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Austin City Limits

Wednesday September 28th, 2011

Two years ago, Jonathan Jackson tweeted to one of the producers of Austin City Limits about creating a time-lapse video for the program. Turns out, tweeting sometimes actually works, and Jonathan was asked to shoot a time-lapse of a Pearl Jam taping. The video was a hit, and Jonathan was hired to continue working with ACL creating various behind-the-scenes videos.

Jonathan’s ACL Pearl Jam Time Lapse:

Since then, Jonathan has created a slew of videos for the TV program/festival, continuing to build his video portfolio as well as his relationship with the ACL team. While working on the upcoming season, Jonathan came up with the idea of creating a new intro video, a time-lapse of material from around the city centered around the new ACL venue. Jonathan decided to take the charge and start the project himself,

I went to the top of the Austonian (another client of mine) and shot that keystone piece of the intro, looking down at the city. While up there I invited the executive producer of ACL to join me. He came to see the view and the active city during SXSW. While up there he asked, “Why are you shooting this Jonathan?” I told him because I wanted to make the new ACL intro. He just chuckled.

However, after Jonathan had sent the producer the Austonian time-lapse piece along with a few other rough drafts, he was completely on board. The two met with the rest of the producers and began the process of seeking out music, shoot locations, and ideas for the intro. Jonathan continued shooting pieces throughout the summer, and eventually, it all came together.

Due to the fact that video was Jonathan’s idea, and that he had taken the initiative to start it on his own accord, he was given almost complete creative freedom. It was, according to Jonathan, “a dream job.” This did not mean the assignment was without it’s little difficulties though,

One of my objectives was to show off the new venue. They have been at the same studio for 36 years and the change to a new, larger venue was a big deal. My challenge was that while ACL has a TV show taping, I am busy filming behind-the-scenes. I had to shoot the intro material while other (non-ACL TV) acts we’re performing. During the summer the days are long and the sunset did not come until after 9, while many of the shows started at 7 or 8. This made it difficult to shoot scenes where people were entering the venue for a show at night time. The day time shots did not communicate the message I was going for.

These minor challenges aside, Jonathan was quite successful in his endeavor. The piece is a fun look at the new venue and highlights the feel of Austin City Limits. He even threw in a tribute to an old 70s ACL into with a fake Austin City Limit’s sign. The client was more than happy with the results and the intro will be used for the TV show for this season and next.

You can watch the new Austin City Limit’s intro here (also, be sure to check it out during the ACL season premier on October 1st):

So, it turns out that a little tweeting and a lot of initiative can get you pretty far.

- Maria Luci

One Response to “Austin City Limits”

  1. James Magazzino says:

    Hello My name is James Magazzino and I’m an RTF student at UT. I have to do a film project and I would love to be able to use the Austin City Limit sign that was showcased in the picture above. Do you have any idea who I can contact to see if I can rent it? Thank you in advance

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