New WOWOW – Now with Extra WOW!

Repeat business is one of the best indicators that you’re on the right track, so when Framestore Design received an order for a second complete year’s worth of programming idents from Wowow, Japan’s largest satellite TV channel, they were suitably chuffed. “It’s very gratifying,” says Producer Simon Whalley, “They decided that they had confidence enough in our work to come back for a second year.”

It took designer Adam Parry around 8 weeks to create 64 individual idents ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® a whole year’s worth of material. They have just started running, and will be seen through to April 2007.

The idents are each five seconds long, and cover 8 televisual genres. Each genre, in turn, is represented through 8 ‘seasons’. The animations have a strongly organic theme, with further visual unity provided by the colour-theming, which has been created in accordance with Japanese tradition ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® pink for Spring, white/gold for New Year, for example. With the basic animations remaining constant, variation is created through the use of titling and embedded icons representing each genre. Each ident is further complemented by delicately varied music, specially commissioned by the Framestore Design team from composer Sam Hooper.

Of his approach to the brief, Adam Parry says, “Because they’re little ‘countdowns’ that go before programmes, I thought that a clock would be good device.” Working in Photoshop, Parry produced a set of sketches and mood boards that gave the client a good idea of where he was going. He takes up the story, “The idea of a clock bursting into life engendered ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬®naturally enough ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® the cuckoo clock as the basis for the design. Again, not a conventional cuckoo clock, but a highly stylised, almost abstract version.”

It’s hard to convey in words the subtlety and wit that Parry has brought to this task ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® we suggest you take a look at the Quicktime and stills at this point…

With the client in Japan, good communication and feedback were essential. The work was delivered for approval via front, Framestore CFC’s proprietary online suite of production tools. This allowed the Design team to create and upload full-res NTSC Quicktimes of drafts and finished work onto front at the end of the UK working day. The time difference in Tokyo made it possible for the Wowow clients to view the work-in-progress and comment on it, using front’s ‘Comment’ area, in time for the start of the next working day. This made for an exceptionally smooth and efficient work-flow. “Rika Otake, the Producer for Wowow, completely embraced the front technology,” comments Whalley, “She was delighted to use it to optimise the workflow.”

The music was created by freelance musician Sam Hooper. “I was familiar with his music from elsewhere,” says Parry, “Including gigs of his I’d seen. I was very pleased (as were the clients) with the almost ‘folky’ approach he brought to the work ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® using live instruments, for example, and with his responsiveness to the visual material.”

The ‘Spring’ selection were the first set of idents to be delivered, to be in good time for their launch in April, with the other sets soon following. Parry feels that he has even improved on last year’s work, and the delighted client feedback would seem to bear this out.

The genres represented are: Animation, Drama, Movie, Music, Soccer, Sports, Stage, Extra. The seasons and their colours are: Spring, Summer 1, Summer 2, Autumn, Winter, Christmas, New Year, Valentines.


WOWOW idents ?Äì 2006/07
Client Producer Rika Otake

Framestore CFC
Designer Adam Parry
Design Producer Simon Whalley
Music Sam Hooper

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