The Trial of Horatio Hough Motion Graphics
August 2014 - May 2015

The Trial of Horatio Hough, a film directed by Stephen Farina, explores the Underground Railroad’s significance in Upstate New York through life and trial of local abolitionist Horatio Hough. The events pertaining to Horatio Hough were very well documented and preserved in the mid 1800’s in handwritten manuscripts, which are dynamically displayed in the film with an accompanying voice over. Visually, the manuscripts are a beautiful glimpse into the 19th century, from the rough paper to the intricate penmanship. These visual attributes are carried throughout the whole film in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand.

The director made it clear that his vision was to have the text overlay a background image or subtly moving shot while accompanying a voice over. My biggest concern was making sure the text did not appear like a dull, static slideshow. I wanted to display the excerpts in an enticing, dynamic way to hold the viewer’s attention. Kinetic typography is a popular way to display information with dramatic camera movements, vector shapes, exaggerated animation, and bold colors, but this style seemed too modern for the historical aesthetic I wanted to portray. Instead, I decided to embrace the old documents in a way that would appear as if the viewers themselves were flipping through the old pages of a manuscript.

The Trial of Horatio Hough can be viewed in its entirety for free on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/125483102.

All photo, video, and audio assets were provided to me by Stephen Farina.