Sky 'The Greatest Show on Earth'

The Greatest Show on Earth

Roll up! Roll up! Award-winning director Daniel Kleinman and Framestore welcome sports fans to The Greatest Show on Earth.

Sky Sports has launched its 2023 start of season campaign which celebrates the unbeatable entertainment available on Sky Sports this year.

The ad takes you through spectacular circus acts from the biggest stars of sport, including “The Amazing Haalando” scoring an acrobatic backflip penalty, Jon Rahm miraculously pulling a golf club from his mouth, like a sword swallower, then Ben Stokes and Sophia Dunkley smashing flaming cricket balls out of the circus big top. We see F1 cars flying at breakneck speeds, almost impossibly on a vertical track above the crowd who look up in awe, then The Flying Raducanus in an epic tennis match on a flaming court in the air.

Sky 'The Greatest Show on Earth'
Sky 'The Greatest Show on Earth'

Led by Creative Director Kamen Markov and VFX Supervisor Jules Janaud, Framestore was heavily involved in the project from the start. “Our work encompassed the full technical execution from planning, previs, filming the plates, designing the environment, establishing a look and feel, through to the full technical execution in post production until final delivery” says Kamen. 

With nearly all the shots taking place in a CG environment plus a host of talent shot on blue screen across multiple days to be integrated in the same scene, the team worked closely with the director Daniel Kleinman on a pre-visualization to help guide the shoot. 

“In 5 weeks of production we had to combine character plates shot on blue screen with extensive background set extension made in full CG. It had to look believable but also cinematic as it was shot on film” explains Jules.

“The shoot took place in a large studio with extensive use of blue screen and set constructions. We captured multiple plates for the different individual actions and layered them together with our CG environment during the compositing stage. We had to light the tent background to match the separate character passes and embed them into the scene while also creating a specific look for each of the key vignettes. The CG crowd was later added to fill the arena and heighten the performance scale” he adds.

Sky 'The Greatest Show on Earth'
Sky 'The Greatest Show on Earth'

To execute all the acrobatic performances, the actions had to be choreographed using stunt doubles. Framestore then used Deep Fake AI technology to replace some of the acrobats' faces to look like the celebrities. “In collaboration with the talent, we recorded on set various key angles and expressions of each celebrity to create training data for the computer learning. This enabled us to accurately finesse shots that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise” says Jules.

The deep fake used Diffusion models and GAN neural network software, alongside the full package of 3D and 2D tools: Maya, Houdini, Nuke and Flame for the main VFX work.

“Delivering this campaign in the time we had was a magic trick in itself! Building on the creative ambition of Sky Creative and Daniel Kleinman, the goal was to produce a captivating piece of advertising that would wow audiences. Seeing it all come to life from an ocean of blue screen to this epic final film is a testament to our talented team” Kamen concludes.

‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ marks a continuation in Framestore’s long-standing partnership with Sky, which includes the recent F1 campaign, ‘Enjoy the Ride’ directed by Framestore Pictures director, William Bartlett.

Sky Creative
Executive Creative Director
Robin Garton
Creative Directors
Rob Welch, Chris Dorn
Head of Production
Paul Mortimore
Executive Producer
Steve Ryan
Daniel Kleinman
Johnnie Frankel
Jess Hall
The Assembly Rooms
Nick Eagle, Thomas Ingersol
Creative Director
Kamen Markov
VFX Supervisor
Jules Janaud
CG Supervisor
Joel Savage
2D Leads
Matthew Thomas, Suzanne Jandu
Steffan Perry
Robin McGloin
Humberto Reynaga
Senior Producer
Michael Brown
Ben Stell
Production Coordinators
Poppy Chadwick, Chloe Dunn
Production Assistant
Conor Garnett
Adam Smith, Angela Groundwater, Soren Barton, Stone Cleven, Wenjie Wu, Subin Chae
Maya Dumond
Gowri Shankar Gopinathan, Gary Seto, Victor Farag, Micaela Arslanian
Philip Child, Gabriela Pruszkowska, Maxim Gehricke, Michael Eichner
Philip Child, Gabriela Pruszkowska, Maxim Gehricke, Michael Eichner
Johannes Saambs, Robert Connor, Elisenda Faustino Deu, Alessandro Mattielli, Charlie Humphrey
Melvin Pillai
Michael Baker, Joan Marques Carbonell, Ricardo Melo, Mike Simons, Tomer Epshtein, Joseph Taylor, Luis Artigas, Christopher Halstead, Jason Tsai
Nikola Yordanov
Jiri Kilevnik, Humberto Reynaga
The Assembly Rooms
Eve Ashwell
Grand Central Recording Studios