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Hornet Helps Create Buzz For New York Rangers

Los Angeles-based Hornet Animation along with New York production company SCTV has created some innovative pre-game intros for the New York Rangers hockey team that pay special tribute to the city of New York. Rangers game operations manager Ryan Halkett explained, "The goal for the Rangers opening video was to celebrate our great country and city, the fact that we play in Madison Square Garden, the Rangers organization and its players. We wanted to capture all of these elements in a dramatic and appealing atmosphere." The intro opens with a hockey action sequence that segues into an image of the American flag. The scenes fade in and out of familiar New York City landmarks and skyline shots, finally landing on Madison Square Garden, home of the Rangers. To shoot the footage of the players for the opening sequence, SCTV built a temporary set under the arena seating at Madison Square Garden. The set included a lighting rig, lightning strikes and multiple surfaces (Plexiglas and metal) for projecting video images. In addition to the location shoot, which was filmed in 16mm, the SCTV team incorporated Beta SP footage of live game action and shots of New York City. The hockey action sequence included images of the players projected onto the Plexiglas backdrop and filmed in 16mm as well as Beta SP footage of actual game action. In order to integrate the two different styles, Hornet artists Greg Harvey and Engsan Kho employed the new 3D capabilities of Adobe After Effects 5 and created virtual 3D sets that matched the environment and the look of the actual live shoot. "I used the 3D capabilities of After Effects to replicate the lighting and camera angles that were used on the day of the shoot," said Harvey. "I was able to rotate 2D game footage in 3D space and then used After Effects' lights which gave me control over realistic lighting effects, such as intensity, fall off and shadows." The artists also employed color correction techniques to the Beta SP footage to give it a more film-like appearance.