SMT CREATIVE STUDIO 2021

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ABOUT SMT

SMT is the name under which SportsMEDIA Technology Corporation does business. The company is incorporated under the laws of Delaware USA (Registration # 52-1693107) and has its registered office at 3511 University Drive, Durham, N.C., 27707. SMT also has offices in Jacksonville, Fla.; Fremont, Calif.; Toronto, Canada; and Munich, Germany. SMT is a privately held entity with the majority position held by Gerard J. Hall, founder and CEO of SMT.

SMT is a provider of technology and creative services for several major sports entities associated with a broad range of the world’s leading sporting events, including: Olympics, PGA TOUR, NASCAR, NFL, NHL, NBA, golf majors, the Tour de France, LPGA Evian Masters, the Portuguese Football Federation. SMT clients include sports sponsors, broadcasters, organizing bodies, event operators, and arenas/stadiums. SMT provides services for 500+ events around the globe including North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

 

SMT’s creative design and implementation, service development and delivery are provided by drawing from our 330+ person staff. Specifically, SMT Creative Studio is composed of art directors, designers, animators and editors and we are experts in designing, creating and implementing graphics packages that meet and exceed any clients expectations.

 

We have implemented multiple designs for many sports including hockey, football, tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, and emerging sports (mixed martial arts, competitive fitness sports). We have participated in multiple high profiles tenders including the FIFA World Cup Design tender for 2018. We are true specialists in finding ways to deliver relevant information in a compelling manner for the ultimate consumption of the viewers. Our Creative Studio has deployed state-of-the-art graphics packages in 3D, 4K, HD, virtual graphics and virtual studio solutions for both U.S.-based and overseas clients. In addition, SMT Creative Studio has designed compelling graphics to help the audience understand what is relevant, explaining the outcome of a match.
 

 

SMT AND INNOVATION

With numerous industry awards, including 36 Emmys, SMT has a proven track record of proactively assisting organizations in achieving new heights. Our goal is to be a valued partner, sharing ideas and concepts that have been successful in the broader sports marketplace.

Since 2007, SMT has partnered with the NHL as the league’s official scoring provider and, as of 2019, now provides a full complement of puck and player tracking, data integration and distribution, and virtual-graphics generation for every NHL game. SMT has also created the world's most accurate virtual offside line system, SMT-VOL, harnessing decades of 3D and augmented reality graphics expertise for a system that gives referees the tools to confidently call any potential offside situation. SMT-VOL is the first FIFA-certified VOL provider and partners with Primeira Liga of Portuguese Football Federation and U17 World Cup.

For the National Football League and CBS, SMT has assisted in the analysis and on-air presentation of player-tracking statistics known as NFL Next Gen Stats. We have helped the CrossFit Games evolve from a small cult event to the leading fitness competition in the world. And a longtime collaboration with race organizer the New York Road Runners has resulted in establishing the New York City Marathon as the most technically advanced endurance race in the world.

These clients have not only benefited from SMT’s technology, but also from the creativity and innovation SMT brings to help elevate their properties. We have demonstrated our ability to exceed our clients’ expectations and are proud to have won our clients’ confidence and trust based on our creativity, design quality and professionalism. 

CASE STUDIES

Case Study #1: CrossFit Games
As official results provider and design firm, SMT tells the story of the CrossFit Games "Fittest on Earth" athletes

 

Challenge

In 2011, CrossFit was looking for a way to expand its competition and viewership. The Games had been held in Aromas, Calif., since 2007 with about 70 athletes competing for the “Fittest on Earth” title and 150 spectators cheering them on.

 

Solution

CrossFit approached SMT to determine how a scoring system could be created that would not only feature a competition with many unannounced, “surprise” events in a small span of time but also be entertaining for viewers. Since its beginning, CrossFit has boasted of its Games’ programming as “Unknown and Unknowable.” SMT provides a 20-person team onsite to execute CrossFit’s on-the-fly decisions and format changes.

In 2011,SMT developed the first official timing and scoring services for CrossFit competitions and, in 2012, was named its official design firm. Since then, SMT has expanded our products and services to include, in addition to our comprehensive broadcast package, in-stadium video board production and data integration, interactive talent touchscreens for the studio, web feeds, on-site direction, Commentator Information Systems and CCTV.

In 2014, SMT’s creative division, then known as (n+1) designstudio, concepted and created the CrossFit Games show open, which was featured on ESPN’s broadcasts of the Games.

Results

CrossFit has upgraded the competition, the look and the location of its Games, growing into a multi-day, festival-style event at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. Interest and participation continued to grow throughout the years, rising from 69,000 in 2012 and reaching a peak of 415,000 participants in 2018. SMT has adapted its products and services to support the CrossFit Games every step of the way.

Client Testimonial

“For 2014, one of our major goals was to have an animated show opening that matched the standard set by the objective of the CrossFit Games – to find the fittest people on Earth. Using universal imagery that simultaneously applies to the core CrossFit community as well as the newly interested, the team at (n+1) designstudio created a bold, explosive and definite illustration of the journey these amazing athletes make to reach the pinnacle of their sport. In short, they dead-on nailed it.”

Joe Novello
Coordinating Producer, CrossFit Games

 

 

Case Study #2: MLS Cup
SMT Creative Studio delivers groundbreaking AR show open for MLS Cup's 25th anniversary

 

Challenge

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the MLS Cup, Major League Soccer wanted to pay tribute to the league’s history in a way that excited established fans while wowing new audiences who may not have known the league’s backstory. The league sought a bold, augmented reality show open to introduce the grand finale match of the season.

Solution

MLS turned to SMT to create the augmented reality show open to honor the league's greatest players and winning teams.

The open’s conception and design were executed by SMT’s in-house Creative Studio utilizing Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. The AR open paid tribute to 25 years of MLS, with a rendering of the trophy highlighting 13 past winning franchises, flanked by slabs displaying the top 25 greatest players in MLS history. Special heroic treatment of the league’s top four male players featured golden likenesses of David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Eddie Pope and Carlos Valderrama emerging from beneath the field. The effect was created in real-time, combining the graphics with live shots inside MAPFRE Stadium located in Ohio.

SMT also delivered its V-FAB (Virtual Fans, Ads, and Brands) technology that provided in-stadium sponsorship logos throughout the 2020 MLS season. SMT provided the league’s sponsors and advertisers with virtual graphics on and around the field that were targeted on a per-market basis for national and international broadcasts.

Results

The open was an eye-popping, emotional homage to the rich history of the league, inviting fans to join in the celebration. While honoring the league's foundation and reflecting on the legends of the sport, the open incorporated new design elements such as the 25th season crest and logos of the Columbus Crew and the Seattle Sounders.

 

Client Testimonial

“SMT’s V-FAB virtual technology was a significant component of the broadcast, and allowed us to experiment with cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technology to engage fans watching at home. SMT’s V FAB offered us the opportunity to provide premium opportunities for League and club partners to be featured within the MLS is Back Tournament.”

Chris Schlosser
SVP of Media, MLS

SMT CREATIVE STUDIO REEL
All concepts, designs, data and graphics integration provided by SMT.

 

CREATIVE PERSONNEL

Patricia G. Hopkins

Corporate Vice President, Marketing and Creative

As SMT’s Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Creative, Patricia oversees SMT’s global marketing strategies, corporate communications, and SMT Creative Studio. Her team is responsible for positioning SMT’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets, and concepting designs for broadcast and event clients. Since joining SMT in 2009, Patricia has helped guide the company through its acquisitions of Sportvision, IDS and Signum Bildtechnik with communications strategy, rebranding and public relations. Under Patricia’s guidance, the company has launched an extensive communication plan to include public relations, social media campaigns, business development strategy and video production.

Robbie Louthan

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Robbie Louthan is Senior Vice President of Business Development, responsible for managing strategic corporate partnerships as well as the day-to-day fulfillment of client project requests and communication. He has been integral in the rollout of SMT’s core products and services, including NHL OASIS HITS, the puck-and player-tracking system, and SMT OPTICS, its 3D visualization tool. During Robbie’s two decades with SMT, he has served in a variety of positions integral to the company’s growth, including Director of Operations, Director of Systems and Director of Client Services, roles in which he collaborated with various departments to execute the day-to-day software development of SMT’s core products and services.

John Howell

Director of Creative Strategy, SMT Creative Studio
John Howell has been employed with SMT for over a decade and acts as the lead designer for large events, including NFL and college football for U.S. clients. He has expertise and experience in graphics design and implementation for 2D/3D, HD and UHD, with extensive understanding and knowledge of on-air production for tennis. John has developed virtual set and augmented graphics solutions for The Golf Channel, UFC, Revolt TV, Inside Edition and the Tennis Channel. 

Caleb Thomas

Creative Director, SMT Creative Studio

Creative Director Caleb Thomas joined SMT in 2009 and has acted as art director, lead animator and designer for some of the company’s most prestigious projects, including the Australia Open, British Open, BNP Paribas Open, Tour de France, various Super Bowls, and the Academy Awards. He is the Creative Studio's guiding force, coaching the team’s artists on how best to convey the client’s story using branding, animation or video production. He was a key player on two NBC branding redesigns and led, art directed and originally designed the entire branding package for the CrossFit Games. Awards include a Silver Telly and he has played a large part in many Emmy-winning and nominated projects.

Michael Guastaferro

Associate Creative Director, SMT Creative Studio
SMT Associate Creative Director Michael Guastaferro is a National ADDY award-winning and Emmy-nominated animator, 3D artist, and director. His portfolio spans commercial, broadcast, print and interactive work for major brands such as IBM, Porsche, and Red Bull, as well as every major broadcast network. Since joining SMT in 2013, Michael’s creative direction has led the Creative Studio team to execute projects ranging such as creation of graphic brand packages for NASCAR, Red Bull events, WTA, the CrossFit Games, and the US Open Series.

Richard Quintana

Senior Multimedia Designer, SMT Creative Studio

Richard’s career at SMT began in 2008 and has included stints as a motion graphic designer and U.I. designer. He was instrumental in bringing virtual advertising to Major League Baseball broadcasts on ESPN, Fox Sports and TBS. As one of SMT’s most experienced multimedia designers, Richard oversees design and graphic concepts, branding, RFPs, video tracking and UI/UX design for sports including baseball, golf, motorsports, hockey and football. His contributions have helped SMT win three Emmy awards, most recently for Outstanding Technical Team for the 2021Super Bowl LV on CBS. He has also been awarded an Adobe MAX award.

Emanuel Wazar

Technical Animation Director, SMT Creative Studio

Technical Animation Director Emanuel Wazar is responsible for the design and creation of real-time graphics, 3D animation and motion media. Emanuel was a key contributor to the augmented reality show open and virtual advertising graphics package for the 2020 MLS Cup that celebrated the league’s 25th anniversary. Emanuel’s dynamic designs bring brands to life, capturing the energy and passion of tournaments and events around the globe.

Cameron Jackson 
Project Coordinator, SMT Creative Studio
As Project Coordinator, Cameron Jackson supports the Creative Studio with an end mission to ensure timely deliverables of broadcast graphics, inserts, animations, and other products to clients. Cameron thrives on solving logistical puzzles, planning the successful completion of projects from asset attainment to time management to budget considerations. As the communications pipeline, Cameron sees to it that there is a clear understanding between clients and SMT’s Creative, Engineering and Client Services departments, guaranteeing a smooth and seamless process for all stakeholders.

 

DESIGN CONCEPTS

SHOW OPEN

Grace and power collide in Finland for the IIHF World Championship! The serene beauty of the northern lights fills our view, glowing brightly on the horizon. The light begins to grow in intensity, then a sudden explosion of vibrant, colorful energy and action bursts forth as a hockey puck flies past, ice shards spraying Heated energy trails the puck, hot and cold converging and competing for dominance. This is the story of the sport. Beauty and battle, as we're pulled in close to a macro-level experience of the game, stripped down to the basic elements. Stick, puck, skates, the goal. We see as they perform their aggressive dance, shredding the ice accented by a rainbow prism of electric energy. A powerful musical track of kick drums and retro instrumentals are supported and enhanced by the raw sounds of the game. The chaotic blizzard of action culminates in a powerful reveal of the logo that fades into the beautifully serene moment of anticipation.
The game is about to begin.

STORYBOARD

MAP LOCATOR & REPLAY WIPES

Touchstones:

  • Depth

  • Detail

  • Speed

  • Motion

The Locator and Replay Wipes are designed as a bridge between the broadcast and insert package. We have utilized the foundational elements of ice, ribbons and the bold color palette of the IIHF. Secondary elements used to frame the action are northern lights, gradients and the overall look and feel of the open design established by the IIHF brand identity. Overall, we want to convey a feeling and look that represents the speed and motion of the game. Every animation aims to make the viewer feel like they are in an experience – like they are watching a broadcast that is as actively coordinated as the game itself.  

INSERT GRAPHICS

The philosophy going into our design process was to marry the overall feeling and grand sense of scope of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships with SMT's inventive approach to statistics and data presentation. Our designers embraced the challenge of translating the breadth of a global tournament into a system of graphics that will delight and inform viewers around the world.

Option 1: Northern Lights

Touchstones:

  • Painting with light and color

  • Creating shapes and movement

  • Practicing innovative storytelling

  • Showing data in new areas

We leaned into the concept of the northern lights and created an overall design that allowed us to paint with light and color.

The northern lights are formed when charged particles from the sun collide with earth’s atmosphere. The beauty and energy from those collisions parallel the high intensity of a hockey game. We created shapes to imply a sense of dynamic movement in each graphic.

Most importantly, SMT looked for opportunities to practice innovative storytelling. Bespoke slabs and lower-thirds were designed take advantage of the full field of view and unique angles provided by the cameras. In addition to placing design elements in new screen spaces, we looked to break out relevant data into meaningful nuggets.

SMT tries to take the work out of watching sports. Viewers will be able to quickly digest and understand the information on their screen instead of hunting through rows and columns. This clean and bright design will bring the broadcast for 2022 and beyond in an incredible new direction.

Click on any image below to enlarge or open.

Option 2: Energy and Emotion

Touchstones:

  • Pushing for bold type

  • Injecting lots of energy

  • Creating depth through layers

  • Matching the emotion of the event

The energy, emotions and excitement of a World Championship tournament are second to none. SMT has worked to create a design system that attempts to direct that energy into the graphics package.

 

The biggest moments of the tournament —from goals to penalty kills to shootouts—will cause the graphics to jump, pulse and flash on-screen. For research, we looked everywhere from video game graphics to sports and entertainment shows from around the world.

 

What SMT came away with is a contemporary look featuring bold, dynamic typography and layouts that present the data you need to see when you need to see it, simplifying the presentations by replacing stacks of data with clean layouts of pertinent information.

 

To create a sense of depth and movement, we stacked elements on top of each other and created textures and shadow effects with key light placement.  Animations with subtle nods to a team’s colors combined with bold use of player imagery will anchor the viewers to each broadcast and remind them who and what they are watching.

Click on any image below to enlarge or open.

MUSICAL SCORE

Thoughts of Finland conjure up visions of the northern lights, hot steel burning through frozen ice. The tempo and intensity changes reflect the power of elite athletes at their best; the physicality against the finesse of world-class ice hockey. The build represents the coming together of opposing forces reaching critical mass at the 2022 IIHF World Championship. The bumpers maintain the ethereal qualities of the Scandinavian sky while carrying the driving power that is ice hockey at its best. The shorter stings are meant for bumpers, highlights and player intros.

This SMT score was written specifically for the IIHF to convey the excitement of world-class ice hockey, with full international rights/usage.

IIHF 30 Second Theme
with Sound FX

IIHF 30 Second Theme with Sound FX Sept 10 2021
00:00 / 00:31
IIHF 30 Second Theme without Sound FX Sept 10 2021
00:00 / 00:31

IIHF 30 Second Theme
without Sound FX

IIHF 30 Second Skate and Crowd Sound FX Sept 10 2021
00:00 / 00:31

IIHF 30 Second Skate and
Crowd Stings

 

DELIVERY TIMELINE

Oct. 18th: Winning bid is selected

 

SMT Timeline by Phase

 

Phase 1 Delivery:

  • Oct. 19-Nov. 5: SMT Assets: 

    • Bug

    • Map Locator

    • Open Animation

  • Nov. 8: Client review and feedback of assets delivered

  • Nov. 8-12: SMT revisions based on client feedback

Phase 2 Delivery:

  • Nov. 15-Dec. 10: SMT Assets

    • Fullscreens

    • Replay wipes

    • 1 draft Style Guide

  • Dec. 13: Client review and feedback of assets delivered

  • Dec. 13 - 17: SMT revisions based on client feedback
     

Phase 3 Delivery:

  • Jan. 3 -7: SMT Assets

    • Scoreboard

    • Stings

 

Phase 4 Delivery:

  • Jan. 10 - 21: SMT Assets

    • Lower-thirds

    • Bumpers

  • Jan. 24: Final client review and feedback of Phases 3 and 4

  • Jan. 14 - 28: SMT final revisions to Phases 3 and 4
     

Phase 5 Delivery:

  • Jan. 31 - Feb. 21: SMT Assets

    • Asset Library creation

    • Style Guide finalization

    • Asset files final stage for hand off - AE

  • Feb. 21 - April 1: Final handoff to client

 

Any outstanding elements will be delivered via QuickTime and MOV files

 

WORKFLOW

The following provides a workflow process that SMT has established to successfully deliver our creative projects. It includes an SMT point-of-contact, scheduled conference calls, and a client online project-monitoring system.

SMT's point-of-contact leading this project is Cameron Jackson. Cameron will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of the project delivery, including communication to client, scheduling conference calls and posting project assets/elements for client's review and feedback.

 

STEP 1: Launch of the Design Meeting

The first step of this process is Planning and Concepting.  SMT will schedule a conference call to launch this project and discuss all aspects of the project, including:

  • All various elements of the look (i.e., integration of Style Guide)

  • All graphics templates that constitute the graphics package for broadcast production

  • Animations and transitions

  • 3D effects

  • Music review

  • Format UHD/HD/SD

  • Replay transition

  • Any additional elements

 

Timeframe: Kickoff meeting October 20, 2021.

STEP 2: Sample Graphic Creation & Initial Review

Based on the approved creative direction, SMT will start designing all templates. 
 

Timeframe: It will take SMT two to three weeks to create and deliver sample animations including a score bug and full-page graphic.

STEP 3: HBS Design Feedback

Based on the first set of samples, HBS will provide feedback to SMT in the form of changes required, with the goal of finalizing your preference on the graphics design. Upon receiving in writing these requests for changes/modification, SMT will proceed in making the changes and provide HBS with revised samples.
 

Timeframe: SMT will schedule a conference call with HBS to discuss and review the samples provided and to clarify all change requests. Estimated one week.

STEP 4: HBS Design Final Review and Approval

Once SMT has made the changes requested, we recommend HBS and SMT meet to discuss the revised samples and iron out the details of the package in order to proceed with full implementation. In this review, SMT will seek HBS' approval to proceed in developing the entire graphic package. As we develop the package, SMT will post graphic elements on a protected website for HBS to review the graphic templates. 

Timeframe: It will take SMT approximately one to two weeks to make revisions. SMT will provide a list of all graphic elements to be built (sample of each graphic).

STEP 5: Presentation of New Package

The plan is for an SMT designer to meet with HBS in January 2022 for a presentation of the package, including, if necessary, set up of a SMT HD graphic system and TVI to review all graphics available for on-air production. SMT will allow for minor modifications but any request to change the look or modify complex animations or template will be treated as a "scope change" and SMT will provide a fee and time estimate to do so. HBS will provide final sign-off and approval of the graphics package at this time.

Timeframe: Pending on the complexity of the package, it will take SMT approximately nine weeks to create the entire package.

STEP 6: Launch of IIHF New Design

SMT will launch the new IIHF hockey graphics package at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Please note SMT understands that once on-air, there might still be a need to make minor changes. SMT will allow for these minor changes to take place on-site at the first event. SMT will provide support for any modifications needed either through staff at SMT Headquarters or on-site at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships.

 

CHANGING THE GAME

SMT serves the sports industry with innovative, award-winning technology for events, broadcasts and livestreams with a focus on real-time data collection, integration and visualization. With more than three decades of developing best-in-class solutions, SMT is an unsurpassed leader in sports technology.

36

YEARS

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60

SPORTS

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70

PATENTS

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20K

ANNUAL EVENTS

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220

CLIENTS

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EMMY AWARDS

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Our Technology

Craft the story of your game by choosing from live and historical data and statistics, social media feeds, video and telemetry, all integrated into compelling graphics for display on video boards, scoreboards, and screens of all kinds.

Click on an icon to learn more about SMT's innovative technologies.

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Industry Recognition

We are honored to have been awarded 36 Emmys over the past two decades on behalf of our work with our stellar roster of clients, including three this year for our contributions to:

  • Outstanding Playoff Coverage: NFC Wild Card Game | Nickelodeon (CBS Sports)

  • Outstanding Live Sports Series: Sunday Night Football | NBC

  • Outstanding Technical Team Event: Super Bowl LV | CBS

Clients and Partners

Over 200 clients entrust us with their most valuable assets: their fans.

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Our Services

SMT's broadcast and event specialists take pride in helping our clients turn their visions into reality. From site review to choosing our most impactful solutions and on-site set-up and operation, SMT is devoted to our clients’ success every step of the way.

Click on an icon to learn more about SMT's services.

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