The opening ceremonies for any sporting event always brings out the best in the home country, from culture to talent. The opening ceremony of the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championship in Russia last year did just that, and senior motion designer Ilya Tselyutin knows this better than most.
Tselyutin worked on the Opening Ceremony of the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championships, which took place in Kazan, in his home country of Russia, on July 24th, 2015. Pilgrim, as the spectacle staged as part of the ceremony was called, was created by the Sechenov.com team, which Tselyutin worked with. The team was responsible for the idea and original scenario, design and creation of the engineering structures and scenery, selection of the performers, production of the musical and dramatic performances and organization of the Parade of Nations and other formal aspects of the Opening Ceremony.
“The whole country was getting ready to host the World Aquatics Championship and I was very excited to be a part of this project despite working remotely. I was working with a team of excellent professionals, highly skilled animators, designers, producers that had an extensive experience of creating animation for the large-scale shows including the Olympics, presidential inaugurations and international boxing tournaments,” said Tselyutin.
The show received the Sides of Theatre of Masses Award, the national highest and the most prestigious professional award in Performing arts founded by the Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation. Around 50,000 people watched the Opening Ceremony at the stadium and hundred thousands of people watch the live streaming on TV. The show was broadcasted by Eurosport in European Union, BBC 2 in the UK, Channel 7 in Australia, YLE TV2 in Finland, LRT televizija in Lithuania.
Tselyutin produced the 3-minute dynamic intro animation that was played on the 6th minute of the ceremony. The animation featured a story of a sportsman swimming throughout the whole world pass popular landmarks such as Eifel Tower, Big Ben the Statue of Liberty to greet the visitors. This work required advanced keying technique in After Effects and 3D modeling and shading in Cinema 4D. This required him to learn some new advanced keying techniques in After Effects.
“I acquired an invaluable experience managing a group of 3D designers prioritizing tasks and improving my time management skills, something that would prove to be extremely helpful later on in my career,” said Tselyutin.
During his time working on the opening ceremonies, Tselyutin worked very closely with Alexey Sechenov, the production director of the ceremonies. Sechenov is a Member of the Russian Academy of Television, an Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of the Arts, and an Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Tatarstan. Sechenov founded one of the most successful show production agencies in Russia that lists national TV Channels, artists, performers, State Federal Agencies and Ministries such as Ministry of Sport as its clients.
“Ilya is a very talented designer and was a pleasure to work with. During his 4-month contract he exhibited his outstanding design skills, extensive professional experience and strategic thinking. At the concept development stage Ilya took an initiative to go beyond what was expected of him. Not only did he understand perfectly the aesthetic of provided style references, but also devised a creative solution of integrating the world’s famous landmarks into the production pipeline, an idea that subsequently became the project’s main feature. Ilya proved to be an excellent modeler by creating 3D architectural objects of Eifel Tower, Big Ben, Louvre and other landmarks. He has an impressive ability to work efficiently under tight deadline and handled the pressure extremely well even though he had to deal with numerous edits and changes. Despite the fact Ilya was working remotely, he maintained effective communication and was easy to reach anytime. Our company is recognized as the most successful show production agency in the country and we strive to maintain the highest standards of production. Ilya can be easily credited to raise that bar of excellence,” said Sechenov.
Tselyutin found working alongside Sechenov to be a very rewarding experience. Sechenov is a very experienced producer who adheres to high standards of quality. Tselyutin describes him as very demanding yet respectful and supportive, and that he had a clear vision of the project from the very beginning but was always open to other suggestions.
“What I admired most about him was his ability to supervise the whole two-hour show preparation and never lose focus no matter what he was doing, from staging acrobatics performance to giving feedback on the 3D animation,” Tselyutin described.
Despite being very limited on time, Tselyutin’s creations for the ceremony are mesmerizing. He also overcame the challenge of rendering high resolution graphics which consumed a lot of CPU power and slowed down the process.
“I liked the general concept and interesting references given by the client. Being a small but significant part of such a show that took 4 years to develop felt really great. The show was an amazing display of high quality graphics, animation, spectacular performances, art and creativity. I felt extremely proud to work on it,” he concluded.