Press release from Iron Claw:
This marks the second year that Iron Claw has worked with the multi-platinum recording artist on the show open, which continues the Americana concept and features NFL players hailing from their team hometowns. Hill, who has performed the Sunday Night Football theme song for the past several years, blasts through a moody metropolis in a leather cat suit on a motorcycle. She sings on a street corner as fans flock to the light-laden super stadium in the background.
“Iron Claw did a tremendous job in digitally recreating some of America's most famous and recognizable landmarks,” says Fred Gaudelli, Executive Producer of “Sunday Night Football.” “They brought forth an Americana feel in a new age style. Congratulations to them on this prestigious award.”
“We were invited to the award show, but our production schedule prevented us from attending,” explains Greg Talmage, Co-Founder/Executive Producer of Iron Claw. “To be honest, we were surprised to hear about the win because of the amazing work in competition! Of course, we're very excited and grateful to have our work validated by such an esteemed organization.”
For Iron Claw, the goal was to differentiate Faith Hill's look and surroundings from the previous season. While last year's open placed Hill in the countryside, this time she is in the middle of a bustling urban environment. Gaudelli wanted to create a far-reaching theme based on the notion of Americana, and Sunday night's game as the ultimate American entertainment experience.
“We envisioned her as tough in an Americana sort of way, wearing leather on a motorcycle,” says Sean Koriakin, Co-Founder/Creative Director of Iron Claw. “She's integrated with the city, lights reflecting from her helmet, and her rugged boots stepping off the bike onto the concrete. Our boards reflected this scene, and the extras and city streets were built around Faith's imagery.”
The project lasted six weeks from design concept to completion with Iron Claw presenting still frames for look and feel, and then following with gray-scale 3D previsualization movies. This allowed for an efficient approval process on the live-action camera moves, which were then shared with the DP for planning in a stage environment. The previs was also used as a basis for CG artists to begin modeling and constructing the virtual city behind Faith Hill.
Delivery of the graphic elements was modular giving the show's in-house design team options to swap players and scenes for each match-up or backup shots in the event a particular player goes down with an injury.
“We learned a lot about the speed and exactitude necessary to produce a flawless show every Sunday night, and the pressure these guys endure to take this show on the road,” concludes Talmage. “Likewise, the guys at NBC learned a lot about the complexities of visual effects and compositing. In a way, we come from different worlds, which we love because there's mutual respect for the difficulties each group faces.”