Every Photo Shot For The Conan O’Brien Title Sequence

August 10, 2009 - By 

Here is every shot that I took for the Conan O’brien opening. The blinking scenes are shot bracketed so we had full control over the exposure in post. I just sequenced them, un-color-corrected in After Effects for posterity. See if you can find the shots that ended up in the final Conan O’Brien Title Sequence.

UPDATE: Some of you have been asking for some specs from this photo shoot. Here are all the sexy numbers.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lenses: Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8f, 85mm D 1.4, 50mm 1.4f, 20mm f2.8
Shots Taken: 6,250 Photos, 47GB of space
Shots Sequenced in After Effects
Techniques used: bracketing, time lapse, rack focus (technique tutorials coming soon)

Check out my Timelapse and Bracketing Technique Tutorial

Posted In:  My Work Photography
  • Absolutely FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC! its rad dude…

  • So freaking cool. I love these types of things. Perfect music as well.

  • Jeremy Ian Thomas August 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Now that’s dope!!!!

  • Jeremy Ian Thomas August 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    And Radiohead might be the greatest band of our generation!!!!

  • I love watching the new Tonight Show opening sequence. It’s great to know that you had a hand in making it. Great job Gorilla!!

    fyi- the finished Conan video link is not working.

  • Love it! Great work.

  • holy crap. you, sir are a master. would love to hear of your camera setup, exposure settings / tips. thanks for this post.

  • The link may not work if Hulu is blocked at the location you are trying to view from. i know it is at my office.

  • Wow. That just made me excited about a city I apparently haven’t seen enough or cared enough about. Sadly it’s the city I live in. Amazing work, now I need to get camera and go to Chicago.

  • Pretty Awesome. Is this the actual sequence you took the photos in or did you re-sequence the photos to go better with the music?

    Home many photos total did you take?

  • Wow, really sweet timelapse, and perfect music. The bracketing “reveals” make for some really cool timelapse.

  • this footage got me all excited… so excited i bothered disguising my not-so-much united states ip to watch the opening on hulu.

    great job.

    nick, can you explain some more about getting this kind of footage? didn’t really get the “bracketed” part.

    • I will do some technique tutorials soon for sure.

      • Thanks, that’s all I can say.
        You got me back into the all ps ae c4d scene after a while, watching you do what you do (“and get paid”) really gets me goin.
        So thanks, again.
        and I dont know if you’ve heard this before but your site beats them all πŸ™‚

        Just KEEP GOING…

  • Honestly, something about this video makes me appreciate being alive. It’s the combination of the music, the colour and timelapse that seems to put life in perspective. Thanks for doing this.

  • What Alex said!

  • I hadn’t seen all of it yet. Very nice work!

  • Bravo Nick. Never seen LA quite that way. Good job.

  • Bad. Ass. BTW, you are my favorite site on the web. Screw Twitter, I don’t care about Tweets, I want gorilla Grunts.

    Would love to see you do a tutorial on using a camera to do bracketing and also how you got that focus effect. Did you just go down a stop, click, next stop, click, rinse, and repeat?

    What was your lens of choice for this shot? The 80-200mm f/2.8?


  • Dude that is awesome, what im not grasping is how you got the movement from just still photos, i mean that pan up was ultra smooth.. I would love to see a tutorial on how to shoot like that… and some tips… In fact perhaps a show or two dedicated on how to shoot for “motion Graphics” would be awesome.

  • Yeah I have a Canon Mark 5D II and would love to know how to achieve this effect using a DSLR camera.

  • Just the other day I was watching and decided I really liked the opening. I had no idea you had a hand in it!! Crazy.

  • I would love to see the process that was involved in not only the photography work but how you sequenced it together in AfterEffects. If they are only many photos sequenced together, they turned out very impressive and much like you took video. Humor me and do a quick little video cast on this process. Nothing big, just a taste of the sequencing in AfterEffects.

  • This is the coolest shit I’ve seen in a while. Thank you for making this.

    Do you have a ballpark number on how many shots you ended up taking and the disk space?

  • This is huge man! Amazing!

  • Impressive!

    Would love to see the conan titles but hulu doesn’t play too kind in Australia either.

    Exactly how many individual photos are we looking at here?

  • This is a classic demonstration of principles I have been reading about lately, put in motion. Both pieces…

    How many pictures ended up in the finished piece?

  • Very very nice ! Thx

    Waiting for your explanations !

  • yes a tutorial !!
    But the final is just for USA…

  • Great work. I love the textures and the music selection. The music or yours fit better than the final one, but that’s just me. Maybe a tutorial on the process coming soon? And what hardware did you use?

  • Man that’s inspiring! I gotta get out and shoot!

  • Very very nice! Great work. I did something somewhat similar with timelapse photography (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kk0zzIutYg&fmt=22), but not with such sophisticated techniques. Looking forward to the tuts!

  • I’m speechless! REALLY incredible work!

  • That’s awesome. I can’t wait for the tutorials.

  • how is this photos?
    there are alot of movement in some shots.
    explain plix.

  • really dig the video, could you please share some night time photography tips?

  • very, very nice,
    it’s a pity that french people can’t see the opening sequence in streaming.
    I’m impressed by your sequence because I think it’s really hard to stay original with night shots. They are so used that it is a real surprise to see your project : it stay original and really beautifull.
    Good job Gorilla !

  • Crap! Hulu busted my anonymous proxy :S Can’t view the title sequence but this video is plenty fun! Good job! Looking forward to seeing a tutorial on this πŸ™‚

  • teach me time lapse PLEASE!!!

  • Can you also touch on the process within DK about how the Tonight Show title job works? (as much as your allowed, at least)

    Were there several artists involved? What was the timeframe for the project? At what point do you become involved? etc.


  • okay so the foreplay on the sexy pictures was 6250 pictures taken, but how many made it to the orgasm?

  • Excellent job…thanks for sharing…also cant wait for those tutorials!

  • Whoa, wait, what?!
    I remember the first time I saw the opening sequence for the Tonight Show with CoCo… I was in the studio audience of the premiere episode- cheering as the band played the theme song. I loved all the color and quick cuts of the sequence, and it got me revved up for what turned out to be a great time in the show.

    The fact that you had a hand in the making of that sequence, though, is both amazing and yet not at all surprising. πŸ˜‰ Kudos to you for getting such a sweet gig, and keep up the great work.

    • Self-reply!

      This video like a 21st Century version of Koyaanisqatsi (mainly the “Grid” section of the film). Put some Philip Glass music under it, and it would have been almost identical. πŸ˜‰

      Did some of those shots end up being used for the photo bumpers seen after the commercials (and later on downloadable wallpapers from the show’s web site)?

      Again- I love that opening sequence. This is why I want to be like you when I grow up.

  • Great Nick ! I love your blog ’cause it pushes the envelope of my own idea. Before you posted your film, I had the same idea a couple month ago after returning from my honeymoon with 5000 pics. Here’s the link

    Enjoy πŸ˜‰

  • Nick, short-time reader, first-time comment. Very slick shots. Are all of these RAW or (Im not sure what Nikon calls them) NEF? I have a Rebel XT and have shot some time-lapse of clouds here in the desert, however I love the bracketing idea. I usually shoot in the smallest setting, simply because event at that resolution its still higher quality than 720p. and My canon cant write RAWs that fast, thanks for giving me some new ideas.

  • Amazing shots man! Los Angeles is such a cool city to photograph…

  • love your attitude and your pictures don’t look bad either my brother. peace

  • the original video still can be view somewhere ?

  • Wow! That’s just awesome!
    That’s impressive:
    Shots Taken: 6,250 Photos, 47GB of space

  • Just curious but is there any reason why you shoot Nikon and not Canon? I’m learning about all this stuff and really dig your stuff and was curious.

    • Nikon is easer to use and i’m already in for a shit ton of lenses. Canon has better video options and better lenses. In the long run, it’s pepsi and coke. Just try them both and pick your taste.

  • I really like your work.

    I want to do things like these but I only have a Canon EOS 450D. is it possible with this kind of DSLR ?

  • Excelete ! Wooowww superrrrr loved it.

  • You could have had amazing light painting at some moments (like for the bridge scene 3:03) with a longer exposure!
    Don’t worry, the result is great, notably thanks to a very dynamic montage !

  • Great work man. Bodysnatchers rocks

  • Mind blowing . . .all that from photos! must have taken serious time to plan and then implement and then edit . . . respect awesome work.

  • Simply awesome! Thanks for the tutorial….

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