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Posts tagged as television

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” the reboot of the classic science TV series helmed by Carl Sagan that aired in 1980, should be required viewing for all of us.

In “Cosmos,” artful visual effects and elegant motion design inform and delight in equal parts. Animation is as essential to the success of “Cosmos” as the lovable hosting talents of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

All-Star Team

With executive producer Seth MacFarlane behind the show and a 13-week run on Fox and National Geographic, the creators of “Cosmos” are going toe-to-toe with primetime. The premiere launched opposite AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and ABC’s heavily promoted “Resurrection” and still managed to rake in an impressive 8.5 million viewers.

Brannon Braga, co-executive producer and director, is no stranger to space drama. He co-wrote “Star Trek: First Contact” and executive produced all of the Star Trek series after the original.

Co-directing from behind the camera is DP Bill Pope, best known as the cinematographer for “The Matrix.”

Then there’s Rainer Gombos, visual effects supervisor of “Game of Thrones” fame. VFX shots themselves have been handled by a who’s who of facilities including Framestore, BUF, Tippett Studio, Atomic Fiction and Montreal’s Mokko Studio.

Not too shabby.

The Title Sequence

The title sequence (seen above) is as thoughtful and jaw-dropping as the show itself.

Created by BBDG (Shaun Collings and Curtis Doss), the opener oscillates between the cosmic and the microscopic, the tangible and the ethereal. Like the show, the sequence uses the power of metaphor to draw parallels between the mysterious grandeur of the universe and the grand reality of our everyday lives.

Character Animation

The animated sequences produced by Kara Vallow (with whom MacFarlane has a long working relationship) and Six Point Harness are an alternative take on the live-action based historic segments from the original “Cosmos.”

In an interview with Geekosystem, Vallow explains the reasoning behind using animation:

Seth [MacFarlane] thought that [using live action for the historic segments] was going to be prohibitive in this incarnation of the series, because viewers are much more sophisticated now than they were then in terms of historical time periods being recreated by Hollywood. We’re attuned to seeing big budget period movies and costumes and stuff, and in the original series they were done very low budget.

I don’t think they thought that viewers were going to accept that now, and they didn’t have the time to do a big budget Gosford Park type imagining of the narrative. So, it was Seth’s idea to do those in animation.

Watch it online

Full episodes of “Cosmos” can be viewed on the official site and on Hulu.

Watch the entire first episode after the jump →

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Patrick Clair + Elastic: HBO’s True Detective

One of our favorite projects from 2013 was Patrick Clair’s launch trailer for Tom Clancy’s The Division, a global conspiracy theory rendered in elegant typography and metaphorical imagery.

With the same understated poignance that is his hallmark, Mr. Clair’s latest project is a title sequence created in collaboration with Antibody (Clair’s studio) and Elastic for HBO’s new series, “True Detective.”

In an interview with Art of the Title, Clair explains:

As we started to plan the movement and animation, we faced some interesting challenges. We wanted the titles to feel like living photographs. But the footage was too kinetic and jumpy and stills were too flat and static. Many shots feature footage that has been digitally slowed to extreme degrees. The digital interpolation and artefacts created by slowing footage down often looks strange or tacky, but we found that in this case it evoked a surreal and floaty mood that perfectly captured what we were after.

Read more in Art of the Title’s excellent interview.

Credits

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Prologue: “Elementary” Title Sequence


Prologue’s Creative Director Simon Clowes has crafted an elegantly sinister title sequence for CBS’ new series, “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller as a contemporary Sherlock Holmes. (It has tough competition in BBC’s “Sherlock,” also a modern recasting of the venerable sleuth at 221B Baker Street.)

Simon carries Prologue’s legacy of impeccably crafted title work forward. His penchant for live action elements reminds me of my favorite work from Kyle Cooper, Prologue’s founder. Both Cooper and Clowes’ work leverage visual metaphors to foreshadow elements of the narrative ahead.

Both also bring a graphic designer’s eye to their framing. Credits appear in perfectly shaped lagoons of negative space, nestled between gritty textures and golden light. It’s a subtle art, one that Clowes commands with a mastery befitting Prologue.

Tip ‘o the hat to Ash Thorp.

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Sony “Television Redefined”


Hints of Patrick Daughters in this stream-of-consciousness live action spot from Sony. 2D animation by Not To Scale’s Steve Scott. If anyone can find full credits, please drop us a line.

UPDATE: Mr. Scott has informed us the spot was directed by Johnny Green with an “insane amount of work by Glassworks.”

Credits

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Trollbäck + Company: Website Update

Trollbäck + Company updates their portfolio with several noteworthy broadcast design projects: Cooking Channel rebrand, End Tag montage, AICP 2010 open, World Science Festival open, and a P&G promo.

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