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Citizen Pictures Shoots Riddles & Rituals Show Open

Historical mystery program airing on National Geographic Channel (June 10, 2004)

The renowned creative team at National Geographic Channel joined forces with fellow designers and filmmakers, Denver-based Citizen Pictures to create a stunning graphic package for Riddles & Rituals, a new series airing on the National Geographic Channel (Wednesdays, 10 p.m.).

The program focuses on legendary mysteries and rituals that have stood the test of time. Using modern scientific and analytical techniques, the show attempts to solve the mysteries or bring more understanding to the origins of some of the worlds more fascinating customs. Program segments include the notorious mystery of Sheba's secret mummies, a look inside the annual pilgrimage of Moslems to Mecca and an in-depth investigation into the mystery surrounding the construction and significance of Stonehenge.

Citizen Pictures worked closely with National Geographic Channels Senior Art Director, Lucas Aragon, to achieve the off-beat, contemporary look he envisioned for the :10 open. ?We wanted it to depict a modern day explorer who has come in from the field and begins looking at all of the data and material he has collected, said Aragon. ?The shooting style showed close-up glimpses of the artifacts and made use of in-camera effects such as distorting the subject matter and taking advantage of unusual lighting perspectives. This style hinted of the mysteries to follow, in a tense, quick-cut editorial fashion.

In keeping with the ?ancient-meets-modern theme of the show, Citizen Pictures, led by Director, Jeanne Kopeck, created the ?artifact props such as ancient scrolls, books and chunks of ancient tablets. The team then shot the ancient looking props over white light boxes in an effort to accentuate the contrast between the 21st Century and the early Bronze ages (3000-1000 bc).

?Our goal was to achieve a very pristine and scientific look, said Kopeck. ?It was all about this high-tech, modern looking environment of steel and white light juxtaposed with these very ancient looking items and artifacts.

If you blink you will miss something and therein lies the engaging effectiveness of the open. By shooting at extremely high and low speeds, employing bright white and fluorescent lights and shooting through crystals and glass vases, the creators were able to inundate the viewer with staccato-like visual stimulation, thereby keeping him glued to the screen.

Despite the high-tech feel of the piece, good old-fashioned filmmaking and practiced design sensibilities is what ultimately delivered this highly successful package. ?This open is what I would call low-tech/high-tech, said Kopeck. ?It represents the kind of work for which we are best known. We look to accomplish as much as we can in-camera. Were filmmakers first so we look to do it on film and then consider enhancing it beyond that if necessary.

Aragon concurs with Kopecks philosophy. ?There is a time and place for computer graphics, said Aragon. ?In some instances in-camera effects are far superior to what can be done on a computer. You can achieve a more natural look and feel. Citizen Pictures excels in this kind of filmmaking and thats what was needed for this package.

For more information about Citizen Pictures visit

Credits for Riddles & Rituals

National Geographic Channel
Dawn Rodney - Director, NGC Creative
Lucas Aragon - Senior Art Director

Director: Jeanne Kopeck
Director of Photography: Kevin Emmons
Art Directors: Jeanne Kopeck, Jim Brisnehan, Karin Myrick


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Related Keywords:Citizen Pictures, Riddles & Rituals, National Geographic Channel, Lucas Aragon, Jeanne Kopeck, in-camera effects,


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