The Visual Language of Cinema

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In the 1950s, the movie and broadcast design industries incorporated traditional graphic design with the dynamic visual language of cinema. Today, the creation of film titles and television graphics are mainly created by motion graphic designers. The first pictures that the viewer experiences is a film’s opening titles. Opening titles have grown as a style of experimental filmmaking in motion pictures, since the 1950’s. In films, the opening credits make the context of a film and establish assumptions about its tone and atmosphere. One of the first designers to use the storytelling power of the opening and closing credits of a film, is Saul Bass. He used a variety of styles to design credits for films as distinct as Casino (1995) and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), including animation, live action and type treatments. Saul Bass created opening credit sequences that did not just simply show the credits and open the film, but the sequences were considered short films in themselves that prepared the viewer, for what was to happen. “We love doing titles. We do them in a nice, obsessive way—we futz with them until we’re happy and do things that nobody else will notice but us . . . There’s a Yiddish word for it, ‘meshugas,’ which is ‘craziness.’ I admire obsessiveness in others.”- Saul Bass (Krasner, 2013: 20) One of the iconic film sequences created by Bass is Psycho (1960). Even though this title sequence looks vividly simple, the coordination of image and sound is very strong and impressive. On a solid grey background, flat black lines enter the screen from the right hand side, which created a structured pattern and bringing with them uniform sections of cut up type. With a delicate play on foreground/background visual... ... middle of paper ... way to the mountainside fading into a sunrise. Figure 3. The classic James Bond Barrel Sequence To conclude, title sequences to any film is extremely important as it gives you the first glimpse of what is to come and sets the tone and atmosphere of the film, Many elements are included in title sequences which help show the narrative and genre of the film like text, sound and animation. The 3 examples I have used within this essay all have strong title sequences that have made them rememberable, but have also became iconic to other film sequences. Works Cited Krasner, Jon. Motion Graphic Design, Taylor and Francis, 2013 Byrne, Bill; Braha, Yael, Creative Motion Graphic Titling : Titling with Motion Graphics for Film, Video, and the Web, Taylor and Francis, 2012 Rebello, Stephen, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho; New York: St Martin's Griffin, 1998

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