Prologue conceived this intricate chain reaction sequence that playfully represents one thing leading to another.  The animated typographic treatment suggests the piecing together of clues, an image evocative of the Sherlock Holmes-like tone of the show.

Robert Doherty / CBS

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Sherlock Holmes endures as literature’s most beloved sleuth, thanks in large part to his famously complex and unconventional thought patterns and solutions to cases. Prologue’s opening title sequence for the CBS show Elementary pushes our illustration of this complexity to its logical conclusion: a Rube Goldberg-style contraption designed to catch a perpetrator.

Our opening sequence aims to convey how Holmes’ mind works in unexpected ways and how it spots connections which others may miss. Seizing upon the moment in the pilot episode wherein Holmes uses an everyday marble to help locate a hidden body, we make the marble the hero of the sequence as it winds its way through the contraption and finally captures its man. Meanwhile the letterforms in our typographic animation appear like clues coming into focus.

To bring the contraption design to life, we commissioned five separate pieces from Rolling Ball Sculptures and worked closely with them to customize each structure. The remainder of the design, ultimately standing seven feet tall, contained various potential murder weapons with an emphasis on the handmade quality. We even added a live mouse in tribute to Holmes’ curious, quick-witted, versatile nature.

Our goal was to capture all events in-camera with a minimum of post-production fixes. This was all shot in one day on a typically tight schedule using a myriad of highly controlled camera and lighting setups. We pulled off a successful shoot through the efforts of the almost 40-member production team— including a dozen mice and their two mouse wranglers.

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2D MOTION GRAPHICS | EDITORIAL | LIVE ACTION | TYPOGRAPHY