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The opening credits.These are the credits at the start of a film or programme that introduce theimportant roles, or in some cases the most famous actor/actress, these notedroles consist of director, writer and main actors. The opening credits can beshown in several different ways, but usually they are shown with abackground soundtrack/audio music and an opening of a scene or piece ofthe film. This piece of film usually sets the scene to the movie and gives theaudience a foundation of the movie. Although this is the usual traditional wayto show the credits at the start, there are a few movies that have subvertedthis tradition and kept the credits for the end of the movie, these moviesconsist of: Around the world in 80 days (1956) Apocalypse now (1979) TheDark Knight (2009) Avatar (2010) and so on. But the first sound film to startwithout opening credits was Walt Disney’s fantasia, in 1940. this goes to showthis subverted trend isn’t one that has just come around, its been there for along period of time now.
The opening credits.Good examples of film’s that has openingcredits at the start and sets a good foundationabout the film using both diegetic and non-diegetic audio, ambient sound, good editingcuts and effects and also cameraangles, shots, movement and positioning isdawn of the dead (2004) and Blade 2 (2002)
Opening credits. (Dawn of the dead)http://www.artofthetitle.com/2008/06/30/dawn-of-the-dead/(source from artofthetitle.com)
Opening credits. (Blade 2)http://www.artofthetitle.com/2008/03/31/blade-ii/(source from artofthetitle.com)
Setting the sceneThe Film opening is a very important part of the movie because it sets the sceneand shows the viewer where it is based and what roughly is going on in the movieor what has happened in the build up of the movie (the movies past, and how itgot to where it is now). In some movies, this is first presented as an establishingshot of the location e.g. in a school based film the opening establishing shotwould be of the school ground. This establishing shot method is used in bothmovies and programmes, and is a very popular approach to the setting the sceneas it gives the audience a clear view of where they are so they are not leftconfused and unaware of exactly what is happening and where a good filmexample of this is Zombieland (2009) and how its opening scene is of the WhiteHouse in the United States od America (where the film is set).
Setting the scene. (other methods)There are a few other methods to setting the scene. A popular one is to have a close up on acharacter or object that will play a key role in the film. By doing this you are leaving the audiencewith this unfilled gap of knowledge about exactly where they are, this then leads to mystery whichbuilds suspense etc. a good example of this being the movie Fight Club (1999). Fight Club is a goodexample of this because of how it builds up to the opening scene involving the characters, it buildsup by a POV (point of view) shot of inside the main character’s (Edward Norton) head and slowlyweaving the camera through his skull until we reach the surface of his skin, while this is happeningthe credits are coming up as electrical surges, which represent fear impulses, which shows us thatsomething bad is going to happen soon (suspense build up). Then the camera moves out of hishead to reveal sweat dripping down from his forehead, the camera shot then moves downfollowing the sweat to lead onto a barrel of a gun. This then creates more suspense, because youare on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen to him. Showing the character is in a lifethreatening position, but leaving a part of mystery to say if he will live through the event or notand how it will effect the film later on which forces you to think deeper into the film and its sceneand get more involved, Therefore setting the scene.
Showing the Genre.Although most of the time the genre is known before the opening scene ofthe movie, the opening can have a greater influence upon it. Horror films area stereotypically perfect example for this, take the movie Halloween (1978)for example the opening credits is a simple and plain frame, with just boldorange credits upon a black background with a carved pumpkin situated tothe left of the frame, but just like most horror movies, it adds its fear andtension through the build up of the non-diegetic audio, this is usually a hightempo piano audio. Although it doesn’t seem scary it builds tension fast andshows a sinister edge towards it, when matched with a black background anda carved pumpkin (which is a object usually represented with horror and evil).
Showing the Genre. (dawn of the dead) Dawn Of the Dead (2004) is another good stereotypical film of showing genre (horror) because of the audio sounds used, which most are (non) diegetic and incidental audio tracks, which add horror and tension through the sharp noises, screams of others and high paced soundtracks. This adds fear to the viewer because it is sounds associated with death and pain and they are rarely came across in everyday life. This shows the genre because it is a horror and already by the opening credits/scene the film has you knowing you are going to be scared.