We post a lot about Game of Thrones on No Film School. Aside from breaking news and trailers and other campaigns, I love taking a minute to dissect how HBO markets a show like Game of Thrones. I do that because I work in copywriting on the side and like to keep up with trends and ideas, but I also do it to help sharpen my screenwriting tools.
But what can a screenwriter glean from one of the biggest marketing campaigns of all time?
Breaking Down Game of Throne's Story Lessons
Game of Thrones is a television show built on an endless story. Someone will always have to rule Westeros. As we learned in The Long Night, this story has been told before, but this time we have a new set of characters to follow. What I love about the driving force behind this narrative is that the story creates perpetual motion and drama.
People always want power.
So each episode and each season have their story driven by who wants the power.
But what happens when those characters start working together - and what happens when a new threat enters that's even worse and scarier than the other characters?
One of the lessons I think we can take away from Game of Thrones is that it finds many ways to circumvent the traditional protagonist v. antagonist setups. Game of Thrones is a show where you're rooting for a group of antagonists. Almost every character does the wrong thing at some point. We have fun watching these characters do that, but when they have to team up, as shown in this teaser, we get incredible tensions.
The idea of "together" spews tension all over the screen because we know these characters are essentially enemies. These stakes keep pushing the boundaries and create scenes that keep millions coming back week to week. Writers need to think outside the box when building a story. Game of Thrones continues to make allies out of enemies and make tension drive the story forward.
The other main idea I think people can take away from the Game of Thrones marketing is how they handle "the aftermath."
These tensions explode, but every season takes its time to show the implications of these explosions.
Season eight appears to be built around the repercussions of such an explosion with the White Walkers.
This final Game of Thrones teaser dictates the show's ability to make you think of the consequences of violence. So when you're writing your big set piece think about what happens when it's over. It's not just about who lives or dies, but how the world of the characters change as we push through the story.
What does the aftermath contribute to your story?
What lessons can your characters learn?
How can the aftermath of a battle change your perception of who fought inside it?
We all know the biggest question in Game Of Thrones is who will end up on the Iron Throne. Now, BetOnline has released a list of who they think the odds on favorites are to sit on the Iron Throne at the end of Season Eight. The odds are favoring the usual suspects, but you can place your bets on lots of longshots too.
Click the link and get your bets in before April 15th!
As we covered when news of The Sphere’s first film was announced, Darren Aronofsky’s Postcards From Earth has proven to truly be one of the biggest marvels of modern cinematography. And not just because of its ambitious scope, but also—quite simply—by its sheer technical achievement.
Let’s take a deeper look at this one-of-a-kind 18K camera—dubbed the Big Sky camera—and explore how it was developed to record footage designed to be shown on The Sphere’s 160,000 square foot LED screen at the highest pixel resolution (19,000x13,500) in the world.
Behind the Scenes with the Big Sky Camera
Thanks to a new behind-the-scenes featurette produced by the Wall Street Journal, which you can watch below, we now have many more details about this new Big Sky camera system and how it works. We knew it was massive and that it reportedly took a 12-person crew to work, but many of the technical specs and features were left unknown.
From the looks of it, though, this 18K Big Sky camera was developed specifically to be used for films shot for The Sphere and its wildly large screen. The camera itself faced many challenges, namely how to capture such wide angles and how to simply reach the highest levels of super-resolution.
To address these challenges, the Big Sky camera was designed to feature wide angles with a fisheye lens that is almost 12”/30.48 cms across. This circular and linear design is able to distort the view so the widest angle possible can be captured in a circle.
Also, the camera was designed with a square 18K x 18K large sensor to help this circular image fit more perfectly into the square as a way to eliminate any wasted pixels. Together with the lens, this sensor is able to capture the full scope of the footage needed for The Sphere’s ginormous screen.
The Marvel of The Sphere Itself
While this is obviously just one screen at one place in Las Vegas, The Sphere has captured the world’s attention if not simply by its sheer scope and scale. The Sphere itself is the largest spherical structure in the world, standing at 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide at its widest point. The theater seats 17,500 people (with 10,000 of those seats being the haptic seats complete with sound vibration).
However, the true marvel is the 160,000 square foot LED screen with its 19,000x13,500 pixel resolution, the highest in the world. Which, of course, helps it become perhaps the most immersive experience ever known to man.
Still, with a screen 20 times larger than an IMAX screen, the innovative engineering needed to produce content for this screen has been a huge challenge. Before the Big Sky camera, a team of engineers had to weld 11 cameras together just to get footage for the screen. However, thanks to the Big Sky camera, its technical wizardry has now been able to seamlessly integrate 11 different perspectives into a singular view.
The Marvel of The Sphere
The Future of Big Sky Cinematography
What’s still to be seen, though, is simply what will come of this new camera and screen combination next. Darren Aronofsky certainly seems like a good choice for the camera and theater’s maiden voyage with his Postcards From Earth film. However, many are now wondering what comes next.
Even with the Big Sky camera, the challenges are quite immense. It takes a 12-person team to man the camera and it takes quite a bit of planning, at least for anything scripted, as the field of view extends almost behind the lens—which means productions and sets will need to be giant and immersive themselves.
The next projects will undoubtedly need to make use of tons of other technologies, like VR, for example, just to produce anything besides documentary-style productions. However, with such a large seating array, and with so much marketing behind The Sphere itself, we’re excited to see who takes on the challenge next—and what they’re able to dream up for it.
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