After wrapping our heads around the massive quantities of materials we had to work with, our BigStar team approached the project with the same ethos as any other, focusing on our priorities of organizing, designing and delivering a high quality set of graphics to support the narrative of the series. Led by Creative Director Mark Thompson, we began with some of the larger graphic needs, setting a look and feel for our design that would carry through the rest of the series.
A key element of storytelling we graphically solved for in this project was to understand how the special effects initially came together for the original ILM team and then figure out how to visualize and explain that for the audience. For instance, flying spaceships through space in Star Wars— the complicated yet primitive technology the ILM team developed to get these shots would be the blueprint for special effects for years to come. To design these explainers, our BigStar design team learned how ILM was able to historically get the shot, and then we pulled back the curtain, graphically showing the magic trick from the other side to the audience.
The explainers element was one of several that we workshopped with the editors and the director, Lawrence Kasdan, a legend in his own right. They became the small focus group we used to guide the exploratory aspects of our design until we landed on an approach that felt authentic and would help propel the narrative forward. That look also became the series' overall style and would inform a lot of the rest of the series’ look and feel.
Designing for nonfiction storytelling is a foundational part of BigStar, and we get to work on some incredible stories. Documentaries are such a labor of love, and unlike others where graphics might not be as relevant in the initial creative process, we were involved from the very beginning of this series. This type of real-time synchronicity between us and the filmmakers expedites our timeline substantially because our team was able to develop graphic solves for pieces of the series as they happened.
We worked diligently on this project over the course of about a year and a half. During that time we tackled the massive amount of content and learned a ton about the movie industry and how essentially every massive blockbuster from the 80s and 90s were produced from a special effects standpoint. Not only was working on a series about this foundational group of artists incredible, but the team that was involved in creating this series was very special as well. It was a privilege to work on this project and at the end of the day, we feel like we can officially say, may the force be with you!