For most of us, no matter how much fancy kit we buy, no matter how good we think we’ve got it, something comes along that just makes us feel totally inadequate. The iconic dolly crane from Saturday Night live is such a thing. And it makes the cranes that most of us might use in our own productions look like toys.
Saturday Night Live isn’t a show one usually associates with terms like “visual effects”. But there’s actually a lot going on in their digital shorts. The SNL team as a whole may have the whole week to prepare for each show. The visual effects department, though, aren’t so lucky. They typically get only about 12 hours to do all of the effects for that evening’s episode. Which is live, remember, so there’s no slacking.
The 2016-17 season has now come to an end. It’s set to return in the autumn. To tide us over, though, the SNL team put together this video showing some of what goes into the visual effects they create for each show. Some of them are quite obvious, while many others probably go by completely unnoticed.
Editor’s Note: I am a big SNL fan and I love their super stylish opening title sequence. The production of this sequence shows true mastery and understanding the photography format (they use freelensing, creative bokeh, light painting, tilt-shifting and just about any other creative tool out there). Alex Buono, the Director of Photography of the sequence shares how it was made.
…And we’re back! After a much-needed summer hiatus, it’s that time of the year again when my comrades in the SNL Film Unit all reconvene on the 17th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza for another season of filmmaking speed-drills.
While the usual shoot is a dead sprint from Thursday thru Saturday night, every few years we produce a new Title Sequence and that sprint becomes a 3-week non-stop marathon. Especially when it’s the 40th Anniversary season. The passing of Don Pardo — the legendary voice of SNL since 1975 — only amplified the feeling that this new sequence needed to be something extra special.