The film provides an unprecedented look at the shaping of US foreign policy by following key members of outgoing US President Barack Obama’s administration.
Having worked with director Greg Barker previously (Legion of Brothers, Manhunt, The Thread, Sergio, Koran by Heart), we were approached by Greg early during the LA based edit to conceptualise an opening title sequence.
Greg was interested in creating a high energy sequence, originally set to jazz as a homage to Obama’s love of jazz. The primary function of the sequence was to provide a narrative backstory to the entry point into the film. We were provided with a timeline of significant events, and corresponding archive, and used these to guide our sequence beats.
During the exploratory process, we established a device which aimed to provide commentary on the scope of Obama’s work, and to provide subtle commentary at the impending change of presidency. We also wanted to explore the use of Obama’s handwriting, a device which we would be returning to within the film itself.
Our design team worked primarily in After Effects to animate sequences, which were then fed into Flame for an edit and secondary pass. This workflow proved invaluable when our original jazz music track, of which the animation was closely linked to, was altered for a track with a significantly different tempo.
In addition to the title sequence, we also delivered several in-film sequences and around fifty VFX clean up shots. The clean up shots were primarily a result of a dirty camera lens, and we worked with a team of visual effects artists on a range of difficult shots to deliver clean shots.
It was an absolute pleasure to be working on the film, and we’re very pleased to see its reception after its HBO premiere.
The film was produced by Julie Goldman, John Battsek and Greg Barker and was finished at A52 in LA.
HBO Docs & Magnolia Pictures
A Passion Pictures and Motto Pictures Production
Main Titles & Visual Graphics