Volume 20

November 15, 2018

Inside North Korea's Dynasty


By marrying the two techniques of modeled bronze statues with light projection, we were able to build a dynamic environment that feels larger than life.

In a series that profiles the lives and lineage of the Kim family, we collaborated with National Geographic to create a promo that would symbolize the power and influence of the North Korean dynasty for the last three generations.

Statue References

Inspired by traditional Mansudae Art Studio bronze statues found in North Korea and throughout Africa, we molded the spot around the tradition of creating idols of communist leaders. Projecting imagery onto the statues, such as the North Korean army and nuclear test footage, we piece together bits of the story and the dynasty’s ongoing impact around the world.

ZBrush Models by Kintan Chauhan / Statues Test Render vs. Final Render by David Rowley

We began by modeling photo-real statues of Kim Il-Sung (grandfather), Kim Jong-Il (father) and Kim Jong Un (son) in ZBrush and refining all of the texturing and lighting in Redshift. Rendering in Redshift allowed us to create dense volumetric lighting and make the projections feel ultra realistic alongside dynamic animation moves in Cinema 4D. Ultimately, we rendered the statues and projections together in a single 3D pass.

Early Comps by David Rowley
Projection Animation by David Rowley

Using unique framing to tease our statues, we end on a dramatic reveal that grounds the viewer before landing on the main title. By marrying the two techniques of modeled bronze statues with light projection, we were able to build an environment that feels larger than life, mixed with an archival-like addition that makes for a haunting 3D spot.

A big thanks to National Geographic for the collaborative effort throughout. We couldn’t be happier with the end result!

November 15, 2018

Meet the Press Film Festival 2018

Festival Branding and Event Graphics

This design concept gave us the flexibility to utilize negative space mixed with full frame imagery in order to convey complex as well as simplistic story elements.

For the 2nd annual Meet the Press Film Fest with AFI, our partners at NBC came back to us looking for a fresh take on our 2017 festival branding. As we began our approach to this year’s concepts, we wanted to take our original graphics to the next level, while staying true to the overall style and focusing on imagery that would best represent the festival’s themes.

Collage References

We quickly nailed down our first concept, which used bold design elements and iconography, layered together in a three-dimensional collage. This concept gave us the flexibility to utilize negative space mixed with full frame imagery, conveying complex as well as simplistic story elements. The design kept with the subject matter call-outs from our previous branding, yet stripped it down to the bare minimum to make each icon truly stand out.

Three Original Design Concepts - by Doug Chang and Ross Henderson

When jumping into key art, we were given the opportunity to really expand upon our print portfolio, translating our design into individual posters, with each documentary’s main subject represented on its own. Alongside this, we delivered all digital assets for the website and for social.

Key Art | L to R - Immigration, Voting Rights, Climate Change, All/Logo

Our film leader and promo followed along with the collage-like feel, transitioning seamlessly from one issue to another in a rich, layering motion that could draw focus into the depth of each subject.

Film Leader Animation by Casey Drogin

We were thrilled to have the chance to work on this package for the second year in a row, and can’t wait to see the festival continue to grow and screen these important films with the public. Thanks again to NBC for the opportunity!

November 15, 2018

Artist Spotlight: Shannon Hall


You might say she’s a jack-of-all-trades, but it’d be hard to find a single word or phrase to describe Shannon Hall’s role at BigStar. Though her official title is Producer, she also plays the occasional role of an editor, a DP, and even a writer (but she’s not writing this blurb right now, don’t worry).

Her driving force attitude and creative eye have allowed her to push the envelope from producer to artist, most specifically in cases like her work shooting the in-camera graphics for The Menendez Murders or editing the title sequence for The Murder of Laci Peterson (or almost any other murder project, really). Whether it’s editing our main company reel, producing the graphics for documentaries like Free Solo, or pumping up the excitement for the American Music Awards, Shannon has it covered.

Fun fact: she is also half of the team that coordinates and builds our BigStar newsletters! We’re very excited to spotlight her as an essential part of our team and to share her insights with the world.

Free Solo - Sizzle Edit & Graphics Produced by Shannon Hall

I love getting a new project and learning the ins-and-outs of a story. I’m passionate about continuing to grow... and coming up with different ways of visualizing moments.

Q&A with Shannon Hall -

When did you first realize you wanted to be in the industry/work as a producer?
I’ve always wanted to write and tell stories, and I had a love of managing and working with a team in all of my previous jobs. As a journalism major with a concentration in communications, I studied a wide-range of subjects. It wasn’t until my very last semester that I took a film class and realized I absolutely loved shooting and editing. That’s how I knew I needed to pursue production and work my way into the biz.

What makes you love what you do?
So many things. Being in New York is a big one. The constant experiences and chances to meet new people is fascinating to me. And then, coming to work every day to be surrounded by incredibly talented, smart, funny and forward-thinking people is major! It’s amazing to work with different visions, combine ideas and unfold stories together--all to ultimately put together a neat little package.

The Murder of Laci Peterson - Open Edit by Shannon Hall

What perspective do you bring to the graphics world as a producer and what sets you apart?
I think my readiness to be hands-on by shooting or editing keeps things fresh. BigStar is the perfect place for me to explore all the possibilities of that approach too.

How long have you been doing what you do?
3 years at BigStar! A lifetime of figuring it out?

What were you working on before coming to BigStar?
I was finishing up my degree at UNT. Since I was only recently introduced to the film world at the time, I had been mainly focusing on ceramics & writing, and dabbling in sculpture and drawing.

The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All - In-Camera Gfx and Reel Edit by Shannon Hall

What/who has influenced you the most?
The people around me have always been my main source of inspiration. Family, friends coworkers and clients all help me to grow and continue to grow and steer my interests. After that, traveling and seeing more of the world is always a big treat.

What are you most passionate about professionally?
I love getting a new project and learning the ins-and-outs of a story. I’m passionate about continuing to grow in my editing skills and coming up with different ways of visualizing moments. Also, being the 24/7 office DJ--I do take occasional requests.

Taco Bell: Web of Fries Promo Package - Graphics Produced by Shannon Hall

How do you determine the success of a relationship with a client?
I consider the biggest successes to be when we can deliver a project that everyone is stoked about from beginning to end. If I do my job well, I’ll know our clients feel confident they are in the best hands and the creative can flow freely without a worry about the day-to-day. Collaboration and ease are two key aspects I think end up as the building blocks for lasting relationships and work.


Volume 19

Next Project: Volume 19
Telling the Bigger Story