How the BBC's spectacular Russia 2018 title sequence was made in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 09:22 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:31 20 June 2018
Every World Cup needs unsung heroes. And one of the stand-out performances of Russia 2018 so far is from a Norwich man who will never share the limelight with Harry Kane.
For Rob Whitworth is a filmmaker – and his handiwork is the spectacular title sequence to the BBC’s World Cup coverage.
The film takes viewers on a journey to Moscow via an array of football nostalgia, with the music created by producer Sigala who also has links to the city.
Over the next month it will be watched by millions of people tuning in to watch World Cup matches and highlights on the BBC.
Mr Whitworth, 36, described it as one of the highlights of his career – which has also included winning a Bafta for his work on Planet Earth II and last year creating the film Norwich... a Story for Norwich Cathedral, which attracted the attention of people including film star Russell Crowe.
Mr Whitworth said: “It’s a super cool opportunity. I worked on Planet Earth II and had Sir David Attenborough narrate over my sequences and that was the coolest thing that could ever happen, and getting to shoot this title sequence for the BBC’s World Cup coverage is up there with that too.
“They are big, huge and amazing opportunities and I feel superbly lucky.”
He was first approached by the BBC last year after a member of the sports team saw his work online, and he visited Russia twice.
“The first trip was in March to check out locations in Moscow and the rural area of Suzdal,” he said. “The theme of the title sequence starts with a snowy landscape going into a house, and that was filmed on the first trip, and from that the storyboard was created and approved. We then did most of the filming over 10 days in May.
“The idea of the story is you start in a rural Russian landscape and go into someone’s home and into a black and white TV and there are kids playing football...and then you travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway into Moscow and arrive in Moscow underground with all the amazing architecture, take in some of the sites of Moscow, and arrive at Saint Basil’s Cathedral.”
The whole film is shot in Mr Whitworth’s unique style called “flow motion”, with the camera “always swooping through here or diving through here to connect it”.