God for the Rest of Us (2014)
TV Title Sequence
Visual Effects Artist
Turn Around Time:
We all start somewhere in our career and this project was my starting point. God for the Rest of Us was my first job as a creative director on a project. It is a reality TV series following a variety of Vegas eccentrics who all attended the same church. The church branded itself as “A church for people who don’t like church.” The theme behind the show was that despite being drastically different in their appearance and nature, all these people were united through a common goal of love through Christ.
The director, producer, and I met several times to discuss and review concepts. Over time with the assistance of style frames and storyboards we achieved a concept and look we were happy with.
We began storyboarding to communicate the directors themes visually. A well-crafted piece of motion design should not only be beautiful visually, it should serve a function. The function of this title sequence was to communicate the theme of the show. The director and I loved the idea of all these crazy individuals being united through their internal desires.
The double exposure effect was used to visualize this conflict between internal and external appearances. Normally double exposure is associated with minimalism and peaceful photos, but that’s not what Vegas is about. This sequence was going to be loud images with even louder colors juxtaposed over this cast of characters. In the end, all these contrasting people would appear the same through a chaotic blur of colors and lights.
What Happens in Vegas…
What’s a more fun way to work than living in Vegas for three weeks and wandering the strips with a camera and a permit? I don’t know, because that’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a project! The first two weeks were spent traveling up and down the strip. Recording and photographing every major landmark within reach.
A lot of time was spent with the characters in the show, making sure to gather lots of footage. Each double exposure composition needed to match the theme of it’s character. This lead to some pretty entertaining shoots. Recording gambling addicts, dancers, rappers, and my favorite…. freak show wrestlers.
The third and final week was dedicated to directing a small crew on a white cyc wall with the characters. Gathering the base footage of each person, which would then later be used for the double exposure compositions.
The After Party…
Now comes the fun part, sitting alone on a computer for months working late every night trying to meet deadline. Oh wait, that part wasn’t as fun… but it was a great learning experience!
Double exposure images are often composed of two photos exposed on to one another. The problem with my sequence was that there were 10-15 images that needed to be exposed on top of each other. A side effect of composing that many images, is that you end up with a pure white screen. Each new image erases a part of the image underneath, until eventually you’re left with a blank image.
To counteract this, every photo and video was divided for the composition. Carefully masking, erasing, placing, and animating every layer to best interact with the characters composition. Although, it was more tedious than a simple double exposure, this gave plenty of freedom over the composition. In retrospect, I wish I had of used more 3D, this would have allowed me to generate more compelling compositions. Form fitting elements to the actors faces digitally, but at the time it wasn’t in the budget. I’m happy with the result, a crazy collage of colors to match the crazy cast of characters.