Media and Mediums

The Art of Film & TV Title Design. Off Book & PBS.

If you produce any form of video or animation based content for TV, Film, The Internet, Mobile and Tablet based devices, you need to watch this film. “The Art of TV Title Design” by PBS Off Book, is a great short film that features some of the heavy hitters of Title Design talking about their craft.

Opening credits are quite often the first thing an audience sees when they watch a great film or TV show. While they are very memorable, more often than not they are not talked about in great detail. Even though they help set up the story, and close it out.Good Title Design is an art form, as much as any other aspect of the broadcast and film industry. The designers that create title sequences are asked to invent concepts that bring the core story out, and enhance the overall production themes, to create a visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film’s world.

In the video below some of the most inventive people working in the field of title design today, including the creators of the iconic Mad Men sequence, the hilarious Zombieland opening and the stirring end credits from Blue Valentine, discuss what goes into making a great title sequence. Featured in the short film are Peter Frankfurt and Karin Fong, Jim Helton, and Ben Conrad.

“You do it right or you don’t do it.” The City Exposed.

The San Francisco Chronicle posted a short video by Mike Kepka on Vimeo about a week ago. I have been meaning to re-post it but just haven’t had time until now. It is a film about 80 year old Lewis Mitchell who has been working as a Monotype setter for 62 years. The film is a beautiful vignette into the life of a man who loves his job, the craft associated with it, and why he keeps on working well past age 65. Truly inspiring. Below the film is the editorial from the Chronicle’s Vimeo post. It worth reading as well.

A recent Thursday at 10:23 a.m.: In the basement of Arion Press, where they still print books the old-fashioned way, Lewis Mitchell slid open a box of parts used to change the font size on the Monotype casting machines he has maintained for 62 years.

“I thoroughly enjoy the sound of the machines turning, and seeing the type come out is a joy,” Mitchell said.

He can tell by the sound of the moving springs and levers if something is awry with his machines — a skill he said all good technicians should have. Four different owners have run the business since Mitchell walked through the doors at age 18, and he has had several opportunities to leave, including a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he declined.

Now 80, Mitchell can’t imagine retiring from the job he loves so much. When Mitchell started making this kind of type, it was really the only way to print things, and now he doesn’t know how many books he’s helped print over the decades. There were once type-casting operations in most major U.S. cities, but now the practice is almost extinct.

There are only two companies left in the world that cast type for printing presses, and Arion is by far the largest. Mitchell has four grown children and nine grandchildren, but he calls the 20 type-casting machines his “babies.” “I treat them with kindness. I don’t use a hammer on them or an oversized screwdriver.” The first machine, which started the company during 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, is still its best machine — proof that Mitchell’s methods work.

“My dad taught me from square one if you going to do something, you’re going to do it right or you don’t do it.”

Worst Breath in the World, “Tic Tac” France.

It seems anymore that part of creating a viral video means a big budget over the top production. While this video might seem lo-fi, think about the video work that went into it. The number of actors required, the production of all the video that shows up on the large screen in the square (about half way through), and everything else. This is not your typical “viral video” from YouTube’s early years. This is a fairly big budget production from Ogilvy & Mather Paris.

None the less it has managed to grab 150,000 unique page views in the last week.

Animated Twitter Ads, for Smart Argentina.

Twitter limits your posts to 140 characters, and doesn’t natively support video, flash, or other dynamic media solutions. This can be a bit challenging for advertisers who want to use rich content to promote their brand. That’s right not everyone feels that they can truly convey their ad message/brand message in 140 characters or less. So what do you do if you want to create an animated ad in Twitter? You get really creative, that’s what.

Take what BBDO Argentina did for Smart Cars Argentina. BBDO Argentina created the first animated Twitter ad that is built right into the Brands Twitter stream. If you go here you can see the animation in action by holding down the “J” key on your keyboard to see the animation scroll by. If you are lazy, watch the embedded YouTube video below. The ad works like an old school flipbook animation, creating a fun simple animated ad with a light story. It shows off the Smart’s commuter features like squeezing into a parking spot to small for other cars. What a great idea. So simple, and so much fun.

 

Casey Neistat, “Make It Count” for Nike.

Here is a fun little video for Nike by filmmaker Casey Neistat. This really steps away from Nike’s usual look and feel, and I like it. A Lo-Fi, video with a made for the web kind of look, which is harder to create than you think.

I wish Nike would fund my round the world trip.

“Guardian Open Journalism” Three Little Pigs for Modern Times.

This ad for the Guardian came out a couple of weeks back, but today was the first time I saw it. What a great play on a classic fairy tale with a modern twist, wrapped with a modern vibe. Broadcast news, social media, websites etc. all surface in this ad to bring the Three Little Pigs up to date and show the arenas the Guardian plays in.

The commercial has a great big budget look with some nice subtle motion graphics, and post work.

A Colorful Way to Start Your April. OK Go, “Skyscrapers”.

It’s the first Monday in April, and it is a beautiful spring morning here in the Midwest. Over the weekend I saw this wonderful music video by OK Go for the song “Skyscrapers”off of their latest album release.

Unlike many of OK Go’s videos this is not a quirky video featuring the band. Instead it is a sublime piece of direction and choreography by Trish Sie whoalso stars in the video along with dancer Moti Buchboot.

What I really like about this video is how the montage of shots moves seamlessly from one color to the next across an urban landscape that could be anywhere. This is a linear tango coordinated, shot, edited across endless color blocks of disconnected walls. Count the number of shots that had to be done to create the final piece. (Now think about the number of takes for each shot)

Director: Trish Sie
Producers: Trish Sie & Paula Salhany
Cinematography and editing: Paula Salhany
3D DP: Eric Kurland
Dancers: Moti Buchboot & Trish Sie
Special Thanks: Jennifer Kay Tyre, So Yun Um, Joanna Mayorga, Andy Green, Diane Castrup, Anthony Hartman, Jenny Oppenheimer, Roe Sie, Damian Kulash and Marjorie Kulash