Prime Focus has created a 20-second HD title sequence for Simon Schama's latest show The American Future: A History, with sister company blue providing the grade, online and sound design the four-part HD series. The first 60-minute show will air on Friday 10 October at 9pm on BBC Two.
Against the backdrop of this year’s historic US presidential election, Schama takes the long perspective, looking at four of the critical issues facing the country - immigration and national identity, war, religion, and the increasingly difficult relationship between economic growth and the environment.
In his travels through America, past and present, Schama aims to reveal the big picture at a critical moment of choice – for the United States, and for the world.
Prime Focus London’s graphic designers Stephen Waugh and Faye Brown created the title sequences.
Waugh says, "Faye and I were briefed by Oxford Film and Television to create a 20-second HD title sequence. The client wanted a sequence that reflected how America’s history is shaping its future with particular reference to the upcoming elections.
"After watching offline edits to get a feel for the show we designed mood boards and a story board that reflected the sophisticated nature of the content. The next stage was to create an animatic using the archive footage used in the series. By using the stars and stripes as a device to bed archive footage and by using seamless transitions we were able to symbolise how America is a product of its history.
"A textural ‘painterly’ look was designed which was used to unify the range of footage. Due to the long title of the series, particular attention was paid to the typography and animation of the logo resolve."
The series was onlined by Clive Mattock and Ronnie Newman and sound mixed by Phitz Hearne at blue.
Dubbing mixer Phitz Hearne says, "A lot of work went into making a full sound track. There was a good deal of archive footage that needed audio, so I had to source lots of period sound effects and then treat them with various EQs to make them sound like they were recorded when the archive was filmed. As events in America constantly change, so did the films - which meant delegating various tasks to assistants in different studios, and then reassembling them into one session to create a finished tracklay."