Concrete Pictures rocks Rose Bowl show open

Next Wednesday night when the University of Texas and the University of Southern California square off in the Rose Bowl to determine college football s national champion there s little doubt that the hype machine will be in overdrive.

All the hype is just part of the reason ABC decided to use the opening moments of the broadcast to take a step back and spend 100 seconds reviewing the highlights of the season.
Concrete Pictures, based in Philadelphia, found itself tasked with completing the project, a complex mix of greenshots, video in multiple formats, and a tight deadline that kept Tripp Dixon, director, Wade Echer, producer and supervisor, Keith Johnston, creative director, and Jeremy Quayhacks, senior editor, scrambling like USC s Reggie Bush.

It was an incredibly quick turnaround, says Echer of the project that was completed in a little more than two weeks. The open features ABC commentator Keith Jackson composite with footage of the top plays of the year. The project began with two days of live-action shooting: one for Jackson in front of the green screen and a second grabbing game footage from the USC/UCLA game on Dec. 3. Sony Varicam cameras were used to capture the action in 720p.

We had to mix that footage with some NTSC video and HDCAM shots, so we went to an outside standards conversion facility to get everything into 720p for the composite shots [with Keith Jackson], says Echer.

Echer says getting all the different formats into one standard introduced an unknown to the project: whether the material would hold up and allow for seamless transitions from one highlight to the next. He says it worked out perfectly and that ABC Sports helped out in a big way by quickly turning around requests for footage and radio calls almost immediately.

Once the footage was ready to be assembled it was up to three software programs, Alias Maya, 2d3 s Boujou and Apple s Shake to take the Jackson footage and composite it into the game footage.

We get a chance to work on sports packages now and then, says Echer, who designed some graphics for the 19992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. We don t do a ton of sports but it s a great chance for some high-energy storytelling.

He adds the crew also had a great time putting in the final audio touches like the crunching sound of a solid hit or the chanting in the huddle. Our entire crew is made up of football fanatics and when we went to the NFL Films facility in Mt. Laurel, NJ for audio sweetening we were like kids in a candy store, he says.