August 22, 2023

Diving into the Jump Archives : Volume 1

When we sold the Jump office a few years ago we had a lot of cupboards to sort out. Hundreds of digibeta tapes were sent away for recycling but we saved a few old precious archive tapes for prosterity.

Jump was founded in 1996 but the Directors were working together for many years before that – so some of our work dates back to the early 90s. That was back in the days of 4:3 aspect ratio, D1 tapes and Quantel Harry / Hal … and when the youthful Directors had a lot less grey hair.

The Jump team is currently hard at work on lots of projects that we can’t promote yet. This has given us an opportunity to get the old tapes transferred onto drives and take a dive back into the 90s. There are some beauties we had completely forgotten about – and maybe a few we wish were still hidden! (We won’t be showing those! Ha)

Here are a few of our favourites – and possibly a few surprises that you didn’t know we had made.

Living Channel Idents:

In 1997 Jump created these ‘fun & surprising’ idents for Living. The channel was being rebranded from UK Living to avoid confusion with UKTV Network. The channel is now Sky Witness.

The SeaHorses ident is one of our all time favourites but it was great fun coming up with the range of concepts. We based the idents on a collection of everyday objects – a glass, lamp, car, toaster, fan and bonsai tree.  All of the base plates were filmed for real and the surprising / fun twist in each scene was created with CG. Some of the idents had variants – so the bonsai tree might grow fireworks the first time you see it or beautiful flowers the next.

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The logo was designed on the recently updated Quantel Paintbox ‘curve lines’ feature – and took a long time to get right with the client in situ for the process. This was actually unusual for us back in the 90s when we worked out of ITN’s graphics departments. We had access to the machines primarily in the down time – which did put most clients off coming in to watch.


Britannia Music Club Sponsor Ident for The Brit Awards 1997:

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This was a fantastic sequence to work on. We wanted to bring the famous silver statue of Britannia alive and make her dance – but motion capture and realistic 3D character animation were not affordably within our grasp back in 1998. In talking to a top west end facilities company we discovered they had a filter effect that could make things look chrome. You could probably do it in seconds now super-easily on Instagram or TikTok.  We filmed a dancer dressed completely in a chroma-green outfit – including a mask. The poor lady couldn’t see a thing. The facilities company applied their swanky effect to our clips of the dancer – and we composited the rest back on Harry at ITN.

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We had suggested the music track ‘Rok Star’ by the ace DJ / Producer Nick Muir. Britannia Music Club had lots of connections in the industry obviously and so they got us permission to use it. We got to go into a sound dub with Nick himself and cut his track down to 15 and 10 second versions. And to top it all off, the lovely Jo Whiley provided the voiceover.


BBC Water Week Ident:

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This was an ident for a week of programming on the BBC about, you guessed it, all things water related. We worked with the brilliant Martin Godward at Pirate to build the water tank with the three working taps. They were the go-to people for real life special effects. The only elements that were CG in the sequence were the goldfish – which were animated by the lovely Gerald Crome at Rushes. Gerald used to work at ITN so it was great to carry on working with him as his career blossomed out in the post production world.


Channel Four News:

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This is in our Jump Archive selection to give a little backstory.  Jump’s Head Creative, the fabulous Mr Richard Norley used to be Head of Graphics on Channel 4 News before leading ITN‘s commercial design department called IDF – which went on to become Jump.

This sequence was a revamp carried out by Jump in 1999. You might think it would be unusual for an outside agency to do this instead of Channel 4’s own highly-talented graphics team – but Mr Norley had designed previous versions when he was at C4.

So what was so special about these sequences?

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The previous sequence and this revamped version were designed to utilise the Quantel Harry in a way that no one had done before.  A carefully designed kit of parts and moves allowed the VT clips featured in the titles to be dropped in on the day – and indeed close to transmission. They could also have more complex effects applied such as the glass refraction (above). This was all a first for a live news show’s complex title sequence.

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The C4 news graphics team got so quick at preparing the clips and dropping them into the sequence – that it used to get closer and closer to transmission before the sequence was rendered.  Occasionally the title sequence got played out live from Harry – as the final render had been taken to the wire. The excitement of live news, eh.  We don’t believe Quantel ever intended for it to be a live playout machine (in fact we think they might even have advised against it!) – but it ended up being used for this on the C4 new titles and then for other bulletins such as News at Ten too. Our Technical Director, Russell Mann has many stories about that having been a Senior Designer there.

So Jump’s Mr Norley introduced VT clips being changed daily into a live news show title sequence. It was cutting edge use of technology at the time.

You can read more about Richard’s career here.


There will be more revelations from the Jump Archives coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

If you have any questions about these sequences, please drop us a message here.