Half of a Yellow Sun

Televisual interview: Playing The Title Role

Televisual

We are delighted to be featured in this months (September) issue of Televisual.

For those of you that cannot get a copy of the magazine, here below is the full interview given by Editor Jon Creamer:

Q: At what stage of the film’s life do you get involved in a project?

A:The lead times we have can vary immensely, sometimes we have to turn projects around very quickly and sometimes we are involved very early on. Since we've been in this business more than 30 years, our clients know we can offer more than opening and closing sequences, for example - sometimes we are called upon to offer consultancy for clients to make recommendations about the structure of their films and series before they are finalized, to help them with keeping the momentum and engagement of the audience throughout the feature.

Q: How are you briefed? And who are you briefed by?

A: That has two answers firstly we have repeat clients like Tim Burton and Stephen Frears who come straight to us on a non-competitive basis. Then there is the first time directors or producers, who we like to chat and share our joint passions in film, TV and life in general. This gives us all a good start and helps build trust from the outset, and luckily we are all still in a people driven business. Also on both cases we like to read the script. Second meetings and briefings could well involve the executives from the studio like Warner Bros. or TV Channel etc.

Q: Are you able to see the finished film before you begin?

A: Yes we would see rough-cut scenes and then followed by a first assembly of the entire movie, which normally is over length and these days with large patches of ‘green screen’, sometimes along with temp music as well.

Q: What informs the concept you come up with?

A: Looking at the under belly of the movie firstly. By which I mean not the visual scenes but more the rhythm, pace, emotions and tone etc. Then it is possible to project a symbolic foretaste of what is to come, and create a receptive atmosphere that will enable the movie to begin hopefully on a higher level of audience engagement, right from the first frame.

Q: Do you have music to work with?

A: No that collaboration comes later down the creative process, once we have all agreed on the chosen visual concept and tone. This can now be formed into a rough animatic timeline to length. Then the composer can score directly on what he or she sees.

Q: Do you come up with a variety of routes and then the producer or director chooses one?

A: It depends, sometimes one idea becomes very clear in the thinking. Sometimes it needs a selection of thoughts.

Q: Can you often create bespoke sequences, are you able to shoot things yourself, use animation?

A: Starting from a blank piece of paper and an open mind. The passion and joy is to see the life come into the sequence by each member of our team adding to the overall communication of the sequence. I will always direct my own scenes that are needed, and we create our own animation and special effects.

Q: How much time do you get to produce the titles?

A: On average, around 3 to 4 months, depending on what is involved. We have been known to work on sequences for more than 8 months, such as Jupiter Ascending.

Q: Is there a good budget for the titles, or are you at the end of the financial chain?

A: Budgets work in accordance to the size scale of the movie at hand. We work across the board, large and small each has its own rewards and problems to win over. We also bear in mind small first time director or production companies today could turn out to be the biggest in time.

Q: Do you work on your own or is a team involved? Who else is involved?

A: The Morrison Studio is a collective. We build individual teams for each project, whether it is a studio motion picture, independent production, interstitial or branding project. It is essential that our team has the highest calibre of creatives, VFX artists, and technicians involved relative to the skill sets required.

Q: What is the secret to great title design?

A: Lots of factors, but essentially I would say a good script. Then It can be pushed creatively.

Our latest work - OUT ON DVD this summer

The Morrison Studio DVD Releases What a bumper month for us, as 4 of OUR LATEST TITLES GO OUT ON DVD within days of each other!

With the World Cup having come to a close this weekend. We expect many of you will fancy a night in without football, to watch one of the many great films being released on DVD this summer.

Fantastically for us at The Morrison Studio. 4 films we have created the title sequences for go out on UK release in the next few weeks, starting with John Roberts' Day of the Flowers releasing on the 21st July, followed by Pascal Chaumeil's A Long Way Down going out on the 28th July, finally with both John Michael McDonagh's Calvary and Biyi Bandele's Half of a Yellow Sun being released on the 4th August.

It's a great choice of entertainment for you too! With a mix of genre's to make you laugh or cry, smile or simply stare at the screen...

DAY OF THE FLOWERS Two Scottish sisters, one a left-wing activist, the other a popular party girl, travel to Cuba to scatter their late father's ashes. In losing and trying to reclaim their father's ashes, the bickering sisters set off on a journey that them takes them through romance, danger, and the discovery of old family secrets.

Stars: Eva Birthistle, Charity Wakefield and Carlos Acosta Runtime: 99 mins Previous Blog: http://wp.me/pIDnQ-ti

Day of the Flowers

A LONG WAY DOWN After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Colette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul Runtime: 96 mins Previous Blog: http://wp.me/pIDnQ-x1

A Long Way Down

CALVARY Four people meet on New Year's Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another weather the difficulties of their lives.

Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen and Dylan Moran Runtime: 100 mins Previous Blog: http://wp.me/pIDnQ-x1

Calvary

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN Sisters Olanna and Kainene return home to 1960s Nigeria, where they soon diverge on different paths. As civil war breaks out, political events loom larger than their differences as they join the fight to establish an independent republic.

Stars: Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejifor, Anika Noni Rose and John Boyega Runtime: 111 mins Previous Blog: http://wp.me/pIDnQ-D6

Half Of A Yellow Sun

We all think here at The Morrison Studio, that you'll have fun watching these new summer releases. We hope you enjoy our work and we look forward to sharing more with you and some new exciting news in the very near future. Happy viewing!

Half of a Yellow Sun Title Sequence

Half of a Yellow SunThe search for the idea for the opening sequence started with thinking around the ‘main title’. Our next thought was what would give us a moving metaphor? Something which would deliver a journey, bright, glamour and hopeful. Also most importantly, an object from the time, mid 60’s in which the movie is set. The answer - Mirror Ball.

As with all our sequences, a seamless entry into the first scene of the movie is imperative and the Mirror Ball again answers this with the addition of taking the view visually to Nigeria / Lagos, as you will see.

http://youtu.be/BjqvRrofhcU

Our DOP Jonathan Le Roux explains here how we shot the ball:

The approach we took to filming the mirror ball was to see it as a beautiful woman. So lighting her was fun.

I created a black box around the mirror ball with black Polyboards and black out. This would stop any reflections in the mirror ball. I cut a small hole in the Polyboard and created a window for the lens to peek through.

The choice of lens was our attempt to recreated the 70’s zoom. We could start wide on the mirror ball and then zoom into the small map of Africa, which was stuck onto the mirror ball.

The camera was set at native 800 iso, f-stop 4.5, this allowed more depth of field for the small lighting set up, (which you could not do with the older film stocks). It also created a wonderful filmic feel, no less to the exceptional qualities of the Alexa.

Half of a Yellow Sun Title Sequence Shoot

We shot various passes of the mirror ball spinning with different colours, blue then green, just blue and variations of that. The warmer tones we shot with the lighting having 1/2 CT Straw on the lamps. To add more warmth, I set the colour balance to 5600k. This was to reflect the warmth of Africa. There was also a pass with various colours in one shot. We would also have a pass with the smoke, giving depth to the image.

To create depth in the mirror ball, 4 dedo lights where used and one 1 KW Arri Fesnel with half diffusion. 1 kw fennel was used as the key, 1 deco was used as a backlight, the other 3 dedos where used to sculpt the mirror ball, allowing it to stand out from the black background. Dedo’s are great as they have dimmers on them, I could control the intensity of the direct light which I enjoy using.

Working with Richard and his team at The Morrison Studio was fantastic, they know what they want and get the results they need without fuss. What a wonderful day we had in the studio, lighting and playing with a mirror ball, the guys did a great job of assembly and finally the titles.

Half of a Yellow Sun Disco Ball

VFX, Supervisor Alexis Haggar of Lexhag also explains here how we built the comp: 

In order to create this sequence we needed to own the scene. This meant we had to find a way to have complete control over the shot. To do this we decided to shoot passes of several elements that we built up into a 3D comp.

First the ball was shot under serval lighting conditions, which we combined into one element and projected onto a sphere. Then we shot some smoke and atmos plates, which were keyed and placed on cards. Finally, a clean background of the reflected light was shot against black and used as a virtual back drop.

The sequence was animated with a virtual tracking move and the final touches were added, which included graphics and a grade.

Half of a Yellow Sun Journey Graphic 1In addition to the main sequence, Dean and I have designed the journey graphics within the film and animated in conjunction with Creative Director Howard Watkins at LipSync.

Half of a Yellow Sun Journey Graphic 2 We hope you like our sequence along with the film.

All images and clips shown here remain the property of their respected owners. Copyrights apply.

UK Film Summit at BFI 2013

Screen_International_BFI_Summit I'm excited today to be at Screen International's launch of the 2013 UK Film Summit in association with the British Film Institute (BFI).

Today is a one day industry conference at BFI Southbank's NFT1, which is expecting to see more than 300 industry attendees. The Summit will primarily focus on the UK film industry and its place within the worlds market, looking at opportunities for the industry in the future.

Many experts and keynote speakers will be taking part in todays event, including British Film Commission's Iain Smith (Wanted, The Mission, The Killing Fields) and Slate Films' Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland, A Most Wanted Man) - who we had pleasure in creating the title sequence for their latest film 'Half of a Yellow Sun', which is due for release next year.

BFI_Southbank

Ben Roberts (BFI Film Fund) and DJ Films' Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, Belle) also join the impressive list of panellists, addressing the challenges in film finance; development of audiences in the UK and how distributors and exhibitors can adapt to the digital world; the UKs place in the global market, amongst many other areas to conclude on how the film world can benefit from convergence in our multi-platform world.

The day is looking to be very interesting as well as a good opportunity to discuss and share views with other film professionals.

For those that are coming, I look forward to seeing you there.

Shareman Identity for Half of a Yellow Sun

Ahead of next weeks BFI London Film Festival (9-20 October 2013) screening of Biyi Bandele's new film 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. This is the on-screen ident we developed for Shareman Media, who together with the BFI are presenting the Slate Films / Potboiler feature in association with Ealing Metro International, Kachifo Limited and Lipsync Productions.

Fresh back with great reviews from TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival - The ident presents before the film for which we also created the title sequences.

The film is out on main release later this year.

We hope you enjoy...

http://youtu.be/tuqs5nuelcY