Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What has my research told me.

After a month of blogging I have researched multiple title sequences from different genres created using different methods.By doing this I have been able to deduce what makes an 'effective title sequence'. A good way of analyzing what makes an effective title sequence is by breaking it down into micro aspects.

Mise En Scene

The Mise En Scene should directly mirror the film. Costume, location and props need to be relevant; the reasoning for this is people need to be drawn into a film and understand what they're watching. 

For example, in the opening sequence to The Woman In Black three children are dressed in Victorian clothes in an old looking room. This automatically sets the time period for us as the Victorian era; furthermore the fact that three Children are playing alone suggests isolation which a theme mirrored throughout the film.


Like Mise En Scene sound often mirrors the the film. However, in films such as the Great Gatsby sound actually juxtaposes the movie. Sound is useful for drawing in an audience and adding another level to the film. Music is more useful to mirror the emotion of a film rather than the story line. Sound evokes emotion and can be used before and after incidents; however in an opening sequence it's more likely titles will just be used to introduce a film.

It's evident in this title sequence that the soundtrack illustrates story lines within the movie. The lyrics 'are you ready to die' gives us insight into the genre of the film and further hints at the story.


In an effective title sequence editing should not be overcomplicated. An audience doesn't want to be confused and hit with too much information at the beginning of a film. Nevertheless, editing can be used as a useful way to keep a viewer interested during a title sequence. 

Pixar often use editing well in their title sequences. For example, in Monsters Inc there titles directly mirror the film. Furthermore they do not stay still for long and there is constant movement. The benefit of this is that a viewer stays entertained and is more likely to take notice of the titles. Contrastingly if white titles appear on a black screen although it is dramatic looking, the viewer can easily become bored and distracted.


Cinematography is the trickiest element to perfect within a title sequence. The main reason for this is camera angles and the way a camera moves is more beneficial to actual film; it doesn't effect titles. If titles are a major part of the film however it could be suggested that the cinematography is kept as minimal as possible. Whereas if the action taking place is more significant the cinematography will be a bigger part of the film. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Childhood films.

Me and Amelia created a quick survey discussing how childhood films influence your taste in films as an adult. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Editing in a title sequence.

Editing within a title sequence is often bland as to not cause confusion to a viewer too early on in a film. Shots tend to be long but there usually is a variety so to establish some sort of theme and story line. The main aspect of editing tends to involve the titles. However, this is not the case for all title sequences. Seven involves very complex editing however this is done very smartly to mirror the mind of the serial killer who happens to be the main character.

The scene is very jumpy. There are many reflections and mirror images and, the shots are often shaky and distorted. These themes meet the denotations of a thriller genre perfectly. The affect that this scene has on the viewer is one of confusion and intrigue - by leaving much of the action in darkness an element of wonder is created for the viewer. Smart techniques include pages falling and changing to a black screen; this is smarter as it is almost seamless yet it still contains ominous elements and forebodes to the future. 

Often, the main character is seen holding a pen and writing. Smartly, the director has used a 'script' font for the title which is scribbly yet legible. This makes it seem as though the actor has written the titles himself. The font is also fairly shaky again mirroring the mind of the main character.

What does this tell me about editing within a film?

Editing is genre and story line specific. Different methods of editing is used in different films to set the story and stay within conventions. From this title sequence it is clear what type of themes will appear within the film. I now know to take into consideration what my film will be about when creating a title sequence. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Narrative in an opening sequence.

Often films incorporate narrative into their title sequence. This can be done by simply beginning the film with titles on top or more interestingly by having a separate but related story whilst the titles take place. The latter of the two techniques is something which is frequently seen in Disney and Pixar animations  and is very useful to establish all the mise-en-scene elements of a film without actually begging the film. In addition to this, some films would use an opening sequence to divulge background and details about the film.

Ice Age

The opening sequence of Ice Age is a clear illustration of an opening sequence being used to set up a film without actually using any of the main cast or introducing the plot. 

What does this opening sequence tell us about the film?

From this opening sequence a lot is suggested about the film. It's clear to us that the film will be set in pre-hidtoric times, the 'Ice Age'. Furthermore by the characterisation of a squirrel we are told that the film will involve animals and the narrative will surround them. As well as this, the elements of schaeenfeuder  that surround the squirrel tell the audience will be be a comedy and uplifiting. Not only this, but the fact the squirrel is 'sabre-toothed' further connotes comedy.

Ferris Buller's Day Off

Alternatively Ferris Buller's Day Off has an opening sequence which does not take the viewer away from the film and literally begins the narrative of the plot.

What does the opening sequence tell us about the film?

The opening sequence to this film introduces us to the main characters. We are shown where and when the film is set and the beginning of the story line is shown to us. This approach at an opening sequence is useful as it's almost impossible for the viewer to find it boring. The viewer is given a large chunk of information about the film at the start and are therefor automatically involved from the offset.


Friday, 15 November 2013

What draws you to a film?

As part of my survey I looked at what draws people to a film. The results were as follows? 

This is important as it tells me what is needed to get people to watch a film and how to market the film. Furthermore as all of the possible actions have a reasonably large share of the graph covered this tells me that in order for a film to be truly successful a variety of factors must be included. So to summarise, if certain actors and directors are involved in the film a pre-sold audience can be created. Following this, the most important factor seems to be advertisement. First we must look at the target audience to decide exactly how to advertise the film. However, if the target audience falls in line with the pre-sold audience, they can be eliminated from the marketing process and the marketing can be aimed at a different target to broaden the audience of the film. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Categorising Credits

Stylistically credits appear differently in different films. Over time the way credits appear has changed and become more complex; this isn't to say that some simple methods do not still appear due to the effect or impact they may have. In this post I will be breaking these styles into different categories. 

Titles upon a blank screen.
This is the most basic way of presenting credis. Titles are simply superimposed onto a blank screen. This method means that font plays an important part as it will be the only hint or link to the film. Furthermore the colour background used will also set the tone. A black background is preferred over a lighted coloured one as it tires the eyes of an audience less keeping their focus; as a result a lighter font tends to take preference to complement the background. 

Titles accompanied by still images.
An ellaboration of this is to use still images as opposed to a plain background. This is still reasonably simple to create yet much more interesting than a blank screen. The importance of a pictured background is that it can help the viewer understand what the film's going to be about as well as giving them an insight to what's happened to the characters previous to the film itself. This can be complicated to match a font colour with as constantly changing images may require a constantly changing font colour. 

Titles accompanied with a series of moving images.
Titles over a series of moving images could ranged from a simple animation to a more intricate sequence that incorporate camera movement. By doing this, titles can appear along the narrative thread. This is a much more complex way of creative a title sequence. It's successful as it's interesting for the viewer as well as more individual and better suited to each individual film. In modern film this type of title sequence is much more common.

Titles bult around motion graphics and animation.
In the late 1990's animating text started to become more and more popular. These type of title sequences tend to be much more complex and difficult to make however they interest the audience and are both iconic and informative. A well renowned title sequence that follows this sequence is that of 'Catch Me If You Can'. The clever imbedding of narrative within the animation has been used over and over by other films and as a defining moment for credits within film. 

Privacy Mood board

After doing some research I decided to take a quick creative break and design a mood board surrounding 'Privacy'. This took me to look at ideas such as stalking, control and 'who's watching'. My reasoning for doing this is I feel a mood board is a good place to begin looking at ideas and also encourages you to develop and expand on your ideas. 

Monday, 11 November 2013


Mise En Scene in the title sequence.

Mise En Scene plays a vital part in any film. However there is a strong significance to mise en scene in a title sequence. As the title sequence often opens the film much of the mise en scene cant be contained within the short sequence. From the title sequence the audience should be able to establish the genre, location, time period the film is set in. The only time this may not happen is when a film is set over a vast period of time. Even so, a title sequence could be the perfect opportunity to animate a montage exploring the different times and locations that the film is set in. 

What can we learn from this title sequence?
Location: Somewhere magical, enchanting and regal. Illustration of locations that would be familiar to the audience and relatable to the 'Wizard of Oz'.
Time Period: 1920's (specifically suggested by the black and white affect)
Costume: The costume further gives us suggestions about the time period. The idea of expensive clothes suggest that the story 'could' revolve around those with wealth or importance. 
Behaviour: The flying of black birds could be an omen and presents a sense of foreboding. Although magical could this mean that there will be darker elements to the story?
Space: Changing field depth. Most action takes place in the foreground with the back being out of focus. Shows what's important.

From this title sequence the audience is able to break down and understand certain themes that will appear within the film. Before any action has taken place the viewer has notices that this film may closely mirror the Wizard of Oz. Furthermore the viewer has been offered the viewpoint that the film will contain a lot of mystery and magic. It will be set in the past and this is suggested through the use of black and white. 

What does this tell me about title sequences?
From this it's suggested to me that title sequences are not just for 'displaying titles'. In fact, from this exercise I can diagnose that title sequences are vital for beginning the film and establishing the themes within the viewers mind. The title sequence must be of good standard as it introduces the film; the impression the viewer is given within the title sequence my influence the impression they have on the film throughout. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

What we see in a title sequence.

Here's a video of myself telling you what sort of things we always see within a title sequence.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The evolution of title sequences.

The evolution of title sequences.

How have title sequences changed?

It's predictable that as technology within the film industry changes, title sequences will advance. I was curious to see how title sequences had changed but to add to this I wanted to see what has stayed the same. By doing this, I should be able to breakdown what is vital to an opening sequences and therefor what I should contain in mine. A good way to see how title sequences have evolved is by looking at three of the twenty three James Bond title sequences; this is because they are all part of the same franchise but set in very different times.

Dr. No - 1962

The original title sequence in 1962 established many of the themes we now see as fundamental to a James Bond movies. The iconic gun barrel sequences opens (the gun barrel sequences in no longer incorporated with the titles) and this is followed by the production company, title, cast, directors and so on. Interestingly there is no live action footage, instead we see cartoon like silhouettes. To add to this, there are no vocals, only an instrumental piece of music. We are not told much about the story and only from a change in music can the viewer guess that the action will unfold in a tropical Caribbean atmosphere. To say the least, as iconic as the title sequence is, it is basic.

The Living Daylights - 1987

25 years later and a lot has changed. The Living Daylights did feature the gun barrel sequence but it was not incorporated with the titles. This 1987 title sequence features live action performers rather than just animation. There are also many more clues as to what the film will be about. Although still without diegetic sound, The Living Daylights does feature a vocal track. The titles do not change still displaying the same types of names. They are animated blandly simply appearing and disappearing around the action.

Skyfall - 2012

Another 25 years later and the credits become even more sophisticated. Again, a track with a vocal is used. Unlike in the Living Daylights the sequences is almost entirely computer generated in a way though that seamlessly connects it to the film. We are given more and more hints as to what the film will be about and where the action will take place i.e. Chinese dragons and an abandoned house. One thing remains entirely the same however, the simplicity of the titles. They are clear and easy to read and obviously a prominent part of the film.

What's changed and what's stayed the same?

  • More sophisticated animation
  • More use of colour
  • More incorporation of the films themes
Stayed the same
  • Non-diegetic sound throughout
  • Basic titles
  • Names of cast, film, directors, production companies etc.

What does this tell me?

From this I learn a few things. For my title sequence to be affective I will need clear titles which are easy to read. Furthermore I will need some sort of backing music which can feature vocals. It's important to incorporate the genre of the film into the titles as well as aspects of the storyline.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sound Research

Sound Research

Whether or not my title sequence consists of diegetic sound, music will be needed. A soundtrack sets a mood and tone to the film. It gives the viewer insight as to what the film will be about and also connotes emotion within the audience. Sometimes, music is integrated into shots, for example a character could be dancing in their room whilst listening to a stereo. I took a look at different songs to see what emotions they gave me and how these feelings could be translated into ideas.

Syron - Waterproof
Waterproof by Syron is an upbeat track. Although upbeat, I didn't feel that this ignited positive emotions within me. I feel the beat of this song would work perfectly with film of someone walking, jogging or fighting. This song definitely says 'action' or 'drama' to me and connotes a very urban image in my head. If I was to attach this song to a film I would put it with something that illustrated a dark side to a group of youths in an urban environment.

Bastille - Haunt
From the very title of this song I think 'haunting'. The echoes of the track are both creepy and chilling however, although being about haunting someone this song does not say Horror film to me. I feel this track would work well against film illustrating the aftermath of  something. For example, I feel this would work in a title sequence showing the devastation after a war or revolution - this could then lead the film to be about revenge; 'I'll come back to haunt you'

 Sam Smith - Nirvana
Nirvana by Sam Smith makes me think of lust as well as low key lighting and soft camera movements. The song to me would work well with a shot of two people making love. Saying that, the music at the end is very final. On hearing this I thought the song could display flashbacks of people making love ending with an argument or incident which suggests the love has died. This song connotes a feeling of romance and drama within me.

Natalia Kills - Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole by Natalia Kills screams fun, innuendo and female promiscuity. The 'bubble-gum rock' feel instantly makes me associate this track with a chick flick. I imagine this track to work well in a scene where close ups of heels, lipstick etc. are intercut with slow motion scenes of girls dancing, walking and shopping.

All of these songs are very diverse however I feel the fact that they contain lyrics restricts what they can be used for as the lyrics tell a story of there own. This thought chose me to look at instrumentals. Following this I found an instrumental which I fell in love with. It could be used for multiple genres and films and sparks multiple emotions within the listener.

Foxes - Echo (Instrumental)
The reason I fell so in love with this instrumental was its diversity. The pace and sound changes throughout and resembles a journey. The opening 15 seconds connote a feeling of innocence and purity similar to birth or childhood. The song then matures and progresses. For this reason I feel the song would work amazingly with a montage of someone growing up and showing their life events. I then thought about the song in terms of weather. The song could work beautifully with a scene of a sunrise, contrastingly, the twinkly sounds resemble raindrops. The song could be used with a natural backdrop or follow someone walking through a city street. Either way though, I feel this song must be used with positive imagery as it ignites a feeling of fun and enjoyment within the listener. Interestingly, the lyrics that go with this instrumental suggest the end of a relationship, this really does illustrate how diverse the track is...

Fonts in relation to genre.

I noticed that for different genres of film different fonts are used in the title sequence. I decided it may be worth my while to explore three genres.
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Sci-Fi
Bellow is a one minute presentation I created to show my findings.