MONEY MAFIA SEASON 3

SERIES GRAPHICS
Visualisation | Art Direction | Animation

Client

Discovery+ India

Produced by

VICE India

Directors

Karan Rana

Samarth Mahajan

Executive Producer

Mandar Parelkar 

Post Producer 

Ankur Kapoor

Editors

Ashwin V,Nabeel Alvi and

Shivajee B

Color Grade

Sahil Amin

Series Graphics- Visualisation,

Design and Animation

Mihir Lele

Brief

I was approached by Vice India to design and produce all the graphic assets required for the third season of a true crime documentary show for Discovery+ called "Money Mafia".

My Role

The third season of the original documentary series by Discovery+ delves into the world of organised crimes, laying bare the inner workings of some of India’s biggest and boldest rackets- namely Extortion, Gold Smuggling, Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering.

Using archival footage, interviews, newspaper articles and graphical recreations, each episode takes a deep-dive into the inner workings of these 4 rackets, over 4 episodes, each dedicated to one subject.

The scope of work was to design and execute the graphic assets required for these four episodes. There were mainly 4 broad requirements for the graphics in the series-

 

1. Animated recreations/ retelling of events - Sequences of 10-15 seconds, required at places in the episode where the interviewee is describing a situation or an event from their experience, and a visual aid is required to explain this event more vividly. This was to add a certain level of dynamism to the storytelling (instead of using simple shots of the interviewee addressing the camera at all times).

These recreations were to be made using a combination of live footage/pictures (real or stock), typography, textures and mixed media illustrations. 

2. Infographic Explainers for presenting statistic data and maps.

3. Treatment for the archival data for presenting different newspaper articles, archival documents and news sources.  

4. Lower thirds and astons for names, places and dates. 

 

The challenge was to keep the design language uniform across all of the episodes, even though the content in the episodes was vastly different from one another and covered a wide range of topics and situations. 

Another point to note is also that, inspite of the show having two previous seasons, the third season was to be treated as a stand alone show for all design purposes- meaning that a graphic aesthetic, which was missing in the previous two seasons, was to be designed and strictly adhered to for this season, since recreations were a vital part of the storytelling, and had to maintain a language for the storytelling to seem uniform.

Design Treatment 

Keeping the true crime and investigative nature of the show in mind, I designed a graphic language that would work well to present an array of topics and situations that were being spoken about.

For the graphics recreations - The idea was to use cut-outs of specific elements and actions/poses from stock images and build a narrative using montages and layouts that would encapsulate what the interviewee was saying in the best possible manner.

 

For example, to show that a smuggler was asked to smuggle gold in a mobile phone, I wanted to show that a piece of gold was being hidden in a phone. Since no such exact image exists in the way we wanted to visualise and present it, I sourced some images available on the web (Images 01 and 02 below), picked out the useful elements from those images and created a layout that would compliment the storytelling (Image 04 below).

 

Other thematically accurate images were also used to add interest value to the frame (Image 03 below), along with grunge brush strokes, scribbles and textures to add to the grittiness of the treatment, complimentary to the true crime genre.

(Royalty Free Images were used for 90% of the show as stock footage is expensive to buy for broadcast, we were on a tight budget and since we wanted to use only elements from it, it made sense to use royalty free stock footage)

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Image 01- The above images were sourced from Pexels / Photo Credits: Tyler Lastovich

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Image 02- The above image was sourced from Pexels / Photo Credits: Michael Steinberg

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Image 03- The above image was sourced from Pexels / Photo Credits: Tima Miroshnichenko

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Image 04- Using the relevant elements from the aforementioned images, the above layout was created for the purpose of the story. All the graphic recreations were made in a similar fashion.

As for the colors, I wanted to stay away from the the use of the black and white with red- a typical route in most true crime shows. After a bit of exploring, we found that the combination below worked the best across all episodes- Gold, Drugs, Extortion and Money Laundering. Since a lot of the show has references to the 90s era, the combination also gave the graphics a slightly old-school, dated vibe and complimented the era that the interviewees and archival footage referred to. (Click on the tab below to scroll across the screen-grabs)

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Archival footage was also treated in a way that the focus would remain on the news articles, and the background would lend itself to the topic of the episode- for example (below) Gold grunge for the Gold smuggling episode, Brown with elements and textures suggestive of crime and murder for the extortion episode, and so on.

Another important design decision we took, while presenting the archival footage, was that they had to seem like they were clippings from actual different newspapers that had been sourced and placed together in the frame. This was to move away from the digital look of the articles, since most of the news articles were sourced from the web. 

We gave the clippings a hand-torn border and used different fonts to make the articles seem like they were actual aged clippings sourced from different old newspapers. This gave the treatment a dated look, as well as made it look gritty, that was in line with the genre and content of the show. The background plate of the archival footage was slightly customised for each episode help compliment the subject- so a gold color was used for the Gold Episode, a brown with "crime" elements for the Extortion episode, etc. (Click on the tab below to scroll across the screen-grabs)

Episode on Gold Smuggling

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Episode on Drug Trafficking

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Episode on Money Laundering

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Episode on Gold Smuggling

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For the lower thirds and astons, a grungy but readable font, in line with the graphic treatment, was selected along with a brush stroke texture that would help accentuate the astons. These were animated like a brush stroke being scribbled on screen, and wiping it out. This also help tie the graphic language of the recreations to the rest of the show as similar the brush strokes and scribbles were used across the animated sequences, archival footage, etc. 

(Click on the tab below to scroll across the screen-grabs)

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Maps and Infographics were designed in the same graphic language and with the use of similar cut-out elements and textures as the graphic recreations, to keep them in tune with the overall design aesthetic.

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Episode Specific Graphics-  Gold Blooded (The Gold Smuggling Episode)

(We own no part of these videos, All rights owned by Discovery+ and Warner Bros. Discovery)

Thugs of Drugs (The Drug Trafficking Episode)

(We own no part of these videos, All rights owned by Discovery+ and Warner Bros. Discovery)

Pay Up.. or Else (The Extortion Episode)

(We own no part of these videos, All rights owned by Discovery+ and Warner Bros. Discovery)

Cleaning Dirty Money (The Money Laundering Episode)

(We own no part of these videos, All rights owned by Discovery+ and Warner Bros. Discovery)

You can watch this season of Money Mafia on Discovery+ India