Pepper Tree Post is proud to have helped Dallas-based production company Thousand Foot Squid with the promo “King Of The City”. The launch of the 30 second Billboard special in New York City’s Times Square coincided with Peacock’s new streaming series BEL AIR, which reimagines the famed 90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as a drama.
The promo follows Jabari Banks, the series’s protagonist, walking the streets of Philly. A dramatic 360 degree shot transports him to the west coast, coming up over a palm tree-lined hill with downtown Los Angeles in the background, ending with him standing in front of the Bel Air mansion. Multi award-winning director Norry Niven came up with the concept of using the environment to chart his journey, using iconic images that would resonate with the audience: “The whole plan was to immerse the viewer into the mood and space by following Jabari; the backgrounds drift as we move with him and he transitions into the different environments, learning his story from his perspective.”
Norry wanted the promo to have a hyper real feel to it, almost dreamlike. Pepper Tree Post’s Milton Adamou, the lead VFX artist, worked with XLAB Digital to ensure their CG environments matched the real world camera, but also added secondary animation to suggest Jabari was moving effortlessly through the space: “in the iconic sunset shot, we exaggerated the timing of the layered palm trees to feel more dramatic as Jabari comes over the hill”. Other techniques used included shaping the light to better integrate Jabari with his surroundings: “We used strong edge lighting with soft glows to give the key light on Jabari an ethereal feel. We also used subtle animated lens refractions to augment the way the camera was moving in 3D space”.
Frame Line Post handled both the edit and the online, which included the transitions between the different environments. PTP converted and delivered the final promo, ensuring the 6K composited images played smoothly on the Times Square billboard. The promo was also a recipient of a Telly Award in the Craft-Use of 3D Animation category.
Production: Thousand Foot Squid
Producer: Diana Bland
Director: Norry Niven
Producer: King Hollis
Editor: Edwin Harris
Online: Dave Burton
VFX Supervisor: Corey Turner
Compositors: Milton Adamou, Jerry Steele
CG Environments: XLAB Digital
Telly Awards Credit List:
Creative Director: Jones (Eric Jones) / Peacock
Art Director: Evelyn Vaisman / Peacock
Sr. WPE: Hayley Green/ Peacock
Director, Content Marketing: Amanda Smith / Peacock
Director, Creative Operations: Petra de Matran / Peacock
Project Manager, Creative Operations: Simon Shaw/ Peacock
Project Coordinator, Creative Operations: Akira Caruth/ Peacock
Project Coordinator, Creative Operations: Blake Johnson/ Peacock
Production Assistant: Sophia Verdi/ Peacock