Carrie Underwood kicks off Sunday Night Football with her new song “Oh, Sunday Night,”—inspired by her hit duet with Miranda Lambert, “Somethin’ Bad”—in NBC Sport’s opening sequence to introduce the 2016 season.
Crafted by content creation and production company Bodega, the spot shows Underwood guiding viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of Sunday Night Football, making her way through the VIP entrance, locker rooms, press box, the stadium, and onto the field, while interacting with the players, cheerleaders, and fans. She ends her performance by exiting the bright stadium to a thunderous applause.
The open also features top NFL athletes including Von Miller, Clay Matthews, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Antonio Brown, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Khalil Mack, Odell Beckham Jr., Russel Wilson, Dez Bryant and Eli Manning.
“The new song brought a fresh energy and re-invigorated us creatively to come up with a new approach,” said Bodega Creative Director Haley Geffen, who created the spot alongside Bodega Executive Creative Director Adam Reid and NBC Sports VP Creative Director Tripp Dixon.Bodega and NBC Sports teamed up on the Sunday Night Football opening for the fifth year in a row.
The three began collaborating at a very early stage, fleshing out the idea of a “one take” open and steering away from the concert-style performance of prior SNF opens, instead aiming to create an engaging production with the Grammy Award-winning country star.
The approach called for a heightened attention to detail in pre-production, ensuring that every single beat of the 90-second piece was mapped out and the timing impeccably calculated. Though a true single shot approach was unattainable, they strove to not break the film whenever possible.
To allow for more creative freedom, the team shot on a sound stage instead of a stadium, which required a high level of visual effects. Bodega tapped Toronto-based feature film VFX studio SOHO VFX—the team behind effects-driven films such as The Revenant, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Divergent—to bring an extensive amount of set extension work, including crafting entirely CG environments for the stadium, locker room, and stairwell, as well as creating a largely CG crowd.
The “one shot” approach with hidden edits allowed the creative team to conceive, shoot and edit with the potential of using different players for each week of the open, depending on the match up.
“Each vignette took a modular approach—one week you might see the Seattle Seahawks getting ready for a matchup whereas the next week you’d see the Cardinals,” said Bodega Executive Producer Kristopher Walter. “So the first week you’d see Odell Beckham Jr. making a one-handed catch and the next you’d see Von Miller doing his sideline warmups.”
Client: NBC Sports
Executive Producer: Fred Gaudelli
SVP Creative: Mark Levy
VP Creative Director/Director: Tripp Dixon
Senior Associate Director: Charlie Vanacore
Production Company: Bodega
Executive Creative Director: Haley Geffen
Executive Creative Director: Adam Reid
Executive Producers: Kristopher Walter, Mark Littman, David Gioiella
Producer: Andrea Struble
Director of Photography: Chuck Ozeas
Production Designer: Evan Rohde
Choreographer: Tracy Phillips
Editorial: Northern Lights
Editor: Alan Chimenti
Flame/Lustre Artist: Chris Hengeveld
Executive Producer: Robin Hall
Producer: Leona Togher
Assistant Editors: Tim Avery, Kieran Mulroy
VFX: SOHO VFX
VFX Supervisor: Allan Magled
Creative Director: Tony Cleave
Producer: Kelly McCarthy
Technical Supervisor: Berj Bannayan
Compositing Leads: Dan Powers, Guillermo Ramos
Production Manager: Andreah Barker
Production Coordinator: Hakyung Chang