Wednesday, 13 January 2016
4 Title Sequence Analysis:
Codes and Conventions of Tile Sequences:
Title sequences is the way in which film and movie studios introduce the opening credits of the production and the cast members of a movie. A typical convention of an opening title sequence is the utilisation of sound and many different visuals. Typically, title sequences lists the production and cast members in order of most important or famous. The main purpose of a title sequence is to establish either the genre, the character, the environment/setting or the mood and atmosphere of the movie.
Title sequences usually consists of: the name of the production company, the director, the producer(s), other essential and necessary crew members, the actors/cast and most importantly, the title of the movie. It is significant to note that this isn't necessarily the order in which these things appear on a title sequence.
'SEVEN' (1995) - Directed by David Fincher:
The opening title sequence for 1995's 'SE7EN' was created by Kyle Cooper. The title sequence begins with the scratchy and gritty writing introducing the film studio 'New Line Cinema' then, briefly afterwards, we are shown the actual title of the film 'SEVEN' appear in flashy, scratchy writing. The fact that the names of the cast that pop up throughout the title sequence is very un kept and childlike suggests to the audience that the character within the sequence is mentally unstable and, with some form of mental disorder. What also makes this title sequence unsettling is the psychotic gestures and things that takes place very quickly throughout the sequence. For example, we are shown the character defacing images of people, alluring to something sinister awaiting.
The frames shown throughout the sequence are very glitchy and fuzzy, creating a sense of disorientation for the audience that watches. It is almost as if an old school, retro effect and filter is put over the sequence, making it appear to be an old film stock tape. There are a variety of very quick and sharp jump cuts to again confuse the audience.
The soundtrack throughout begins slowly. However, it begins to drastically pick up speed and, begins to sound sinister and eerie, along with the typography used in the sequence. This title sequence has clearly inspired other pieces of media due to its iconic and boldness for the genre in which it is set. For example, the TV show 'American Horror Story' has a title sequence very similar with the same eerie music and flashy, jump cuts.
The purpose of this title sequence is essentially to make us as the audience feel unsettled and awkward. The use of the gritty, scratchy writing and the sinister actions taking place in the sequence is the way to make us feel this way - along with the eerie soundtrack on top.
Vertigo (1958) - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock:
The 1958 title sequence for the movie 'Vertigo' was created by Saul Bass (a famous title sequence designer). Interestingly, this title sequence begins with the official short sequence to the introduction of the production company which created the movie: 'Universal'. This appears just before the title sequence begins.
As the title sequence begins, the soundtrack also begins to play. The soundtrack is very old fashioned and has a creepy and suspenseful feel to it. The soundtrack also sounds and feels very hypnotic due to its repetitive texture and its consistency throughout the sequence. There is no dialogue included which again alludes to the idea of the sequence being creepy and suspenseful. The sequence also appears in black and white, which relates to the time period of the creation of this movie as there wasn't much use of colour used in movies back in the late 50's. There's no acting involved throughout apart from different shots and angles of a woman's face, then follows CGI illusions, again relating to the theme of hypnotising. The typography used for the title sequence is very old fashioned and bland, with blocky, bold and white fonts. The title sequence then ends in a red effect/filter, with the name of the director kept last due to the director's star power.
The purpose of this title sequence is to make the audience feel almost hypnotised, unsettled and suspenseful. The soundtrack, the black and white + red filter and the CGI illusion images creates this feeling. Also, hardly anything information about the movie is shown throughout the sequence, which makes the audience essentially want to continue watching the movie to find out more.
'Spider-Man 3' (2007) - Directed by Sam Raimi:
In the opening title sequence for 2007's Spider-Man 3, it is clear that this movie is one of the instalments from a trilogy/saga. This is clear to the audience due to the fact that throughout the sequence, there are quick images, montages and clips taken from the previous two films in order for the audience to have a back story and, for the audience to understand what had happened previously before the new instalment. The sequence is completely CGI (Computer Generated Images) and, unlike the other 3 title sequences, doesn't display the film studio straight away at the beginning (being Sony). Instead, before the title rolls, the Columbia studio logo appears and, the iconic Marvel logo appears to inform the audience that Marvel is the creator or inspiration of this movie.
The title of the movie appears first of all, then the cast follows after. Intertextuality is used for the typography of the text on screen as the font of the text is of the exact same as Sony's main font. The font appears as bold, italic and sharp. The soundtrack played throughout suits well with the genre of this movie being superhero as it sounds very heroic, filled with an orchestra. The director of the movie - Sam Raimi - is left to be displayed towards the end of the sequence, which shows his star power for being an established successful director.
The purpose of this title sequence is to simply introduce any new members of the audience - who have no previous knowledge of the Spider-Man trilogy - to the storyline throughout the previous two movies. This is so the audience can understand what is it happen within the 3rd instalment of the movie.
'Monsters Inc.' (2001) - Directed by Pete Docter
The title sequence for 2001's 'Monsters Inc.' begins with the introduction of the production studio 'PIXAR' before the sequence starts. The soundtrack also begins instantly whilst introducing 'PIXAR' and, continues throughout the rest of the sequence. The soundtrack suggests that the movie is going to be light hearted, for children and very family friendly as it is upbeat, jazzy and funky.
The entire sequence is created using CGI. The sequence is very creative, aesthetically appeasing, childish and - it relates to the plot and theme of the movie due to the monsters behind the doors. The company of 'Walt Disney Studios' appears through different doors within the sequence which again is creative and keeps it interesting. Interestingly, unlike other title sequence, there is no introduction to the casting at all, the sequence just shows the production companies and of course the title of the movie at the very end. This is very unconventional of title sequence as usually, there is always the cast members being introduced throughout.
The purpose of this title sequence is essentially not to give too much away. However, it is created and illustrated to be fun and engaging for the younger audience and, to introduce slightly the theme of the movie being monsters behind the doors.
Title sequences development over the years:
Title sequences have gone through many different stages of development over the years. For example, when movies relied on film stock in order to create their movies, title sequences were essentially just a simple black and white countdown to the beginning of the movie. Then, people would create black cards in order to write the necessary and conventional pieces of information as a title sequence. Then, as film got better in terms of production, people began to move to using colour and coloured effects/filters. Also, the title sequence duration began to extend even longer and, they now had a bit more meaning and creativity. With the introduction of CGI, people also experimented in creating sequences using solely this technique or, including CGI into the title sequence. Currently, title/opening sequence now can be used as a backstory to a movie or, sometimes there is now action before the introduction of the title sequence (for example the 007 movies). Film studios now experiment more with their title sequences and, try to make them as unconventional and creative as possible.