Project Description

FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony

Luke Halls Studio helped underscore football’s ability to unite countries and cultures in the opening ceremony for last year’s FIFA World Cup.

Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Balich Wonder Studio, led by Artistic Director Anghela Alò, approached Luke Halls Studio about designing video and projection for the opening ceremony. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and featuring Jung Kook of BTS, the show would call attention to Qatari culture and heritage while focusing on universal themes.

The Luke Halls team began at the top of the show with an anticipatory visual to set the mood and allow the stadium lights to darken. With an alpha loop of a whale shark as the centrepiece, Sam Lisher used Notch to create undulating blue waves reminiscent of sand dunes by re-projecting the shark into the specular channel of the geometry, giving the illusion of the shark swimming below the field of play.

For the opening look, the studio began with a golden, rhythmic texture evoking magic and mystery based on the concept of sending out a call from Qatar to the world. Video Designer Mark Todd built the foundation particle simulation in After Effects and used it as a composite layer. The team then used Notch to create particle pathways on which the performers would travel and several musically driven particle hits and pulses.

The rest of the show combined sophisticated lighting and sound design, dancers, singers, and even camels–all synchronised with the visual material. It was the longest World Cup opener at twenty minutes in length–more than double any other. The sheer scale of such a multilayered collaboration left audiences in awe and energised for the tournament.

“With Notch, we could generate, regenerate, and render looks to a 4K square canvas in seconds. Best of all, there was no trade-off in terms of visual quality.”

Sam Lisher, Animator, Luke Halls Studio

Additional press coverage:
BBC News, Reuters, AV Magazine.

Client: FIFA
Production: Balich Wonder Studio
Talent: Morgan Freeman & Jeon Jung-kook
Artistic Director: Anghela Alò
Production Designer: Florian Wieder
Light Designer: Durham Marenghi
Pyro Designer: Christophe Berthonneau
Content Creation: Luke Halls Studio
Video Designers: Luke Halls & Mark Todd for Luke Halls Studio
Video Producers: Jenny Rush & Kat Kemsley

Animators: James Harford, Sam Lisher, & Tim Marriott
Programmers: Carlos Aguilar & CT
Camera Director: Russell Thomas
Live Action Director: Dimitra Kritikidi
Co-Artistic Director: Ahmed Albaker
Music Producers: Katara Studios & RedOne
Costume Designer: Nicolas Vaudelet
Choreographer: Laccio
Props Art Director: Michael Curry
Props Manager: Adam Mosley