On May 3, 2023, Erling Haaland broke the Premier League goalscoring record — a record that previously stood for almost 30 years. And he did it at age 22 with seven games to spare in his debut season. Nike wanted to celebrate the Norwegian’s incredible achievement, so we created an equally as incredible display in the night sky honoring the footballer.
Aurora of Haaland was a recreation of the Aurora Borealis phenomenon in the skies of Manchester. Set outside the historic National Football Museum, our interactive outdoor lightshow included smoke, lasers, and projections in the sky.
To create the monumental display, we borrowed an old visual effects trick from the silent film era: placing an image painted on a glass plate in the foreground and aligning it with the live action in the background, resulting in an illusion. We framed the Manchester skyline, the crowd, and the ceiling of laser lighting together with a foreground plate of animated imagery and projected it on a translucent gauze. Through the perspective of our camera’s lens, all the layers came together in one unified illusion of grand scale.
We knew the record-breaking goal was coming, and once Haaland scored against West Ham United in the 70th minute, we got to work honoring the striker. In a coordinated effort, Nike posted a teaser telling fans to keep their eyes on the sky and later released a film showing the rest of the world our Aurora of Haaland.
The Aurora of Haaland was a phenomenon seen around the globe, capturing the attention of sports fans and technology enthusiasts alike and getting press from a variety of international publications. It was an honor to help salute Haaland’s once-in-a-generation footballing feat.