Variable’s ‘Saints & Strangers’ Promo Campaign Adds Drama to New National Geographic Channel Movie Event

Author:
Publish date:

They landed on distant shores, a mixed group of refugees fleeing religious persecution and profit-minded ‘adventurers’ seeking fortune in the New World. The dramatic twists and turns of their fate provide the setting for National Geographic Channel’s world premiere movie event Saints & Strangers, which premieres Sunday, November 22 and tells the story of the Pilgrims who landed in New Plymouth in 1620 after a long trip across the Atlantic on the Mayflower

Starting this month, promo spots produced and edited at Variable and directed by Salomon Ligthelm have begun running on NatGeo and its related networks. The spots “Prayer” and “Tales,” capture the common challenges both groups of new arrivals shared – dealing with potentially hostile native peoples while trying to carve out a life in a forbidding new environment – as seen from the perspective of those seeking religious freedom, thankful for their arrival, and those seeking wealth and fortune, suspicious of possible threats. Both spots use dramatic close-ups intercut with foreboding action scenes, edited to an authentic Native American chant originally composed for the campaign, to create a sense of urgency and tension.

Saints & Strangers "Prayers" from Variable on Vimeo.

Saints & Strangers was shot on location in South Africa, and to accommodate its accelerated production schedule the Variable team shot the promo spots over a three-day period during actual production of the series itself. “Some of the biggest obstacles we faced were navigating around the schedule and the momentum that was established by the first unit production crew,” says Ligthelm. “We had to find gaps in the schedule that would allow us to work with the resources that the first unit was using, without becoming a burden or getting in the way of what they were doing.”

Image placeholder title

On the concept that supports both spots, Andy Baker, SVP/Group Creative Director at National Geographic Channels, says the Variable team brought an added nuance to its execution. “The idea that these two groups seemed so different but actually shared a similar experience was something that felt like a rich playground to work with. Salomon had come up with the idea of prayers as an anchoring idea – something to build the spot around as a backbone that laddered up to that bigger concept.” One result of this inspiration was the addition of a chant as the underscore for the action, he adds: “Weaving a Pilgrim prayer with a Native American chant – each one building on the other, forming a track that was half English, half Native – created something that was wholly exciting and dramatic.”

Once back in New York, Ligthelm says he was pleased with how the editorial process flowed while working with Variable editor Joel Douris. “Usually there’s a period of experimentation and ‘discovery’ that happens when you first start putting the edit together,” he explains. “But we had a very clear idea of the musical undertone and having this structural format, which served as the foundation for 'Prayer' and 'Tales,' made it easy to build from scene to scene.

Related

Soft Darts Professional Tour Japan Uses Blackmagic Design Products for Tour’s Live Production

Soft Darts Professional Tour Japan Uses Blackmagic Design Products for Tour’s Live Production

Blackmagic Design announced today its products were used for the live production of SOFT DARTS PROFESSIONAL TOUR JAPAN, including ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K, which has become the center of the tour’s live workflow. Production included shooting, recording, streaming to YouTube and video distribution throughout the venue of games performed on the main stage, and was also done using ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel, Micro Studio Camera 4K, HyperDeck Studio Mini and Video Assist 4K.

BL_Chameleon

Bannister Lake Releases Chameleon Version 10 Real-Time Data Aggregation and Graphics Management Solution

Chameleon, Bannister Lake's data aggregation and graphics management solution is introducing dramatic new enhancements with a strong focus on election data. Within its election module, Chameleon Version 10 improves how election data is ingested and managed. The new release expands the ability to enter manual election results where data feeds may not be available. This is particularly useful in less populated districts or in jurisdictions where it is not practical to organize a real-time results feed. The new functionality also provides an important failsafe in situations where a data feed may have stopped working.

SMPTE_The-Next-Century-Logo-MA

SMPTE's Latest IMF Plugfest Makes Significant Progress Toward Interoperability

SMPTE®, the organization whose standards work has supported a century of advances in entertainment technology and whose membership spans the globe, today announced that the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) plugfest, held Oct. 18-19 in Hollywood, California, marked another milestone in the development of the IMF family of international standards (SMPTE ST 2067), with more than 48 participants making progress toward interoperability.