Since July, the video team has started creating a weekly news show for Facebook Watch. It mixes the style of newsy Youtube explainer videos, and international on the ground reporting with a slight economic twist. It feels very much like the essence of Quartz’ collective reporting style.
We wanted the show to feel fun and fresh, but also have the gravitas of reporting you can trust. I was tasked with coming up with the “look” of the show and art directing it, as well as hiring another animator to help out.
My main inspiration for the show was 90s internet nostalgia. Pixelated cursor hands, locators and globes populate the show. For frames we often use browser windows, and clicks, beeps and blinking cursors are common. Marcie LaCerte, the other animator working on the show is also into the retro internet and heavy textures, as well as stop motion, our styles compliment each other well and together I think we’ve been very successful creating a product that is unlike any other news show.
I used several noise backgrounds that imitate the analog look of old TV noise, and a shifting halftone texture as another element of nostalgia. As for colors, I worked within the blue/pink Quartz palette.
We needed a style that could be quickly be replicated in order to meet the grueling weekly schedule. Because of the demands of international reporting and pre-production, animation often happens in 2 days. So we have a set library of textures and elements that we can easily drop in whenever they’re needed.
We also use a lot of archival images for times sake, and to add an extra element of texture and nostalgia. The show looks like a heavily textured digital collage, and has a lot of whimsical elements. I’m constantly tweaking and refining, but overall, I’m very happy with the look.