Hey everyone! Nicky here 🙂
Every so often, especially when I take a break while working on my projects, I visit the website Art Of The Title. The website is a collection of different title sequences from around the world for film, television, and video games, and includes the creative process behind them.
After watching the title sequence for this show, I was in complete awe. The title sequence mimics traditional Chinese painting, showing various gruesome imagery, including a field of bodies on stakes, a tethered hawk, and a severed head. Multiple clips of macro shots of the ink spreading across the paper to form the recognizable drawings create a gorgeous aesthetic that fits the tone of the show and is definitely memorable.
Immediately I started asking myself questions like these: HOW WAS THIS MADE? WHAT SOFTWARE WAS USED? IS THIS LIVE SHOT OR ANIMATION? HOW CAN I MAKE SOMETHING SIMILAR TO THIS???
Since the website features, how the creators came to making the title sequence, I read through the discussion with the team from The Mill so I can understand the steps they took through the process.
With any film project, the majority of the time is spent researching and developing concepts. According to Bryce Wymer, co-director of The Mill, “We did a ton of research. I looked at everything from old spaghetti western posters from the early 1960s to 1200s Mongolian horse saddles. I also spent the better part of two days in the Asian arts wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” As well, the team presented a range of directions that could be developed, including using ink to convey the graphic elements within the title sequence. What makes using ink in the title sequence successful is that it creates a juxtaposition; a “safe” and traditional medium creating violent images.
Unused frame from Art Of The Title
While reading the rest of the discussion, I was happy to read about the process of how they shot the ink drawings, what their set up was, and equipment and software they used. After setting up the paper and the other materials, the team set up two Red Epic cameras, one overhead and one floating on a slider. This assured the team that they would capture as much coverage as possible. Also, using two cameras allowed them to safely capture any unexpected ink happening in the wide shots and also get some macro shots on the other camera.
Furthermore, they provided a quick breakdown of the overall process in short:
- Digitally project completed illustrations on white 100% cotton watercolor paper
- Two to three people paint in the illustration with clear water so the image is completely made of water
- Turn off digital projector. Now you just have clear water on white paper
- Two Red Epic cameras are set up. One locked, one on a slider
- Tilt the table to the right degree to get the water flowing in the desired direction
- Two to three people drop Sumi ink onto various spots within the illustration depending on how we want the story to unfold
- Edit composite, build shots
- Grade (color correction)
Reading through the article about the makings of the Marco Polo title sequence, I feel quite inspired. Based on how the team made their vision a reality, I know that I am capable of creating something just as remarkable.