titles & social spots for 'the handmaid's tale'
This sequence was a large collaboration effort between myself and fellow motion designers Patrick Knip, Francisco Betancourt, Anastasia Skrebneva, Vero Gomez, Alvin Martinez-Rosado, and Leah Evans. We chose to create a branding package for the Hulu television show, The Handmaid's Tale, including a title sequence and social media spots. Our group was first struck by how clean and delicate the show is on the surface; the production design, cinematography, and mannerisms of the characters are often seemingly so well-measured and refined. Just underneath, however, lies a much darker, grittier truth that is always pointedly ignored and covered up.
In creating this new title sequence, we decided to emulate this by symbolizing the handmaids as houseplants- captive and very meticulously manicured, rather than free to grow in their natural environment. We wanted to emphasize the outside forces, sometimes obvious and sometimes not, consistently asserting their complete control over the handmaids' lives. For the subject, we chose the tulip for its red color, but also its strong presence from bulb to bloom. We brainstormed different ways this tulip could be managed, and also thought of ways to incorporate important themes of the show, like marriage and religion.
Original Style Frames
For the look of the project, we chose to use cinematography as a base to create a piece as heavy and poignant as the show itself. We started compositing some base frames to develop and refine the feel we wanted to achieve.
Next up, it was time to collect props and shoot!
We shot the sequence and social media spots over the course of two days. To keep the trapped feel of an interior space, we shot on-site in a historic Savannah home. Using the resources we had (and compensating with some creative solutions for the ones we didn't), our lead cinematographer Alvin was able to get a variety of strong shots to composite together. We shot at Above are a few time-lapses of our process- unconventional at times but certainly enough to get all we needed!
Compositing was a very heavy part of production in order to capture the iconic Handmaid's Tale look. Many of the shots had to be
re-timed and occasionally rotoscoped to get perfect. On top of that, we used a variety of color-grading techniques, simulated light, and particles that all came together in the final render. Above is a breakdown of one of the shots to show just how much went into each and every one.
In addition to a re-vamped title sequence, we also created a couple of looping cinegraphs in promotion of THT's season two (which had not yet aired at the time. Keeping the same color grading and mood as the sequence, we brought in a couple more external elements we felt offered further insight into the world of Gilead. These were meant to be shown on the show's official Facebook or Instagram. The end result was a fresh look at this powerful show's branding, and a whole lot of respect for large productions.