Saturday, May 23, 2009

True Blood Main Title" Digital Kitchen and the making of the True Blood Opening sequence

“This is not going to be Six Feet Under”
–Alan Ball

A truly hand-made sequence for one of the most watched dramatic series in HBO’s history. The final edit contains over 65 shots comprised of original documentary, studio, tabletop photography and found footage. 6 separate shoots took place in Louisiana, Seattle, Chicago on 7 different still, film, and video cameras. 3 new babies were born at DK between award and delivery. No divorces. 1 Bolex passed peacefully in the night.

Case Study

The Assignment
We have a unique relationship with Alan Ball. Our work with him on Six Feet Under altered not only the trajectory of our company but also that of the title design business. The opportunity to work together on a whole new series was an exciting proposition. Although Mr. Ball is addressing many of the same issues in True Blood as he did in Six Feet Under: death, morality, identity with a healthy dose of humor, True Blood is a much more wild, unrestrained ride. Our assignment was to distill the humor, sex, violence and sweaty, sultry vibe of Louisiana—and oh yeah, don’t show vampires.

Actually making the titles for True Blood had mostly to do with setting aside our own prejudices of the subject matter as well as so-called “professional” production practices. We knew from the start that the best way—the only way—to create a powerful introduction to True Blood was to insert ourselves into the middle of Louisiana and found out what happens–unmannered and unvarnished.

Most of the outdoor footage was shot in Louisiana. The bar scenes, titles, and writhing bodies were shot in Seattle. The church scenes were shot in Chicago. We even created our own font family based on roadside hand-painted signage.
Many of us shot scenes on a multitude of formats anywhere we went. While one of us might talk to a subject, another one or two of us would operate a camera while someone else then wandered off into the woods to shoot creepy things.

As many as a dozen DKer’s touched this project at one time or another. There are many influences and sources that colored our final product. We also give a big thanks to the wonderful film In Search of the Wrong-Eyed Jesus. It gave us the courage to dig deeper into the swamps and back alleys where the real color can be found.
Our approach embraced the madcap and deliberate, the lo-fi with state of the art, and a host of other dualities. But what made the project sing and connect with people is the transparency of our love for getting our hands dirty, hitting the ground running and making a little film.

** I collected lots on the opening see all here
There is a much longer, better "Making of video" on DK site here