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BiG MACHiNE Creates Powerful Graphics Packages for “Hostage: Do or Die” Series & NFL GameDay Morning Show

BiG MACHiNE recently brought its visual strategy and direction prowess to graphics packages for “HOSTAGE: DO OR DIE,” a new doc-style series on Investigation Discovery, and NFL GameDay Morning, a popular show on the NFL Network.

Hostage: Do or Die

NFL GameDay Morning

Directed by Steve Petersen, BiG MACHiNE Co-Founder & Creative Director, “HOSTAGE: DO OR DIE” offers a collection of stories told from the perspective of actual hostages, witnesses and negotiators. With narration from Detective Dominick Misino, an NYPD veteran, each episode breaks down a case to see what it took to rescue the hostages or, in some instances, what went wrong. Stunning graphics and animation bring the recreations to life, taking viewers straight into the tense crossfire of hostage negotiation. The six-episode series premiered on December 1st.

To view the promo, please visit:

For a behind-the-scenes look, please go to:

“With ‘Hostage: Do or Die,’ Big Machine has brought new depth to ID’s storytelling,” says Pamela Deutsch, executive producer at Investigation Discovery. “We see unprecedented production values in the dramatizations, and by shooting our host, Dominick Messina in Big Machine’s unique ‘spatial recreations,’ we are able to bring viewers into virtual worlds, allowing for detail we couldn’t otherwise capture on location.”

BiG MACHiNE was brought on by production company Robot Field & Post to create a cohesive look and design language for the show. Prior to shooting the live-action, Petersen put together references, mood boards and visual style guides so the entire team was in sync. As the show was filming, BiG MACHiNE was simultaneously working on the animations, such as the main titles, transitions and VFX. This proved to be a huge advantage with the tight TV production schedule; BiG MACHiNE set up a new pipeline to meet the quicker design cycles and to ensure the visual look was maintained amongst the various parties involved in the project.

“In hostage situations, there is always an element of logistics, such as where the perpetrators and hostages are located,” explains Petersen. “We wanted the graphics and virtual environments to simplify the tactical issues in a way that was easy for the audience to understand. These hostage situations are intense and our challenge was to make sure the animations didn’t overshadow or compete with them. The graphics had to look polished, but still serve the larger story.”

“Having complete integration into the process – from pre-production to production and post – created one unified theme to the show, and also allowed us to do more with the graphics and animation,” adds Ken Carlson, BiG MACHiNE Co-Founder & Creative Director. “Under Steve [Petersen]’s direction, we always knew how the animation would fit into the live-action.”

For “NFL GameDay Morning,” BiG MACHiNE created a new open for the Sunday morning show, which features live-action shots of the show’s on-air talent interacting with virtual holographic displays. Over the course of two days at the NFL headquarters in Culver City, California, Carlson shot the sequence on set with the show hosts: Rich Eisen, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Steve Mariuchi and Marshall Faulk.

To view the show open, please go to:

BiG MACHiNE was responsible for designing the GameDay package in 2009, which included hundreds of deliverables from opens, bumps, lower thirds, promo toolkits and maps. This time, the client wanted to incorporate live-action into the package that would still live within the world that BiG MACHiNE had previously created.

“We were inspired by the VFX in ‘Tron: Legacy’ and ‘Minority Report,’ and worked with a great storyboard artist to make sure we got the exact shots we needed,” says Petersen. “Everything had to be planned out meticulously prior to shooting since we only had a few minutes with some of the hosts. They were a lot of fun to work with, and adapted easily to Ken’s direction when interacting with the holographic elements.”

“We designed an open that was modular and changeable, allowing the in-house designers to customize and swap out footage, text and graphic elements when needed,” concludes Carlson. “It was exciting to bring our live-action and design skills to such a huge branding initiative for the NFL Network.”


Airdate: December 1, 2011

Client: Investigation Discovery
President & General Manager: Henry Schleiff
Senior VP of Production: Sara Kozak
Executive Producer: Pamela Deutsch

Production Company: Robot Field & Post
Director: Steve Petersen
Executive Producers: Steve Petersen, Ken Carlson, Sean Owolo and Jon O’Neill
Co-Executive Producer: Jim Lindsay

Design & VFX Company: BiG MACHiNE

Tools: RED EPIC & Canon 7D DSLR cameras (live-action), SynthEyes & mocha Pro (tracking), After Effects & Cinema 4D (graphics & animation)

NFL GameDay Morning

Client: NFL Network
Airdate: Fall 2011

Compositing, design & animation, editorial and live-action direction: BiG MACHiNE
Director/Creative Director: Ken Carlson
Senior Producer: Matt LeBoeuf
Producer: Nyenye Kitchings

Tools: RED EPIC camera (live-action), SynthEyes & mocha Pro (tracking), After Effects & Cinema 4D (graphics & animation)

About BiG MACHiNE:

BiG MACHiNE is an award-winning visual production company founded in 2003 by Steve Petersen and Ken Carlson. BMD has produced visuals for everything from: film titles, advertising, TV shows, games, multi-screen experiences and mobile devices. Recent clients include Ubisoft, Nike, NFL Network, Warner Bros. / ABC, and Chevy.