Inky Drama for Netflix Marco Polo Titles

Mill+ co-directors Ben Smith and Bryce Wymer hit themes of greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue and rivalry in the title sequence for the new Netflix original “Marco Polo” written by John Fusco and produced by The Weinstein Group.

“Bryce developed a technique to capture the images being ‘invisibly painted’ using an overhead projector and meticulously hand-painting the images onto a dense paper stock that allowed the water to sit on the surface of the paper.

“Sumi ink (ink formulated for sumi painting and calligraphy) was then dripped onto the invisible water paintings, spreading beautifully throughout the entire image. This was captured through high-speed photography to create an elegant, monotone image, confined to the waters edges.”

Compare and contrast: Here’s a smaller scale ink-in-water treatment from 2011 called “Dirty Water” from director/illustrator Clément Beauvais For BDDP Unlimited:

Agency: Netflix / The Weinstein Group
Producer: Stuart Burkin
Director: Ben Smith, Bryce Wymer
Studio: Mill+
Executive Producer: Danielle Amaral
Live-Action Producer: Tia Perkins
Director of Photography: Adam Carboni
Art Director: Michael Marsicano
Editing Company: Mill+
Editor: Charlotte Carr
Edit Assist: Leanne Belgiorno
Post-Production / VFX
Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill
Executive Producer: Danielle Amaral
VFX Producer: Carl Walters
Shoot Supervisor: Daniel Giraldo
Creative Director: Ben Smith, Bryce Wymer
2D Lead Artists: Antoine Douadi
2D Artists: Daniel Giraldo, Yoon-sun Bae, Dan DiFelice
Motion Graphics: Chet Hirsch, Tetsuro Mise
Colourist: Michael Rossiter
Production Coordinator: Tarun Charaipotra
Designer: Gera Frascaroli