How do you distill the world collective understanding and evidence of UFOs into three-and-a-half minutes? That was the challenge facing visual design and motion graphics studio yU+co., led by Creative Director Garson Yu, for the main title sequence to Disney Race To Witch Mountain, opening in theatres on March 13.
Race to Witch Mountain is a sci-fi adventure about two alien visitors and their search for their lost spacecraft. For the main title sequence, yU+co. concept was to tell the story of UFO from early sightings in the U.S. to present day, using archival newspaper headlines, film footage, photos and eyewitness accounts of UFO sightings. Set to a pulsating orchestral score, the tension-filled sequence immediately pulls viewers into this mysterious world with fast-paced editing of astonishing UFO imagery coupled with a subtle, yet powerful type design that animates on and off as if emanating from an extraterrestrial transmission signal.
For example, yU+co treated some of the clips with film scratches and burns to simulate aging film stock from the 50. They also added microfiche animations on the sections that covered the1980, and overlaid TV scan-lines to many of the clips that belonged in the 1990 and later.
”Race To Witch Mountain represents the third time we worked with director Andy Fickman,” says Yu, who previously worked with Fickman on The Game Plan and She the Man. ”I’sm proud of the fact that so many top directors like Andy, Zack Snyder, Ang Lee and many others continue to come back to us for titles. It says a lot about both the creativity we bring to each project and the collaborative nature between yU+co. and the director. This project was especially challenging, but we’sre proud we could bring Andy vision for the titles to life.”
”The main title sequence started in the editing room by researching hundreds of pieces of archival UFO footage that would help us tell the story,” says Synderela Peng, yU+co. Art Director. ”We delineated decades of UFO discoveries, beginning with the 1950 to the present day. We also spent a lot of time on details like treating the headlines and the film footage so they reflect the time period they were supposed to be from.”
”The main title went through several transformations,” Peng adds. ”Andy [Fickman, the director] was very specific about what he wanted in the final. He asked for a title sequence that built the mystique and the history of UFO and uses the wealth of footage that have been captured throughout time, mixing it with newspaper and magazine headlines to help inform the viewers on seminal UFO sightings. Typographically, we went with a classic font that was reminiscent of what you would see in 1920 tabloid newspaper headlines.”
While the creative challenges were many, for David Garber, yU+co. Executive Producer, the approval process for using the archival footage proved to be extremely complex, requiring a coordinated effort with Disney legal team.
”There were some incidents where we had fallen in love with a piece of footage and how it fit into the whole piece only to find out Disney couldn’t secure the rights and we had go back and find something different,” Garber says. ”There was a lot intricate legal footwork happening. In the end everyone was happy with the way it came out and I think audiences are going to be struck by it.”
In addition to Race to Witch Mountain, other yU+co. projects include the re-teaming with director Zack Snyder (300) for the main title sequence of Warner Bros.’s Watchmen, and the overall visual design and motion graphics applied as visual effects for Lakeshore Entertainment/Lionsgate upcoming futuristic thriller, Game. yU+co. also created the cinematics for Capcom new release of the popular video game franchise, Resident Evil 5.
Recognized as an industry leader in visual design and motion graphics with offices in Hollywood, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, yU+co specializes in digital content for all media platforms as well as for title design for film and television, visual effects and animation, theatrical logos, game cinematics and commercials. For more information, contact: Dianna Costello (feature film and television); or Michael Bennett (gaming/game cinematics and commercials) at 323-606-5050.
Click here to view Race To Witch Mountain titles.
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Click here for more info about Race To Witch Mountain.
Project:’Race To Witch Mountain’ main title sequence
Design/Animation: yU+Co., Hollywood, CA
Creative Director: Garson Yu
Executive Producer: David Garber
Art Director: Synderela Peng
Production Coordinator: Annie Chen
Title Editor: Nikita Kleverov
Editorial Assistant: Brandon Muse
Layout Artist: Edwin Baker
Animator: Gary Garza
Animator: Alex Yoon
Animator: Danielle Leiser
Shake Artist: Alan Boucek
Roto Artist: Merlin Carrol
Roto Artist: Miljohn Ruperto
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