“Explorer” series opens with new title by DK Studios

After a five-year hiatus, National Geographic’s monthly, hourlong “Explorer” series was relaunched and now opens with an exciting title sequence designed and produced by DK Studios Chicago.

The abundantly honored series, which includes 60 Emmys, is cable TV’s longest running series at 25 year, airing more than 2,000 films from 1985 to 2010. The show took viewers to more than 120 countries and hidden parts of the world and presented a wide array of provocative subjects.

“Our goal is to make this show very contemporary, to use the magazine as inspiration, but to produce shows that are more immersive and more modern documentary, more experimental in some ways than Explorer was in the past,” says “Explorer” EP Robert Palumbo.

National Geographic assigned DK Studios to reimagine the main title, which pays homage to the show’s heritage while delivering a higher-intensity, urgent tone reflecting the subject matter published in the National Geographic magazine. NatGeo, which had worked with DK on promotions for its other shows in the past, gave them the assignment last October for delivery just before New Year’s.

The title was designed to present the series’ wide array of provocative subjects over the years by weaving together varied “Explorer” adventures and show themes.

Searching through hours of recent and historical archival footage to find the clips was a challenge,” says Blake Nickle, head of production. 

“We were told where we could look for content and we were also provided with a ton of footage. Both editor Mike Radtke and CD Ryan Summers on the team both put a lot of time into looking for great clips.

“The issue we dealt with was, the footage needed to be owned by Nat Geo and be licensable.  We ran into to the issue a couple of times where we had a clip for which they couldn’t find the original license, so we had to find an alternative take,” he says.

The new title bowed on the Feb. 14 episode; next up on March 6 is “Fighting Isis.”

See the new titles here.

DK Studios Chicago credits: ECD, Camm Rowland, who celebrates his 10th year with DK Studios;, Blake Nickle, head of production; Ryan Summers, CD; Mike Radtke, senior editor,; Cody Tilson, lead designer; Patrick Coleman lead animator; Jason Esser, animator; Yairon Martinez, designer and score by Wes Slover.