Jump to content

Old Movie titles


 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello!

 

I find it very beatiful these old movie titles they did in the good ol´ days. How are they done?

 

I´m thinking mainly on titles on the MOVING picture. Did they hold up some transparant material where they designed/wrote the title or? If that´s the case you should see when they insert and remove it.

 

As I see it there are two kinds. One where the title is done/designed on paper and then filmed. Then the other where the title is on the screen while the movie rolls.

 

Then there are surely other ways also.

 

Do you guys have any more info on this matter?

 

Examples:

 

old-yeller-title-screen.jpg

 

trafic1971dvd1.jpg

 

pathsofglory.jpg

 

design-movie-titles-reckless1935dvdr.jpg

 

tall-t-movie-title-screen.jpg

Edited by Jari Hakli
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

This is basic hold-out matte optical printer compositing -- you make an interpositive of the background plate (because it's usually shot on negative stock) and also an interpositive of the artwork titles against black (because they are also shot on negative stock)... and you have to create negative and positive hold-out mattes so that you can print the foreground titles over the background plate with no transparency.

 

So you need one hi-con hold-out matte with the black letters on a clear piece of film and another with clear letters on a black piece of film.

 

You load the positive background element into the optical printer with the clear film w/ black letters bipacked in front of that and you rephotograph that onto an internegative but do not develop it. Now you have the background exposed onto a new negative but no exposure where the black letters blocked the light. You rewind the negative and now you load the positive title artwork into the printer with the second hold-out matte with a black background and clear letters in front (or if the artwork was created with a black background, you can skip this hold-out matte since the black areas won't expose onto the new negative -- unless you want a drop shadow.)

 

You now re-expose the internegative with the title artwork, which exposes the letters into the held-out black lettered area on the background element, then you develop this negative which now has titles over the background.

 

One thing to mention is that often the hold-out matte bi-packed in front of the background element to create the black unexposed lettered areas includes extra area besides the letters to create the "drop shadow" effect, the black edge on one side of the letters. Imagine artwork with the black letters sort of doubled-over each other put offset and shifted so that when you expose the positive letters over that black hole, you have a black shadow effect on one edge of the letters. This is most obvious in the "Old Yeller" and "The Tall T" examples but even the "Traffic" titles are using a hold-out matte, just without a drop shadow effect.

 

"The End" example though looks like a straight "burn-in" -- i.e. the letters are white so just expose over the background and don't need a hold-out matte, though that usually helps still because burning in white lettering without a hold-out matte and drop-shadow often makes them look a bit weak and undramatic. You notice that the white letters do not really pop-out from the background but almost blend in because of the lack of a drop-shadow and hold-out matte. They look more like white subtitles.

 

"Reckless" is just photographed artwork, unless the titles appear and change in front of the same background.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thanks David!!

 

What a huge work with all the matte layers to get these effects! I am looking into After Effects right now and this is exactly what the program does without having to make covering matted footage. so this gave me an insight also in more detail how that program works. It is same as with Photoshop also doing mask layers. Masking out what you don´t want and replacing. What a wonderful idea and trick. And the results are good.

 

I read about the star Wars production, how they had hundreds of these "Travelling mattes" to create the special effects. What a work!

 

Man, the possibilities are endless with this technique. You can create whatever your imagination have in store.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
Think about '2001', then- no travelling mattes, all hand-drawn frame-by-frame, each element exposed separately on the same roll, no compositing.

 

Not entirely true, there was some compositing using YCM's, but there was also a lot of in-camera double-exposures and also simple Oxberry still photo animation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Reckless" is just photographed artwork, unless the titles appear and change in front of the same background.

 

Usually in those type of titles the background stays the same while the title cards change.

 

Stills I've seen show the titles painted on glass or 3 dimensional letters glued on glass and placed on an easal in front of the backgound.

 

Horror and mystery films would sometimes have "spooky" transitions between the title cards;

things like ripple dissolves or the letters melting away.

Those would have to composited on an optical printer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 years later...

Reviving this older thread. 

I'm learning optical printing and I have questions about fading in a title with drop shadow over live action.

I gave myself a learning assignment and I'm hitting a wall.

My test starts with a clock wipe transition revealing the live action, then a title fades-in (with a drop shadow) and the live action turns into a double printed slo-mo, and at the end everything fades out.

I have created:

- Hand animated clock dissolve (18frames) on 5363 high con
- Hold out matte of title plus its shadow on 5363 high con
- Female matte of title only (black frame with clear letters) on 5363 high con
- IP of my live action from the original negative (I did the switch to double printed slo mo on that element) 

The issue is I added an 8 frames fade-in using the variable shutter on the camera for both the title hold out and female mattes.

Now I'm realizing that when I start printing my final comp, and photograph the Hold out matte bi-packed with the interpositive and then go for the second pass - by rewinding and exposing the female matte (to expose only the white area inside the font)...because I added a fade-in on the female matte, it will expose and flash the IP when the title fades in since the base will go from clear to black.. stupid me.

I know I will have to reshoot my title mattes. 

My question is how do you do a fade-in or out on titles with shadow? 

My guess is that I could do the fade-in (using the camera variable shutter) on the hold out matte since this will result in a clear base with black letters, and only the black letters would fade in - that will be ok. Then when I shoot my female matte, I would shoot the matte element straight through with no fades so I have opaque black from start to finish. And when I rewind and shoot the second pass with the female matte only, I could use the camera variable shutter to fade that element in.

I think this could work but I have a feeling I'm overcomplicating it.

If you know the proper way to do this, or can suggest a book or two about the subject I would really appreciate your help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
Posted (edited)

I think you're on the right path and, no, it IS complicated! 

While I am certainly no real expert on optical printing, I work with two former West Coast Optical Printers who did title work for a living.  Maybe I can get them to give you some pointers?

Send me a PM with your contact information and maybe I can get them to communicate with you directly...

Just for grins; what optical printer are you using?

Edited by Frank Wylie
added info
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
On 3/11/2021 at 12:15 AM, Robino Jones said:

My question is how do you do a fade-in or out on titles with shadow? 

My guess is that I could do the fade-in (using the camera variable shutter) on the hold out matte since this will result in a clear base with black letters, and only the black letters would fade in - that will be ok. Then when I shoot my female matte, I would shoot the matte element straight through with no fades so I have opaque black from start to finish. And when I rewind and shoot the second pass with the female matte only, I could use the camera variable shutter to fade that element in.

I think this could work but I have a feeling I'm overcomplicating it.

If you know the proper way to do this, or can suggest a book or two about the subject I would really appreciate your help.

My guess is that you are creating a IN that is basically a cross-dissolve between the IP (of the background image) with the hold-out matte (of the titles plus drop shadow) bi-packed in front of it and the straight IP with no hold-out matte -- so that the hold-out matte dissolves in or out of the background allowing you to then expose the title artwork into the IN.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

Visual Products

DMX-iT

FJS International

Film Gears

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Serious Gear

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...