Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Oscars™ in Full Motion

Here at Menagerie we pride ourselves on being film aficionados, typophiles, and lovers of creativity in motion. With the 83rd Annual Academy Awards™ just a few days away, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favorite motion graphics sequences from the yearly telecast.

The first Academy Awards™ held on May 16, 1929 at the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was a prestigious event for the members of the Academy. Surrounded by magnificent decor, high fashion, and quality design, it was an evening created by the movie industry, for the movie industry. As movies grew to be more integrated into pop culture and television became a staple in family homes, it was only natural for the extravagant Academy Awards™ ceremony to be broadcast for all movie lovers to enjoy.

This early clip from 1955 with Frank Sinatra and the stunning Eva Marie Saint in the 27th Academy Awards depicts Hollywood’s strength in stage design and fashion. Broadcast graphics, however, was in its infancy. Looking back at this footage today, it has a certain naivete and nostalgia to be without the added production value of animated typography and transitions. In the coming years, with the progression in video editing technology and the emergence of color television, motion graphics soon weaved itself into the film industry.

The emergence of motion graphics had its infancy in live camera layering (technology which made it possible to layer images or live footage on top of other live footage) as seen in this clip from the 1973 Oscars™. It took nearly another two decades for technology to reach the capability of more integrated motion design. This ABC on-air promo for the 60th Academy Awards shows one of the first instances of simple panning motion graphics.

We've located a few more online resources and links which demonstrate the progression of live camera recording technology and the introduction of motion graphics. Clearly the progress of live camera technology moved faster than that of motion graphics.

Nominees and the pop up live camera
1973 45th Academy Awards
1985 57th Academy Awards

With this example we find one of the first instances of a motion graphics transition
1989 61st Academy Awards

Finally, with the advent of more sophisticated visual editing, CG technology and digital compositing, the era of motion graphics has arrived and with it some of the most inspiring creative in our industry. We’re delighted to share with you a collection of clips and storyboards available for viewing long after the awards have been handed out. Enjoy!


Storyboard by Nailgun* for the 79th Annual Academy Awards' motion graphic pitch.

1993 65th Academy Awards
1995 67th Academy Awards
2002 74th Academy Awards™ - Imaginary Forces
2004 76th Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2005 77th Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2006 78th Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2007 79th Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2008 80th Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2009 81st Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2009 Best Actor
2010 82nd Academy Awards™ - Prologue Films
2010Best Actor