BLOG TOPIC 1 – VCD302 Motion Design
When suggested to watch the title sequences of the television series ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘ by Robert Hack and ‘Night of the Demons‘ by Kathy Zielinski I began to grasp an understanding of how designers are able to synchronise the use of primary motion, secondary/ camera motion and temporal considerations/ timing to carry an audience through a story, which in the case of these two examples, are haunting, eery and have an retro Halloween aesthetic.
When watching the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, you are instantly sucked into a dark, comic sketched world by a fast and almost rushed linear pan across the screen, which then slows down to allow us to first see the Warner Brothers symbol. This altering camera speed is shown through the whole sequence, constantly speeding to the next shot and then slowing all the way down to re-enact a sense of slow motion; and then speeding off again!
Hack achieves in synchronising the primary motion of the objects and figures in each shot with the secondary motion of the fast and slow camera pans by making the figures and text move in a complementary direction. The repeated linear pans or directions of the camera movement (secondary movement) used correlates to ‘motion paths’, which Krasner (2013, 168) states is one of the most powerful devices that allows designers to specify the course of travel that elements in a composition take, whether is be in linear or curved motions.
For example, if the camera zooms in a linear motion from on scene to the next, whether that be up, down or left to right, the objects that float across the screen in a similar direction. The snippet shown below demonstrates the camera zooming right and right again with delicate leaves drifting across horizontally in the exact direction. This makes each shot connect in a seamless fluid motion and enchants the viewer to follow along with the story being laid out.
In comparison, ‘Night of the Demon’ consistently uses slow camera movement. The primary object, the figures, are drifting in and out of frame in an unnatural movement, with a more curved direction of movement opposed to Hack’s favoured linear movement.
Although one fascinating use of the camera movement caught my attention when watching a particular scene in Zielinski’s title sequence. In frame 2:40 Zielinski shifts and moves the camera in a way that reinforces a person slowly investigating the haunted house in the shot. The camera slowly moves to the right, investigating the hallway and then moves in curved motions down the staircase making us viewers feel as though we are trying to escape, only to be met by a monster’s silhouette. Krasner (2013, p. 183) expresses that mimicking natural head and eye movements can involve n audience, giving them a sense of motion through space, which Zielinski successfully incorporated in this scene of the ‘Night of the Demon’.
Although Hack and Zielinski favour different types of camera (secondary) movement for their title sequences, they both have similarities in terms of aesthetics. Other than the obvious thriller themes both designers used, viewers can identify that ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ draws some inspiration from ‘Night of the Demon’ and its comic-like imagery. For both title sequences, the figures and scenery are beautifully sketched and are designed in a way that reinforces that they were drawn free hand creating a symbolic connection to comics. The motion of the figures in the foreground of each shot are animated to rock or shift in a forced and unnatural motion which enhances the eery aesthetic of the show. The movement reminds me of a puppeteer attempting to making still figures come to life.
This movement also reminds me of the repeated movement seen in optical created motion design, such as a praxinoscope animation optical theatre. Through the praxinoscope we can see how the motion of primary objects have evolved into moving more seamlessly and realistic in contemporary motion designs, like Hack and Zielinskis’ work. Optical motion designs help designers establish the important of frames and how the movement of a primary object needs to be broken down, detail by detail, so when timing is added (temporal considerations) each frame can be morphed together to make something stationary come to life. Although contemporary designers have more efficient device to create motion, the importance of framework is still a fundamental piece in the puzzle of motion design.
Hack, R 2018, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, online video, 5 October, Art of the Title, viewed 10 March 2021, <https://www.artofthetitle.com/title/chilling-adventures-of-sabrina/>.
Krasner, J 2013, Motion Graphic Design: Applied History and Aesthetics, Taylor & Francis Group, Abingdon and Burlington.
Zielinski, K 1988, Night of the Demons, online video, 23 October, Art of the Title, viewed 10 March 2021, <https://www.artofthetitle.com/title/night-of-the-demons/>.
Zoetrope Praxinoscope Animations 2020, Praxionoscope Animation Optical Theatre – Historical Cinema Film Projection – Ancient Image Spinner, online video, 20 August, YouTube, viewed 23 March 2021, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mlZaDsdiVY>.