Monday, April 28, 2014

Title Sequence: My haves and have nots

As everyone currently taking this class (Motion Graphics and Animation) already knows, we are all currently working on our very own title sequences. Some of you are "done", some of you are "almost done," and some of you are beginning to panic that there's no way your project will be handed in on time. The reason for having 'done' in quotes is due to the fact that no project is ever actually finished. More can always be done.

For my project, I decided to make an opening title sequence for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. The film doesn't actually have its own opening sequence, so accidentally copying the original hasn't been an issue at all. The image above is actually a screen shot taken from the end of my sequence. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. Just like a movie trailer, though, I really only like to highlight the best aspects of my work. What I really want to do is put out my successes and failures with this particular project in writing. Why? I have absolutely no idea.

Let's start from the beginning. Now, I'm writing this post on Monday, but the project is due on Wednesday. Some faults I write about may be fixed by the time I submit the title sequence (probably not). As I was saying, the first noticeable issue with my sequence spans over the first 30 seconds--yes, it's a pretty big problem. The problem is that there's simply too much empty space. As the production companies' names are displayed, there's probably about five seconds of black between each of them. It's a bit boring and needs to have something there to kill the time. The idea of somehow incorporating the bat theme into this section of the sequence was given to me, but I'm not quite sure how I'd do that. Maybe just some audio? I don't know. The good part about the opening is that it's clean and simple. It looks good and it gets the job done.

The second part of the title sequence is a bunch of Sure Target. Again, it's really simple. I find that totally OK for this section, though. Each name that appears is matched to the music. They come and go on beats and no name sits there for longer than two or three seconds. The pace is certainly much faster than the opening. I was also able to work with a light that really added to the feel of the sequence. I parented the light to the Sure Target camera, which gave more of a focus to the field of view, and added a blue tint to it to match the color scheme of the film. I also messed around with the depth of field to give a greater sense of focus for viewers. This part of the sequence is definitely simple, but it has a bit more artistic value to it than the opening of the sequence.

As the sequence comes close to the end, I needed to find a good transition to move from the name credits to the movie title and bat symbol. Since, after all, the guy's name is Batman and the character's disposition largely stems from his phobia of bats, I figured there must be a way to incorporate the creatures into the sequence. What I ended up doing was using the bats as a sort of wipe transition. I keyed out the background of the video I found on YouTube and colored the layer so the bats were a dark gray instead of black (don't want them disappearing into the background, now do we?!). I have yet to add any bat sound effects--which will definitely add to quality of sequence--but I'll get to it eventually.

The closing of the title sequence is certainly my favorite part of the entire project. As you can see from looking at the first image in this post, it's clean and just looks really damn good. The bat cleanly drops from off screen and the actual title fades up on a beat (which is pretty awesome). The best part about the closing take place in the last couple seconds. What I basically did was made the title and bat become engulfed in black. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself. To really make it look like it was disappearing into the blackness, I added a quick blur with a couple keyframes to the title and then dropped the opacity once the bat was completely covered so the text would completely disappear. It's a simple concept, I know, but that didn't make it any easier for me to figure out, so I'm quite proud of it.

Overall, I'd like to say I'm proud of this final project. It's not perfect, by any means, and it needs a lot of work. I'm happy with what I hope the final product will be, though, because it really showcases what I've learned this semester (which is a whole lot more than I knew four months ago).

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