Channel 4 Idents

Channel 4 Idents System/Identity/The Land/Release/Love

Channel 4 Idents

Optical Arts worked alongside 4creative, Art Practice and Lovesong to direct and create five new idents for Channel 4, following their new masterbrand launch.

The idents consist of 25 unique looping scenes, designed to reflect what life is like in the UK today – through the eyes of 17 creatives, artists, and filmmakers. Each scene was developed from an open brief which invited each creator to interpret one of five themes: Identity, The Land, System, Release and Love.

Two of our loops highlight some of the dark realities that technical advancement brings - widespread digital tracking, and machine control. Whilst the other two address more human themes, the effect of serotonin on the brain and the experience of a broken heart. Our work is included alongside that of a diverse range of hugely talented directors, creating a unique project portraying a snapshot of Britain today.

Optical Arts directed and created four scenes: Shattering Room, Chemicals, Robotic Fulfilment Centre and Digital Tracking. Dan Tobin Smith, the studio’s founder, directed Dinner Party.

Shattering Room

Shattering Room is designed to be playful and visually striking, whilst its intention is to surprise and create an emotive response hinged on the fragility of human emotion. Drawing parallels with events that many of us will encounter in our lives, an unexpected moment is created to catch the viewer unaware and propel them from calm simplicity right into the heart of chaos and turmoil. But it also offers hope, as the box gives way we start to see beyond its’ spatial constraints, out into a much larger space, reflecting on future possibilities yet encountered.

Robotic Fulfilment Centre

This loop follows a series of automated robots preparing orders in an endless, timeless space. It questions the future of the human/machine relationship. In the gloominess of an infinite warehouse, hundreds of perfectly programmed robots are executing countless tasks without the need of any human beings.

Visually, the idea was to start almost abstract as if we were looking at a geometric composition made of coloured lines and blocks. As the camera dives into the scene, we progressively understand the geometry of the scene revealing a giant gridlike industrial perspective.

Dinner Party

This loop explores the textures and choreography of a moment in time, extended out using high speed film as the various elements from an old school establishment dinner party come together in violent chaos.

The dinner party ident was all captured in camera, using high speed film and motion control and custom SFX rigs. These elements all had to work together, within the motif of the repeating 4 movement, to choreograph a multitude of different objects, which starts peacefully and culminates in a moment of chaotic energy and violence.


Chemicals depicts a journey through a microscopic neural world as a surge of serotonin hits the brain. Travelling through this microscopic universe, the atmosphere is dark and cavernous, only lit by pulses of energy through the organic structures. The organism’s surfaces are rich and organic, as if they are being observed under a Scanning Electron Microscope.

To make this scene we designed a complex network of Neurons around the camera trajectory. We then used a procedural approach to create precise simulations to achieve the organic motion throughout the structures.

Digital Tracking

This scene tracks a busy city centre, through the eyes of a surveillance camera. It highlights the tracking systems around metropolitan areas - tracking our every move. Inspired by motion tracking systems, we witness a technological analysis of busy crowds in the same way scientific researchers would observe ant farms.

We used a timelapse effect to emphasise the intense activity of the scene. Playing with light and shadow movements we accentuate the feeling of the time passing. The scene was built entirely in CGI using references from iconic squares around the UK. This gave us all the flexibility to play with space and timing to create a choreography forming the C4 logo.


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Executive Creative Direction: Lynsey Atkin

Creative Directors: Mike Skrgatic, Daniel Wolfe, Lysney Atkin, Bafic

Directors: Saman Aminzadeh, Optical Arts, Bafic, Mike Battcock, Will Dohrn, Daniel Eatock, Mike Skrgatic and James Allen, Verity May Lane, Maria Lax, The Line, Louis McCourt, Justyna Obasi, Elliott Power, The Romantix, Dan Tobin Smith, Daniel Wolfe

Voiceover: John Joseph Holt


Optical Arts & Dan Tobin Smith:

Founder / Creative Director: Dan Tobin Smith

EP / Studio Director: Hannah May

Creative Directors: Fabrice Le Nezet, Martin Pryor, Joe Jackson

1st AD: Rob Blishen

Moco: Simone Tartaglia & Dennis Henry

SFX: David Plewis for Asylum

CG Team: Nicolas Damour, Flora Macleod

Pre-visualisation: Magali Barbe

Creative Assistant: Minna Griffiths

Camera Assistants: Elliott Lowe, Jack Lovell

Production Assistant: Stephanie Skarbek


Art Practice & Lovesong:

Creative Director (Art Practice): Mike Skrgatic

Creative Director (Love Song): Daniel Wolfe

Executive Producer (Art Practice): James Guy

Producer: Bonnie Anthony

Production Manager: Julia Guignabel

Production Assistant: Katie Reid

DOP: Daniel Landin, Eponine Momenceau

Moco: Simone Tartaglia & Tomi Keeling

1st AD: Rob Blishen

Production Designer: Arthur De Borman

Casting Directors: Khamel Cochrane, Claire Patterson, Found Casting, Belinda Norcliffe


Time Based Arts:

Producer: Chris Aliano

2D Supervisors: Stephen Grasso, Leo Weston, Miguel Wratten

CG Supervisors: Mike Battcock, Sam Osborne, Nick Smalley

2D Team: Manolo Perez, Jamie Crofts, Olivia O’Neil, Lucy Lawrence, Valeria Scalamandre, Eleonora Laddago, Bernie Varela, Chris Fraser, Dan Cowley, Tom Robinson

CG Team: Ben Cantor, Nigel Timms, Bethan Williams, Ian Baird, Jordan Coles, Maxime Ponsart, Joe Ibbett, Teodora Retegan, Quentin Corker-Marin, Stephen Ross

Grading: Max Ferguson Hook, Simone Grattarola


String and Tins:

Audio Post Production: String and Tins

Sound Supervisor: Will Cohen

Sound Design: Lawrence Kendrick, Culum Simpson, Jim Stewart, Kaspar Broyd, Adam Smyth, Joe Wilkinson, Adam Hare, Will Cohen, Mike Bamford

Music Composers: Will Cohen, Culum Simpson, Adam Smyth, Jim Stewart, Kaspar Broyd, Miink, Cal Swingler, J. Caesar, Matthew Watson, Daniel Freeman, Anthony Moore

Music Supervisors: Laura-Leigh Smith, Mike Bamford

Producers: Laura-Leigh Smith, Rachel Hough