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Ever wonder who's behind those cool identity graphics on broadcast and cable TV networks? Come take a peek behind the scenes at Troika Design Group, the leading firm for branding television networks. The members of the exceptionally creative team at Troika explain how they go about creating unique and dynamic on-air brand identities for some of the biggest networks in the world, including ABC, FOX, Oxygen, and ESPN. They show how the company organizes projects, develops its team members, and nurtures a highly collaborative and creative environment. Troika's employees show their creative solutions and tell the stories behind the work. The company begins with a deep understanding of the client's needs, and develops solutions that may include live action elements and a whole range of graphic animation techniques. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers to the very epicenter of TV network branding.
Reid Thompson: Incorporating live action into our projects is something that we think about pretty early on. We want to bring in, obviously, work on computers but we want to have a human element, a real life element to our identities and to the projects that we work on. A lot of times on bigger network campaigns that means big talent shoots where we are shooting network talent. So the range of, sort of, levels of complexity of the live action shoots really varies depending on the project. It can count go from being a small shoot that we set up here at the office and just to grab textures and try to encourage them to get out, get away from the computer and searching through Getty Images and looking through just any old stuff that's online and get out and really look with your own eyes and look through the camera and kind of see something for how it really is.
There is a Troika production group that contracts and expands depending on the size of the jobs. Sometimes we are shooting green screen and it's more of a visual effect shoot; other times we've done full spots on location where it's more of an environmental shoot. We have fun getting together all these textures. Jess and I worked a couple years ago on this country channel and we worked with Gibson and got the best guitars and shot their textures.
Jess Ferguson: And steel guitars and they are all just nice and shiny and new and yeah, we turn around with the guitars. Reid Thompson: But that stuff you could try to build a 3D model of it. But here in Hollywood if we have the chance to connect with all those industry professionals around and we can use beautiful elements that exist, if somebody goes to the prop houses and -- Jess Ferguson: We also found a great store with these unique cowboy boots. They were one of a kind designs, great colors, and so we rented them for the day and we got real close on them and shot high-res stills to use as textures within the project files.
Reid Thompson: Which that-- yeah, that real image you can't recreate in the computer. It's always, I think, an important part of the beginning conceptual process to think about how you want to incorporate the human element. I think, that's kind of at the core of -- It's a decision you make pretty early on in our budgetary processes. It's can we afford to shoot and if so what's the scale that's appropriate for this job. Jess Ferguson: I think all those different kinds of shooting really allows the other members of the Troika to learn about that because that might not be something they have in their background. So we encourage all the artists when we have a shoot to take a half a day and go to the stage and be a part of it.
Reid Thompson: And understand the different roles on a stage and -- for me as a director, it took a long time to understand I didn't have to run around. Especially as a director with an art eye, I always was like, I better run over and help out with the art department. And you learn certainly by experience, but also we learned by teaching ourselves the roles that we need to play on stage. And mainly there is right now creative directors who direct and if the job say needs the creative director, if it's large enough, I'd say, on stars. It was a big enough project that I needed to be overseeing so many elements that I couldn't focus enough on directing the live action. So we hired a great guy that we entrusted into that and I could work hand in hand with and he actually comes from a design background as well. So it's kind of understanding on each assignment what we need.
Jess Ferguson: And we have a great, I feel, extended family from Troika. So, we hire a lot of times the same line producer who is just kickass and we have a few art directors that we work with. So depending on the project we can turn to those people and bring them on board. But really we have this extended live action production family. Reid Thompson: If it's a green screen shoot we want to work with somebody we know has been able to light green screen on a large scale and for the cinematographer, for the director, if it's a talent shoot we want somebody who is comfortable with celebrities who's not going kind of freak them out.
But there might be another kind of DP that we want specifically for his look and really for kind of a raw or grittier thing. It's really, each assignment we go through our roster and of course it's always nice to have people you are comfortable with and who are inspiring you and you can bounce ideas off of. But again in LA we are lucky that we have a lot of those resources around us.
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