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Nexus Studio’s Smith & Foulkes design BBC’s 2018 Winter Olympics campaign

BBC’s The Fearless are Here campaign declares the arrival of the 2018 Winter Olympics and features an animated 2D film designed by Nexus Studios’ duo Smith & Foulkes. The campaign was devised in collaboration with Y&R London, who are the creators of the last two Bafta-winning Winter Olympic ads. Y&R London developed the creative concept with Mark Roalfe, chairman and creative director, overseeing all work produced by the duo at Nexus Studios.

The powerful film, which went live on Saturday (20 January), follows various winter sport athletes through the mental, physical and psychological challenges faced when training for and competing in the Winter Olympics. Emotions like fear, anxiety and uncertainty were at the forefront of the animators’ minds as they wanted to avoid reducing the challenges of the Winter Olympics to a physical monster.

The animation depicts the athletes chased by their inner demons, as the landscape shape-shifts into snakes and wolves. In one instance, the camera hones in on an ice skater’s eye and proceeds to show her being chased by a pack of wolves that then morph into giant versions of herself. Another moment shows a skier frantically trying to escape the clutches of a huge hand reaching after him from a thick, grey cloud.

The award-winning and Oscar-nominated duo sought to recreate the live action filming techniques used for action sports to mimic authentic movements through a 3D space. A team of artists at Nexus Studios worked to create the 2D spot, drawn and animated in a virtual environment using emerging VR cinematography software.

Alan Smith of Smith & Foulkes said in a statement: “There have been many memorable BBC Olympic title spots created over the years so the pressure was on from the start to bring something special to the party. It’s impossible to completely rewrite the story of the Winter Olympics; there are after all only so many sports to choose from. For starters, skiers were always going to hurtle down mountains. We just tried to bring a new visual approach to portray the intense drama of winter sports.”

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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here
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Nexus Studios’ Smith & Foulkes and Y&R London: The Fearless are Here