“Is it the cruelest sport of all, or the sweet science? It’s both!” – Jim Lampley

HBO Creative Directors and Writer/Producer Justin Joseph, teamed up with Engine Room to design and edit their 2012 Boxing Yearender. It was a great year in boxing and this compelling two minute image spot dramatically showcases the best championship bouts and biggest upsets.

Produced in-house at Engine Room in Hollywood, Creative Directors Dan Schmit and Michael Caplan along with editor Ian Shulman worked closely with Joseph to choose and finesse the most exciting moments in the season. The project required sifting through hours of dramatic boxing highlights from the 2012 season to find the choicest most dramatic moments to be included in the piece.

On the graphic side, ER lead designer Todd Ingalls added a luminous layer of type based graphics that enhance the edit into a seamless two minute overview of the what many would argue is the world’s most dramatic sport.

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Engine Room’s latest NASCAR project for Fox Sports revved into high gear during the Daytona 500 broadcast. The expansive, high-energy package will air throughout the NASCAR ON FOX fourteen-week season and involved the creative development, design and production of the Show Open (Daytime and Night versions) as well as two new NASCAR ON FOX branding icons to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

For the last two seasons, Fox Sports has tapped Engine Room for custom animation pieces involving intensive and rapidly produced, animated comic-style CG recaps of each weekly NASCAR race. This year the collaboration went into overdrive, with Engine Room delivering an entire broadcast sports package that showcases the thrills, spills and upsets intrinsic to NASCAR, all with a beautiful new hyper-real look. As part of the Open’s signature design, are animated race cars that reflect the evolution of new 2013 custom body styles from the big three automakers in a wild race to the finish line. Engine Room was also tasked with designing two new branding icons for FOX SPORTS to be used throughout the racing season. The new chrome, energy infused Fox X-Car and its high-tech robot driver Speedus, a powerful 3D animated cousin to FOX Football robot Cleatus, is a lightning-fast racing mascot on wheels.

VFX Supervisor Dave Piedra, Creative Director Dan Schmit and EP Michael Caplan led the Engine Room design and animation team throughout the intensive process that spanned nine months, from the design phase to the execution of each deliverable in the campaign, which included two complete packages, the first for day races and a second to air during the season’s night competitions.

“Our work with Fox Sports is always incredibly rewarding thanks to the vision and passion of EVP Gary Hartley and his team,” says Engine Room’s Dan Schmit. “We are proud of how our ongoing collaboration with Fox Sports has evolved for more than a decade from a relationship based on our live action skills, to now providing large scale creative branding projects where we have been invited to do it all, from developing original concept, through feature-level visual effects CG execution. Gary saw our potential early on and we look forward to many more years of exciting collaboration and visionary work in support of FOX SPORTS.”

The Discovery Channel directive was to present larger than life ideas for the new show open of their flagship series Curiosity, and that is exactly what Engine Room came up with. Through a combination of unusual type design and visual effects, the team defined a series of prestigious landscapes, cityscapes and other distant locations to place huge iconic letters that together spell out the Curiosity show title. From a polar ice field, to a deep water ocean trench, to the launch of the Mars explorer and beyond, each individual letter is presented in its own geographic location, as if they naturally belong in the environments.

The background images themselves were produced using a combination of stock footage, custom environmental creations and visual effects compositing. Still photographs were brought to life with multi-plane camera movement and simulated physical effects. Some beautiful digital matte painting work was contributed by artist Ron Crabb, while Engine Room lead designer Todd Ingalls coalesced all the letters together into a specular galactic logo resolve.

Needless to say Discovery Channel is thrilled with the final result for their ambitious hit series, which premiered October 7th.

Engine Room recently completed production of the second season of innovative 3D and Live Action race graphics with Gary Hartley and his Fox Sports Graphics team for this season’s NASCAR on FOX. Each week this Spring ER produced a series of custom animation CG sequences utilizing photo-real race footage in support of a weekly pre-race tease that recaps the thrills, spills and upsets from the previous week’s NASCAR race. These teases were script-to-air on a five-day schedule and included a full package of driver bumps and additional supporting graphics for the FOX On-Air team to utilize during their weekly broadcasts.

Creative talent was the key in both designing and executing this high profile project, and for that ER leaned on its own Dave Piedra to spearhead the creative effort. Joined this year by CG artist Zeth Dubois, Engine Room utilized Mach Studio animation software for the first time. The 3D software package was a very good match due to the level of CG finishing required on a very tight schedule. At the season’s start ER creative director, Dan Schmit once again joined Hartley traveling to the legendary Daytona Raceway to shoot the competing NASCAR drivers for integration into the package. With these key assets in place, the ER home team, headed by EP Michael Caplan, began production and within a week the first tease was complete and airing ahead of the Daytona 500 broadcast. The season continued from there on a weekly basis for the run of the FOX Sports 14 week NASCAR broadcasting season.