nailgun* Battles With Tribal Tattoos For Versus Network And WEC
A gritty, old-school gym-like texture and pounding rock track set the mood for the powerful show package created by award-winning nailgun* (www.nailgun.tv) for Versus' coverage of WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting).
By: Ray Ecke/Right Word Media
"This is truly an incredible sport," says nailgun* President/Creative Director Michael Waldron. "These fighters are not in it for the money, the fame or the lifestyle. They are in staggeringly good shape and adhere to very strict training regimens and diets. They are also of just about every ethnic background you can imagine. As we watched more of the matches and looked at photos of the fighters we realized that a lot of them have tribal-like tattoos, most of which are linked to their particular ethnicity. That seemed like a great way to link this diverse sport into one coherent, exciting look."
The nailgun* created show open begins with a shot of a tattooed muscled athlete. The small, wave-like tattoo adorning his left deltoid suddenly begins to grow. As the camera moves in for a closer look, viewers are plunged into a surreal world of shifting tribal tattoos, shadowboxers, savage punches, deft kicks and a mix of martial arts. Like a battle itself, the transitions between the different tattoos are sudden and jarring. The powerful impact of punches and kicks brings about the change of scene and tattoo as the spot relentlessly moves forward. In the final frames, the camera pulls back revealing a fighter's back covered with an elaborate tattoo that includes two striking, colorful logos and the imprint of a chainlink fence.
Rendered in amazing detail, the various tattoos were created in 3D. To overcome the typical polish associated with photorealistic 3D, the nailgun* team mixed in some textures from a Las Vegas gym to make the look feel more authentic.
The sport's gritty, street-like rep essentially precludes the use of any flashy celebrities or marquee fighters. In order to get the appropriate cast, nailgun*, Versus and WEC produced a Las Vegas greenscreen shoot with some well-trained and cooperative fighters.
"Versus wanted a more multi-faceted, hardcore look", explains Erik van der Wilden, Director of Animation + Editorial at nailgun*. "We ended up shooting nine different fighters, none of whom had been in front of the camera before. We had a great mix of people, with smaller fighters who were into acrobatic jumps and spin kicks, along with larger guys who were all about strength and power. It was a big challenge to choreograph these guys, but we ended up with some shots that give a real sense of what the sport is all about."
Given the eclectic skills required of each fighter, it was also important that the package not emphasize one fighting style over another. "The sport brings together athletes from boxing, martial arts, wrestling - all kinds of combat," says Jong Soo Kim, the designer and lead animator for the package. "Ultimately it's about strategy and skill and what it takes to win. We wanted the open to be balanced: Just the right amount of each aspect, so people know they'll get a lot when they watch."
"The package definitely evolved as we went along," adds Waldron. "We knew the rhythm of what we were looking for from the beginning, but as we progressed, the grappling action became more prevalent and it became increasingly apparent that the camera moves were explicitly based on the moves of the fighters. We're very happy with the way things turned out."
With a strong belief that great art derives from making creative choices and sticking to them, veteran graphic designer Michael Waldron and editor/animator Erik van der Wilden launched motion graphics house nailgun* (www.nailgun.tv)
Michael Waldron, Creative Director + Live Action Director
Erik van der Wilden, Director of Animation + Editorial
Elena Olivares, Managing Director
Lisa Miller, Producer
Shane Dolly, Producer
Michael Billings, Live Action Producer
Jong Soo Kim, Designer / 2D Animator
Arava Sheleff, Designer
Chris Harmon, 2D Animator
Joon Suck Kim, 2D Animator
Song Eun Grace Hwang, 3D Animator
Jayson Gaylor, Illustrator
Adobe After Effects, Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, Final Cut Pro
Click here to watch Quicktime of nailgun* created show open Versus' WEC coverage
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