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Fish Eggs Pumps Up “American Gladiator” for NBC DebutClassic Series Gets Revved Up Graphics for Relaunch (February 06, 2008)
With its epic David-and-Goliath battles between amateur athletes and a regular cast of muscular pros, American Gladiators was a ratings heavyweight during its original 1990s syndication run. In designing the logo, main title and other graphics for the new version, Fish Eggs was challenged to come up with a look that would engage a new generation of viewers without alienating the show’s legions of existing, hardcore fans.
“It was important to protect the iconic brand and stay true to the original, while delivering an entirely new experience,” explained David Hurwitz, the show’s Executive Producer. “In the same way that the Batman and Superman logos were updated when they moved from comic books to the big screen, Fish Eggs translated the American Gladiators logo into a modern idiom that retains the integrity of the original.”
The new logo, with its sharp, angular features, evokes a defiant attitude. “It needed to be epic,” noted Fish Eggs Executive Creative Director Chris Roe. “We took it darker and more dramatic, using deep, polished black and chrome silver as our primary colors, with red and blue as accents. We created a custom ‘Gladiators’ font and relied heavily on ominous 3D lighting and camera angles to achieve the look. We imagined the logo as a 40-foot bad-ass Transformer. The weight and gravity of the movement and animation reflected that scale and scope.”
The main title sequence put Fish Eggs’ storytelling skills to the test. The trick was to encapsulate the show’s concept, give viewers a taste of the action and introduce its cast of 12 Gladiators, all in 40 seconds. “That gave us approximately two-and-a-half seconds to show an action shot, a close up and a title card for each character—and give each one a unique look,” noted Roe.
Roe and his team came up with the idea of shooting the characters in such a way that a reflective, metallic look could be applied to their skin during post production. (The oiled athletes were put on turntables and shot against green screen.) That had the effect of turning the brawny characters into human trophies and played off the metallic look of the logo. “It also allowed us to reflect action shots from the show off their bodies, while showcasing their incredibly massive, ripped body parts,” said Roe.
The extreme lighting, layered graphics and aggressive editing also serve to distinguish American Gladiators from other reality series. “The idea was to make it big like a sports package and a bit hyper real like the film 300,” said Fish Eggs Art Director Michael Moore. “We used powerful motions. Things land, the camera shakes, and it all serves to focus attention on the Gladiators themselves—they drive the show.”
Hurwitz noted that Fish Eggs went beyond the role of a traditional design studio and acted as a creative partner in the creation of the graphics’ unique look and feel. “Although their studio is in Venice, it felt as though they were working out of our production offices,” he said. “The passion they brought to this project made us think of them as an extension of our staff and not simply an outside vendor.”
Credits for Fish Eggs go to Chris Roe, Executive Creative Director; Mandy Novak, Executive Producer; Mike Moore, Designer/Animator; Justin Nardone, Designer/Animator; Tom Neston, Animator; Arjun Prakash, Animator; and Maggie Robinson, Production Manager
Fish Eggs is located at 1261 Electric Avenue, Venice, California 90291. For more information, call (310) 452-8251 or visit www.fisheggs.tv.
Related Keywords:Fish Eggs, Roe, American Gladiators
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