The job of a Lifetime: Beehive got involved early on the repackage of this cable network’s movie franchise – Broadcast Design – Brief Article
Among the myriad projects we’ve completed at Beehive, those most challenging and enjoyable have involved the communication of content and the telling of a story. A recent project, for Lifetime Television, is a perfect example.
Lifetime approached Beehive to repackage its acquired movie franchise. The assignment included an open, bumpers, transitional elements and a promo package. Lifetime’s goal was to tie the movie packaging to the networks overall brand identity while reinforcing their ownership of what has become known as a Lifetime movie. This goal was to come across simply and strongly within a very short period of time: 10 seconds.
With an assignment such as this, where we are given the opportunity to be involved from concept to finish, combining strategy, development and execution allows us to immerse ourselves in the entire process.
Strategy, concept, design and music evolve simultaneously, and all aspects of the production become synergistic. This environment has led us to produce our strongest work At Beehive, all assignments commence with an initial client meeting and discussion of the creative brief. There is constant communication between all parties working on the project; clients, writers, editors, designers and musicians are all involved from the inception. During production we use the Internet as the most immediate and efficient way to keep everyone informed about the project’s progress The Beehive Web site acts as a conduit for the review of concepts, scripts, designs, rough cuts, music and finished effects.
Our conceptual approach for Lifetime was to present the network as the curator. They handpick each film from its library, ensuring the viewer they will be watching something that they will recognize as a “Lifetime movie.” The inherent value attached to this recognition is reinforced by the curatorial storyline of the package.
In developing this approach, we defined a stylistic separation between the acquired and original movie packages. The original movie franchise involves the creation of new films, whereas the acquired movies are selected for the viewer. The differences between the two franchises are distinct. With this in mind we stayed away from any iconic production imagery Instead we focus on the films themselves, and most importantly on Lifetime’s role in choosing the films.
ANALYZING THE BRAND
One of the challenges in developing the new package was to establish a fresh, “bigger” environment that would attach significance to the package while still connecting to the network’s intimate brand. The previous package was based on Lifetime’s personal “journal” spots and was represented by a flipbook animation. We knew we had to move away from the tabletop vocabulary without losing the familiar feel of the Lifetime brand.
To achieve this, we connected the new open to the existing package by creating a logbook reminiscent of the journal. It is a catalog of a “film library.” After establishing the logbook, the camera pulls out to reveal an abstracted library set where the camera moves among hundreds of film cans.
Next, we see a film canister pulled from a shelf and, in silhouette, a woman removing the reel from the can and checking the filmstrip. In closing, we return to the tabletop where the selected film can with the Lifetime movie logo resolves. This approach paid tribute to Lifetime’s intimate package while expanding their world. Stylistically we stayed close to the current brand with our choices of color and shooting style so that viewers would know they were watching Lifetime.
After developing our strategy we assembled props and created an animatic in our insert stage to test our approach. The footage was imported into a Mac G4 where we treated stills and developed the storyboard, which was later posted on our Web site. In a case like this, when you have only :10 to tell a complicated story, an animatic is essential to establish an accurate shotlist for timing analysis. It was through this process that we decided to reduce the number of scenes from our original storyboard.
Prior to filming we met with director of photography Russell Fine to analyze the boards, review the existing Lifetime package and to brainstorm on approach. Directing the shoot and working with the crew is one of the things I enjoy most in a project like this. The creative team for Beehive also included co-founder/executive producer Jon Vesey production department head Jessica Gleason and line producer Wendy Gardner. As with other projects, I collaborated closely with Beehive senior designer Marcelo Cardoso, who was the project’s art director.
To create a library set that would reflect the Lifetime brand we built shelves in an environment anchored with a backdrop of white panels. A wide assortment of practical props, including shelving, film canisters and the library log, needed to be created. Russell Fine used a variety of lenses to create in camera effects, while other treatments were manipulated in Adove After Effects. The DP had a real sense of the lighting and atmosphere we were looking for We transferred the film-to-tape at NYC’s Image Post with colorist Bill Willig, who pushed the highlights so the images glow and feel very atmospheric.
In all, there are eight shots in the :10 movie open. We wanted it to be more dramatic and driving than Lifetime’s usual lyrical fare. Editor Nate Pommer worked on an Avid Media Composer.
Walter Werzowa of West Hollywood’s Musik Vergnuegen, who composed the original Lifetime network package, created the soundtrack While the music and sound design for this were more theatrical than other Lifetime IDs, Werzowa was able to maintain a connection with the network’s brand.
For Lifetime, VP of network image Bob Salazar served as creative director and Noreen O’Donnell was production executive on the project.
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