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With Reference To Three Films, Analyse How The Meaning Of A Films Narrative And Genre Are Communicated Through Its Title Sequence

1552 words - 7 pages

In the 1950s, the movie and broadcast design industries incorporated traditional graphic design with the dynamic visual language of cinema. Today, the creation of film titles and television graphics are mainly created by motion graphic designers.

The first pictures that the viewer experiences is a film’s opening titles. Opening titles have grown as a style of experimental filmmaking in motion pictures, since the 1950’s. In films, the opening credits make the context of a film and establish assumptions about its tone and atmosphere.

One of the first designers to use the storytelling power of the opening and closing credits of a film, is Saul Bass. He used a variety of styles to design ...view middle of the document...

A group of grey lines come into the screen, but then leave to the right dragging with them and leaving the cut up type of the main title card: “Psycho”.

After a number of entirely synced activity of the main title that highlighted their cuts, the type exits the screen and new lines are brought in, which are vertical. The sequence additionally changes with exchanging horizontal and vertical lines, first bringing the type on to the screen but then pushing it away to make space for the next title card. The result is a rapid and intricate articulation of these innocent looking, but also very jittery and nervous, lines that control the screen. The lines are said to represent a number of different things like prison bars, cityscapes, order, and structure, their behavior and motion while on screen show jitteriness, nervousness, and irregularity. This seems to hint at the fact that appearances can be misleading and confusing. After watching the film then taking a look back at the title sequence, we see that the type is a huge symbolic interpretation of the psychological state of the main character, Norman Bates: split, shattered, and unintelligible. In this title sequence the lines we see were actually aluminum bars that were about six feet long. They were sprayed black and animated on a table at different speeds and positions.

“In those days,” said Bass “I liked strong, clear, structural forms against which to do things. I liked giving more zip to Psycho because it was not only the name of the picture but a word that means something. I was trying to make it more frenetic, and I liked the idea of images suggesting clues coming together” (Rebello, Stephen, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho; New York: St Martin's Griffin, 1998)

Bass used two sets of sans-serif fonts within this title sequence, Venus Bold Extended and News Gothic Bold, which were all in capital. All the title cards were made by using white type on a black background. This was done by using photostats which was an early photocopier machine that photographed documents but then copied them onto photographic paper. These were then cut into three horizontal parts. It was said that the top and bottom sections were moved in different directions and were then both shot a different speeds, this was to add motion to the letterforms. For the big titles, like ‘Directed by Alfred Hitchcock,’ News Gothic Bold typeface was used with the same three cut technique as what had been done for the title of the film.

Another iconic title sequence is The Pink Panther (1963) by Friz Freleng, this film immediately became a pop culture icon, that it had its own television series and appeared in many sequels. In the opening credit sequence, you see that text comes onto the screen whirling around and then starts combining together. The Pink Panther then comes onto the screen and is shown pacing around the text we then see the panther playfully trying to block the text by getting in the way. Henry Mancini...

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