The Friends with Benefits TV Show features 20 contestants competing for 30 million Uganda shillings as they narrate their successes from utilizing pension benefits.
An initiative of National Social Security Fund (NSSF), the show aims at educating the general public about a savings culture and better usage of the NSSF benefits.
In collaboration with Fireworks Advertising, Media 256 and Quad A, Addmaya produced a TV commercial, Opening titles and supporting graphics kit for the show.
Fireworks Advertising challenged Addmaya to refine the show logo for mass application. Based off the agency’s initial artistic direction, we restyled the logo giving it a beveled game-show look whilst maintaining its clarity across different distribution formats like TV, print and social media.
“Friends With Benefits has been as a result of teamwork and professionalism from all the players. There has not been a show that has been produced to this level of excellence. It only means that there is a lot of quality work coming from Uganda. This is just the beginning. The sky is the limit. ~ Conrad Okello – Fireworks Advertising
Museums take us where we’ve never been. Building on this idea, the TV commercial guides the audience through an exquisite museum showcasing highlights of the participants’ stories. The commercial evokes an emotional connection to the show’s premise – celebrating success.
Crystal Newman and Gaetano Kagwa were filmed on a spacious green screen stage at Solo FX in Luzira. The green screen was carefully calibrated with tracking markers to enable replication of camera movements in 3D environments. The DOP on stage, Ekuka Isaac shot at 25fps and 50 fps giving us flexibility in post to achieve a nostalgic cinematic look.
In post, a photo-realistic 3D museum was modelled, textured and lit to match the artistic vision. The rendered museum was then comped with the tracked green screen footage.
The TV show opens on an emotionally captivating sequence featuring sculptures frozen in time. The titles extend the museum premise set in the TVC. Sculptures are often designed to celebrate people and offered a great artistic opportunity to explore.
“The title sequence defines a lot about the show. What did we want the audience to feel when they watch the titles? Will the titles hook them? Will they inform them about what they are going to see?” – Peter Mukiibi, Creative Director, Addmaya
The sculptures mirror some of the contestant stories shot by Media 256; from the man milking a cow, the woman carrying a basket of bananas on her head to the student holding a graduation cap.
To achieve the desired look for the sculptures, we challenged our 3D team to explore the latest advances in GPU-based rendering.
“GPU-based renderers offer great flexibility in look development and enable render times up to 10 times faster than traditional scan-line renderers. With a deadline of less than 2 weeks, we were able to pass out most shots to compositing in time” – Francis Matovu, 3D Artist, Addmaya
A volumetric lighting approach was essential in pivoting the scenes around the sculptures and grounding the night-at-the-museum feel.
Hot off the success of scoring Media 256’s hit-show Discover Uganda, Quad A was invited to dictate the audio experience of the show. Quad A’s sound work on the titles is without doubt the other half of the experience.
“Nigeria has a sound, South Africa has a sound. What is the Ugandan sound? That question inspired the composition of music for the show. We wanted the Ugandan sound to be heard. We combined the chromatic and pentatonic scales which are very signature to Uganda.” – Andrew Ahuura, Quad A Studios
Shot across the country, the show tells the story of each participant in punchy 3-5minute cuts. The Media 256 editing team challenged us to enhance the stories with additional illustrations for key story points where archive footage was not available.
“The style we chose gleans from a story-book look which easily synchronizes with the structure of the show.” – Arthur Nakkaka, Art Director, Addmaya
Further, a lot of information is communicated in each episode, from names, locations to segments titles. Addmaya designed a branded graphics kit that includes transitions, name tags, voting tags, information cards and show breaks. The choice of colors and styling feeds off the NSSF brand guide.
Addmaya is proud to have been apart of this monumental production. It has provided a great opportunity for the studio to grow.
“The quality delivered and level of collaboration on Friends with Benefits represents the growth of our industry. 10 years ago, this show would have been done by an international team, we credit NSSF Uganda and Fireworks Advertising for trusting local production houses” – Abou Denis, Producer, Addmaya