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Nexus Studios Reimagines Tokyo for BBC’s Olympics 2020 Trailer

Leading creative studio teams with Factory Fifteen and broadcaster’s in-house agency to take viewers through a dynamic tour of street signs, shops, an arcade, and a J-Pop music video packed with athletes and sports references.

In the lead up to the BBC’s Tokyo Olympics 2020 coverage across TV, radio and online, Nexus Studios and Factory Fifteen teamed with BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative agency, to create a dynamic trailer that vividly reimagines the vibrant host city.

The mixed-media commercial, directed by Factory Fifteen and animated by Nexus Studios (with VFX provided by The Mill), takes audiences on a whistle-stop tour through the idiosyncratic and exciting megacity by reimagining Tokyo with Olympic athletes and events embedded into its fabric and culture.

In the spot, Tokyo has been taken over by the Olympics with street signs, shops, an arcade, Gashapon parlor, a sport fanatics’ bedroom and a J-Pop music video all jam-packed with references to Olympic sports, athletes and even BBC presenters.

Take a look:

Shot to feel like a single continuous camera move, each frame within the one-minute sequence is flooded with an array of original artwork designed by Nexus director and contemporary artist, Fantasista Utamaro. Repeat viewing is rewarded with over 50 carefully planted “Easter egg moments.”

Tim Jones, BBC creative director, said: “An Olympics hosted in Tokyo was a real gift – a city rich in pop culture, hosting the world’s most eclectic sporting event. It gave us the opportunity to push our campaign both conceptually and in its execution. And we couldn’t be prouder to be (finally) sharing it. Every frame of the film is rich with detail, fully immersing our audiences in a Tokyo where the Olympics has already taken over. Just as it will take over all our lives for 16 days this summer. Creating something with this much detail was incredibly intricate but also lots of fun. I’ve watched the edit more times than I can count, and I still spot something new or something I forgot we included!”

Factory Fifteen, the directorial collective of Kibwe Tavares, Jonathan Gales, and Paul Nichols, said: “Collaborating with the BBC to reimagine Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games has been a dream project. We love bringing places to life with a heightened sense of reality and fantasy, often using the environment as a character. It was amazing to re-interpret evocative Japanese scenes with the world's biggest sports and athletes woven into the city through authentic design and storytelling.”

The trailer, set to original music by noted anime composer Kenji Kawai (Ghost in the Shell, Avalon, Hyakkin), premiered on June 29 during England’s last 16 European Championship tie against Germany. “It was a great honor to write the music for the BBCs coverage of the Olympic Games,” Kawai said. “I wanted to bring the excitement of Tokyo to the music using both traditional Japanese instruments and Minyo singings and modern ones like the virtual J-Pop singer Hatsune Miku. I hope everyone enjoys the music and feels the excitement of the Olympics in Tokyo!”


Brand: BBC

ECD: Helen Rhodes
Head of Planning: Mike Lean
Head of Production: James Wood
Creative Director: James Cross
Creative Director : Tim Jones
Creative: Rachel Miles
Creative: Michael Yik Xing Tsim
Producer: Sarah Bradbury
Junior Production Manager: Jess Fenton
Audio: Kate Dinsdale
Pictures: Sam Ratcliffe
Project Manager: Matt Totterdell
Planner: Sam Pavey
Head of Portfolio Marketing: James Parry
Marketing Manager: Liv Slack
Marketing Executive: Kate Plowright
Media Planner: Marc Jones
Media Planner: Sam Hartford

Production Company: Nexus Studios

Directors: Factory Fifteen - Kibwe Tavares, Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls
Creative Director: Fantasista Utamaro
Executive Producers: Mike Bell, Judy Hill
Senior Producer: Isobel Conroy
Shoot Producer: Alan Traquair
Shoot PM: Janine Carter
DP London: Tony Miller
Production Designer London: Sean Hogan
DP Tokyo: Christopher Nicholls
Tokyo Line Producer: Gaku Narita @ Indochina Productions

J-Pop Sequence:
Studio 2D Lead: Dylan White
2D Animators (J-Pop): Sylvain Magne, Sim Marriott, Chiara Sgatti
2D Clean Up: Duane Uba
3D Generalist: Nico Domerego
Additional 2D: Gareth Tredrea, Bethany Levy
Editor: David Slade


Composer: Kenji Kawai
Sound: Mark Hills @ Factory

VFX: The Mill

Creative Director: Mike Chapman
VFX Supervisor: Fergal Hendrick
Executive Producer: Gemma Humphries
Producers: Elle Lockhart, Kirsty Ratcliffe, Tarun Misra, Prithvi Poojari, Sourabh Dharampurikar, Vinay Puranik
Shoot Supervisor: Fergal Hendrick, Ben Blundell
2D Lead Artist: Fergal Hendrick
3D Lead Artist: Ben Blundell
2D Artists: Declan Andrews, Oscar Tornincasa, Rafael Vormittag, Laique Quraishi, Mohit Garg, Dilipan J, Adam Maynard, Richard Payne, Prajeesh E, Anuj Bhandari, Nikhil K M, AVV Suresh
3D Artists: Wesley Roblett, James Hansell, Paul Autric, Joao Pires, Thomas Craig, Vicky McIntyre, Andreas Graichen, Hannah Bahyan, Kate Gabrielova, Rachel Ward Katie Bates, Amit Das, Anil Sarki, Samarendra Lenka
Finish Artist: Holly McLean Jeanette Eiternes
Matte Painting: Tomáš Müller
Designers: David Neale
Motion Graphics: Freya Barnsley
Colourist: Alex Gregory
Colour Producer: Elle Lockhart

Source: Nexus Studios

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.