Favorite Color Creates ‘Three Generations of Golf’
It had never happened before. It hasn’t happened since. When iconic golfers Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer took to the links for the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open, three generations of golf greatness were represented together for the first, and perhaps only, time.
That historic grouping forms the focus of “Back Nine at Cherry Hills: The Legends of the 1960 U.S. Open,” a lovingly told documentary created by HBO Sports. Manhattan-based creative studio Favorite Color used a blend of still photographs, archival footage, and 3D artistry to create a moody, metaphorical opening title for the documentary.
“Favorite Color brought a subtle storytelling approach to this project, from color palette to content,” says HBO Sports’ Creative Director Tripp Dixon. “They were able to combine still photos, 3D, and sparse footage in a truly seamless and smart way, with tremendous attention to detail. The end result is beautiful and evocative of that era.”
The Main Title opens with a blaze of sunlight slowly diffusing to reveal a dimpled white ball on a tee. The lone figure of a very young Jack Nicklaus (then playing as an amateur) sends a drive ripping down the verdant fairway.
The scene dissolves into shots of caddies and expectant looking crowds along the fairway before revealing still images – one monochrome, one color — of Ben Hogan (then in the twilight of his career) attempting a chip shot out of a water hazard. Swooping around an ornately textured tree trunk, the camera reveals flawless follow-through of the legendary Arnold Palmer (this tournament’s eventual champion). Billed as a “Matchup for the Ages,” the scene then joins shots of the three men together on the green, before ending with a final putt and a 3D ball entering the hole. The resulting effect is both palpably dramatic and gently nostalgic.
“This is a highly significant moment in golf history,” says Lindsay Daniels, Creative Director at Favorite Color. “We needed to create a narrative piece that would capture the emotion of the tournament, as well as the look and feel of the era. After much consideration, we came up with the idea of the Title progressing through a single hole of the tournament: from tee-off to sinking the putt, with three players as the main characters, and a sense of drama building along the way. We used the game of golf as both a metaphor for life and as the foundation of our story.”
“We had a wealth of still photographs and archival footage to choose from, and it was our job to achieve the right pacing and treatment to bring this historic moment back to life,” says Daniels. “We referenced photography from that particular period to get the evocative, highly saturated look we were after. We selected shots of the players at emotional, pivotal moments, and colored them by hand before bringing them into After Effects to add more elements and perspective. It was time-consuming, but we were able to capture the feeling of the time with great subtlety.”
Somehow, the scenes manage to represent both the lush, unhurried gentility of the great game as well as the intense precision and skill of its greatest players.
“We had to come up with a way to combine the archival footage, which was of differing qualities, and these beautiful, emotional stills,” says Daniels. “HBO wanted a timeless, classic look that summed up the emotion and history. To gain a little more creative control over this amazing material, we created 3D elements to bridge the historic scenes in an artful way.”
About Favourite Color
The name Favorite Color is inspired by the nostalgia, whimsy and fascination with one’s creative opinion distilled to its most simple form. This seemingly insignificant opinion is, in fact, a form of personal branding and complex storytelling that emotionally connects with everyone.