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S4 Studios Kick-Starts TLC's Street Customs

Hollywood design and animation house S4 Studios has kick-started TLC's upcoming STREET CUSTOMS series with an impressive :10 opening title sequence that blends art with the ultimate in vanity transportation, the custom auto buildout.

STREET CUSTOMS, a new six-part series, makes its debut Oct. 11 as part of TLC's Thursday night TURBO programming block of all-motorized content. The stars of the show are the shop itself: Corona, California's West Coast Customs and its owner Ryan Friedlinghaus, as each week they tackle some of the most extraordinary car builds ever conceptualized. The show is sxec produced by Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films and Television (AMERICAN CHOPPER, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER).

The initial opening sequence, produced and directed in 3D and HD by S4 Partner Geoffrey Kater and designed by S4 Creative Director Thomas Helmintoller, distills the construction of the "Corvelle," a Chevette body over a Corvette Chassis. Featured in the middle of a stylized version of the West Coast Customs shop, the car takes shape center stage in the shop to the beat of a throbbing piston, as a plethora of razor-sharp vfx converge on the hero vehicle. Graffiti animates off the shop walls to adorn the body; metallic-colored doors open to display the interior; sparks fly from a welder's torch; the hood opens to show the gleaming interior; and, finally, the corrugated shop door slams down to reveal the metallic, beveled silver West Coast Customs logo.

Kater, who studied Automotive Design at Art Center in Pasadena, brought his passion for cars to bear on this project, which was animated on LightWave 7, After Effects (V 9.0) and Photoshop. "The idea behind STREET CUSTOMS is not only to show the process behind the builds, but also to show the complete originality of West Coast Custom's commitment to creating super high end custom, sophisticated vehicles," said Kater. "They've done builds for everyone from Carroll Shelby to the Sultan of Brunei, and each one has its own unique signature. It was our job to graphically capture the flavor of the shop, as well as to highlight the pure natural curves, the posture and the street beauty of the car. It's all about getting that gearhead element when you start putting art and metal together in this way."

Helmintoller added, "Urban street culture is reflected in urban art; integrating the machine with the art was the perfect solution to the challenge."

According to Pilgrim Co-Exec Producer Rob Dorfmann, "I knew this series had to have a signature style if it was going to break the mold on the traditional TV show car build. When I started to think about the graphic open, I immediately thought of S4 Studios. Geoff's experience in car design made them a natural fit, and we loved his concept of having the graffiti come off the shop walls to fabricate a custom car."

S4 Studios LLC ( is a creative design and production studio specializing in entertainment branding, content development, 3D animation, visual effects and live-action production for television, feature films, commercials, trailers and home entertainment. Since its founding in 1999, the studio has built a client roster that includes NBC Universal, Cartoon Network, Flyer One Ent., 20th Century Fox, Paramount Studios and more.