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Monkeyhead's Graphics Introduce Red Bull Big Tune

Motion design and production company Monkeyhead created opening titles and custom graphics package for the RED BULL BIG TUNE documentary web series, and for the forthcoming BIG TUNE documentary special set to air in April on BET.

Red Bull and event partners The Suspect Group relaunched the RED BULL BIG TUNE website ( early last year to help organize, promote and facilitate their 2008 BIG TUne music producer battles all over the country. In November, soon after the conclusion of the Los Angeles event and in anticipation of December's final showdown of the top 16 finalists at New York's Highline Ballroom, the website debuted a series of documentary webisodes showcasing each of the regional events and winners. The webisode documenting the New York City finale, where 17-year-old C-Sick from Chicago was named the year's national champion, went live in December. All the latest webisodes feature the custom opening titles and elements from the graphics package created by Monkeyhead under the guidance of the company's founder and creative director Josh Sahley. Many of the graphic elements created by Sahley and his colleagues also were used prominently in the creation of the website, and the opening was used as the background loop at each regional event.

"The RED BULL BIG TUNE project was unique," Sahley began. "Instead of sticking to a normal broadcast open package or a quick online title, this show was made to be a hybrid of the two. For the webisodes, we had to make a fast-paced, edgy graphic open, along with lower thirds graphics and multiple mortises for the next episode. We also had the opportunity to make a longer TV show opening to capture the whole journey, which included alternate treatments for the VS titles and lower thirds. Overall, our biggest challenge was developing a package that could fit both presentations."

Based on input from the project's film and webisode director George Mays, Monkeyhead's design approach focused on providing an atypical urban feel. "That meant no gold and diamond covered type, among other things," Sahley explained. "We instead wanted to go with a more dramatic black-and-white treatment with splashes of colors as highlights. We also wanted to find unique ways to quickly and creatively identify each city that the show was featuring. We spent a lot of initial time figuring this out, choosing which landmarks, buildings, monuments, etc., really captured each city. Some are easy, but others were challenging."

To bring the project to life, Sahley added the talents to his team of art director Anthony Hurd for the initial design, while art director/artist Steve Fishman did additional city designs and served as lead animator, with artist Kevin Capizzi helping on the logo section. Monkeyhead's artists used 8-core Macs running Photoshop, After Effects and Cinema 4D, and their project line producer was Jessie Seal.

"For the workflow on this project, a main requirement was having a smooth flow back-and-forth from 3D to 2D, so we used Cinema4D and After Effects, which work together flawlessly," Sahley added.

Music and sound design for the title sequences are courtesy of Robert Hawes of Hollywood-based Neptunes Boiler. For Red Bull, Scott Bradfield and Karma Gardner served as exec producers.