New York/San Francisco-based content creation/production company Bodega
, SPY and director Jonathan Keeton team up with NBC Sports Group and NBC Sports’ creative/co-director Tripp Dixon to deliver full-throttle football excitement in the new 1:40 game opener for NBC's Sunday Night Football, the number one show on primetime television. Featuring Faith Hill and NFL stars including New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl XLVI MVP Eli Manning, the piece marks the first spot for editor Alan Chimenti out of his new east coast roost, Bodega's sister company Northern Lights
. The opener debuted prior to the opening Sunday Night Football game of the season on September 9th, and will air throughout this season and next.
The Sunday Night Football opening begins with crewmembers setting up for an NFL pre-game show, intercut with a woman strutting through the backstage area and shots of NFL players prepping for the game: Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Manning, Jets center Nick Mangold, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. Then to the stage, where Faith Hill is revealed and begins to sing the pop theme song, "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night". Behind the scenes, there are shots of NFL stars including 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Jets corner back Darrelle Revis, all readying themselves for action.
Fans cheer on the performance with game footage playing on the giant LED screens in the background, capturing the concert and replaying game footage on their Verizon NFL Mobile apps. Hill belts out the final verse of the song, "Stars are out, it's the game to see because it's Sunday Night Football on NBC." The opener closes with a moving aerial shot overlooking the game stadium.
Faith Hill and all of the NFL players had major time restrictions for the shoot. Each player was available for about an hour and a half, and part of that time was dedicated to shooting promotional footage. Says Keeton, "We shot with Faith for a total of about 2 1/2 hours, which meant we had to have very carefully planned shots with pre-viz, and then to think fast on our feet!" Continues Keeton, "Tripp Dixon, my co-director from NBC, directed Faith, as he had a prior working relationship with her. But with both Faith and the players, setting the scene, making them comfortable, and insuring that they were asked to do things that they understood and were comfortable with made all the difference. It was critical, we thought, for Faith to perform with a band behind her and a crowd of fans in front of her, so she felt like she was in a performance environment where she excels."
SPY played a large role in the Sunday Night Football game opener. With nearly the entire shoot done on green screen, they designed and executed both the 2D and 3D graphics as well as treatment, projection mapping and compositing all of the stock footage. Additionally, the stadium that Faith Hill is seen performing in is a photogammetry composite of Cowboys Stadium that was shot by the Bodega team at the onset of the project.
The piece was shot on a soundstage in Long Beach and in Queens, NY.
Client: NBC Sports
Title: NBC’s Sunday Night Football Opening 1:40
Producer, Sunday Night Football: Fred Gaudelli
VP/CD, NBC Sports and Olympics: Mark Levy
VP/CD, NBC Sports Group: Tripp Dixon
Producer: Charlie Vanacore
Production Company: Bodega
Co-Director: Jonathan Keeton
Executive Producer: Clint Goldman
Line Producer: Becky Morrison
Director of Photography: Chuck Ozeas
Editorial: Northern Lights, NY
Editorial EP: Robin Hall
Editor: Alan Chimenti
Visual Effects: SPY, a FotoKem Company
VFX EP: Dana Townsend
VFX Producer: Gordon Wittman
VFX Lead Designer: John Stewart
VFX/CG Lead: Michael Lester