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CMT's "Nashville" Gets the Red Carpet Treatment in Season 6 Launch Promo

Setting the scenes for the January return of “Nashville” in its final season, CMT has given its fan-favorite series the red carpet treatment in the form of a dramatic launch promo. The network’s concept: that fame is somewhat of an illusion, and behind the beauty, glitz and glamour of Nashville’s biggest stars are real human beings with emotions and challenges just like everybody else. The goal was to visually express these conflicting perspectives for viewers in a cinema-scale, suspense-building Season 6 teaser. Watch the promo and access credits HERE.

CMT turned to a familiar partner in 2C Creative (“2C”) to execute its vision. Working with 2C on last year’s “Nashville” launch that brought the show to its new home resulted in CMT’s most successful launch to date. This time, the promo’s scene was a star-studded, paparazzi-filled red carpet event with a set three times the size of the previous year’s production. In addition to the show’s 11 cast members, this shoot involved some 60 extras.

“Returning to 2C to launch another season of ‘Nashville’ was a no-brainer for us. They bring a winning combination of technical know-how, creative spark and nonstop effort to every project,” said Peter Mannes, CMT’s VP, Creative. “‘Nashville’ is our most high-profile property and requires extreme care and consideration. 2C fully delivered on our strategic objectives and sweated the details in the process.  We truly couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

2C collaborated with the CMT Creative team to further develop the creative around the idea of this internal persona, a ghostly visual representing the characters’ hidden emotions and their real human challenges often masked by the veneer of fame. To make such effects possible, the agency shot with a motion control unit to create an A-side, the glamorous, red-carpet look, and a B-side that revealed this internal conflict or challenge. 2C also brought in a high-speed motion control unit called the Bolt to handle motion control while allowing them to shoot frame rates of 120-200 frames per second. The quick arm movements and precise moves of the Bolt gave 2C the necessary parallax to make the separation of the two performances seamless in post.

In order to heighten the FX, 2C wanted two distinct lighting styles for each character’s A and B sides. Because the agency had limited time with talent, the plan had to allow for the quick change of lighting set-ups, so 2C used the latest Arri Sky Panels, which effectively allowed for the flip of the switch to change color temperatures – enabling a quick shift from the beauty fashion lighting for the A-side red carpet to a moodier, two-tone color look.

“Even though we were creating this crazy visual effect, it was really important to CMT that we didn’t let this overtake the characters. Their emotions still needed to be the heroes here, so we worked closely with the talent to make sure these emotions came through,” explained 2C’s Live-Action Director/Creative Director, Brian Eloe.

With production wrapped, the work was just beginning. Although 2C put the characters in a more practical environment, each scene required a cityscape backdrop that was that was created in 3D. Again, the Bolt aided this effort by supplying metadata files of the camera moves that could be imported directly into Cinema 4D. Then, the composites featuring the “internal personas” needed special treatment to make sure the story was clear and the viewer’s attention shifted to the B-side. Countless hours of key-framed shifts in lighting and color grading were required to achieve the final look. 

“We had a real blast exploring the various looks for the final Internal Persona moments,” said 2C Design Director Luis Martinez. “In the end, we kept it simple and clean so that the VFX wouldn’t overshadow the cast’s wonderful performances.”

2C ultimately produced a 60-second series launch spot and 30-second cut-down, along with a graphic toolkit that CMT can use throughout the season.

“The fact that CMT brought us back to collaborate again and recreate the magic our teams achieved together with last year’s launch is incredibly gratifying,” said Eloe. “Bringing the network’s concept to life – that visual expression of secondary personas appearing to leave the body – allowed us to play to our strengths in VFX to create something unique and beautiful to hype the upcoming return of ‘Nashville.’”