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BACK TO THE GLADES: BIGSMACK Reunites With A&E For Season Two Promo Campaign of Hit Show 'The Glades'

Creative Studio Builds on Success of Last Year's Campaign To Create Conceptually Complex and Technically Challenging Package

Murder is back in season on A&E and at BIGSMACK, the full-service creative/production/design studio led by Creative Director Andy Hann, thanks to 'The Glades,' the hit crime drama that returns for season two next month. BIGSMACK was called in to build on the effective promo campaign they created and executed last year that helped make the first season premiere of The Glades the most-watched drama series premiere in network history.

''A&E loved last year's 'Orange/Sunny with a Chance of Homicide' concept that helped introduce the series to audiences,'' Hann says. ''This time they asked us to elevate the concept to another level creatively and craft a new way to invoke the same tone that worked so well.''


BIGSMACK responded with the new tagline 'Murder is Back in Season' and a complex 4-spot teaser/promo campaign that also includes a complete toolkit featuring live action endplates for tune-in info, bumpers, lower-thirds, custom snipes and other essentials for A&E producers to use throughout the show's 13 episode run.

Bloody Oranges
The three orange-themed spots each begin to the strains of the classic 1940s jazz track ''Blue Skies'' and showcase a flawlessly lit shot perfect orange bathed in sunshine. Suddenly the orange is shot with a bullet, pierced with two arrows and sliced by a flying meat cleaver. Each wound results in the human reaction of blood spurting from and pooling around the orange. The spot ends with the ''Murder is back in season'' tagline and ''The Glades'' and A&E logos.

While it may seem simple at first glance, the three orange spots proved immensely complex requiring a complete motion control set up featuring a state-of-the-art Phantom Flex camera that captured the action a stunning rate of 1500 to 2500 frames-per-second.

''The turntable, the camera rig, the lights, and pneumatic armatures were all hooked up to a motion control computer system to create a controllable and repeatable take each time,'' Hann explains. ''We had to shoot many different passes of each element -- blood, smoke, reflections, etc -- and they all needed to line up exactly. All of the separate takes were then retimed and composited together in post. The complex post also required us to rotoscope out the rigs we used to stabilize the oranges on the turntable, as well as add the intense sound design.''

Poolside Homicide
The fourth promo spot marks a complete dramatic shift from the orange spots. Shot on location at a Miami pool, the spot again begins with the jaunty strains of "Blue Skies," and a shot of a sunny, palm tree-filled Florida sky. The camera quickly pans down to reveal a luxury resort and pool where a bikini clad woman floats serenely. The misdirect is revealed abruptly as a rubber-gloved CSI technician grabs the legs of the apparently dead woman and pulls her from the pool while series star Matt Passmore silently contemplates the crime scene.

For this spot, the BIGSMACK crew used a 30-foot techno crane with an underwater camera housing to create a perfect tracking shot that starts with skyline, pans down to street level, into the pool and back out. Although the final features a few subtle edits, it was originally conceived and shot in one continuous take.

''Last year we did a spot with Matt that featured him talking directly to the camera and introducing himself to viewers,'' Hann explains, ''but given that the character is now fairly well established with the audience, we went with a more subtle concept with no dialogue. Matt's performance though is very nuanced and revealing. His reaction to the body tells you a lot -- he has seen this type of crime before and he's sick of it.''

Adds Hann, ''This second go-round with ''The Glades'' was an opportunity to showcase what makes us unique -- how we can both create compelling concepts that speak to fans of the show and achieve client goals, and also mount extremely complex productions and post. A&E again showed a lot of trust in us to pull this off important project, and I'm proud of what we accomplished.''

Web Resources:

Click here to watch The Glades promo campaign:

Click here for more info about BIGSMACK:

Click here for more info about The Glades:

Creative Credits:
Client: A&E Network
Project: The Glades Season Two teaser/promo campaign

Agency/Production/Design/Post: BIGSMACK, Philadelphia, PA
Creative Director/Director: Andy Hann
Executive Producer: Heidi Erney, Kelly Dials
DP: Andrew Turman, Chuck Ozeas, Jim Matlosz

Here's a tech breakdown from Andy Hann, BIGSMACK's Creative Director:

  • Shot on the Phantom Flex
  • Frame Rates ranging from 1500 fps to 2500 fps
  • Used the Milo Motion Control Camera Rig
  • Custom made Air Mortar Rigs used to propel arrows into the oranges
  • Custom made Air Mortar Rig used to shoot 1/2" ball bearings to simulate bullet
  • Custom pneumatic rig built to swing knife in to orange
  • All the above, plus the turn table, plus the camera rig, and the lights were all hooked up to the same motion control system to create a controlled and repeatable system. We then shot many different passes of each element (blood, smoke, reflections, etc...) These separate passes were then all composited together in post. Plus a lot of rotoscoping (rig removal, shot stabalization, etc...)
  • Post work done with Maya, AfterEffects, SMOKE, Final Cut
  • Sound design, copywriting, music research, editing, post, animation, all done inhouse

Lead by Creative Director Andy Hann, BIGSMACKtv is a full service creative agency specializing in the broadcast industry. From their offices in downtown Philadelphia, BIGSMACK creates, produces, designs and posts image and promotional campaigns for the world's leading entertainment providers. Recent clients include Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, HBO, Comedy Central, Sundance and A&E, among others. For more information go to


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Related Keywords:visual effects, The Glades, A&E, BIGSMACK, Phantom Flex , fcp, final cut pro, maya, smoke, after effects, AE


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