Republished with permission from Fabien Barral (www.graphic-exchange.com) and we thank Fabian for allowing us to repost this fascinating interview on our blog.
This ending sequence to Sherlock Holmes has been called "amazing" and a "masterpiece". The mix of photo, texture, illustrations, calligraphy and animation is almost perfect... It was done by Prologue film, already behind the great Iron man end sequence.
Danny Yount, creative director at Prologue film, was kind enough to provide a few answers to questions posed by French designer Fabien Barral about the making of the sequence together with many behind the scene images...
FB: How many people work on a such a sequence?
DY: We broke up into 3 separate teams - with a total of about 14 people working around the clock. The end credit sequence required the most people by far, as there was so much detail in the illustration and transition work. The illustration took a long time to make. I'm not sure if Jorge slept very much. The main title and Hallucination (example) VFX team was myself and Brett. The opening logos Jose and Todd. I work very closely with everyone and I am always part of the process. I owe that to the client and I especially owe that to the younger designers who are building their own body of work and careers. I also learn a lot from them - they always bring in new ways of doing things. And they learn from me as I help them to avoid the same mistakes I made when I was their age.
FB: Who is the illustrator behind these amazing images ?
DY: Jorge Almeda. He's a great illustrator and animator - a very talented guy and hard worker. They were based off some looks that Chris Sanchez and Lisa Bolan were doing in earlier concepts.
FB: Can you describe the development process of the sequence ?
DY: I got a call from director Guy Ritchie while he was in the middle stages of principal photography. He liked what we made for RockNRolla and asked us to consider something good for Sherlock Holmes. We were sent a script and got very excited about it after realizing the more edgy and fun interpretation of the classic character of Holmes. So Ilya Abulhanov and myself made a couple of ideas.
I was invited to fly out to present them at one of the sets in London and see some of the film, so I had a very strong sense after that of where they wanted to go visually. The brief I was given was to do a live action shoot that involved a lot of newspaper headlines from the late 1800's, which would give a little history to the early beginnings of Holmes and Watson and lead into the first scene of the film following the last headline on top of a stack of newspapers laid at the doorstep. We also wanted to show part of the printing process of that time period using the linotype machine and wood block type headline compositions. After going back and forth a bit we concluded that it be a macro shoot that was very graphic, so we rented some time at a printing museum and set up several still shoots to get all the material we needed for storyboards.
I also shot some test footage with the Canon 5D to do a style test. They liked the presentation and told us they would get back to us. Several months went by and the film had taken shape more so they decided to loose the headlines sequence. So they went from wanting a full main title to having a short main title and an end credit sequence. They also wanted the end credits to be an anthem to the film - using highlights from the movie. Designers Henry Hobson, Simon Clowes and Lisa Bolan teamed up and made the storyboards.
FB: We also can see a very special and unique typographie work, we can even talk about calligraphy... who did it?
DY: The calligrapher Bonnie Ebbs. She does a lot of work for studios in Hollywood. She's very professional and works very fast.
FB: What was the most difficult aspect of the piece?
DY: We had about 4 weeks from start to finish, and we were also given a special effect sequence. It was a lot of work, even for a company our size. But we have a great group of talented and dedicated people who did what it took to get it done.
FB: Would you give us a few of your favorite elements of this sequence and why they are special ?
DY: I like the work that Jose Ortiz and Todd Sheridan Perry did on the logos. The really came out great I thought. And I think the detail that Henry Hobbs and Simon Clowes did designing the end credits are terrific.
FB: This is truly amazing...
DY: Thank you