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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

In-game cinematics for the fifth instalment of the Black Ops story.

Studio Head: Allen Leitch

Creative Directors: Mantas Grigaitis and Agnes Kasilovska

Head of Production: Jasmine Christmas

Director of Operations: Jacqueline Clarke

Lead 3D Supervisor: Florian Thamer

Art Direction: Mantas Grigaitis and Dave Penn

3D Team: Julio Dean, Roger Chiaw, James Brocklebank, Ferdinando Spagnolo, Lisander Qorri, Batu Cologlu, Jon Yeo, Matt Polechoński, Helder Ferreira, Ryan Close

2D Team: Simon Staines, Samantha Thompson, Sean McNulty, Thomas Pircher, Chris Sayer, Jason Pickthall

Compositing: Luíz Afonso Mota, Danit Klibansky, David Mir

Archivist: Jen Owen

Production Team: Didem Bayrak, Tim Rabjohns, Valentina König

Research Team: Martynas Stoskus, Vincent Kane, Steve Bergson, Gerry Healy, Alexey Kormilitsyn

Development Team: Gordon Spurs, Keko Ahmed, Julian Harding, Kieran Gee Finch, Craig Herd

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Call of Duty: Cold War takes us back in time to a geopolitical boiling point where players must navigate through a world that is on the brink of destruction. Working alongside Raven Software, Treyarch and Activision, SPOV used their personal history with the franchise and their love of storytelling to create the in-game cinematics for the Campaign mode.

For this project, SPOV threw themselves into a deep research process to produce something that is entirely era-appropriate with modern design sensibilities. Mixing practical effects by way of physical signal interruption while shooting live, archive footage and stunning CGI, SPOV’s cinematics convey the thrilling story of the latest instalment of Black Ops; and the Cold War.

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Archive material played a pivotal role in the creation of these cinematics to instil each sequence with a deep sense of history. The treatment of this, was developed by SPOV by shooting the footage and manipulating it using manual interference, to create a completely bespoke style.

Influenced by films and documentaries of the era, we utilised a split screen methodology to marry the ultra-realistic CGI with the archive footage. This technique forces the viewer to become the editor, as the telling of multiple stories happens simultaneously.

During early explorations, SPOV began by developing an overarching look for the cinematics. This involved hand-making documents and stamps with meticulously accurate detail to their real-world counterparts, discovering the delivery mechanisms we would use to display the narrative, such as projections and Cold War technology and equipment. During this phase, the team took part in a series of live shoots at the studio, to better understand the movement and feel of each object. This later became an integral step in the process developed, to achieve the true to time and life, aesthetic.

SPOV’s primary aim was to create believable and tactile visuals that expanded the narrative of the game whilst broadening the historical context and contribute to deeper player immersion. This level of research allowed us to fully embrace the creative direction that we settled upon and push the audience to understand and appreciate the history of the Cold War world.

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