Though it seems a lifetime away, October was really only a few months ago. Crisp winter air, football season getting underway and, of course, the annual Origo Halloween Party. In lieu of having a holiday party in december, Origo puts its efforts into going all out for our favorite spooky holiday. It’s much more our style. And being a branding agency of some repute, of course every year requires its own distinctive style. This year, we paid homage to the the kitschy monster movies of the 50s— think black and white film, jittery screens, screaming teenagers, and “monsters” in cheap rubber costumes. It was a huge success and a ton of fun (Check out Origo’s Blog post about it here), but before any of that, we had to send out the invites. And for a party themed around old monster movies, what better announcement is there than a fake movie trailer? If you haven’t seen it yet, take a moment to check it out above.
A lot of fun to do. Certainly a departure from a lot of the ultra-modern high motion pieces that I usually find myself doing. In fact, in a lot of ways it’s the opposite. Which made for an excellent challenge and I do certainly love a challenge!
This project definitely hinged much more on good art direction more than fancy motion. In order to set the correct mood and invoke the right emotion of zany nostalgia, the video had to capture the look and feel of those old movies just right. So, step one, of course, was watch a bunch of them. The copyrights on most have long since expired and YouTube proved to be a surprisingly good resource. Important things to note were typography, transition styles, color treatments (or lack thereof), editing styles, that sort of thing. And while I was mostly watching for those things, I must say that, wow, some of those old movies were truly whacky. A favorite was Cat Women of the Moon for their bizarre version of what the surface and inhabitants of the moon are like— a place that no human had ever been when the movie was made.
Most important to get right was the typography. I took samples from a number of great title screens for films. The titles were almost certainly hand lettered, but most shared qualities like curved baselines, thick rounded and bulbous text, and unblurred drop shadows. I found a few fonts that put me on the right track and then got to work tweaking:
Also, note the kitchy copy. Things like “Sinful Hors D’Oeuvres” “Merciless Appetizers”. Stuff like that gives it a bit of inside-joke humor because by being deliberately over-the-top.
After designing the titles, I cut together some of the choice clips I collected from the reference films I found. The motion had to be done very carefully so as to not look too modern. No eases. No motion blur. Nothing fancy. The films of the time use a lot of wipes. Not just straight wipes, but circle wipes, clock wipes and other stuff that’s fallen out of favor.
The text, as brought in from illustrator, was far too sharp so I added a blur of a few pixels and a camera jitter to simulate the limitations of the technology of the time. As far as color goes, obviously went for the black and white look. But the technology of the time was such that what we see on our computer screens as black or white is far richer or far brighter than what could be achieved at the time. So the “white” of the text and the “blacks” are just light and dark grey.
To finish up, I redid the Origo branding logo in the way I would imagine it would have looked had it been created 60 years earlier than it actually was. Our real logo is very minimal and modern so it was really fun to reimagine it in the ornate style of the 1950s with script fonts (and a great excuse to use one of my favorites, Radio) and with everything spelled out in full. It really brought everything together and after immersing myself in the visual language of the era, it was great to be able to use it to sketch something up.
All in all, definitely a successful video and a great chance to flex my art direction muscles. Also, Cat Women on the Moon. Without this project, I would have never known!