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Wonderland Posts Six Feet Under Promos For HBO

Provides editorial, finishing, sound design & audio post services. (June 04, 2004)

Six Feet Unders dysfunctional Fisher family recently took a break from the funeral home business to star in a quirky music video-style promo campaign heralding their shows 2004 season. Wonderland Productions, the Soho-based creative editorial and production boutique, provided a full roster of editing, finishing, sound design and mixing services for the project. Directed by Maurice Marable, the spots follow the cast members of the series on a trip to the supermarket, where Nina Simones rendition of ?Feelin Good plays on the loudspeaker as an unexpected scenario unfolds.

Wonderland owner, Emmy Awarding-winning producer/editor Bill McCullough, cut a pair of :30--second teases and a 70-second and a two-minute music video version of the promo. The spots were then onlined and color corrected by Santiago Gutierrez. Wonderland Sounds John Wiggins created the sound design and provided audio postproduction services for the package.

The freestyle, music-driven mood of the campaign was created with quick-cut and sometimes obliquely-framed shots that capture members of the cast pushing shopping carts, plucking an orange from a precarious pyramid, observing their late father staring out from a frozen-food case, and occasionally singing along with Ms. Simone. The promo ends with the family unit reaffirmed and reunited at the dinner table.

?Each person is making their own journey inside that supermarket; It seems to be almost a cathartic excursion for them, says McCullough who worked closely with HBO creative director Robert Priday on the project. ?They step out of character a bit, as each of them responds to the music with their own individual style. This glimpse of them in a different light opens our minds up to the limitless possibilities we can look forward to as the 2004 season unfolds. When we see all of these characters sharing a meal in the last scene, we want to know what choices brought them all together at that table.

The biggest challenge posed by the music-driven promo was integrating the vintage Nina Simone recording into the action as a believable element, setting the tone and pace. ?I did a lot of music editing on the song, McCullough notes. ?Its supposed to sound like its coming through the store loudspeaker, so the first 15 seconds are very mysterious and distorted then it kicks in with a big, clear sound. ?

Wonderland Productions and its sound design and audio post division, Wonderland Sound, provided HBO with a full-services approach to post production. Composer/sound designer/mixer John Wiggins used his talent and expertise to meet the complex musical challenges presented by the project.

?I ran Ninas voice through Amp Farm, a Pro Tools plug in, to get the kind of distortion that makes it sound like her song is on the supermarket loudspeaker, Wiggins explains. ?Then theres a change of gears both visually and sonically; the characters seem to come to life, and the real song begins.

Wiggins tapped sound-effects libraries to set the promos mood, selecting a whooshy elevator-door sound to open the piece and ambient supermarket sounds, such as shopping carts and cash registers, for the background.

?Feelin Good ?wasnt an easy song to edit because of its tempo changes, McCullough notes. ?The song climaxes, Nina goes into a little scat, and then fades out. But we needed the song to build to an arc and explode. So McCullough introduced a break in the song to help transition from one key point to another. ?The song drops out and we hear some surreal sound in the parking lot then the song picks back up so its original performance now fits.

When the Fishers exit the supermarket for the parking lot and exchange glances in slow motion, the song pauses and Wiggins introduces sound design of wind elements and gigantic booms. Then the track resumes ?full bore, with the characters mouthing the lyrics, he points out.

In his Avid edit, McCullough was further challenged to convey a sense of togetherness for the characters who are glimpsed individually in the supermarket. ?The footage looked great, but I needed to give a sense that all of the characters are connected and in the store sharing the same space, he explains.

The teases and music video for ?Six Feet Under are the latest projects in Wonderlands continuing relationship with HBO. The cable network has called worked with them on a long roster of projects, including promos for ?Def Poetry Jam, ?On the Record with Bob Costas, ?Carnival and ?Angels In America, and their recent network promo campaign, ?Water Cooler.

Wonderland Production
594 Broadway, NYC
Contact: Vanessa McCullough, managing director

Client/Production Company: HBO
Creative Director: Maurice Marable, Robert Priday  Executive Producer: Sue Bailey
Art Director: Jose Montana     Copywriter: Billy Mikelson
Director: Maurice Marable (for HBO)    DP: Crash

Editorial Company:
Wonderland Productions/NY:     Editor: Bill McCullough

Post Facility: Wonderland Productions/NY:   Online Editor: Santiago Gutierrez

Sound Design Company: Wonderland Sound/NY: Sound Designer: John Wiggins

Audio Post Facility: Wonderland Sound/NY:  Mixer: John Wiggins

Music: Performer: Nina Simone    Track: ?Feelin Good


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Related Keywords:Wonderland Productions, Six Feet Under, Maurice Marable, Nina Simone, Wonderland, Bill McCullough, Santiago Gutierrez, Wonderland Sound, John Wiggins, HBO, Robert Priday,

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