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Thread: The Art of Movie Titles

  1. #1

    Default The Art of Movie Titles

    A point came up in another thread about tiles and the lack of useful information about how to make your titles look right for your movie. So I thought I'd start a thread about this subject and hope there will be some good contributions from those who have more experience than me.

    I come from a printing and design background so I have some rudimentary knowledge about type faces (fonts) but when it comes to applying that to a movie title I am a bit lost.

    A basic no, no when choosing fonts in graphic design is not to mix serif and sans serif fonts together unless you want to create a disturbing feeling in the viewer.

    Example Serif fonts are Times, Palatino, Linotype, Georgia as you can see a serif is the little flick at the end of the letter stroke.

    Examples of Sans (without) serif Arial, Century Gothic, Impact as you can see these don't have a flick on the end of the letter.

    Another type of font is "Script" which as I'm sure you know is kind of like hand writing often used to impart elegance or quality.

    This just scratches the surface of this subject and I'm sure you're already bored reading so far, so let's move on.

    The artistic element of titles is about having the right look or feel for the subject of the movie. So, choosing the right font is important as it's often the first thing you see in the movie. It would not be right to have some sort of funky modern font flying around the screen for an historical drama. The aspect of choosing the font is down to personal taste along with choosing the right colour, moving or still etc.

    I offer this as a start to the discussion of the art of movie titles.

    Over to you.

  2. #2
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    I've commented on this topic aswell in recent posts and how important the opening title sequence and closing title sequence are at both the start and end of a film. As films cannot be previewed or advertised on here and elsewhere in the same way a movie at a cinema can, the job of pushing it comes when we see the acutal finished product online.

    I look at the title sequence as the wrapping paper that contains the film and therefore should look good. Selection of typeface when doing titles for the likes of Youtube is slightly more limited than for the print media as fonts with small strokes can disappear if used at a small size. Style and colour are important as they provide links to the content on the film and instills the viewer with a sense of what is to come.

    The title sequence shouldn't start at the first frame of the film as it has a very jarring effect and you will tend to miss it, instead it should be left for a few seconds and either cut in or faded in, again depending on what type of film you are making. Personally I think scrolling, flying and most of those animated title sequences look terrible in the same way using multiple transitions in the film are.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikosony View Post
    The title sequence shouldn't start at the first frame of the film as it has a very jarring effect and you will tend to miss it, instead it should be left for a few seconds and either cut in or faded in, again depending on what type of film you are making. Personally I think scrolling, flying and most of those animated title sequences look terrible in the same way using multiple transitions in the film are.
    This is a very good tip which I will certainly use in my future movies.

    I've found a web page full of screen shots of Movie Titles throughout the years. I thought might be interesting for this topic. CLICK HERE to view the site. I found it interesting how they use to be in the 1920's-1940's then changed in the 1950's they seemed to change and have remained similar in style to this day.

  4. #4
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    Fantastic find! Very useful for my club night on titling.
    Based on my brief browse so far one interesting fact I've noticed is how many of the recent films are simple white on black, something my co-host for the evening (whose background, like yours, is in print) strongly recommends.
    Tim

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Fantastic find! Very useful for my club night on titling.
    Based on my brief browse so far one interesting fact I've noticed is how many of the recent films are simple white on black, something my co-host for the evening (whose background, like yours, is in print) strongly recommends.
    I was watching an interview with a pro who was saying sometimes a plain title works best, he gave the example of one of my favourite movies Blade Runner, which has simple small text on a black background which helps the impact of the fantastic opening long shot of the cityscape.

    There are other notable examples of more elaborate opening titles such a the Pink Panther movies which is almost a short movie cartoon before the main movie. However we are talking about feature length movies which I don't think many of use will be making. So we are limited to maybe 10 to 15 seconds for a short movie.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for starting this thread it could turn out to be a little gem of information. That link to the movie title stills collection is terrific. I cant add any tips of my own at the moment as I am somewhat title challenged

  7. #7

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    "somewhat title challenged" very funny.

    Another important part of titles, possibly the most important part is the actual name of the movie. I have always thought of silly puns etc. when naming my movies, as they are just family fun home movies.

    Example: I was filming my daughter, when she was about 18 months old, while she was eating. There was one particularly large amount of food on the spoon, as I watching her I was thinking it's never going to fit in to her little mouth BUT somehow it did. I thought it was an odyssey. So I called the movie "2003 a Food Odyssey" and used music from the Kubrick classic to add to the flavour of the video.

    I have always thought the name of a movie, if it is factual, should state clearly say what the movie is about. BUT I suppose this is a very subjective thing. I don't think it should be to long. eg "How to put a square pin in a round hole using a big hammer." could be reduced to "Square pins in round holes".

    When it comes to short indie movies anything goes.

    I think a music video should be titled the name of the song and the name of the band.

    These are just my opinions, I hope to hear yours.

    I'm hear to learn.

  8. #8
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    Well I am currently touring with my little caravan, just me and the wife. I have been taking the usual holiday video of places we have been to and have started to consider how I am goint to put it all together.

    I have resolved to only use the absolute best clips so my film will consist of several fairly short sections of different places. These are going to need clear titles to make sense of where we are so I guess I am just going to use lower thirds to convey this. It would be nice to improve on my previous efforts, but then again the barrier is not very high

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimpfarmer View Post
    It would be nice to improve on my previous efforts, but then again the barrier is not very high
    I thought the Brighton thing was well shot. Now theres another use of titles the in between ones I was forgetting about them. They can make or break a movie as they are over the important bit, the movie it's self.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    "How to put a square pin in a round hole using a big hammer." could be reduced to "Square pins in round holes".
    Surely "Big Hammer" would be snappier and more attention grabbing
    Tim

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