February 20, 2018

The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All

Photo Treatment & Show Package

At the end of last year, we were asked to create an overall look for a new docu-series “The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All” set to premiere on A&E. Teaming up with our partners at MEgTV, we worked together to envision the graphics and live-action storytelling scenes that would help us visualize Erik Menendez’s story.

MEgTV had never-before-seen photography of the Menendez family and a significant amount of screen time to fill. We knew we wanted to use these images to create installations specifically customized for our in-house animation rig to capture. The set up would create an authentic physical presence and a haunting series of narrative visuals. After gathering references of possible photo treatments, we decided to experiment with all of the directions.

Some of the experiments consisted of submerging different types of paper in water, burning with water and sugar, burning with a heat gun, soaking photos in rubbing alcohol, listerine, cough syrup, and more--all on different types of paper that would react differently to various elements.

In the end, our best friends turned out to be a few pieces of warped and broken glass, magnifying glasses, projector setups and layers of plexi-glass. Each scene was manually set up and stylized to fit the narrative’s needs. We then shot with our Black Magic Mini Ersa and a 50mm macro lens to create depth of field. Our rig allowed us to set keyframes to pan, slide, shift focus and tilt at a controlled speed.

In-House Shoot

The set up would create an authentic physical presence and a haunting series of narrative visuals.

After shooting, we brought each sequence into edit, color correct & stabilization and delivered over twenty sequences in all. For all other photos, we were able to shoot glass effects on black and create a user-friendly and dynamic toolkit.

Final Sequences

In further exploration, we took a look at illustrating some of the more detailed moments from Erik’s memory. Although these never made it to prime-time, we developed a deep creative process with MEgTV and delivered all scenes with a fast turnaround on a fine-art level.

In the end, we packaged the show’s main title and opening sequence, lower thirds, bumps, location IDs and of course, photo sequences. The project enhanced our use of the rig and allowed room to creatively solve problems in-camera and graphically. It was a fantastic collaboration with MEgTV & A&E and we loved implementing our various techniques to tell Erik’s deeply emotional, personal, and layered story.

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