Titling your movie involves more than conveying information to your audience. The opening credit sequence should be an integral aspect of the film as a whole. Good titling sequences immediately spark interest in the story to come. While studios used to outsource title sequences of films to graphic design legends such as Saul Bass, anybody today with the right software and aesthetics can create stunning titles for a film.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Titling software
- List of opening credits
- List of end credits
- Drawing materials and canvas (optional)
- Video Camera (optional)
Make a list of opening titles, such as the picture name, director, actors, editor, as well as other cast and crew who deserve major credit for the production. At the same time, keep your list as brief as possible. While it may amuse the cast and crew to see their names on screen, it will bore your audience. For details about everyone who helped make the film, save the complete list for the end credits.
Obtain the needed tools. Titling for films may be executed with different tools for different looks. If you want a primitive, organic style, draw your own title cards on paper and shoot them with a video camera. Paint, canvas and a video camera will do the trick. If you want a fancier look, graphic design tools such as Photoshop or After Effects will be required. Also, many editing applications such as Final Cut Pro have titling modules.
Learn your tools. Titling may look easy but kerning (spacing between letters), drop shadows, or animation requires training either through an instruction manual or in a film class.
Plan your title sequence. Decide whether your titles will be superimposed upon existing footage or be separate from the rest of the film. In the latter case, directors sometimes opt for white titles on a background. In other situations, they may design backgrounds that fit with the film's aesthetics or themes. Also, consider suitable audio for the sequence. The opening credits may be a fitting place for a theme song to your film.
Choose a readable font for your titles. Many first-time directors choose fonts that look beautiful but are difficult to read. Generally, sans-serif fonts are a safe choice.
Create title cards for your sequence. The film title and major roles deserve individual cards. List smaller roles like those played by co-stars together on the same card.
Edit together your title sequence based upon your notes and selected audio. Title cards are usually shown no more than five seconds each. The entire sequence usually lasts no more than two minutes. Otherwise, you will slow down the progress of the film and bore the audience.
For end credits, keep your design utilitarian. Usually, a scrolling list of names on a black background will suffice. Otherwise, use long lists with multiple names on separate cards.
Check your credits for misspellings. Do it again just to be safe.
Show your titling to others for input. Make adjustments as needed.
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