PBS: The Black Church (Exploratory)

Design exploratory for the PBS docu-series “The Black Church.” Created at Union Editorial with Tim Haldeen.

Pitch Frames

The Black Church

In this first round of design exploratory for The Black Church, we are broadly looking at many of the different GFX needs for the series — paying attention to both aesthetics and storytelling. Below we present different treatments for the following: Archival media, Songs, Sermons, Illustrations, & Maps.

Below are a few frames exploring the treatment of archival material. The following approaches are relatively conservative in approach and respect the archival materials — allowing them to stand out and reinforce storytelling in the show’s narrative. For newspaper articles, we have had good luck in the past sourcing high res art from Newspapers.com, or the New York Times machine. Below we show how sourcing these materials at home in a full newspaper spread can allow for a greater context. Additionally, we add texture and lighting to the archival and often collage them together creating more exciting layouts.

Client: PBS
Production Company: McGee Media
Artist: Tim Haldeen
Studio: Union Editorial


In this section, we explore sermons in the series and look at a few different ways we can present them. Many of these ideas explore a kinetic text animation that isn’t heavily reliant on archival media. We are working under the assumption that many of these sermons are found in written or oral history and that there may not be a wealth of supporting archival immediately available. With this in mind, several of these ideas are primarily exploring bold text animation that accompanies voice-over readings.


Anticipating a lack of archival in the earlier episodes, which cover an older history, these next few frames explore illustration as a technique to visualize subject matter either too long ago or inaccessible for photographic coverage. Aesthetically we are pretending that these illustrations are archival by creating them with a period-specific technique. We are rendering them as woodblock illustrations to fit into the overall narrative of the earlier episodes.

Songs & Psalms

In this section, we look at ways to visually support music in the series. We look at a recreation of a songbook that highlights the music on pages — keeping the music in the realm of archival. Additionally, we explore lyrics spread out over time that accompanies the editorial-sequence of supporting imagery.

Stained Glass

Here we look at stained glass recreation as an interesting way to portray information in our animated sequences.


Here we look at map recreation through an archival-media lens. We are treating the maps for this series and if they are found objects in real world and we and zooming in on important information with our 3d camera.

Double Exposure

These next frames cover an additional style exploratory, which could also apply to previously explored elements. Here we are looking at a modern double-exposure technique to stack images and create more dynamic layouts. This technique could be a great way to interject more color and detail into older archival — adding some vibrancy and texture to black and white imagery.