The Art of Title Sequence

Memorable scenes from the show accompanied by the cheesiest music the director could find (maybe it was a challenge for a prize?) and credits rolling and rolling and rolling, from the guy who stopped by the studio to fix the air conditioning to the producers. No, thank you. That’s not what a title sequence is, at least not since the 1980s.

A title sequence is the cover of the book in a visual, moving sense. It’s what gives you an idea of what you’re about to see, set the stage while being interesting itself; an important part of the production not just something you skip through.

I personally can’t be talking about title sequences without mentioning The Simpsons, for 26 glorious years and still kicking, the show has done a new “couch intro” every episode. The creativity that goes into working with something so limited: a shot of a couch, the back of a TV, a side table, a lamp and a crooked painting and five characters, is something to pause and ponder on.

Taking it a step further, French animator Yoann Hervo plays on the familiarity of the intro by remaking it in such a way that is the same but isn’t, activating those parts of our brains that really stopped thinking about the details of the clip we’ve seen more times than we can remember.

Such commentaries are thought provoking in how they sometimes are a “what if” questions. What if an intro to a CAMP festival wasn’t an energetic beat accompanied by b-rolls of mountain hiking and smiley people looking up at rainy skies with the words DO IT or GET OUT THERE or something that would make you drop your remote control and go running in the streets? This seems to be the tone of most of the them and they seem to work, so why not?

Instead, they did this:

If a title-sequence or introduction that can be missed is a waisted resource that can easily grab the viewer’s attention and convince them to start, and stay longer watching the production. The choice of music, typography and the progress of the sequence all play into how much value the makers think their work has.

To watch more interesting title sequence, check out Art of the Title and/or Forget the Film, Watch the Titles.

Beauty and Brains

Once you start reading on art and graphic design, you get (other people’s) perceptions of what is beautiful and what isn’t visually attractive. Is a design successful when it’s so mind-challenging to a point that makes us feel stupid for not getting it at a first glance or the exact opposite, when it fits so perfectly with everything else it goes so easily into our minds?

I take it as a little bit of both. While the simpler the design the longer it will live, it’s refreshing to see a clever design becomes popular, and usually those have one kind or another of an ‘aha!’ factor. Gestalt principles of perceptions are a great intro to how these factors can be defined.

The human mind can see more than the sum of parts to make a shape. Sometimes it adds parts on its own to complete a figure that doesn’t really have a meaning otherwise. For example, you can understand that the below logo is a panda, even though it really isn’t, your mind completed the missing parts in order to see it that way.

panda

Same goes for grouping things together based on shapes, line weights, colors or other features. Things are perceived in a way that makes the most sense using this amazing default brain power.

Other examples of Gestalt:

g4

g2 g1 g3

Networking For Good

How we network as individuals and within groups has changed with time and technologies, and with such change appear advantages and disadvantages that are being studied to determine how the future of networking would look like.

In the book Networked:The New Social Operating System, authors Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman discuss the three major revolutions that have transformed how we form social circles and interact within them: the networks revolution, the internet revolution, and the mobile revolution. The book also focuses on how this change has affected our networks as individuals, how we now approach our relationships with our families, friends, and work mates.

In this post, we take a look at two examples of how the new concept of networking can help us understand where bigger networks link together, where interactions doesn’t only take place within a network or from individuals to the surrounding few networks they belong in, but across networks to make it more possible to serve a bigger, mutual goal. One is a feature social networks have developed enough to offer, the other is a result of public collaboration across different networks.

1- Safety Check-in

After the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015, Facebook offered the Safety Check feature to alert the noch! network of an individual who has his location set to an affected area that they are Bye fine.

Mobile phones would show a simple alert from Facebook that reads “You appear to be in an area affected by X disaster, are you safe?” and there would be two options “I’m safe” or “I’m not in the area”.

As rescuing efforts tried to free people from under the rubble among the rising deaths, it was an effective way to check on someone in the midst of chaos, and a quick way for users who were near all the distress to assure their loved ones, friends, families, and every other network they were part of that they were alright.

Google has also been working on a People Finder feature to locate an individual’s network in the aftermath of a disaster.

This addition to the functions of social networks show how the technological revolutions happening so far (the networking revolution, internet revolution, and mobile revolution) can be integrated to serve our interpersonal communication. They are here one step ahead of how our social intuition works, as they usually are. It relieves us from the worry of an additional task in a difficult time of emergency.

2- Crowdsourcing help on a large scale

Seven days ago, a picture tweeted by Icelandic journalist Gissur Simonarson went viral. The picture was of a Syrian refugee father selling pens on the streets of Beirut with his sleeping daughter on his arm.

After the great amount of support under the hashtag #BuyPens, and questions of how to locate this man and help him support himself and his children, a crowdsourcing campaign was launched to raise money for him with a goal of $5,000.

In 6 days, the campaign has raised over $178,000 so far and there’s still 8 days left. more than 6,700 people from all over the world donated through the website. The story has been picked up by news websites and blogs all over the world.

A common expression between commentaries and entries on this type of crowdsourcing is “gives me hope”. Social media has gathered people everywhere with all their differences under one giant umbrella of accessible information, and whenever something happens on that big of a scale that changes someone’s life or helps a cause, we are reminded that it isn’t social media itself that does damage when it happens, but how people interact within their networks on social media. Connections aren’t formed by the medium, but by the people.

In these ways, the three revolutions have transformed how we perceive information and interact with each other, whether it is within our small circle or with the more generic networks we are sharing with millions of other people.