Slow Burn

Series Design

Client

Epix

Year

2020

Like its massively popular podcast counterpart, the adapted-for-television series, Slow Burn, places the viewer in the story in a way that feels truly evocative of the Watergate era.

In partnership with our friends at Left/Right, BigStar was given the unique pleasure of working on a full series package for Epix, bringing the same deliberate quality of the podcast’s storytelling to the series, including period specific details to enhance the sense of intimacy.

Vintage Home Diagram References

From the beginning, we wanted to re-create the visceral feeling of being an average American at the time. The specialized production approach we call the "room" is designed to put us back in that American living room for a first-hand experience. Developing pre-vis looks and art direction for the space, we worked to envision not only the nostalgic, 70's aesthetic, but also the lighting and camera techniques that could capture the series' ranging narrative tones.

Previz animations of the room vs. Final Shoot (below)

After the studio shoot, directed by BigStar ECD, Josh Norton, we transitioned into another important part of the series: TV compositing. Central to the living room layout and the story, the television is perhaps the most important prop in the room. It served as a portal in and out of archival footage and interviews, as well as a general-use frame. Often we pull out of the TV to reveal a wide view of the room in various states. The state of the room is always informed by the story - day, night, timelapse, clean, cluttered and so on.

TV Backplate vs. Final Composite

In addition to crafting the atmosphere of the room, comping various archival, and even staging an insert shoot for additional tabletop elements at the BGSTR studio, we created several bespoke animations.

Calendar Comp

In addition to crafting the atmosphere of the room, comping various archival, and even staging an insert shoot for additional tabletop elements at the BGSTR studio, we created several bespoke animations. From easel explainers, to fully illustrated drawings of our main characters, and custom, occasionally tongue-in-cheek informational graphics, we continuously allude to the time period and nature of the story in unique ways.

Howard Hunt Sequence Illustrations
Easel Animation
Funny Pages & Newspaper Composite

In completing a robust, heavily in-camera graphics package for the series, we tied off our look by shooting the main title lock-up as well. The burning fire which reveals the Slow Burn logo was shot in camera (with real fire!) and comped by staff Art Director, Jane Wu.

Main Title Animation

We had a blast working on this docu-series, creating a fresh POV on the the familiar Watergate political scandal. Thanks as always to our partners at Left/Right!

-BGSTR

Credits -

Executive Creative Director - Josh Norton
Executive Producer - Carson Hood
Head of Production - Virgil Conklin
Design - Ann Kruetzkamp, Carol Cai, Doug Chang, Jane Wu
Animation - Jane Wu, Annalise Murphy, Alec Iselin
Compositing - Alec Iselin, Brian Landisman, Conner O'Brien
3D - Conner O'Brien, Alec Iselin, David Rowley

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