Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Music in opening sequences

Music is used in films for a variety of reasons. However in the opening titles, it is used differently, to create atmosphere and set the general tone of the film. Here are some reasons why it is good to use music in an opening sequence:
  1. As previously mentioned, in can set the atmosphere. If watching a horror, it creates immediate tension and sets the tone of the film, which can lead up to a climax. Music generally differs from genre to genre, so in a action film it would be more upbeat to match what is going on in the scene, however a drama would have more emotional music to reach out to the audience.
  2. It also can be used to create an idea of what the film is going to be about, or what the concepts of the film are going to be. For example, within the majority of the James Bond films, the music matches the on screen images to develop an idea of what the film may be based around.
  3. Finally, it helps to also intensify the mood and establish the types of aspects  within the film; in turn this may draw the audience in and create the idea that through music, the film is going to be enjoyable

Friday, 25 October 2013

Film Opening: Part 3

Se7en (1995)


The introduction of the film portrays a variety of different pieces of work, in which an assumed criminal/murderer is seen to be completing their "project." There is a Plain white text set against the discoloured and almost grainy background, thus enabling the audience to see first what companies produced the film, before continuing on to show the main characters in it; done on purpose to connote their importance. The text itself however is rather shaky, unstable and distorted in a way that makes you as the viewer fell distressed and unhinged, so forth creating a sense that this film is going to be of a similar nature, that of distress. Similarly, the music adds to the tension because the first sound to be heard is that of thunder and lightening (instantly connoting a sense of danger;) a key weather element in horror/thriller films to set the atmosphere, carried out equivalently in order to illustrate that this film is going to be dark and ominous throughout. However, the editing is also used effectively, to skip between names of the cast/crew and the development of the work in the background; the constant reference back to this illustrates a good narrative. Such components like cross cutting and fade outs give relevance to the story and make it seem like it is developing through the opening scenes, giving the audience an idea of what the film might be about. Furthermore, the eerie, unnatural, anamorphic music develops throughout this intro in such a way that it seems the noises in the background have a narration themselves as they seem to get worse and more menacing. Added for effect is also the shot types, which are mainly close ups, enabling the viewer to get a clear subject on the essence of the mystery character's work, again elevating the story. Finally there is a mix of colours ranging from mainly black and whites, to the more sinister red which develops the conventional horror themes within the opening sequence.


Although the shots of this mystery character are used to develop the story, there is no mention of him/her and a reason behind why they are doing the task that is carried out. There is not really a development with the scenes because it is all focused on one main room; to progress further a thriller would normally contain scenes of the murder itself being carried out, which helps create an un nerving and unsettling mood thus adding to the tension and atmosphere created at the beginning and therefore foreseeing the film to be first class. Again the use of the texts effects are great to create an enfeebling atmosphere, however at most occurrences it isn't clear enough, and if used correctly to rank the importance of the cast/crew within the film, wouldn't give the same effect towards the audience in contrast to if it was clear. Conclusively, the colour had the same effect in the sense that it is rather bland and distasteful; there is no changes to make it stand out. Despite being used effectively in the thriller genre, there is a lack of symbolic colours such as red to catch the audience's eye, hence adding to the previously mentioned proposed and potential tension.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Film Opening: Part 2

Dredd (2012)


The opening of the film depicts an old movie countdown, relative to the 50s, which could possibly refer to the previous film, "Judge Dredd" therefore massing a larger audience due to it being pre sold through the old film, and other distributed merchandise e.g. comics. After this point, bold, red text is displayed on a black background, which can easily be seen (stands out) thus connoting the companies' importance in the development of the film, and immediately makes its self present. There is also a non diegetic voice over shots of a wasteland which adds to the narration of the story, as it progresses, enabling the audience to understand further without any confusion. As previously mentioned, the images illustrated of this "wasteland" are that of detail and relevance to what the character is saying, before zooming on the deserted city is used. In addition, there is a wide shot depicted at the beginning again to reinforce the storyline and create tension as the camera slowly reveals more. subsequently, a space ship is seen to fly past one of the tall, superior buildings, adding a touch of sci-fi and so creating a sense that this film is going to be action based /futuristic. There is also cross cutting used between scenes after shots of the assumed main character gets "suited up" are seen which adds mystery and an impression that he has authority over others due to his items of clothing and sturdy weapon. Before the title itself Is shown, a pan of the setting is used to afresh the image of the city and a tall, distinguished building proceeding to exert further tension upon the audience. The final strength of this opening is the attractive, resolute but sudden title, which has a 3d effect and make itself well known to the audience; a dramatic start to the film.


The first immediate impression of this film, isn't what is expected due to the image of an old movie countdown, which doesn't really set the tone, instead of jumping straight into titles. Due to this people may be put off the film, and rather think of it as tedious. The opening titles however seem to sway away from  the action genre, alternately it seems more of a horror convention to have these bold red titles against a matt black background, thus confusing the audience and maybe leading them onto to something different; a false impression. The first image of the film, is more colourless and boring, preferably not enticing the audience but instead veering them away. The shot of the distant city isn't really clear enough; the landscape seems too distant even when it is zoomed in. Furthermore, the voice speaking in monotone in the background is that which is monotonous, emotionless and almost drone like (robotic,) however the worst feature is that there is no mention of the character as to who he is, or what he does; rather the assumed aspect of his role in the film.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Film Opening: Part 1

Day of the Dead (1985)


The very instant the film begins, an image of a claustrophobic room is shown, connoting a sense of tension and enclosed fear, immediately setting a rather uncomfortable atmosphere. The music is also quite foreboding and sets nicely with the scene; it is quite dramatic and is used in order to give a sense of importance to the shot. In addition, there is a bold piece of  white text labelling the companies who made the film, therefore making the audience aware of their presence as they too are paramount. A variety of camera shots ranging from shot reverse shots of the female character to the calendar and close ups are also used to show facial expressions and relevance to the object she is looking at. After an admirable use of pieces of  props (and maybe some editing) in which hands are seen to be grasping the character (again referring back to the tension raised) intercutting is used to move onto a next scene where the previous one seems to be unreal/ a dream. Beyond this point dialogue is the main focus, which is almost dramatic, before more text appears on screen. Following this a pan of the helicopter in the sky and a birds eye view of the city is shown, so that the audience can gather information as to the whereabouts of the character, thus adding to the narrative of the story and developing it so it makes more sense.


Although the opening credits are bold and stand out, they still seem to be elusive in contrast to the overwhelming grey background. Instead the colour could be red, connoting danger and making it more conventional to a horror film and clearer. Furthermore, the fact that the film starts off in a mildly bland, grey room suggests that the film isn't going to be very good; connotations of the colour symbolise neutrality and is quite dull/boring thus suggesting the film is going to be of a similar nature. There are also a repetitive state of shot revers shots from the facial expression of the woman to the calendar, when there isn't an explained meaning behind why she is looking at it; the audience have to guess its significance. The general pace of it is quite slow and monotonous, surplus to the unnecessary change in music reverting it too a less foreboding/ominous atmosphere. However, the worst feature about the opening title is that it does not mention the name of the film itself, hence again having the viewer guess.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

What is the purpose of a good opening sequence?

 An opening sequence generally deters what type of film it is going to be; immediately setting the tone, atmosphere and mood. It is used to give an insight as to the conventions that may be incorporated within the movie, will be, but also most importantly, in order to establish a storyline/narrative. Without these, audiences would be confused and have no idea of when, why or even what the film is about giving them the instant response to walk away. The industries of films need to maintain an almost persuasive opening sequence in order for the viewer to stick to what he/she is watching, and make it seem the duration of the film is similar to the quality as of the opening sequence. To entice the audience, micro aspects such as Mise-en-scene (setting, props, lighting etc.), cinematography, sound and editing need to used at a good enough standard so that the beginning seems very convincing; the movie is satisfying enough so that more people go to watch it, thus raising its views and enabling a potential sequel (depending on its popularity.)