Hi all,

just a quick outline summary of the main points of my piece, to reinforce to myself the key points I’m trying to convey.

Key point is that Title sequences are regarded as marginal but they are not.

I will show how and why title sequences are crucial markers zones or spaces for manipulation and input by designers.

Titles are key focal points to enable navigation of cultural sphere to lead to more effective use by designers in working with film directors but crucially in opening up new possibilities for their use with other cultural experiences in the future.

Key Points about why title sequences are not marginal but significant:

1- Role in representing the film/film director/studio

2- Role as compressed semiotically rich experimental space so allows manipulation of codes and meanings in a way less restricted and more nuanced than trailers

3- The cultural products which they represent are key to self expression and identity formation – via the exercise of taste in consumer society and notions of cultural capital. Title sequences are important taste markers to locate film and viewer within the cultural and social landscape. Taste operates both socially but also as a self-reflexive mechanism on identity.

4- Although they appear inaccessible prior to choice in fact they are not. Why? Because of extended world of reviewing/explosion in reviewing forms via internet, blogging etc they quickly become part of the total film experience that is then reviewed and broadcast or shared – influencing choice and consumption.

Title sequences are therefore in fact just as visible as the film itself and available as a very compressed, persuasive, subtle and flexible tool to be used by film makers / cultural experience producers. Designers have a big role to play in this medium so full of potential.

Cheers,

Chris

 

Edit:

The following is a list of films I’ve used as an analysis in my Visual Summary about shared codes and tropes which help viewers to locate films within genres and sub genres:

Gattaca – http://www.artofthetitle.com/?s=gattaca

Existenz – http://watchthetitles.com/articles/0059-eXistenZ

Terminator Salvation – http://watchthetitles.com/articles/00135-Terminator_Salvation

I Robot – http://vimeo.com/17496357

War of the Worlds – http://vimeo.com/11014415

Moon –http://www.artofthetitle.com/?s=moon+title+sequence (scroll down)

Matrix

Alien

 

“SERIOUS” SCI-FI: VISUAL CODES AND TROPES

All of the following characteristics help viewers to locate these films within film culture as “high quality” or “serious” science fiction:

 

Codes:

Abstraction – textural or patterned, or graphic, often dark, but mostly amorphous, never fully clear.

Emergence out of parts, or dissolving transitions – fragments and unclear elements, creating a whole which is frequently no more revealing – still leaves a question mark. But a recognisable question mark such as the title of the film.

Intense evocation of mystery

Teasing lack of information yet showing elements of the diegesis, mostly these elements are relatively unrecognisable – we really don’t know what we’re looking at, or what it might actually mean until the titles are done – the tension of disorientation

Relatively monotone in colour – serious, ascetic, sophisticatedly pared back

Where music has been used: discordant, disconcerting, eery, suspenseful, epic, indeterminate soundtrack or serious sonorous thoughtful paced music (high proportion of orchestral pieces)

Allusions to universal notions, of unreality – which again ties in with the use of abstract composition and movement. These are perhaps references to possibilities of interior or profound meaning.

 

Tropes:

The future as an otherworldly, unknowable, mysterious place

The darkness underpinning utopia – all is not what it appears to be

Disorientation and complexity

Our known world of the present is less exciting but actually relatively comfortable

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