Sky Documentaries was an exciting brief from start to finish.
As a genre, documentaries are very popular, and the content of the channel would prove to be of a high quality. But compared with other genres it’s also much harder to define and pin down. So, a large team began working on the creative development, alongside our friends at ManvsMachine. One of the initial design ideas was the fold technique, which we all immediately loved. So from there every detail had to be developed; the texture of the fold, the animation mechanic, and the tone of voice and language, which also followed the fold-out technique – The Story unfolds to be The Story Behind The Story; The First Lady unfolds to be The Lady Behind The First Lady, etc.
The logo would prove to be a particular challenge – it is the longest logo in the Sky family, so needed a good deal of thought on how it was going to work. Even choosing the right channel colour was a huge challenge!
Speaking of challenges, there was also the fact that the entire world shut down during our development. We had started researching locations for our idents and were discussing the balance between editorial and representational ways to shoot these when lockdown happened, which meant shooting was no longer an option. This led to a huge image research project. We needed to find images that could be unfolded to reveal something completely unexpected, and therefore flipping your view on what the image showed at the start. We have completed two idents, with MPC adding parallax and subtle motion effects to help bring them to life. Two more are in the pipeline.
Magnum-style photography was used to develop the brand further, and contact strip marks were added to our fold and paper textures. This was pulled into bumpers, OSP, the UI and the campaign work, creating a distinctive look for the new channel.
McMillion$ was the very first of the solus promos for Sky Documentaries. It was made while we were still trying to establish what the brand identity was and how it might fit into the ongoing creation of Documentaries promos. The ‘fold’ had been created as a brand device as was channel’s strapline; ‘the story behind the story’. But we weren’t sure how, or how often, we would use these in regular promos.
Ultimately, we kept it simple. The ‘fold’ was used just once in the body of the promo and again to move into the endboard. The main fold would carry the lines of copy relating back to ‘the story behind the story’. We tried so many different routes to make the copy work in different ways and try and get clever with it, but they started to get longer and too wordy. So, we ended up back with a simple statement about the doc’s subject matter or story (‘The game’) which extends out to tease a bit more about the plot (‘the fraud behind the game’), neatly extending out together with the fold.
The Sky Documentaries brand is threaded through the promo, from a logo opener folding out (Docs to Documentaries) and endboard using our contact sheet aesthetic. This all provides a flexible but robust template to use for future Docs promos.
At last year’s Masters, Tiger Woods won his 15th Major championship and completed, arguably one of the best sporting comebacks in history. This documentary explores how Tiger went from unbeatable sporting dominance, to discovering his chronic lows, with injuries, addictions & a troubled personal life.
Using a poignant cover of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ we wanted to create a sincere tone throughout the promo, highlighting the frailties and depths that Tiger has had to overcome during his career; but also illustrating the unbelievable feats he has achieved.
Maintaining the Sky Documentaries brand style execution, we used the copy ‘The Triumph ‘with the fold revealing ‘The Pain Beneath the Triumph’, which helps support the overall theme of the documentary, and ensures the viewer takes away the intended message.
Like Marmite, you either love her or hate. We were briefed to draw on her polarising nature as a public figure as a way to entice people to watch the doc and make their own mind up.
The creation of a promo for the Wu Tang Clan documentary provided an interesting opportunity to devise a way of realising the Documentaries brand alongside a subject matter quite unlike the other launch titles. The documentary gives a fascinating insight into the hip-hop group’s troublesome background, creative process and wayward path to global success and critical acclaim, which the team tried to encapsulate in the promo.