In the past, our MTV client had been OK with our unusual creative graphic solutions that complimented the stories of his reality series. We would research for graphics and imagery that were meaningful to the location and/or the series stories, build animations with those elements in 2D and/or 3D. For the headshots, we would usually get original photographs from the MTV.com people to introduce the casts in the opening…
But recently, we were told to design the graphic packaging within the MTV brand, setup by the in-house design department, which required original footage, and pretty much banned all computer generated graphics, and required the content/show footage be the dominant element in the graphic packaging… Which meant we couldn’t do it with the same design process as before. The only time the production would utilize graphics would be in the end title…
Here’s an excerpt from MTV On-Air Show Packaging Style Guide: “…select powerful, meaningful…images and build a strong graphic language using well-designed typography that elevates the content and conveys the story… All design decisions should…avoid the graphic gymnastics and 3D renderings of the past…”
In order to be compliant to our client’s brand, we were required to produce original material… This project was an unprecedented production process for us, but we welcomed the challenge. With our graphic design background, we designed the end title/logo with a twist of Hard Rock Hotel, where the casts lived while in Vegas. We shot original footage of the Vegas neon lights, cast headshots and time-lapse of the stage being built.
During the time-lapse shoot, we had 2 photographers, one shot the floor scenes and the other sat in the cat walk, taking the overhead shots. We tried to shoot the stage in an angle similar to the jib camera that begins the show, which would enable our opening graphic to work seamlessly into the host’s introduction… But we could only shoot from the cat walk, which was at the left side of the stage. So we centered the shots on the blue circle, and the result was not too bad.
The time lapse and the neon lights were our favorite part of our production process. In the end, we think it all came out alright.
For this season’s “The S#!% They Should’ve Shown” special, which premiered the week after the “Reunion” premiered, we showed, in the opening sequence, primarily the unseen footage they were going to talk about. For transitional and title parts of the sequence, we used the franchised keyhole/eyeball graphic and the Vegas neon footage that we shot. So the creative end of this piece was more straight forward compared to the “Reunion” opening. We did, however, add production value by composite the Vegas neon footage into an HD grid using a simple element of repetition and time-offset effect. These neon light footage, thus became beautiful, abstract, animated patterns that juxtaposed the circular symmetric and concentric iris theme.
“The Real World Las Vegas Reunion” premiered on June 8, and “The S#!% They Should’ve Shown” premiered on June 15.