Movies and TV are all about immersing yourself in a different life or world. So when design agency Mirari & Co was commissioned by HBO South Asia to create a set of idents for its premium TV and movie channel, that's the theme it followed.
Signed by award-winning production company Not To Scale, the Mirari & Co team were first approached with the HBO brief back in 2013. Mirari & Co executive producer Michelle Xie: "We were required to rebrand the channel and create a totally different look for the channel for the India market, which had to be bold, India-friendly, outstanding from the competitors and, at same time, keep the tone of HBO brand."
Despite the set of specific requirements, the team were given a lot of creative freedom in their delivery. And the team wanted to create something to make the HBO brand stand out. "While most of the competitor channels were predominantly using a strong, bright color like red or orange, we chose to use red as a highlight on a dark cinematic tone," Xie explains.
"Our ideas for the idents are based on movie genres. We have designed four idents with the themes of action, romance, sci-fi and fantasy. Aiming for an exciting camera move in each Ident, we ended up using motion itself to create the connection between each ident, which is to use the different 'worlds' scale to create a surprise element of showing the final HBO logo."
The high level of technical skill is evident in all four idents. But the one that really stands out is the Fantasy ident, which features a breathtaking mechanical elephant. "Our creative director Jimmy Yuan combined inspiration from experimental architecture of the 1960s and the ancient tale of the Tower of Babel for the elephant," says Xie.
"The metallic beast’s movement across a harsh environment recalls the Walking City designs of British architect Ron Herron, who proposed intelligent, mobile metropolises as a way to better use resources and energy supplies."
To fully achieve the modelling and animation aspects of the sophisticated ident designs, the team used 3ds Max and Maya. V-Ray handled the project's rendering and compositing was done in After Effects.
This combination of tools provided the team with solutions to any technical hurdles. "We found the consistent 3D camera movements the most challenge part of this project," says Xie. "Each ident was designed to be done with one smooth camera movement without cuts. We had a senior 3D generalist who is expert in complex camera animation. The camera move is archived with a customized camera rig in 3D software."
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