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Creative technology company Giantstep recently partnered with NBC to create an exciting CG-driven promo for American Song Contest — the U.S adaptation of the Eurovision Song Contest — premiering live on March 21st. The show will feature one artist from each of the 50 U.S. states, five territories, and Washington, D.C. competing for the title of Best Original Song, voted on by viewers. The :30 promo, “United Stages,” first aired during the Super Bowl this past weekend.
The promo opens with Snoop Dogg declaring, “Every great song has its own kind of vibe, just like the streets they come from.” Silhouetted performers emerge on massive illuminated LED screen stages shaped like individual US states. “Now all that music from across America will go head to head…, “ states Kelly Clarkson, as Snoop relays the next line, “...on one stage.” Performers representing each state continue to rise in an electrifying display of magenta and blue lights until the camera pulls out to reveal the stages locking into place and forming the larger US map.
Led by Executive Creative Director Heebok Lee, Giantstep handled all 3D animation and design, including the look development and art direction based on style references from the show provided by NBC.
The team also provided on-set VFX supervision for the promo shoot in Los Angeles, as well as 56 customized motion graphics sequences for the states and territories represented in the show.
According to Lee, the main challenge was adding live performers to the CG stages.
“Each stage resembles a US state and rises at a different speed,” explains Lee. “Since we couldn’t build actual moving stages for the scale that we wanted, we had to reverse-engineer each shot.”
In the pre-vis stage, Giantstep carefully animated the motion of the stages and did tests to ensure seamless integration of all the elements together. Once they achieved the outcome they wanted, they were able to shoot the actual elements.
The live-action team used a motion-controlled camera to mimic the movements they wanted and, from there, assembled the plate elements to achieve the rising stage effect with real performers.
Creative Director/Live-Action Director: Steven Wagner
SVP, Creative Marketing: Amy Troiano
Director, Entertainment Networks: Derek Metoyer
Live-Action Production Company: Spare Parts, Inc
DP: Anghel Decca
Executive Producer: Matt Van Buren
Producer: Warren Foldes
Production Supervisor: Jake Brown
Production Designer: Evan Rhode
Assistant Art Director: Summer Baltzer
Wardrobe Stylist: Jasmine Kostraba
Key Hair: Danielle Russell
Key Make-Up: Golden
VFX, Animation & Design Company: Giantstep
Creative Director: Heebok Lee
Managing Director/EP: David Kleinman
VFX Supervisor/Project Manager: Dongwook Cho
Post Producer: Lamont Lamar
Stock Image Research: Richard Kroll
Lead 3D Artist/Compositor: Jisung Moon
3D Artist/Compositor: Sungwon Park
3D Artist: Wohho Jung, Junho Kim
Houdini Artist: Intae Jang
Giantstep is a creative technology company that partners with brand, agency, and entertainment clients around the globe. Pushing the boundaries of digital media, we leverage design, visual effects, animation, programming, virtual production, and more to reimagine consumer experiences between the virtual and physical worlds. Giantstep has offices in Los Angeles and Seoul.
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