Sunday, 6 March 2011

Thriller Openings

There are 3 main types of title sequences used in thriller movies.

The first is a narrative opening. This type of opening features the actual start of the storyline/plot with the titles edited over the footage. An example of this can be seen in the opening of ‘The Stepfather’ (2009)

The narrative begins straight away, with the titles are incorporated into the screen in different positions each time, and so well placed that they are easily readable but not always noticeable, as your attention is drawn to the main character and his actions.
The second type of opening is known as a discrete title sequence, which is separate from the actual narrative of the film, but related somehow. A good example of this is seen in ‘Se7en’ (1995), which features its own separate music to the main part of the film, and uses extreme close ups throughout. This type of sequence relies a lot more on the technical aspects of editing and sound to be successful rather than the actual footage. I imagine it would be relatively easy to film, but extremely hard and time consuming to edit!

The third type of opening features the titles over a blank screen, followed by the start of the narrative. These openings nearly always feature music that relates to the film, and sets the tone and mood of the film before the narrative begins. This is shown in the opening of ‘What Lies Beneath’ (2000).
As the titles are shown, slow, ominous music plays in the background, creating a tense atmosphere, which lasts until the start of the narrative, ending with the shock of the face in the water.
Other types of title sequences also exist, which feature different technical aspects and styles, such as the sylized editing seen at the opening of ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’. This title sequence uses very creating editing to incorporate the titles into the mise en scene. The titles are animated to look like trains, which feature heavily in the film.

When we make our thriller, my preference of what type of opening we make is a narrative opening, as this type of opening showcases both editing and camera skills, not just one or the other. Also, I think this type of opening is more easy to create successfully as we will have a clear storyline that we will be able to show and make the audience understand what is going on by editing the different shots together well.

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