Creative agency Dark Horses approached Friends Electric and directing collective Polynoid, tasking them with conceptualizing and executing the Nissan sponsor idents for the UEFA Champions League.
Off the bat, Friends Electric saw the huge potential the project had visually and conceptually. In part due to the deck provided by Dark Horses, which used a perfect introductory description to foreshadow the type of job it would be: “…the kind of idents that other idents have posters of hanging on their bedroom wall.”
Creatively, this meant Polynoid had to conceptualize and digitally build a few things from scratch. First, an installation art piece that would involve copious amounts of kinetic sheets of transparent LED displays. Next, an architectural space which should rival the uniqueness and flowing elegance of Zaha Hadid’s creative output. Third, craft a captivating editorial homage to the biggest, most epic and most emotional moments of the history of the Champions League. Lastly, these elements all had to be brought together in a well-balanced way, a framework that exists to serve as the backdrop for the Nissan Ariya and Leaf.
Made in London during the first lockdown, Polynoid says, “Working with Dark Horses was a breeze from start to finish. After a few adjustment rounds involving the look and feel of the idents, we quickly jumped into our RnD and pre-pro phases.”
Each of the six idents became a unique moment of soccer and the massive emotions the sport triggers in fans. This required reviewing tons of footage, finding the best moments and creating individual, themed storylines with them. The team then took these moments as their base and created the equivalent filmic interpretation in terms of art installation, car movement and editing rhythm.
Much collective brainpower went into the glass art installation. From a technical point of view, it’s always a tricky task (some would say nightmare) to get a lot of layered glass rendered in time. So Polynoid took a step back and designed some custom shaders and render processes tailored for this specific task. This ensured that their lighting artists would have uncompromising creative freedom to set the stage in the most photo-real and tasteful way.
Another significant aspect was the development of tools to handle, place, and trigger all the soccer footage onto these glass screens so they would be able to create a believable, realistic visual art installation inside a fully CG-rendered space.
Overall, one of the most important things was that each element of the film – whether it be set design, art installation or kinetic movement and dynamics – perfectly reflect what the specific soccer moment is all about. Goal achieved.