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Just like a spicy glass of wine or pecan praline ice-cream, I couldn’t resist a comparison of Black Sails and Crossbones. Now the sheer nature of the pirate havens like New Providence and their looser hierarchies probably provided a smidgen more social space for women to be independent. The historical, Anne Bonny, and her female pirate counterpart, Mary Read, were truly fascinating figures. But initially I was way more interested in the portrayal of the historical pirates: Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, and Benjamin Hornigold.
Crossbones features Blackbeard as the central figure with a great actor portraying him in John Malkovich.
I’ve been researching quite a bit about Blackbeard for my second pirate book, just before he was ambushed and killed in North Carolina. I am actually enjoying more the story surrounding Kate and her crippled Jacobite husband, James Balfour, and the possible love triangle with Lowe. And ultimately that’s what I’d like these shows to do and I believe Black Sails is doing a better job. This entry was posted in Pirates and tagged Anne Bonny, Black Sails, Blackbeard, Captain Flint, Charles Vane, Crossbones, New Providence, Pirates, Treasure Island by admin.
Beware that delicious sinking feeling as the opening titles for Black Sails draw you down into the Davy dark. A discussion with Creative Directors KARIN FONG and MICHELLE DOUGHERTY, and Art Director ALAN WILLIAMS.
MD: I worked on the main title for Magic City, another Starz production, and I have been directing quite a bit for commercials. MD: We went to talk to Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, the creators, over a year ago in Los Angeles.
MD: We quickly learned that this show was the furthest thing from Pirates of the Caribbean or any other pirate-styled fantasy.
MD: We definitely responded to the larger theme of fighting the establishment, that these guys are basically battling the world superpowers. KF: As with many projects, especially period pieces, we like to dive into art of the time, or art thata€™s inspired by that particular era. There was something so haunting about the icons of European power a€“ the church, the opera, lavish state buildings and palaces a€“ being destroyed by water. AW: We started thinking about how to translate this into a direction that is more specific to the show.
AW: Ultimately, this whole world and way of life will meet its end, so a sense of doom had to play out, however subtle, throughout the sequence. Besides the photos you mention, what were some of the art and real-life sculptures that inspired the look and feel of the pieces designed for the sequence? MD: Ita€™s an art history mash-up, so anything that could represent either the world of European might or pirate lore was fair game. AW: As we collaged together these motifs to create a unified visual language, a contemporary artist came to mind. KF: Intricate biological etchings, such as those from Ernst Haeckela€™s Art Forms of Nature, became an unexpected visual source. KF: Well, that was one of the biggest challenges but also the most fun part, making up the vignettes to serve as metaphors for the showa€™s themes, and then building very detailed custom artwork from scratch. He liked that we wove in skeletons as a reminder that no matter how grand or beautiful, death was lurking, always present. MD: We called the concept a€?Allegorya€? as we werena€™t depicting any particular characters or plot points. MD: There was a moment in the beginning when we entertained notions of finding master craftspeople to carve elements to do this practically, but that just didna€™t fit into our schedule or provide the flexibility we needed.
KF: Thata€™s the best, when you can work with artists who take on your vision but up the ante with their own expertise. MD: For instance, we were lucky to collaborate with CG artist Meats Meier, who is known for pushing the envelope using Zbrush modeling software. For most CG jobs, ita€™s important to create a figure that will be used in many different scenes and angles in the film or game.
We spent a lot of time working with the team on the facial expressions and the hand positions. Tell us about Bear McCrearya€™s fantastic score a€“ at what point in the process did you have the theme to work with? KF: Ia€™ve always loved Delicatessena€¦ Ia€™m a sucker for the ones the weave in the credits within the image.
MD: Ia€™ve currently got a lot on my plate in the commercial world, which will keep me busy through the next few months.
KF: At the beginning of the year, I joined McG as his partner and president of Wonderland Sound and Vision, which produces film, television, and digital content.
If I’m to judge on its own merits then I will stand fast and praise the work of the illustrators and developers who managed to make these visuals so realistic and incredibly delicate, using only the magic of Zbrush modeling and Maya (3D) software. Inspiration for the vignettes was drawn from carvings and artwork of the time (17-1800’s) including scrimshaw, ship carvings and sarcophagi of Paris and Italy. Thank you Susanna for your excellent and extremely insightful post, on a piece of design that is truly inspiring and gets our arses back in to gear! About The SiteDesign blog for fellow designers be it graphic, branding, print, film, motion, costume, etc etc you get the idea. Descargar Black Sails, la temporada 1 720p, DUAL Latino e Ingles con subtitulos en espaA±ol. En 1715 en las Antillas los piratas de la isla amenazan el comercio marA­timo en la regiA?n.
Regardless of what I think of either show, it’s super exciting to have two pirate shows on tv that are attempting a more serious, grounded take than say, Pirates of the Caribbean (which is still enjoyable if only to see Depp and Rush as Sparrow and Barbosa). We have Eleanor Guthrie, Max, and Anne Bonny from Black Sails; and Kate, Nenna, and Selima on Crossbones. Eleanor Guthrie is an interesting character, having taken over her father’s merchant trade and using that to gain power and influence.
At first, I was skeptical of the premise for Black Sails, a sort of Treasure Island prequel, set during the time when pirates ruled New Providence.

Damn their eyes for not including Black Sam Bellamy :), but belay that because they did include Charles Vane. But my concern, as with all things John Malkovich, was whether Blackbeard came across as Blackbeard or as John Malkovich playing a pirate.
I’m finding James’s backstory interesting, his participation in the failed Jacobite uprising and subsequent torture, and the tragic situation his injuries created with Kate.
Whether on islands or on ships, both have given us some fantastic broadsides, beautiful ships, and lovely, sparkling tropical waters.
I can’t wait for season two and depending on how long the show lasts, I’m very curious to see if they will bring in Woodes Rogers, the British officer who basically brought New Providence to its knees and became its governor, but not without a fight, from Charles Vane, of course.
Sabre and shield invade as elaborate tableaux float past, smooth porcelain faces contorted in ecstasy and anguish.
Title-wise, our New York crew and I worked with Trey Parker and Matt Stone to create the opening sequence of South Park for season 17.
Ia€™ve also been working on some passion projects including a PSA for veterans, as well as a short film about ocean conservation. You could see these massive ships from the highway, with the South African landscape behind them.
Jon mentioned that if there was an existing image that captured the spirit of the show, it would be that of the soldiers at Iwo Jima, where they all strain to raise the flag.
While we were brainstorming, Alan Williams at our New York studio referenced these beautiful photos by Pablo Genoves.
In researching 18th century architecture, it was the baroque scenes and figures found throughout cathedrals and palaces of that era that provided an aesthetic starting point. Did you ever see the Halo video game spot that depicts a battle scene with immobile action figures? So we returned to the idea of the dark sea of fate rising ever so slowly to sink this strange vessel. We were looking at everything from Rodina€™s Gates of Hell, Bernini, to portraits of lords and saints, and the British coat of arms.
A few months prior, a bunch of us had walked over to Chelseaa€™s Joshua Liner Gallery to see the baroque-inspired work of Kris Kuksi.
Similar drawings of seaweed or various exoskeletons rendered in 3D in our materials suddenly became bizarre forms that we could weave into the architecture. Jon Steinberg really responded when we paired ideas representing the worlda€™s duality: the youth of a maiden opposite a symbol of death, Europe vs. Despite the fact that we had our initial meeting months ago, by the time we got the greenlight we only had 12 weeks to produce the sequence! Our reasoning being that if a sculptor had to take the time to chisel it out of stone, one would be sure that the pose was as elegant as possible. He developed varying degrees of wear on the surfaces, slight color variations, imperfections, and subtleties to sell the idea that these are real objects.
Ita€™s a camera move around various objects, and we see the music credit on a record, the cinematographera€™s on an old camera. All of it is very creative work, a fun mix of live action, design, animation, and visual effects stuff.
Ia€™ve collaborated with McG for over a decade, ever since I designed the titles for his first film, Charliea€™s Angels.
Markedly more sophisticated than the series it introduces, it stands alone as a beautifully crafted piece of design.
Its dark humour, bloody violence and rogue characters keep me watching week after week, but it’s the title sequence I look forward to almost more than the show.
Before I had done any research I would have declared the sculptures in the opening sequence as works of tiny intricate genius.
The painstaking hours (12 weeks apparently) that went into each detailed figure are evident. Other instruments which add to the sound of hell and high water are guitars, fiddles, bodhran and bones, and of course a motley crew of vocalists.
Elaborate and emotionally charged with each component contributing to the dark and light of the Bronze vs Ivory battle between life and death.
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Another show called Port Royal was supposed to go into production, but maybe they dropped it. These women are working hard to survive and carve out some semblance of independence and strength in a world where women were treated like chattel.
When Bonny became upset with her husband’s job of turning in suspected pirates, she shacked up with Calico Jack Rackham. Vane was a hard-core, sometime brutal pirate, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like him on the show, but hot damn, he’s my favorite right now, especially shirtless. I want to see how all that plays out more than seeing Malkovich chew scenery as the supposed Blackbeard. I hope they do pursue that thread because it will bring some very good conflict and show the eventual demise of the Golden Age of Piracy. A battle rages in freeze-frame maelstrom, ebony bones clashing with ghost white figures a€“ fierce outcasts crashing against civilization. Ita€™s 1715, pre-Treasure Island, during the golden age of piracy, and we know from history that ita€™s not going to last. From there we asked, "What would rebel pirates, collapsing shanty towns, whore houses, etc.
At some point we considered that sand might slowly fill and bury everythinga€¦ buta€¦ water just looks better! Not everything was so high-brow; we also studied the Rococo figureheads and carvings on ships, scrimshaw and tooth carvings, as well as the tombs and sarcophagi of Paris and Italy, for their gothic use of skeletons. His use of intricately assembled objects inspired us further as we fleshed out the look of our piece.
Wea€™d work out the design and concept of each shot, sketching a general composition and pulling references for the details. Our producer Brian Butcher rose to the challenge and put together an A-team of modelers, texturers, lighters, and animators at our LA studio.

I mean, in some cases we were asking them to mimic master sculptors, so they could bust out their classical training to build upon what we had.
We had laid out many of the symbols, but Meats really went to town, crafting all the minutiae and embedding everything from shells to a sea monster into the structure. But for this piece, it was much more important to create just one pose in very specific detail. The surprising thing was how much work it would take to make the figures look classical and of the era, how we had to really alter proportions so they didna€™t reflect the beauty ideals of today. We had chosen two contrasting materials: white alabaster and dark bronze, like Rodina€™s work. At some point, as Joe was getting closer to the final look, we thought, Okay, maybe we have a real shot of pulling this off! Our lead Flame artist Rod Basham was instrumental in getting the separately rendered elements to live together as a space, tweaking layout and the depth of field to get that dreamy macro look.
For Black Sails, Jon described having a grinding, mechanical heaviness to the music, as if something monstrous and inevitable was coming. Now Ia€™m excited to pour my creative energy into the vast space that occurs after the opening sequence.
Figures writhing as if centuries old, they had come to life and were about to embark upon a dangerous adventure upon a hungry ocean.
The font for the titles appears to be Celestia Antiqua, designed by Mark van Bronkhorst, it is a strong, rough font which does its job without detracting from the main feature.
Outside work he spends most of his time with family, globe trotting with his wife, reviewing the world and of course designing. And at least, Black Sails doesn’t try to make these women necessarily heroic or independent of the male-dominated social structure. Max is a prostitute yet she climbed out of becoming a literal slave to the pirates to a powerful force, running the brothel with Jack Rackham. Flint is a dynamic character who electrifies his scenes no small thanks to Toby Stephens, who completely kills it without over-doing it (unlike Malkovich with Blackbeard).
So ultimately, Black Sails succeeded in weaving the Treasure Island story and characters with the pirates of New Providence in ways that both captivate and preserve the impact of these colorful figures. It’s nice to have those visuals to inspire the writing especially the activity on board the ships.
Also, Hornigold sided with Rogers and helped him route out the pirates who did not take the pardon. The remarkable carved filigree designed by Imaginary Forces wears its Baroque and Rococo influences on its ivory sleeves while Bear McCreary's thunderous score breathes gloom throughout. Using sculptures allowed us to be far more violent and provocative than live action or photorealism would have allowed. Then, we worked with storyboard artists to generate art based on these ideas as well as many others we couldna€™t find reference for. We had to hold our breath that all of it would actually render, but of course we were in good hands.
So often the blocking would happen quickly but we would spend a lot of time tweaking the way the frozen hair or fabric was blowing, or the way a muscle was defined, all to a specific angle and lensing.
Wea€™d been editing to a temp track during the animatic stage when the theme was given to us, and from the moment we laid it to picture, we knew something was off a€“ but in a good way. Ita€™s one I watched as a little kid, and I remember wishing that the animation continued instead of switching to the film my parents were watching.
I look forward to working again with the talented people I know a€“ ideally, on a main title for a film or show that I have a hand in producing!
Centring around Captain Flint and rival gangs of pirates, its brutal battles and fight scenes are introduced with finesse in these all important 90 seconds.
Dimly lit like an 18th century tavern at dusk, the soft lighting picks out contorted alabaster faces and blindfolded doomed souls sinking into the locker. But then I did a little digging and discovered that they were not the hand crafted Kris Kuksi originals that I had first assumed; they were CGI replicas, albeit very good ones. They have to survive within that society, including sleeping with men to get what they want. No one knows to this day what happened to Bonny and for all we know, her descendants could be alive and well.
Nor do I care when a movie or show has their own take on a story or character, as long as they stay true to the core of the character.
He spent some time on New Providence, but for the most part, he sailed the seas, raiding the Caribbean and up and down the U.S. Using drawings gave us the freedom to invent whatever we wanted and not depend wholly on existing sources. All of the modelers, mostly working in a combo of Zbrush and Maya, had to deal with a somewhat unconventional process. Jon had us embrace the out-of-tune quality with edits that dona€™t line up entirely on the expected beats.
I don’t believe for a second Blackbeard on Crossbones would be keeping Selima around with her refusing to sleep with him. If you’re going to do a movie about Batman, what you show on screen better be something that resembles the dark, brooding, somewhat psychotic crime fighter.
Well, in real life, Maynard strung Blackbeard’s head off the bowsprit of his ship for all to see so not sure how you play that one out Crossbones.
We loved the idea of building a sequence in which the audience can find meaning and details in repeated viewings. These drawings were used to create an animatic, and as the blueprints for our modeling team.
For someone like Blackbeard, she has nothing to offer that he doesn’t already think he can do for himself.
And while Blackbeard is touted as a feared pirate, and he was smart in promoting that image, records show that he (and Sam Bellamy) never killed one of their captives.

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