Thursday, February 5, 2015

Game of Thrones Opening Sequence

Last weekend, I saw the last two episodes of season four of Game of Thrones in IMAX, with an exclusive preview of the next season. Clearly, I'm a big fan. The second the title sequence came on, I became filled with excitement (even though I've seen the episodes already). The opening sequence is so captivating and beautiful that, in that IMAX, I honestly would've been content watching it on loop for two hours.

The opening grabs the audience and educates viewers. It's a huge map of the entire world of Game of Thrones, and moves from place to place.

The creative director, Angus Wall at Elastic, wanted to keep the opening sequence feel very true to the world of the books and show. Since it's an unsophisticated place, everything is made out of natural materials. Dealing with the problem of maps being flat and a camera moving around this flat space, they decided to make the world a sphere. In an interview, Wall says, "I quickly realized we were still going to shoot off the map. So the next thought was, what happens when you put two bowls together? You have a sphere. Next question was “how is it lit?” And obviously, If you have a whole world inside a sphere, what would be in the middle of that sphere? The sun! Or whatever the light source of this world is."

Once the shape of the world was figured out, they started with concept art. The details are astounding.

"If you’re going to create a world, in order for it to feel legit, you have to have this fractal sense of detail. There are dust motes in the air when you’re passing through, and all the cogs have a logic to them."

They then planned out the sequence and blocked the big moves. Once they had their final concept art and everything planned, they gave it to the model makers working in Maya.

I'll leave you with some inspirational words from Wall: "But you can’t be afraid. You can’t be afraid to start over if you have to start over. At the beginning of every job you’re starting over. You’re facing failure every time you go out. But you can’t live in the place where you’re saying, I better not try this because I might fail. Because then you’re not going to succeed either."

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