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.

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