Monday, 4 October 2010

Research into Title Sequences

When it comes to researching Titles sequences there is such a multitude of movies out there that feature exceptional opening/ending credits it's so hard to sift through them all to analyse. Luckily The website; Art of The Title Sequence has a whole collection of cinema and televisions more notable title sequences, be it for technicality or the level of creativity of composition. Below is a selection of Title Sequences I particularly like, along with them will be an analysis of certain aspects of the sequence such a choice of font, composition and creativity.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs- End Title Animation from YELLOWSHED on Vimeo.

I've never seen the film "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" but when looking for title credits to analyse this stuck out due to it's colourful design. Upon watching it I really liked the way that each different scene set by layering one in front of the other as the camera pans across the setting. The animation for the characters is simple and yet runs quite smoothly which adds to the charm of the sequence. The fonts used for the credits are clearly custom designed for this sequence as they're designed to fit in with the background scenes but it probably wouldn't be impossible to find similar fonts. Little design touches such as creating vehicles and buildings out of food really makes it a feast for the eyes (I even like the little joke about London). Everything about this sequence fits from the bright colours to the cheerful piece of music and the "bobbing" style of the animated characters, this title sequence is so good it actually makes me want to see the film.

The opening credits to 1998's TV series "Cowboy Bebop" just exudes style, from the pumping jazz track, to the animation which follows the beat and rhythm of the music to the colours choices of heavy blacks and bright contrasting colours. Then there's the little touches such as having one animation's component opening up into another and the use of copious amounts of text to help fill empty backgrounds, the choice of font has obviously been carefully considered to help capture the feeling of the jazz age to fit with the music. An important factor of an opening sequence for a TV series is to try portray what the show will be about and I feel that this opening does quite well to introduce the main characters and themes of the show, when it comes to title sequences I always feel it's like looking at a front cover or a movie poster in that you want to be able to see if the piece of entertainment you're about to watch will suit your tastes. An opening should not give away the plot of a movie or specific episode of a TV series. It would be stating the obvious if I were to say that this piece has great composition and it's definitely a nice contrast to "Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs", whilst both are animated one is simpler and the other is more technical but both convey their purpose excellently.

This opening sequence taken from 2006's "Casino Royale" is another visually exciting piece with heavy use of visual animation. The opening clearly presents the theme of the film to viewers with it's playing card motif/environments and action scenes within these environments, the music fits well and even the lyrics fit with the well established character of Bond. Again what these opening credits it generally seems to be the little feature that make them impressive, in Casino Royale's it's the animations within animations such as when the guns fire the Spade-shaped bullets the nozzles flare is made up of a kaleidoscope of different playing card suits. The composition and use of virtual cameras to make each scene dynamic really pays off as it grabs the attention of the viewer it's just a shame too see that the type almost seems to take a backseat to the animated visuals but sometimes it's better to have a balance of a technical animation sequence and simple type or vice versa. When looking at these opening it really is phenomenal as if they were extended and turned into films themselves they really could become a new subgenre of film.

I've looked through a large number of title sequences including; American Psycho, Sin City, Burn After Reading, Alien, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian, The Machinist, The Terminator Films and Crank : High Voltage. Over the course of looking over these title sequences I've learned that the general ingredients to creating a memorable sequence, these include; focusing on a theme or character from the film, if you're placing credits over filmed footage try make the type noticeable or unique, always consider composition and little details to pad out what may be a boring scene. There seem to be many different methods and techniques used in creating a title sequence be it live footage, animation or still shots what really matters is finding one that suits the subject you're creating a sequence for.

After seeing all these sequences I'm getting anxious to start crafting my own title sequence as the more I watch the more my head is filled with influence. I believe I may work with photoshop and after effects to create my own title sequence as I feel it'll be easier than to shoot my own footage.

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