Film Title Sequence – Evaluation

The composited footage of both the original film and the student protests has resulted in a pleasing beginning to the sequence.  Care had to be taken not to overcomplicate the animation of the text so that the splatters and their connotative meanings would take the limelight, giving a sense of what is to follow in the film.

The preliminary concept had been changed slightly from that set out in the proposal.  Originally a hectic atmosphere had been the intended effect however when it came to trying out different audio tracks ‘Like A Drug’ seemed to fit the best with the visual and also gave a feeling of a calm high, which was soon to become much more intense for the characters.

The film title sequence could have been improved if certain elements of sound could have edited more effectively.  There is almost no diegetic sound in parts of the sequence which are taken from the film itself, which makes it less realistic than had been hoped.  It is         thought that the piece would be significantly better if the original diegetic sound and non-diegetic sound could have been separated and then layered in when appropriate.  This had to be accepted with the change of soundtrack, that in itself was thought to be a good song choice.  One of the downfalls of the track was the content of the lyrics which did not directly reflect the visual (comparing love to a drug, rather than singing about going crazy, partying etc).  It is thought that if an instrumental track were available then this would have been more effective.  Having to try and use as little of the part of the track with words may have hindered the beginning of the sequence slightly.  The fact that the sequence starts with the track already halfway through, may make it seem confusing.  The melody of the track was thought to be so fitting that it was kept instead of switching for another selection.  The track itself is contemporary but has the feel of an older production.  This is why it was selected, as it would correlate with the modern protest footage and give the film a slightly different edge to that implied by bands typically associated with recreational drug use and psychedelia.  The song choice is also thought to compliment the pace of the sequence and looks and sounds especially pleasing when the film’s title appears.

The blur effect was used on the text to convey an inebriated viewpoint, which is thought to be fairly effective, however if possible a more liquified or squiggly effect would have been used to express a more hallucinogenic visual.   It also would have complimented the splatters, so that the two could have appeared as part of the same liquid.  When playing around with the available effects, the blur was the best option and could be identified as a smokey effect which relates to the spliff Dr Gonzo (Johnny Depp) smokes later on in the car.

In the storyboard it had been planned to incorporate the actors names into the text that appeared during the part where the boot of the car is opened.  It was felt best to leave it out to avoid overcrowding of the screen and as it does not appear in the actual film it would seem to be an unnecessary inclusion.

Overall, it can be said that the title sequence has complied fairly well with its specification in that it was not set out to completely recreate the original sequence, but to bring it into the here and now and rearrange the order of the first scene to introduce the characters and their activities immediately.  The target audience remains just as appropriate as it was designed.

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film title sequence – sound and alterations

The sound had to be edited in order to fit in with the dialogue of the drug suitcase speech.  I could not use the actual sound from the film, as the dialogue, diegetic sound and original background music were inseparable.  An mp3 clip of the speech and the track ‘Like A Drug’ mentioned previously, are the only two audio files to be used.  This is not ideal seeing as the realism of the film is hindered to some extent when you cant hear the car boot open or close or hear the character swatting imaginary bats etc.

The mp3 clip of the speech also has some other sound attatched to it before it begins and after it finishes.  Some of this cannot be completely faded out without losing some of the dialogue.  This is not ideal, but was the best i could find.

I have also changed the point at which the music track ‘Like A Drug’ comes in at the beginning of the sequence (from 0.00 to 1.10).  This is because the words in the song are not complementary to the sequence itself, but the sound and feel of the music is.  There is a point in the song where there are no words being sung and it goes on for sufficient time so that Johnny Depp’s dialogue is not interrupted either.  The music has been faded in so it does not appear too abrupt a way to start the piece.  Again this is not ideal but an instrumental version of the track, that wasn’t a live version, was unobtainable.

I have spent the last week tweeking the last few parts of the sequence and have changed a few elements, as they did not come out as well as i had hoped.  Instead of having the text (on the protest footage) on paths i decided to just have them appear with the splatter.  The paths looked inconsistent, so instead i applied a direction blur to the white text, to give a smokey look.  I had played around with other effects but this seemed to look the best (and also relative to the theme of intoxication).  I also elongated the ending (in response to the track time change) so now the last words heard from the song will be ‘your love is like a drug’ before it fades out.  It is a more appropriate time rhythmically to end the music and also compliments Benicio Del Toro’s character turning the radio dial.

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Film title sequence – Audio

As well as changing the dialogue around, the intention was to change the soundtrack during the protest scenes and the car scenes.  This was to be done to compliment the content and direction of the film and to accommodate the modern topics touched on in the protest footage.  Music from bands associated with the psychedelic 60s, drug use and rock and roll lifestyles had been researched – The Yardbirds, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Cream.  It just seemed a bit inconsistent to have such recent content put in the sequence but to have music from a previous generation just because it holds connotations of recreational drug taking.

I found a track by Queens of the Stone Age called ‘Like A Drug’ which seems to suit the piece quite well, produced in 2005 it feels modern enough (with an almost old-fashioned sound) to reflect the look and feel i am aiming for.  A YouTube clip of the song can be seen/heard here:

It can even be used over most of the piece, as the atmospheric tones work well to compliment the forboding elements seen in the protest footage and the more drug induced elements seen in the remainder of the film clips used.  In the proposal a more hectic atmosphere was wanting to be conveyed through use of sound in the car shots.  Now, after playing around with many music tracks, this one seems to suit best.  It suggests the feeling of a chilled, hazy intoxication, once the boot is closed and the car sets off.  The scenes showing the hallucinations and delusions of the two stock characters would follow after the title sequence, so beginning the film on a calmer note, could prompt the more chaotic activities to follow (directing the path from semi-sobriety to complete madness through inebriation).

References:

Md2a (2007) Like A Drug – Queens of the Stone Age [online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YW2G6Z2bMQ (Accessed: 6 January 2011)

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Film Title Sequence – production

Whilst putting the student protest footage into the title sequence, it was noticed that the red splatter, being used to compliment the introductory text, could be composited onto the student footage using a colour key.  Given the look of the piece, using the splatter and text in this way looked much more effective than what was intended in the storyboard.

Another problem faced was removing the Dr Johnson quote (‘He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man’) from the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas title footage.  The quote is to be used as seen in the storyboard, before the suitcase dialogue.  In the original the text appears behind the text as it drip off screen:

A colour key was again used to try and remove all the white text.  The colour key alone did not remove all the white without distorting the text i wanted to keep. Using a mask with a path enabled the white dots to be blocked out and keep the definition in the Fear and Loathing text.

The suitcase scene from the film contains dialogue that i want to begin the film with.  Using this scene at the beginning means moving around the audio to fit the visual.  The end of the dialogue, seen below, occurs with the shot of the car pulling away, in the original film.  In my title sequence the scene is cut up so that the end of the speech (‘the tendency is to push it as far as you can’) is spoken with a blank black background.  An mp3 file was created using the audio from this youtube clip:

Raoul Duke: “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get into locked a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can” (imdb.com, 2010)

References:

HAPPYSMOKES (2007) fear and loathing Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWdKWr6_N9A (Accessed 6 January 2011)

Imdb.com (2011) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Memorable quotes. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120669/quotes (Accessed: 6 January 2011)

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Film Title Sequence – Proposal

The aim of this project is to recreate the title sequence of the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Gilliam, 1998).  The target audience would be people over the age of 18, given the certificate of the film, and any fans of the film, genre, director or otherwise.  In an attempt to stay close to the subject matter of the film and to accommodate the audience, footage from the film will be used, but the order of the narrative of the first scene will be altered.  This film was chosen as it is a personal favourite, along with much more of Terry Gilliam’s work, so being a part of the audience myself i hope to do it justice.

I will be using Adobe After Effects CS3 to introduce text into the piece and to rearrange the narrative sequence.  I will be using a loose format of the original title sequence but changing it somewhat to include more contemporary social events.  I will be using footage from the recent student protests in London (found on Youtube), which will replace the Vietnam war protests in America, seen in the film’s title sequence.   This has been done as an attempt to set the time of the film in the present, and a visual suggestion that some things do not change i.e. human rebellion, protest and social conflict:

The order of the sequence will be switched around so that the suitcase speech, narrated by Johnny Depp, establishing the characters and their drug collection, will act as the introduction.  It is hoped this will introduce the audience to the characters as humerous drug fiends on the road about to take part in hallucinogenic adventure.

At present I am considering changing the soundtrack from the original ‘favourite things’.  The use of this track in my opinion gives a foreboding connotation, whereas I am wanting to convey a more hectic atmosphere, giving a sense of the madness that is due to follow.  I also want to use a more fast paced soundtrack when the car pulls away after the boot closes.

As the main reason i selected Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was for the Ralph Steadman artwork, i want to change some of the font used in the original so that there is a steady theme.  Whilst searching online i found a font called ‘Collateral Damage’ designed by Chris Hunt, which was based on Steadman’s work in hand drawn ink.  By downloading this and placing into Fontbook, i will be able to use it in the project.  The font is all in upper case letters, which is not ideal, but given the distorted effect of the font, lower case letters may prove difficult to read anyway.

http://www.urbanfonts.com/fonts/CollateralDamage.htm

Here is a storyboard of the planned project.  Alterations may be made as the process continues.
References:
Chris Hunt/Schmopyright (2010) Collateral Damage. [online image] Available at: http://www.urbanfonts.com/fonts/CollateralDamage.htm
(Accessed: 9 December 2010)
London Riot: Tory HQ smashed by British students (2010) Russia Today, 10 November. [online] Available at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmudJafnQh0 (Accessed: 9 December 2010)
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Film title sequence – production journal

For my third project i will be making a title sequence for a selected film.  Whilst researching film title sequences i found a varied collection and it was difficult to narrow down which one to choose.

After watching many film sequences, i narrowed my choice down to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Gilliam, 1998).  This film was chosen as it has great use of typography.  The font used was created by Ralph Steadman, an illustrator and friend of Hunter S. Thompson, the author of the book on which the film is based.  The letters are based on original ink drawings but have been animated to appear in liquid form in the film’s title sequence.

References:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) Directed by Terry Gilliam [DVD] London: Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd.

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TV ident – Evaluation

It is thought that the specifications set out in the proposal, for the majority have been met.  The audio was always meant to be the driving force of the ident and this is thought to be one of the strongest elements conveyed.  The choice of music was paramount in order to achieve attention from the selected target audience and was considered very carefully in order to result in the best visual waveform and correspond to current music trends in popular culture.  The colours were also chosen with care to express the vibrant music scene chosen to be reflected, almost neon and retro in colour to relate with contemporary club/youth culture, fashion and activity.

One element of the piece that is seen to be particularly effective is the ‘music television’ text at the end.  Again, as the music was meant to be the catalyst for movement of the images, it seemed very fitting that the text below the M should appear in synchronization with the sound.  The font turned out to connect visually with the logo very well, sticking roughly to the usual MTV format but with a less refined appearance, which again linked to the raucous and boisterous nature of the music track.  It is hoped that using such elements does not exclude the stereotypical female members of the MTV audience, but being female myself and asking others for their opinions, it did not seem to matter as long as there was an appreciation for the genre.

The MTV logo was seen to be too iconic to alter the shape, given its many different appearances throughout the years without much deviation from the original design.  The purpose of the ident was to show the identity of the channel, but has achieved this through playing on the musical content and its connotations rather than cartoons, jokes or radical change of the universally renowned logo.  In this way the brand is still as strong as ever but has been changed somewhat to appeal to a current trend in mainstream dance music.

From user feedback it has been said that the ident may be more suitable for one of the sub-channels of the MTV network that are specifically targeting an audience interested in dance music.  It was originally thought that as dubstep is just breaking into the mass music market, it would be a fresh approach to marketing the music channel.

If changes were to be made to the ident, it is thought that it could be improved by adding an effect to the purple and green waveforms that would give more of a laser beam image.  This is thought to further express the relationship between the type of music used and the modern London club scene (which was an influence of the concept) given the vast use of lasers and dancefloor lighting.

The ident was produced with the young target audience specifically in mind.  The music used is full of bass and thick electronic sounds and due to this it was designed to be quite ballsy and bright.  In this way it is thought to appeal to the specific demographic and also to identify MTV as a youthful, contemporary channel, in touch with certain cultural styles and trends relative to popular music.

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TV ident – text

After compiling all the elements of the ident together, it was noticed that the ‘music television’ text was not all that correlative.  Using the opacity and position keyframes to animate the text just did not seem good enough.  It was thought that it would look good if the text could be animated as another audio waveform.  I created a new white digital waveform (that which would look best with the text) and blended the two using the alpha stencil tool.  I also created a new text layer on  top of it and changed the opacity so the text becomes more legible towards the end.  This is the result:

 

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TV ident – screen shots and alterations

Here are some screen shots of the ident to give some idea of how it looks.

The length of the ident had to be changed to seventeen seconds in order to fit the best selection of the music track with a beginning and end that did not sound out of time or odd.  It is felt that the ident could be improved by both further animating the images to match the sound and at the same time to make the ‘Music Television’  more readable by removing the extra waveforms coming out of the M when the particular sound that prompts their appearance stops.

It may also be more effective to shake the M itself when the same sound occurs, to make it more impactive.  After researching how to create such an effect, it was found that a camera shake could be used, however in reality it did not look as good as was intended.  Instead to ensure it was just the M that moved, i just played around with the position keyframes and moved the M slightly each time.  I wanted the M to look as if it was an inanimate object on top of a very powerful speaker, shaking around in random directions.  The original waveforms had to be moved around so that they still appeared as if they were being generated by the M, but this was easily done.  This proved to look how i had imagined and corresponds to the audio very well.

I also lengthened the time it takes the audio to fade in.  I wanted to keep the part of the song i had chosen because it has present the two genres of older house music and dubstep, but it had to be faded in slower to ensure it could accommodate its intended ident format and so it was appropriately made to slot inbetween programmes.

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TV ident – production of logo and text

The MTV logo, image seen in the proposal, has been edited in Photoshop so that the ‘tv’ part and the ‘music television’ text has been taken out.  The colours of bright green and purple have been used instead of the previous white lines as they are fairly unisex and are bright enough to grab viewer attention.

The T and the V will be put in later, fitting to the music.  They have been separated into objects and are shown here in black, although in the ident they appear white.

I also found a free downloadable font on the internet that would suit the text ‘Music Television’ which will appear right at the end.  It is called Dirty Play, seen below:

The text will appear in white along with the T and the V.  The presence of too many bright colours may confuse or overexcite the ident.  I want the image to be reflective of youth in the colours but not to overdo it and let the audio propell the visual.  As found from the other projects, white text can be the most effective, most visually understandable and believable.

References:

Anthony Robinson (2011) Dirty Play. [online image] Available at: http://www.dafont.com/dirty-play.font (Accessed: 20 January 2011)

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