NEW YORK — Creative strategy and production company BigStar (http://bgstr.com/) created the teaser campaign for Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which debuts on April 6th. The Dungeon, Desert and
Forest spots hint at turmoil and peril in Westeros with environmentally-driven character studies that build on this season’s tagline: “All Men Must Die."
When BigStar initially presented its Season 4 teaser concepts to HBO, it honed in on the idea of environmental teases seen through distinctive character POVs. BigStar founder and executive CD Josh Norton says that upon seeing the Dungeon spot, featuring Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage), the client loved it so much they ordered additional character-inspired teasers around Daenerys Targaryen and the Stark children.
In Dungeon, the camera creeps down a torch-lit stone hall with a Kubrick-like shot, drawing viewers past mysterious doors and into a dark, dank end where Tyrion is on the floor. To add authenticity to the environment, BigStar did R&D on medieval dungeons and examined the castle of King’s Landing in the series. They carefully considered the aesthetics, from wall textures to the floors. The architecture was built in Autodesk Maya and the spot was composited using The Foundry’s Nuke.
BigStar had the challenge of using only available show footage for the teasers, For Desert, the focus was on a dry and desolate wasteland that quickly transitions into a lush green setting. As the camera rips through the arid earth, the shadow of a dragon reveals itself, followed by a roar. Once the dragon POV manifests, the viewer comes upon Daenerys Targaryen and Jorah Mormont, who warns her that even she is in the presence of danger. BigStar used Maya and matte paintings to create the backdrop to match the shot.
The third tease, Forest, features the four remaining Stark children in different places, but brought together in Godswood. The challenge was choosing an environment that would facilitate all of their stories. Since the Stark family hails from Winterfell, BigStar focused on the Godswood area just outside of their town, centered around a single tree.
BigStar framed the POV for Forest through the eyes of a direwolf, the sign of the House of Stark, and an important plot point in Game of Thrones. The team utilized the natural vertical lines of the woods to break the framing and motivate transitions between the footage of the characters as the direwolf POV vigorously weaves the viewer through the environment. The atmosphere particles, such as torch fires and fog, were mostly achieved with a combo of Maya (CG), Nuke (compositing), and Adobe After Effects.
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