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Sarofsky Introduces the Violent World of ‘Animal Kingdom’

Erin Sarofsky and her team at Chicago-based design and effects company Sarofsky created the :60 opening title sequence for the TNT series Animal Kingdom. “Through these images, the Animal Kingdom main titles prepare the audience for the violent, amoral and virile world they will encounter in this show,” she explains.

In the open, Sarofsky explores the family dynamic of the series using the metaphor of the tattooing process that matriarch Smurf (Ellen Barkin) endures. The opening sequence intentionally juxtaposes jarring imagery of scenes distilling the childhoods of her family members and their transitions to manhood with the main tattoo visual thread. Stuttering visual effects and shifting on-screen type add subtle finishing touches to the title’s visceral punch.

“We used a variety of different cameras on this project, and each served a specific purpose,” recalls cinematographer Mike Bove. For the tattoo sequence, the team used a Vision Research Phantom Flex4K outfitted with Cooke S4 prime lenses and diopters for macro details. Shooting in 4K, Bove says they maxed out the frame rate at 938 fps. For various POV sequences—riding a motorcycle through traffic in Los Angeles, getting physical on a basketball court in Miami—the team used a Sony a7R II and a Canon EOS C300 Mark II, the latter with Zeiss CP2 primes. For everything else they used an ARRI Alexa with the same Cooke S4 primes.