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film title sequence + motion graphics work_062117

memphis titles

it’s been a while since we updated this blog thing. it occurred to us that we really need to make a record of our gradual move into the world of film title sequences. unfortunately the way this website is constructed means that it’s hard to highlight this kind of work, and so we hope this article gives you an inkling of what we’ve done and hope yet to do in this field.

over the last few years we’ve been asked to do an increasing amount of motion graphics work for films, and whilst the work is often relatively rudimentary in terms of graphic design, the projects have certainly been respectable. in this regard it’s worth noting what kind of films we’ve worked on and observing the more subtle compliment a thing as simple as a typeface choice or type placement can offer a film. which isn’t to say we wouldn’t rather do something more explosive graphically, but more often than not a film doesn’t need that. not at all.

anyway, after a while in this business you realize that you need to just let the work speak for itself, rather than doing a whole lot of talking about your process or whatever. so here are a series of title cards and stills from various film productions, where you can see our motion graphic design work at play.

 

light up the night
co-directed by matt sundin and caspar newbolt. featuring drawings by john delucca and animation by josiah newbolt.

light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles
light up the night titles

 

entertainment
directed by rick alverson.

entertainment titles
entertainment titles
entertainment titles
entertainment titles
entertainment titles
entertainment titles
entertainment titles

 

dark night
directed by tim sutton. featuring in-film poster design and ‘google maps sequence’ compositing.

dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles
dark night titles

 

take what you can carry
directed by matthew porterfield.

take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles
take what you can carry titles

 

live cargo
directed by logan sandler.

live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles
live cargo titles

 

memphis
directed by tim sutton.

memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles
memphis titles

 

the convention
directed by jessica dimmock.

the convention titles
the convention titles
the convention titles
the convention titles
the convention titles

 

pavilion
directed by tim sutton.

pavilion titles
pavilion titles
pavilion titles
pavilion titles

 

muito romântico
directed by distruktur.

 

stay tuned for more work from us for jonas carpignano’s a ciambra, matthew porterfield’s sollers point and ari gold’s the song of sway lake.

cheers.

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memphis amongst best film posters of 2014_121614

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MUBI and slate have put together a list of their best film posters of 2014. we’re honoured to say that our poster for memphis came in 7th place, and must again thank adrian curry who put the list together for the recognition. it goes without saying that such an accolade would have been impossible without the belief and support of?tim sutton and the rest of the film’s crew. it’s not often that a relationship?of this kind allows such a level of artistic?freedom, and furthermore that this is one particular collaboration that’s only just getting started.

cheers,

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fotos + essay, underscore magazine_121514

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after a brief hiatus,?singapore’s underscore magazine?has relaunched with its?’arrival’ issue. included amongst its pages are two essays?of note; one by 65daysofstatic guitarist joe shrewsbury ? a?piece?which in fact opens the magazine; the other i wrote to accompany some photographs i took of a post-hurricane sandy manhattan?2 years ago.

here’s an excerpt from the latter ?

as i?walked around captivated by the things i?saw, i?stopped occasionally to send messages to the internet using my phone. observations, sensations and imagery as i?best i?could translate into words, shivering slightly with excitement in this unkempt, eerily unfamiliar, home city of mine.

“brooklyn reaches out its sparkling arm of a bridge tonight, cars dripping down it. the inky towers of manhattan stare quietly back.”

“a?family quietly opens a hydrant with all their tupperware waiting thirstily in the trunk of a car.”

“the occasional cab down a street reveals people on benches, talking together in the dark. shivering cigarette tips like fireflies.”

“expensive apartment blocks dead monoliths bathed in moonlight. candlelit windows flicker here and there, like everyone?s watching TV in sepia.”

and so on.

you can read the rest of the essay here, and you can see the original set of photographs i took here.

of course?nothing compares to owning an original copy of underscore. the latest issues is hardbound with?canvas and sports a?handwritten cover.?if you have the means, do grab yourself a copy.

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cheers,

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thanks for calling_093014


the video above is for ‘thanks for calling,’ the new single by our friend and long-standing collaborator, alessandro cortini. a man of many side projects, we have been fortunate to be most closely involved with sonoio, arguably his most lyrical outlet to date. it’s no secret that the dialogue between us is a constant thing, but it was around the time?memphis?was being shot that our discussions regarding a video for the?song really started to bear fruit. the treatment matt sundin and i put together was a personal one that we felt tied strongly to the lyrical themes of the record and also?harked back to the european filmmakers that had featured so heavily in all of our upbringings, for one reason or another.

that summer we found ourselves on the ground in los angeles. our producer,?friend and hero?katharine o’brien had already introduced us to the?fantastic?director of photography,?monika lenczewska, and we were scouting locations, machetes in hand, in the creeks of the santa monica mountains. monika’s enthusiasm and humour as we hacked through the undergrowth planning each shot breathed new life into the project, to say the least.

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soon enough emails were flying back and forth with various crew members and our crazed?psycho-drama?was beginning to look like a reality.

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casting, always the rogue element in any film, certainly took us to the brink. we’d crawl out of building sets deep in the forest and find ourselves sitting in a coffee shop or in front of a computer picking gunk?from beneath our fingernails,?looking at actors and actresses. the trick of course with this?film was that we had to find someone willing to play not just the swanky?LA party goer, but also the sunbaked, blood-soaked, creek fiend.

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with an entire nation of poison oak cleared away,?half the garbage in the surrounding 2 mile radius dragged into one spot and a crew of 20-30 people making a home somewhere long a trail through the forest, we hit the first day and watched marshall allman awake from his fall???delirious, smashed and looking for little more than a sip of water.

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naturally things got out of control and as marshall was dragged away by some curious ‘locals,’ we got into our fair share of technical scraps too. as he pretended to piece together the reasons for why his world had been turned upside down, we?hauled machinery around rocks, through undergrowth and in and out of ponds.

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as the day went on we threw everything?we had at marshall to try to keep him down. including a?specter of his wife, played by a rather radical looking daveigh chase. pretty soon he was telling us?exactly how he planned?to kill everyone in sight.

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technically speaking one of the highlights of the shoot was hugh bell bringing a prototype of his incredible?MOVI rig to the set. when the ground is basically all big rocks, this thing kept the shots looking and feeling like we were floating like a feather across the landscape. naturally it also allowed us a few evil dead style movements through the forest, which?was?cool. having hugh on set meant he could take apart the rig in a split-second to make any necessary adjustments as we moved forward and tried new shots ? an advantage we never took for granted.

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all the while we just tried to keep track of things.

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the next day and night we were in a convoy of cars racing around corners on one-way roads throughout the forest canyons. first we did a few runs with monika?and hugh?sitting in the back seat of the mustang, then,?with an?enormous camera strapped to the back of another truck like the outboard motor on a boat, we set them off by themselves. we then?coaxed marshall and daveigh deeper and deeper into a screaming match via?a walkie-talkie?hidden in their car, as we swept back and forth across dark canyon roads ??our lights out, unaware what might come from the mist at us with each new bend.

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it was a two and a half?day shoot that ended by the side of the road early on a saturday morning.?all of us, exhausted but content,?stared?down into a fog filled canyon stretching out toward the ocean. as our 1965 mustang’s headlights cast our shadows into the early morning mist, we wondered equally if we’d got every shot we needed and how good bed would no doubt feel when you’d driven yourself into the ground in this way.

editing the film was a tough process, as is always the case. there are many ways to skin a cat as they say, and this one was often?screeching as we did it. we ended up with not just 3-4 different edits of the video, but also two entirely different mixes for the song itself. in the end alessandro made the call as to which combination should be the ‘official’ cut. however we?also agreed that one of the other cuts made a good accompanying piece in terms of the different interpretations of the narrative. edit-wise it doesn’t vary hugely, but the colour grade,?sound design and song mix set it apart in ways that are worth?experiencing ? the song mix in particular couples well with the?new sound design and puts a different emphasis on the percussive elements of the outro.

this ‘director’s cut’?we present for you now ?

cheers.

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memphis awarded movie poster of the day_082914

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our poster for tim sutton’s memphis was kindly selected as movie poster of the day by adrian curry on his blog of the same name. adrian writes for film comment, MUBI?and is the design director for zeitgeist films. we’re thrilled to have made the cut ? thank you, adrian.

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giles vs. huffington post_052814

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giles was interviewed for huffington post a couple of weeks ago. the piece, which sits?in their small business section,?is important to us as it expresses concisely how far we’ve come as a company and where we stand ideologically to this day. it’s not often?you get?an exact thing you can point at whenever people ask you where you’re at, but now we have one. a huge thanks?to brian kil for granting?us this opportunity to be this outspoken, and on such a high platform.

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65daysofstatic japanese tour promo video_051214


65daysofstatic, no strangers to touring japan, asked us to put together a small promo clip for their forthcoming japanese tour. using footage we shot the last time they toured out there, this piece gives you a little taste of what it’s like to be right there with them on the road to such places.

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memphis_011414

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tim sutton’s new feature film MEMPHIS is having it’s US premiere at the sundance film festival this week. the film stars the incendiary singer willis earl beal and chases, in the form of a filmic essay, the ever-fleeting soul of the creative process. as some of you know we have had the great honour of working on this film and you can read more about that in an interview we did with black book magazine here.

since putting together the posters for the film, we’ve created a small teaser site to celebrate the sundance acceptance. additionally the film has since been written up in dazed & confused magazine. to say that it’s a thrill to see the film (not to mention one of our photographs) in that legendary periodical would be an understatement.

here’s wishing the whole memphis film team all the success at sundance and beyond. it’s not often enough that films as experimental and searching as this get this sort of recognition.

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thanks to indiewire you can view a brand new trailer for the film below. do please immerse yourself for a moment. to paraphrase one of my favourite songs – nothing quite like the feel of something new.


lastly, if you have the means – see willis earl beal perform live. he’s touring europe in february and i can honestly say that there are very few out there of his caliber. lyrically, musically and performance-wise, he will most assuredly smash you to pieces.

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big black delta photoshoot_120913

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back in june when big black delta were in new york playing a series of shows, we were approached by the experimental photographer jeff brown to do a photoshoot. already huge fans of jeff’s instagram feed and his rich portrait work, we were both flattered and excited.

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settling into jeff’s bushwick studio with enough loud music, alcohol and smokes to fuel several epiphanies, we watched him work his magic.

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photo by camila grey

the general approach i’d discussed with him of course centered around something cosmic, yet within the realm of standard portraiture.?in order to achieve this he brought several cameras to the fore, including a canon 5D and a hasselblad?501 cm?loaded with FP 3000b instant?film. the latter make of camera was responsible for the still photographs of mankind’s first steps on the moon, so it seemed appropriate for this.

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in terms of process, jeff tried a number of interesting techniques including photographing the paper that was peeled off the instant film after an exposure, and then making a negative of this. additionally he scanned the instant film in all manner of shitty ways to create a distressed quality that felt like stars, space dust and other atmospherics.

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once the images were ready, he passed them along to us. we then added a little something?where necessary to bring them that bit further into the big black delta universe. it goes without saying that?the punk nature of the shoot gave the images a more raw, personal and humorous quality. we felt this was important as the same can be said for jon’s own communications with the world, as he continues to push big black delta into new territory in his own personal fashion.

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at the last second jeff insisted i get into the frame for a few shots and ? well let’s just say it was a pretty sweet nebula.

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manifold_102913

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a while back i came head to head with the work of one of my design heroes, eike k?nig. i’d been asked to redesign the logo for the german band booka shade, after many years of eike having been their go-to design guy. it was frankly a terrifying prospect. whilst i was quite sure eike would probably never see the work i did, i would be immediately compared to him by both the band and their large fan base. settling down to create the logo i realized of course that you just do the best thing you can, and make sure that at the very least it’s nothing like the other guy’s work.

when matthew pusti of makeup and vanity set asked me to do the cover for the soundtrack EP to anthony scott burns‘ forthcoming sci-fi short, manifold, i sighed a similar breath of despair. why? because ash thorp had done the film’s poster and of course once again i would have to be compared to someone of considerable status in the graphics world. suffice to say here’s the poster ash had made –

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turning away from it, going for several walks listening to the soundtrack and spinning the film’s ideas around in my head, i realized of course that ash had the visual concept wrapped up. particularly in terms of subtly explaining what the film was about, but not so much as to spoil the film. every idea i wrote down or got momentarily excited about felt too similar to what he was saying with his treatment.

what he didn’t have however, that of course applied in particular to the job i had to do, were the tracks on the EP that had remained unreleased up until now. these were tracks that had been written for, but not actually used in the film. in particular the track ‘yearling,’ which featured original foley work, vied for my attention every time i put the record on.

mulling over these differences i decided to take a different route, one that i’d been flirting with for a while but never really had the chance to test out – a route i like to call the ‘polish’ route. now i must stress this is a route i still haven’t fully explored, but the work i was to do on manifold?certainly gave me the impetus to do so. it is afterall a firmer step in that direction, and excitingly so.

after watching the film several times i began to feel a tingling, almost aching pain in my face. furthermore i began to think about how much value we put in the face and what it means in terms of not just our identity, but our chances in life. how being beautiful can both be a blessing and a curse, and how in many regards you can either be born with a ticket on a certain kind of ride, or a ticket on an entirely different ride. all of this based on your face and how it develops as an image to others.

i then started thinking about how technology is really quite an organic extension of the human form and mindset, and that it wouldn’t be too long before these things merge imperceptibly. in fact i’d written an essay for the IFP on this subject just a few weeks before, so to say the idea was on my mind a little was an understatement. the sense of menace one feels as we start to worry about the increasing amount that technology governs our lives, is really just a greater understanding of our own constant need for distraction from ourselves.

this is when i started to realize what i had to do for?manifold, and furthermore i knew exactly where i was going to start. skipping through the film to a very particular shot, i cut it out and began work. i had to make an image that encapsulated, for me at least, that sense of terror beneath the ever prettier face of technology, and at the same time capture that actual physical ache i felt in my own face after watching the film. as i worked i began to realize that i was also edging closer to this aforementioned ‘polish’ route.

now, by ‘polish’ route i of course mean making a film poster that uses little or none of the imagery from the film and instead offers a more emotional, impressionistic interpretation of its narrative. the eastern-european film posters that have been created in support of US films (with particular reference to poland), are a powerful lesson in creating an image that, to paraphrase jim steinman, you’ll never know the meaning of, but you’ll know how it feels. much in the same way a piece of music moves you in a fashion you cannot put into words, eastern-european posters often remove all trace of the film’s visual, its recognizable characters and its story, and delve headfirst into making an entirely original image. an image that still conveys the film’s ideas, but often in a darker and less conventional style. consequently it’s this approach that has come to feel so incredibly liberating to designers working in US and UK markets. to quote??on the subject??”there?s something captivating about those things that feel inseparable from a haze of abandon, existing to give hope to the creatively forlorn.”

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left: philip gips, US. right: wieslaw walkuski, poland.

when i presented the final cover to matthew pusti, he said it was perfect. i know he would have let me take it even further into the horrifying abstract had i wanted to, but then we both agreed that it was as important to keep things familiar this time around. after all it wasn’t our film and we could just as easily go to poland next time.

you can buy the full manifold soundtrack here, and you can watch a trailer for the film here.

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