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A standing-room-only crowd of more than 150 graphics-production pros turned out for SVG’s inaugural Sports Graphics Forum at HBO’s Michael Fuchs Theater on Wednesday for an afternoon of sessions covering both the technological and creative sides of business. Highlighted by a look at MLB Advanced Media’s new player/field-tracking and data-visualization system, the afternoon addressed the latest developments in technologies ranging from traditional broadcast graphics to virtual graphics and augmented reality to virtual studios.
Although much of the afternoon focused on tech, one session emphasized the creative end of the equation, and a quintet of the industry’s top creative and art directors provided an intimate look at the development of their recent high-profile graphics package and show-open designs. Much of the discussion focused on the importance of transparency and cooperation between the sports network and the outside graphic-design house in developing a new graphics package.
“I’m a real fan of transparency between broadcasters and production companies … whether it’s finances, creative, or technological,” said Bigstudios owner/Creative Director Jocelyne Meinert, who has helped develop packages for major franchises and events like ESPN’s Monday Night Football, MLB on Fox, March Madness on CBS/Turner, and TNT’s NBA All-Star Weekend, to name a few.
“File-sharing has become a huge part of our workflow now,” she continued. “From the moment we start working on creative to the moment the final element is delivered, it is much more of a gradual flow. It’s not broken up the way it used to be, and we find that works very well. It’s a great way to constantly connect with clients to understand what’s going on in their head.”
Each year, NBA All-Star Weekend presents Turner Sports with the opportunity to create a unique, fun look for its hard-court coverage, and this year’s New York City-based incarnation served as the epitome of just that. Turner began work on the package last fall, but the effort did not really heat up until January, creating a short timeline for production. Working with Bigstudios, Turner Sports developed a dynamic graphics package focused on the city’s subway system and incorporating metropolitan scenics.
“When [Bigstudios] pitched NBA on TNT, there were two concepts. We loved both of them but rolled out with one concept and kept the other in our back pocket for All-Star, so we had a head start,” said Turner Sports Creative Director Jordan Shorthouse. “It is the same look [as NBA on TNT], but we introduced a new vehicle with subways and subway stations. We went out to New York, shot subway interiors and exteriors, and introduced that into the package. It turned out really fantastic.”