Cricket, Cosmos, and Intro Sequences with Jishnu Chatterjee
If, like us, you found yourself glued to the screen through the nail-biting finishes of this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, you might have also wondered about the fabulous opening sequence of the tournament. We did some digging to find out the man behind the cursor and got in conversation with the brilliant creative Jishnu Chatterjee.
Jishnu, a Creative Director, Motion Designer, and the founder of Stray Motion, is adept in the art of crafting cinematic narratives that has garnered much admiration from enthusiasts all around. In this feature we deep-dive into his process behind creating the Opening Sequence for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Opening Sequence created by Stray Motion, directed by Jishnu Chatterjee and Stray Motion (vimeo.com)
“I have been looking for a way to combine cinematic storytelling with the limitless possibilities of motion design”, says Jishnu, whose undying passion for visual storytelling and cinema propelled him into motion design and animation.
“Title sequences presented a unique format where I could do both the things I love!”.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story’s Title Sequence for SonyLIV Original Series was created by Stray Motion with Jishnu as the creative director. Scam 2003, centred on the Stamp Paper Counterfeiting scandal worth 30,000 crores.
Venturing into creating title sequences, he quickly realised that the process thrives with collaboration. He says, “Just like how it takes a small village to create a great film, the same is true for animation. That’s when I started collaborating with like-minded creative individuals and we started developing a brilliant rapport”.
And thus began Stray Motion, a studio specializing in cinematic motion design — Jishnu's creative playground.
It's not just my work; it's my creative playground where I get to explore the boundaries of storytelling through animation.
As unique as their name 'Stray Motion,' so is their approach to projects — exploring uncharted territories and embracing unusual terrains.
a CG animated video by Stray Motion that showcases Ultraviolette Automotive's vision, offering a glimpse of their plans for the future as they unveiled the highly anticipated F77 electric motorcycle.
Instead of seeking straightforward answers, we value intriguing questions. Like a stray animal that explores new territory, we try to embrace the uncharted and untamed in our design process. It encapsulates our commitment to discovering new ways to tell visual stories that set our work apart from the rest.
Jishnu says, “Every project I take on is an opportunity to immerse myself in diverse narratives, whether it's for web series, documentaries, or major events like the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.”
Bringing the “cultural phenomenon” of World Cricket to the Indian grounds, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 comes with high-stake wins and emotional losses. Jishnu and his team wholeheartedly immersed themselves in capturing the essence of the highly anticipated World Cup within a concise, cinematic 40-second narrative.
Rough Sketches from the making of the ICC Cricket World Cup Opening Sequence at Stray Motion.
“This sport has such a strong significance in our culture that one might compare it to age-old traditions that we abide by - this is what sparked the idea of using ancient relics/monuments in conjunction with cricket elements to imply how it is woven into the fabric of Indian culture.” Jishnu says
Fusing the spirit of the sport with the “Navarasa” theme of this year’s branding, the opening sequence journeys through the multiverse, traversing through the myriad of emotions that a player experiences while interpreting each emotion as different dimensions of reality.
The concept delved into a rich tapestry of culture, portraying cricketers as cosmic guides through surreal landscapes. It was inspired by the profound connection that cricket holds in the hearts of Indians.
Storyboards from the making of the ICC Cricket World Cup Opening Sequence by Jishnu Chatterjee and his team at Stray Motion.
Jishnu say, “The sequence aimed to vividly portray the breakneck pace, electrifying energy, and heightened stakes of the game, making it an immersive experience for viewers.”
Working with a novel demographic of sport enthusiasts, the team meticulously planned the production to weave the cosmic themes within the sequence. Working closely with cricket aficionados from ICC the team was able to strike a balance between art and authenticity.
To represent the players beyond their nationalities and as sportsmen revelling in the game proved a unique window to promote the visual “Navrasa” branding onto screens, flags, and engravings across the sequence.
We saw this as an opportunity to incorporate the Navrasa branding of the World Cup as a design element in our sequence. We designed custom jerseys, gloves, caps, helmets, and even shoes that all have multicoloured Navrasa symbols and colourways.
Custom jerseys, gloves, caps, helmets, and even shoes that all have multicoloured Navrasa symbols and colourways was an exciting opportunity to incorporate the visual branding within the opening sequence.
The narrative dived into the minds of three professional cricketers- a bowler, batsman and fielder- who make split-second decisions under unfathomable pressure making them seem almost invincible.
“My team and I actually don’t know much about cricket. Yet as Indians, we have all grown up amidst the inescapable passion that this country has for this sport, and that’s what we decided to focus on.”, says Jishnu.
Drawing cosmic parallels between superheroes and cricketers proved to be a compelling concept, resonating with both sports enthusiasts and exuding a high-energy scenario.
With each frame unfolding the cinematic narrative and the pacing mirroring the excitement of the game, the sequence established a clear storyline that followed these cricketers as they embarked on a cosmic journey into a multiverse where they channelled the legends of cricket in every action they took.
Jishnu and his team using Rokoko full-body motion capture suit on a professional cricketer to capture the movement precisely.
Borrowing from both 3D animation and VFX techniques, the team used the Rokoko full-body motion capture suit to recreate the performance of a professional cricketer on Maxon Cinema 4D, while using specialized programs like Marvellous Designer for custom cloth simulations, and Houdini for cleaning up motion capture data.
Rendering the animation using Otoy Octane Render, using Adobe After Effects for compositing, and Adobe Premiere for editing the team brought to life the cosmic and surreal elements of the story.
Jishnu adds,” Our process incorporated meticulous storyboarding, concept design, and detailed world-building followed by rigorous animation to ensure the sequence felt like a cinematic journey.”
Apart from the phenomenal visuals, the original soundtrack was also created by Jishnu alongside composer 'Kalmi’. These elements enhanced the larger-than-life appeal of the opening sequence.
Juxtaposing ancient combat undertones, evoked by grand battle drums and warriors rushing into the fray, with contemporary synthesizers and electronic elements infused the track with a feeling of exhilaration and excitement.
Jishnu says,” This merging of old and new in the soundtrack became a metaphor for the tournament itself, representing a battle for the ages that incorporates the rich history of cricket while embracing the contemporary, high-energy spectacle that fans adore.”
I like to treat all my animation projects like short films, where the whole process starts with the story I want to tell. The story informs the aesthetic and the pacing of the entire project.
Bringing a cohesive product with a clear vision is something Jishnu did wonderfully with this intro sequence. He says,” The overarching theme of the sequence was something I, as the director, had to keep my eye on. It was challenging for sure, but also deeply satisfying to see something like this come together, piece by piece from scratch.”
With collaborators spread across the country, the creative team connected through platforms like Discord, where they would hangout, brainstorm and contribute to the sequence.
Jishnu worked remotely with a creative team connecting and brainstorming over platforms like Discord to create the ICC World Cup’s opening sequence.
Jishnu says, “Each creative involved was given the space to express themselves and create the parts they were responsible for. It was a process of nurturing individual creativity while ensuring that it aligned with the broader vision for the whole video.”
Moreover, the client, ICC, granted complete creative freedom, enabling Jishnu and his team to delve into innovative concepts and artistic expressions while staying true to the fundamental vision of the event.
While all things don’t go according to plan with creative projects, what has always helped Jishnu is his ability to think on his feet and improvise, adapting to unexpected challenges while remaining flexible and open to finding the best way forward, even when the path seemed uncertain.
With the evolution of animation, Jishnu envisions a promising future for motion graphics across diverse fields, including live or sporting events, films, music videos, ads, and title sequences.
Talking about his venture, Stray Motion, Jishnu says, “Our core mission is to craft visual stories that transcend cultural barriers and resonate with people on a primal level. Through our work, we aim to spark a sense of wonder in our viewers, taking them along on a cinematic journey they won’t soon forget!”
One of Jishnu’s earliest projects that gained widespread adoration was Scam 1992 a 10-episode web series on SonyLIV about the notorious stockbroker Harshad Mehta, whose systemic bank fraud had shaken the entire country, changing the rules of the game on Dalal Street Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (Title Sequence) | SonyLIV Original
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to him for sharing his invaluable insights and creative vision.
You can find behind-the-scenes to his amazing projects, as well as sneak peeks of his latest project, on the channels below: