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October 2017

How to Make a Great Title Sequence

By Chris Baker

With title sequences increasingly recognised as an art form in their own right, and certainly appreciated as an important element of every modern TV programme, more and more customers are asking us how they can make a great title sequence. While few can afford productions on the scale of Game of Thrones, some of the most memorable title sequences have been relatively simple – think Twin Peaks, The Sopranos and The Americans. Here are some thoughts on how anyone can improve their title sequence.

First, great title sequences don’t just happen, they should be part of your production plan with enough time, resource and budget allocated to do a good job. Talking to titles specialists early in the process can help. It’s really important to know what you want your title sequence to achieve: whether you are pumping up the audience for a Saturday night entertainment show or engaging their interest for a new drama series, every title sequence should have a clearly defined purpose.

"Great title sequences don’t just happen, they should be part of your production plan with enough time, resource and budget allocated to do a good job."

There are four main options for creating title sequences. First, shooting new footage gives you complete control to create exactly what you want. This doesn’t have to be expensive: Twin Peaks only used nine simple shots. The most common option is re-editing show footage as it’s more economical and much can be done in post production to freshen it up. Using archive material is very popular, and you only have to think of True Blood or The Americans to appreciate how some great editing can turn these into real works of art. Finally, CG is often perceived as the most expensive route but it doesn’t have to be a Game of Thrones spectacular! With complete control and limitless possibilities CG is well worth investigating if you want to make a standout title sequence.

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