Title Sequences: An artform within filmmaking

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Certain title sequences have become so synonymous with their films/shows that they are the iconic image associated with the show.  In current film/TV, this is most notable with the show Mad Men–everyone immediately thinks of the silhouette with Don Draper on the couch.

PBS has been creating a web series about artforms, and their production about title sequences got me to thinking about how we use them in wedding filmmaking.

Here’s a clip, and I’ll follow up with some of my thoughts afterward:

“the movie can’t exist without the title sequence and vice versa.” 

After hearing this, I had to ask myself how I was applying the principals and purpose of a title sequence to my own filmmaking, and it made me wonder how other filmmakers in the event industry might answer this question, too. If title sequences are so vital to setting the tone of a film for the audience, how is that being played out in the editing of wedding films?

I know that few wedding companies have the time and energy to devote to creating a “hollywood style” title sequence, and while that is an established tradition in the cinematic theater, it doesn’t necessarily blend well with the tone of what we are creating in wedding films.  Why would the bride and groom care to know the name of a gear assistant from the day of the shoot in the “credits” of their wedding film?  And it is highly unlikely that they will forget the names of their friends who participate.  In contrast, the needs of our workflow are different–we don’t want to misspell names of the wedding party in a title sequence, because that would result in the re-rendering and exporting of the video, thus slowing down our turn-around times overall.   Thus, the wedding industry has established the use of a limited and specific set of titles at the open of a film to give a sense of place and allow unfamiliar viewers to understand what will be unfolding within the video.  So, whether you have a highly stylized sequence or you’re just using interesting graphics to introduce your film, your first 30 seconds establishes a lot about the tone of the piece, and  that is truly what a title sequence does in hollywood films, too.

I wanted to highlight a few films where I’d seen interesting titles used:

Sarah from Pen Weddings used titles to describe the qualities of her clients in this particular opening sequence.  I like that she used freeze frames for the background of the titles–it gives the film a fresh, edgy, and upbeat personality.  The title sequence lets you know that this couple will be different onscreen than most brides and grooms.  It kind of breaks the third wall and lets you know that the couple is very aware of the camera’s existence– and that they will probably ham it up for the camera throughout the film.  It’s a lovely way to introduce this film to the viewer.

Elizabeth from Copper Penny Films creates personalized graphics for many of her client’s films–she feels that it adds to the personality of their events.  The couple in the film clip below attended TCU, and the font she selected for their graphics has both the form and nostalgia of their college alma mater.

MORE INSPIRATION? You have more clips, you say? Yes, yes I do. This recent VIMEO staff pick isn’t a wedding film, but I absolutely love the 30 second graphic intro.  It sets the tone, place, and editing style for the video, and I truly think that eventually we could see someone with this  aesthetic sensibility and graphic talent bringing this kind of work into weddings, and having brides and grooms love it:

If you have any more great examples of titles or interesting graphic work being used to open a wedding film, please share it here in the comments below!

 

 

 

Kourtney AmeliaTitle Sequences: An artform within filmmaking