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yU + co Lights Up Showtimes ?Weeds

Studio?s Promo for New Comedy Series Shows a Neighborhood Gone to Pot

yU + co applied its design, visual effects and gardening skills in producing an amusing promo for the new Showtime Comedy Weeds. Conceived by Showtime creatives Christina Black and Angie Speranza, the promo plays off Weeds central plot point?a suburban housewife resorts to selling marijuana to support her family. It opens on a row of neatly manicured tract home. The camera then pulls back into a close up of the garden of one home, filled with the familiar five-leaf form of the cannabis plant. The spot is set to the satirical song Little Boxes by ?60s folkie Malvina Reynolds.

Although the spot is meant to look as though it were a single take, it is actually a complex construction carefully pieced together from a variety of digital and practical elements by the team from yU + co.

The studio initially sent a production crew to a Los Angeles suburb to record a still photograph of an appropriate neighborhood. Digital artists then turned the still into a dimensional 4K matte painting by applying interactive lighting, animated effects and the sweeping camera move. For the foreground garden element, yU + co shot artificial marijuana plants against blue screen.

?We replaced the sky, added lawn to the mid ground, and the marijuana plants to the foreground and added the proper depth of field, recalled yU + Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Kolpack. ?We also set a brick post and lamp into the foreground so that you know it was someones yard.

One of the keys to the project, according to Kolpack, was making sure viewers would instantly recognize the illegal goods. ?Everyone knows what a marijuana plant looks like, but when you put several of them together, its just a bush, Kolpack explained. ?We spent a good deal of time arranging and dressing the garden so that enough of the leaves would read.

Credits for yU + co go to Garson Yu, Creative Director; Ian Dawson, Executive Producer; Mark Kolpack, Visual Effects Supervisor/Director; Harkim Chan, Typographer; Zachary Scheuren, Avid Editor/Online; Joel Ashman, Inferno Artist; Chris Nibley, D.P.; Stephen Lee, Production Support.  Showtime credits go to Angie Speranza, Creative Director; Christina Black, Art Director/Producer.  Musikvergnuegen, Sound Design & Mix.

yU + co is located at 941 N. Mansfield Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038. For more information, call (323) 606-5050.

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