience and expertise cannot be valued high enough. In a challenging year, with a lot of restrictions and limitations, it was UnitedSenses’ experience and expertise that made the difference for us,” said Benno Zimmermann, chief technology officer at Blue Entertainment AG. “Being adaptable on the switch. Reliable and meticulous. But most of all super creative. They are always our go-to guys.“
UnitedSenses was founded in 2005 by Markus Schmidt, CEO and creative director and is based in Munich. Before founding his own agency, Schmidt served as creative director at ProSieben and CEO of SevenSenses, a creative agency based within ProSieben. UnitedSenses’ award-winning team has specialized in audio-visual performance of brands in sports and media. UnitedSenses’ clients include UEFA, Das Erste, Cosmote TV and more.
For more information, contact Marlene Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.