One Fine Day, the creative design/animation boutique led by Creative Directors Nathalie De La Gorce and Chris Haak – proved the old adage that “less is more” true with a new show open for the popular romantic comedy “Hart of Dixie” (seen Mondays on The CW Network). With great style, the open creatively distills the show’s essence into just ten eye-catching seconds.
“The piece was constructed as one continuous camera dolly and pan, with a combination of live action, still photography and CG elements all arranged in 3D,” Haak says. “We designed a 3D animated panoramic sky throughout to provide continuity and tie all of these disparate elements together.”
The open begins with street level shot of a pair of fashionable women’s shoes. The camera quickly pans straight up toward the city skyline as a bright sunburst gives way to a dolly-tracking shot past a “Welcome to Bluebell “ sign and toward an expansive country home. The open ends with a shot of the show’s star, Rachel Bilson, seated on a suitcase alongside a picture perfect lake, complete with a dock and gazebo off in the distance.
According to Haak, the opening shot of midtown New York was constructed by compositing several still photos into a panorama. All of the Bluebell elements were either rotoscoped from footage supplied by the client, or edited from still images.
Additionally, One Fine Day shot a number of HD motion elements of marsh grasses blowing in the wind to keep things from feeling too static, and to help transition between environments. For the final shot Bilson was filmed against a greenscreen in Los Angeles and composted into the scene.
“The CW Network was looking to capture the essence of this show, which tells the fish-out-of-water story of a young, New York City doctor who finds herself working in the small town Bluebell, Alabama,” Tom Bayer, One Fine Day Executive Producer, says.
For De La Gorce, the short running time meant many of these visual elements had to coexist on screen at the same time. Because of that one of the biggest challenges for the creative team was composing frames that would work well together.
“It was difficult to tell if elements would work together without seeing them composed with decent mattes and color corrections – we couldn’t just do a rough comp and to see how it looked,” De La Gorce says. “We ended up doing a lot of perspective alteration or removal, not to mention color correction, to achieve the exact look we were after.”