Animating Brazil & the FIFA World Cup™ is complicated

Animating Brazil and the FIFA World Cup™ is a complicated task, for Brazilian production company Santa Transmedia

Brazilians love futebol. However, not everyone in Brazil is in love with their government spending $11.3 billion hosting the FIFA World Cup. Critics say that the money can be better spent on elevating the standard of life for the lower and middle class.  

So, when MTV Brazil asked Santa Transmedia to produce a series of network IDs about the World Cup, it was difficult nailing down a concept that would please both soccer fans and cynics.

The result is an advertising campaign that switches back-and-forth between high-action soccer scenes and everyday realities in Brazil.

Politics aside, these ads are much more than a handful of simple network IDs. In my opinion, Director Thiago Steka is helping pioneer a new style of animation. He tells us how he layered so many stories, textures and colors together.

This style is so vibrant, funky and uniquely Brazilian. How did you come up with this look?

For a long time in Brazil, there has been a period where we have been copying North American styles – but I think that it is coming to an end. For this project, we aimed to do something original. We didn’t use any specific video or style as a reference.

What direction did MTV give you when creating these network IDs’ about the World Cup?

When MTV first approached Santa Transmedia, they were very open. They told us, ‘You guys can make it any way you want to, but it has to be Brazilian for Brazilians – not for the rest of the world.’

It’s no secret that there’s been a lot of protests and commotion about the World Cup coming to Brazil. How did you deal with this conflict, when creating these spots?

Lots of people didn’t want it to happen here. MTV didn’t want to go against the games. We also were careful not to glorify it either. We chose to go in the middle. That’s where the reality is. We’re living here. It’s happening. There are people that like it. There are people that don’t like it.

How would you describe the theme of these spots?

We got very excited to work with MTV. At the briefing, we started to kick around some ideas. We got the concept around the word ‘confusão.’ It’s means “confusion.”

The word ‘confusão’ actually represents what’s happening in Brazil. Things are confusing and complicated. Hosting the World Cup is something really messy. A lot of people don’t want it but on the other hand, lots of people are excited about it. We thought this concept perfectly fits the situation.

The first time I watched it I thought, “What a fun spot.” Then, I watched it again and I noticed that there’s more to it than that. A motorcycle smashes a car’s side mirror, a group of girls are dancing, an overweight man gawks at a woman wearing a bikini. Why was it important to show these images?

Once we got to this concept we started to ask ourselves, ‘What is the best way to tell this story? What’s the narrative?’

I was writing down these tiny situations that represent our daily lives. The delivery guy in the motorcycle was something that I noted before we ever had a concept. That’s something that is part of living in Brazil. We started writing a script where we were making associations with moments, not words.

Just curious, what camera did you use?

We started shooting it with a Black Magic camera. At some point we had to reshoot, so we shot some scenes with iPhones.

We knew we were going to use human characters, so we asked our colleagues to be actors. It was a very intimate production – we had no lighting, we had no director of photography.

We used our project manager, who plays soccer very well, for most of the soccer scenes. The girl in the bikini is an administrative assistant. It’s the fruit of the work of many, many amazing people.

You had to rotoscope each scene. What was that like?

Doing it handmade guarantees awesomeness. Rotoscoping is a simple task but very time consuming. It’s something that the computer can’t successfully do automatically.

Simultaneously, as the shots were being rotoscoped, a different group created the fills. We wanted two different groups working on it separately so that the outlines wouldn’t perfectly match the fills.

The textures in this piece almost make it look like a collage. Where did that idea come from?

The first style frame I designed helped me find a visual direction. I showed it to Eric Pautz, my co-art director, and asked him to work on a separate frame to see where he would take the idea. We wanted it to be colorful and messy.

The music is fantastic. How would you describe this style of music?

We worked on the music from the very start. We wanted the music to be as authentically Brazilian as the images. The genre of music, Funk carioca, is as Brazilian as Samba. We composed it in our friend’s in-house studio, which is located here in Santa Transmedia.

Client: Viacom Brasil / MTV

Creative Directors: Vinicius Prado, Edson Fukuda

Production Company: Santa Transmedia

Director: Thiago Steka

Client Services: Laura Rocha

Producer: Marcos Berghahn

Script: Santa Transmedia

Art Direction: Thiago Steka & Eric Pautz

Design: Eric Pautz, João Lavieri, André Chaves, Thiago Steka

Lead Animator: Ricardo Drehmer

Animation: Ricardo Drehmer, Leonel Zarpelon, Alejandro Martinez, Thiago Steka

Rotoscopy (lines): Tiago Martins de Oliveira, Gustavo Encinas

Rotoscopy (masks): Henrique Geremia Nievinski, João Franz

Sound: Thiago Gautério 

Cast: Diogo Alves, Thiago Gautério, Guilherme Krolow, Guilherme Haupenthal, Ricardo Drehmer, Leonel Zarpelon, Alejandro Martinez, Marcos Berghahn, Amadeu Caringi, Alessandra Lewis, Renata Munaretto, Carlo Taffarel, Maurício de Oliveira, Rafael Chies, Sivo Greven, Raul Carrasco, André Chaves

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