2C Creative | NBC Sports Championship Season
January 18, 2018
NBC Sports’ comprehensive consumer engagement plan for its annual “Championship Season” has been aided by a collaboration with 2C Creative (“2C”), which was tasked to find a fresh, visually compelling way to promote several different extraordinary events, make them feel even more epic, and bring it all back to NBC. The network has returned to 2C for 5 years running to create new shots to freshen the campaign as it was so successful. NBC Sports’ Championship Season consists of six sports and nine events over an 11-week span in the spring and summer – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open. Included in the campaign is a new promotional spot where these worlds collide in vivid color. 2C, which had previously worked with NBC on award-winning spots for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games and Rio Opening Ceremony, as well as the network’s 2014 Super Bowl upfront presentation, was awarded the project after being one of a few agencies selected to pitch creative concepts. 2C’s concept focused on accentuating the most impactful moments of each iconic sporting event with an explosion of colored powder that links back to its own corresponding feather in the NBC Peacock logo. These explosions -- triggered by the athletes’ contact with their playing surfaces – also included materials such as asphalt, grass, ice and clay born right from the respective sports. Tapping a growing expertise in marrying in-camera special effects with CG in post, 2C orchestrated and shot real explosions, knowing the NBC brand demanded the kind of aesthetic and authenticity only possible through this kind of process. The desired effect required that everything be shot in high speed and high resolution, which called for the Phantom Flex 4K camera system. It also meant constructing and testing effects rigs that could basically create the look, velocity and direction that they wanted out of their materials. With the initial effects as real as possible, the creative agency then used CG to integrate everything into existing event footage. Scene selection was an important part of the process, as each visual-effects moment was motivated by the action taking place in the shot. Visual consistency amongst the scenes was essential, which presented a major challenge, as footage came from various sources and in differing speeds and frame rates. 2C focused on the painstaking tasks of separating the athletes, recreating backgrounds, bringing real-time clips into smooth slow-motion, tackling motion blur with 3D takeovers, and even reconstructing flowing horse manes so that every scene felt authentic and no detail was overlooked.