Ichi, ni, san, shi! In celebration of the Japanese national tradition of rajio taisō, or Radio Calisthenics, the letters of the Google logo came together to teach users how to do these simple, healthy exercises the correct way. The following is a collection of sketches and behind-the-scenes material that went into the creation of this doodle.
It is commonplace for doodles to undergo several permutations during the concept phase. The celebration for the 86th anniversary of the first radio calisthenics broadcast is no exception!
Animation could have been used to great effect. The above illustration is an early concept exploring the idea of anthropomorphized letters performing an exercise routine.
However, we wanted to pay homage to the long tradition of uniform composition and staging set forth by NHK (Japan’s national broadcasting station), so the idea of using real ‘calisthenists’ in a live-action video doodle seemed not only appropriate, but relevant. We began by referencing their instructional calisthenics videos as a visual starting point.
Early ideas were conservative. Perhaps we could film the professional calisthenics performers in colored shirts, arranged according to the logo.
But what better way to integrate the logo, than to show the letters themselves learn how to do radio calisthenics! Having actors perform the moves dressed as Google letters seemed like the perfect integration of whimsy and cultural relevance.
With that in mind, I set to work designing the costumes to be donned by the performers.
Then, a team of six professional actors were cast, one for each of the Google letters! We also worked with two professional calisthenics assistants from the official radio calisthenics TV program to help train the actors.
With the costumes completed and the calisthenics performers cast, shooting day began. The actors were filmed in front of a green screen, so that the background images could be composited in later.
Calisthenics can be a workout! The actors needed to cool off between takes.
Construction of even these simple costumes was a difficult process. They had to be large enough for the actors to hide inside of, yet small enough to allow freedom of movement.
An NHK calisthenics choreographer stepped in to show everyone how to move properly while wearing a large urethane letter G!
The narration of calisthenics broadcasts are key, and a professional voice-over actor was recorded to add an extra touch.
After a long day of calisthenics, our actors pose for a group photo, with their own rendition of the letters, sans-costume.
Posted by Kevin Laughlin, Doodler