NEW YORK — With the departure of Craig Ferguson from the CBS late-night scene, it fell to New York City-based strategic design agency Trollbäck + Company (www.trollback.com) to create a new branding package for The Late Late Show with James Corden, the successor to the quirky Scotsman.
T+Co’s live-action show open captures the energy and fun of Corden and sidekick Reggie Watts exploring LA after dark. They play with Pixelsticks, cruise in a lowrider, encounter LED bikes and introduce the new neon-fused show logo.
The show producers wanted to set a new tone for the talk show, one that was “more experimental and off the wall,” says T+Co creative director Elliott Chaffer. The new look began with the logo, which juxtaposes “Late Late” in neon cursive writing with a bold white sans-serif font against a black backdrop. The cursive portion of the logo was designed by hand before it was given a 3D treatment in Maxon Cinema 4D. Its autographic style ties in with a new Late Late Show tradition: guests take their picture before taping their appearance and sign the photo for Corden’s “Wall of Fame.”
Faced with a short turnaround to create the show open, T+Co opted for a one-day run ‘n gun live-action shoot encompassing key LA area locations. “We wanted to take James and Reggie on a fun journey through LA,” says Chaffer. “Since we don’t have an LA office, we used Radiant Images as our production service provider. We packed two vans, drove to the locations, jumped out, shot bits and moved on.”
Chaffer himself manned a Canon 5D camera; a Sony camera was mounted on a stabilized MoVI rig and Watts wore a Snorri body rig to capture “unexpected angles and a lot of energy as he spun around” to the high-octane theme song. “We always shoot whatever live action is required,” notes Chaffer. “We’re doing a lot more live-action shoots lately, and we try to do in-camera VFX where possible.”
The production team worked without a lighting truck, which meant using available light and handheld LED face lights. They lucked out when they found a flood-lit car park with a cool mural, which served as the backdrop for the lowrider scene, and witnessed a spectacular purple-tinged sunset on the Venice Beach boardwalk after a rain shower.
Dynamic graphic elements came from a Pixelstick that created animated fluorescent floating graphics and typography. But since “you need long camera exposures for Pixelsticks,” T+Co shot Watts waving a Pixelstick “like a magic wand” separately from the long exposures that captured the graphic elements, Chaffer explains. Then they “reanimated and keyed those elements back into the shots with After Effects. The Pixelstick picked up on the neon look of the logo and gave a nice sense of unexpectedness and randomness.”
The new show open blends Corden’s humor and warmth and Watts’ force-of-nature persona with an unmistakable LA vibe to introduce a new era in late-night talk.