BMW shows road to electrification film during European Championships

BMW journey to electrification - the department

The Department created an immersive homage to the legacy of BMW’s 1972 BMW 1602 electric vehicle, and celebration of BMW’s electrification journey, during the televised opening ceremony of the European Championships in Munich on 10 August.

BMW’s journey to electrification

A fully electrified BMW and MINI shuttle fleet with a focus on innovation and sustainability played a part in the European Championships in Munich, which ran from 11-21 August. 

BMW Group was the official premium partner of the European Championships Munich 2022, and the collaboration underscored the common goal of both partners not only to stage a top-flight multi-sporting event but also to deliver on sustainability and innovation.

Immersive agency The Department has worked with BMW since 2016, and it incorporated the core values of BMW into the creative and technical conception of content created for the European Championships opening ceremony, which was created using green energy and projected in two parts onto the BMW headquarters building and the adjacent museum.

The four-cylinder Munich HQ of BMW is an architectural icon of the BMW group, and a special landmark of the city.

In September 2021, The Department worked with BMW on the reveal of its concept car BMW icircular at the IAA Munich Motor Show, creating a four-cyclinder projection video that was projected onto the BMW tower in Munich, and using green energy to create sustainable project mapping that showcased the fully sustainable vehicle. 

The Department projected visionary messages onto the famous, 100m tall, BMW headquarters – using completely green power and working with the BMW building’s unique architecture, three projector towers and a total of 36 projectors.

You can watch a behind-the-scenes film about the project here.

Stefan Ponikva, BMW Vice-President of Brand Communications, said of the September 2021 collaboration with The Department: “The biggest challenge for us was clearly not getting a fantastic script or a fantastic animation, because we had wonderful partners. 

“Honestly, executing this project with green energy was the biggest challenge.”

The September 2021 project paved the way for last week’s collaboration between The Department and BMW at the European Championships in Munich, which took place 50 years on from the summer Olympics in 1972, the same year that BMW’s iconic Munich HQ construction was completed.

2022 European championships sponsor

BMW was the main sponsor of the 2022 European Championships, and The Department created projection mapping on the BMW tower and adjacent museum, which was shown on German TV during a live broadcast of the opening ceremony. 

The Department’s content consisted of lasers, lights and projection mapping on to the BMW four-cylinder building, and projection mapped content shown on the museum building.

The second part of the content creation for last week’s European Championships opening ceremony consisted of anamorphic content, conceived to celebrate the moment that the BMW 1602 passed the baton to the BMW i4. 

Anamorphic content created the effect of a moving image coming out of the museum, and told the story of BMW’s electrification journey since 1972 when BMW made the ground-breaking BMW 1602, an electric vehicle which was used in the Summer Olympics to transport dignitaries and also to follow the marathon runners using clean air.

Martin Ocheng, Content lead for The Department, said of the European Championships project with BMW: “One of the main challenges for this project was the amount of different technical solutions we were coordinating to work together. 

“For example, lighting is designed in one software package, and lasers a different one. And for the video we used Unreal Engine for the anamorphic and 3D parts, and 2D film edits that had to sit within the 3D environment. 

“Combining all these different medium into one seamless visual was a challenge.”

Hamish Jenkinson, CEO, The Department, said: “This year’s production was done using green energy in a sustainable way. We lit up BMW’s headquarters like a Christmas tree, I’m pretty sure the astronauts on the international space station could have seen it! 

“Our creative and technical challenge was to tell a story not only with 3D animation, but also with a 2D film that is shown within a 3D world. 

bmw electrification journey 1
Car trip: BMW’s journey to electrification began 50 years ago.

“On location the Lighting, lasers and video were controlled by different people with their own software and skillset. This all had to be aligned and tweaked to make sure every cog of the wheel worked.”

The BMW Group supported the European Championships by providing a generous shuttle fleet of fully electrified BMW and MINI vehicles. 

Some of the cars came straight from the BMW Group’s home plant in Munich, which this year celebrates its centenary. 

Plant Munich’s flexible transformation to electromobility is impressive evidence of the progressive BMW iFactory production system.