Description of My Piece

For my production piece, I have decided to film a TV opening for an imaginary horror based TV series called ‘Fall’. TV openings are a very important aspect to TV series, it has ‘to convey, in a very short amount of time, the mood of the show you’re about to watch, possibly introduce you to the characters, and set the tone for the next 30 to 60 minutes. But more than anything, it has to hook you.’ (Ingram, 2016). I will be following this guideline for my production piece. 

TV opening research: 

I decided that one of my first tasks should be to research some existing TV openings. One that I like in particular is the opening to one of my favourite TV series, ‘Vikings’, which although isn’t classed as a horror, and instead is a historical drama, ‘this 50-second sequence transports you not to a place, but a feeling. A feeling of impending doom that is somehow both tranquil and intimidating. It finds the beauty in danger and the acceptance of one’s fate’ (Film Supply, n.d.) – I too would like to portray a similar mood within my production piece and I am also very inspired by the desaturated colours and dark lighting on this opening as I feel it really adds an intriguing atmosphere. 

Vikings opening 

The majority of the opening footage is centred around one location which is the sea, which reflects the fact that ‘the Vikings are known for their many travels and raids, and as seen in the series, they spent a big part of their lives in the sea’. (Tyler, 2020). There are also lots of shots of waves crashing and women floating under the water, although they aren’t actually characters from the series, they are the daughters of Norse Goddess of the Sea, Rán who named her nine daughters after the waves, I feel that this is a big reflection to the fact that throughout the series Norse mythology featured quite prominently. Overall, I believe that the intro to Vikings paints a good picture of what is to be expected in the series and sets the dark scene for the rest of the TV show. I like how there is a big emphasis on the location, this is something which I would like to reflect in my work by featuring the woods in the majority of my piece. 

Game Of Thrones opening

Next, I had a look into the Game of Thrones opening, it is made using 3D models, and outlines the landscape to the world in which it is set. Despite the fact that I wont be using 3D models within my piece, I felt that this opening has a very interesting concept. The camera pans to different areas of importance on the map, where cogs turn, buildings arise and landscapes are revealed. this is to help the viewer get orientated with the world as it is quite extensive. ‘The title sequence is actually different depending on the episode, telling you each of the locations you will travel within the episode’ (Taylor, 2014), I feel like this keeps things very relevant and helps the viewer not to get too confused. Similar to the Vikings opening, Game of Thrones features the location of the series as a big factor.

The Twilight Zone opening

Since my TV series will be a horror, I also wanted to have a look into an opening to a horror TV series, and I decided to research ‘The Twilight Zone’s original TV opening which was from 1959. The opening is all done in black and white and the viewer is taken through a series of different graphics with a narration. There are lots of effects on this opening, which I thought was interesting considering it was made such a long ago, I would like to take some inspiration from the effects used, especially the particle effects, I think that they will really help to give my piece a supernatural feel. 

Overall, these TV show openings are all quite different, but all have something in common too which is the fact they all help to create atmosphere which is definitely what I would like to achieve in my production piece, particularly as this is a common feeling portrayed in the horror genre.  

The Horror Genre:

As ‘horror is a genre of storytelling intended to scare, shock and thrill its audience’ (Scott, n.d.) I will need to consider the ways in which I can portray this throughout my production piece – the viewer will need to feel slightly uneasy when watching it, but whilst still wanting to find out more. I am hoping for this to come across through the overall feel of my production piece as ‘the tone, the mood, the atmosphere of a story is something that’s essential for any genre of writing, but it is perhaps most important in the horror genre.’ (Booth, 2021). For my piece, this will mainly be achieved through the use of colours, lighting and audio. 

Colours: 

The use of colour within my piece will be a crucial aspect to the overall look and feel of my piece. ‘Color is a common tool used to manipulate audience’s emotions in all genres, especially horror’ (Navarro, 2019). As I would like for it to have a creepy feel, I think that having too much colour would take away from this atmosphere I would like to create. I’d like to take some inspiration from the Vikings opening theme as mentioned earlier, which has quite a monochromatic/limited colour palette which I feel is very effective. This type of colour scheme focuses ‘on a very restricted use of color for dramatic effect. When paired with another color theme it can be extra striking and engaging’ (Stewart, 2017). To achieve this I plan on altering most of the various colour settings during post production editing such as exposure, contrast, saturation, highlights, shadows, temperature and tint, but there will be more of a focus on the saturation and exposure. I then plan on incorporating some autumnal colours throughout the sequence to ensure that it isn’t too monochrome, this will most likely be achieved through adding warm toned colour tints. Since the tints I plan to add will be natural tones they shouldn’t appear too excessive and therefore will still fit in with the aesthetic that I am aiming for. 

Here’s an example of a monochromatic colour palette which I have chosen

Here’s an example of my autumn inspired warm-toned colour palette which I would like to incorporate into my piece to help create contrast

Lighting:

Low key lighting is a very common trope within the horror genre, it ‘creates tension due to its mysterious and dark atmosphere, controlling how much of the surroundings and characters are revealed. It sets the tone, mood and creates a dangerous association with enigma through the shadows and dull shades’ (Austin School of Film, 2019) I certainly intend to use low key lighting within my final sequence as this is definitely the type of mood I would like to create. Low lighting can be partially done by filming in low light, but as I will be filming outdoors, natural lighting and weather conditions will be a very large factor which I cannot control so I will most likely apply the low key lighting during post production, where within After Effects I should be able to manipulate it to the dramatic, dark level I am after but whilst still illuminating important aspects of the scene. 

Still from the TV show Vikings showing how low key lighting can still accentuate features

Still from a Game of Thrones episode which shows low lighting, desaturated colours and high contrast

A photo showing similar lighting and colours to what I am aiming for

Audio: 

The audio is also going to be very important for creating an eerie atmosphere, I would like to find or create an instrumental to go along to my footage, and maybe include some other sounds at relevant moments. I don’t think that I’d like to include a narration over the sequence like I saw in The Twilight Zone opening, as I feel like this may be slightly too distracting for the viewer because I would rather focus more on having lots of mysterious atmosphere within my opening.

Text and Credits:

Since I will be creating a TV opening, I will definitely be including some actor credits and an ending title screen which shows my shows name ‘Fall’, these will be shown throughout the footage and will be animated using some of the typography effects within After Effects. I will need to do some experiments with the various effects to see what I think would work the best within my piece.

References:

Ingram, K (2016) A brief history of TV shows’ opening credit sequences. Available online: https://theweek.com/articles/632836/brief-history-tv-shows-opening-credit-sequences [Accessed 12/10/21].

Film Supply (n.d.) The making of history channel’s vikings title sequence. Available online: https://blog.filmsupply.com/articles/the-making-of-history-channels-vikings-title-sequence/3/ [Accessed 12/10/21].

Tyler, A (2020) Vikings: who the women in the opening credits are (& what they mean). Available online: https://screenrant.com/vikings-show-opening-credits-women-meaning-explained/ [Accessed 12/10/21].

Taylor, C.A (2014) Inside HBO’s Game Of Thrones II: seasons 3 & 4. London: Hachette UK

Scott, J (n.d.) The horror genre explained. Available online: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-horror-definition/ [Accessed 13/10/21].

Booth, M (2021) The importance of atmosphere in horror. Available online: https://litreactor.com/columns/the-importance-of-atmosphere-in-horror [Accessed 13/10/21].

Navarro, M (2019) From ‘Suspiria’ to ‘Midsommar’: The psychology of color in horror. Available online: https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3567051/suspiria-midsommar-psychology-color-horror/ [Accessed 29/10/21].  

Stewart, D (2017) Color in video games: How to choose a palette. Available online: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/design/color-in-video-games-how-to-choose-a-palette [Accessed 24/11/21].

Austin School of Film (2019) How to make your film look cinematic on a budget. Available online: https://austinfilmschool.org/blog/how-to-make-your-film-look-more-cinematic-on-a-budget [Accessed 29/10/21].

Video References:

TV-Series-Opening Credits/Intro (2016) Vikings: Season 1 – Opening Credits/Intro [Video]. Available online: youtube.com/watch?v=WHjK88t79vw [Accessed 12/10/21].

GameofThrones (2011) Official Opening Credits: Game of Thrones (HBO) [Video]. Available online: youtube.com/watch?v=s7L2PVdrb_8 [Accessed 12/10/21].

justjeff53 (2013) The Twilight Zone ~ 1959 ~ Original Opening Title ~ UPA Animation [Video]. Available online: youtube.com/watch?v=5ymjp2uIBws [Accessed 12/10/21].

Image References:

ArcotRamathorne (2015) Who else watches this show? [Photo]. Available online: https://imgur.com/t/vikings/J3hmxrc [Accessed 13/10/21].

Cramer, M (2017) Into the woods [Photo]. Available online: https://unsplash.com/photos/D8GKSWLqeiA [Accessed 13/10/21].

This game of thrones (n.d.) The iron throne screencaps [Photo]. Available online: https://thisgameofthrones.com/the-iron-throne-screencaps/9rsob2ormsk70o6drbhbn1s0zuu7y3 [Accessed 13/10/21].

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