For Queen Sugar we collaborated with critically acclaimed director Ava DuVernay to design a moody title sequence for her stunning, modern family drama series on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
We set out to capture a detailed and beautiful view of the process of making sugar. During harvest cane fields are burned to remove leaves and other unusable parts of the plant and microorganisms. Stalks are cut and crushed and the juice is extracted, boiled and crystallized. The mixture is run through a centrifuge, sifted and dried and the charred leaves make the soil more fertile for new growth.
To create this imagery we shot macro high-speed details of this process to simulate the journey from cane to sugar. We snapped sugarcane stalks in front of the lens, burned the cane, leaves and melted a variety of sugar crystals with blow torches and water. We played the footage in reverse to simulate crystal formation. For the centrifuge process, we shot high speed footage of churning sugar under a macro lens and let the syrup separate from the crystals into sinuous trails.
To further stylize the imagery we mirrored, repeated and formed the sugar footage into symmetrical compositions to suggest jewel-like forms. The resulting editorial sequence is a combination of this abstracted process of making sugar coupled with iconic imagery of the cast and locations from the show.