Friday, 21 February 2014

What is a title sequence?

' A title sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilising conceptual visuals and sound.'  
- Wikipedia definition

A title sequence needs to show the theme, the atmosphere, the starring actors, studio and producers, what genre and base of the plot is.
For example in the BBC One Television series 'Luther', the title sequence shows the main character with in the imagery, a colour scheme which emphasises the insanity of the criminals, the city landscape representing London and almost symbolising the labyrinth state of searching for the people in question. The audio eerily matches the theme and genre of the program, through the singers tone of voice and the xylophone beat, which sound like every footstep the character would make. The imagery appears as droplets of black or darker shade, representing the blood with in the show, the close up of the barbed wire, finger prints and xrays all link to the main character being a detective. Through this title sequence the audience can tell that it is not for a young audience, and is a thriller/drama, through the portrayal of the imagery and audio. 

Another example of a title sequence with in television, is the horror/drama series, The Walking Dead. The title sequence is completely different to the previous, through the movement of the imagery as it holds a multi - exposure and pixilation approach to the movement and transition of the title sequence. The imagery has a slight vignette and sepia, grunge wash that makes the landscapes and objects look old and aged, linking with the lack of life and abandonment of the civilisation as the zombie outbreak spreads. The music is dramatic and keeps to the movement of the imagery and the audience can tell that it is a horror/drama through the serious tone to the title sequence through both audio and the content of the opening.

It was interesting to see what other animators had created in their own version of the title sequence. In this interpretation, the animation uses the traditional style of the graphic novel, using multi-plane camera and panning to create the movement with in the shot. There is hardly any character animation, apart from slight movement such as the fly, and the gun shot. The colour of the titles, is mainly monotone with sight variation of desaturated hues to emphasise parts of the imagery, such as the gun shot. The audio is different compared to the original title sequence, through how the audio includes vocals, which I believe takes away from the dramatic plot with the survival of mankind.

THE WALKING DEAD "Opening Titles" from Daniel Kanemoto on Vimeo.

Another example of a television titles sequence is the program called 'Dexter'. The title sequence immediately tells the audience that it is not suitable for a young audience through the blood splatter text, the beginning sequence being the main character Dexter, watching a mosquito on his arm and then killing it before going to get ready for his day. The routine is normal however it has been cleverly filmed to which relates to the murderess intent of the character, and leaves the audience feeling shocked. The audio suits the title sequence well through the lack of vocals and the warble of the music as certain actions are made. 

Whilst researching I found an animation of the Dexter title sequence adapted into the style of Saul Bass's famous sequences such as 'Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World', and 'Anatomy of a Murder.'
The stylisation works well with the inclusion of one hue, to emphasise the whiteout imagery against the black background. The animation runs slow and some repetition with the blood drops, however it can easily be related to the Dexter theme. The transitions of each seen work well as it zooms into black or a certain shape which then moves into another shape.

Dexter - Animated Title Sequence from fashionbuddha on Vimeo.

The adapted Dexter animation takes inspiration that is definitely seen in Saul Bass's "Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" title sequence, through the movement and shape of the hand and the lack of hues that are used.
The position of the text is also adopted with the illustrative style absorbed as well.

I find the Sherlock Holmes title sequence very inspiring through how the image is slowly drawn on a grunge textured parchment, with a fill of ink/watercolour that starts as a droplet that expands to cover the illustration. The text is presented in a script typeface that matches well with the style of the animation. I believe that I could use this as inspiration for my title sequence for Sandman Overture as I can use Sunga Parks adopted work and animate the movement of the watercolour as it forms the place or object that depicts the character.

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