New York & San Francisco-based production studio Bodega’s Emmy Award-winning creative director Haley Geffen and Zoic Studios teamed up with NBC Sports for the fourth season running to deliver full-throttle football excitement in the open for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The open, featuring Carrie Underwood and a host of NFL stars including Russell Wilson, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Dez Bryant, Clay Matthews, and DeMarco Murray, debuted September 13th on Sunday Night Football‘s Giants vs. Cowboys broadcast, which was watched by nearly 27 million viewers.
Zoic Studios was brought on board to telegraph stadium environment intensity to living rooms across the nation. Zoic ECD Chris Jones and VFX Supervisor Julien Brami led the team to intertwine the kinetic stage graphics with the live-action footage of Underwood’s performance and the NFL players to simulate an immersive concert environment. The plan was intricate: twenty 150-foot moveable high-tech panels created a window to a virtual world, extending the stage to new dimensions and spot-lighting Carrie Underwood and the NFL athletes. To accomplish this Zoic put in weeks of pre-production that included design and technical previz, leading up to a 2-day shoot at Warner Brothers. Post-shoot, the main hurdle was to seamlessly integrate the singer with the football players (all filmed at different times), and of course with the CG elements as well — modeled and lit in Maya/Vray. The Zoic design team put their mark on the piece as well, using Cinema 4D and AE for motion graphics.
The piece will continue to air throughout the NFL season, to kick off the broadcast every week.