Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

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Post Production Techniques – The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera


Sunday 1st May 2011

Final Film Title Video and Conclusion – Phantom of the Opera

I enjoyed making this Phantom of the Opera film titles project and it was hard to decide when to stop adding scenes to the final piece. I added 2 more scenes to the final title sequence and sped up the the other scenes to match the changes in tempo of the music track. For example as the music gets faster the camera movement rate increases and when there is a lull in the music near the mid point of the sequence the camera movement slows. A little change but it makes the 2 minute sequence appear to run faster than it actually does.

Many of us thought that a 2 minute title sequence is too long in these short attention span/impatient times but it’s actually quite short compared to some of the title sequences I’ve noticed in recent films. Although to be fair title sequences these days are usually overlaid over the opening scenes of a film with the titles continuing to appear several minutes into the start of a film.

Source Material – Phantom of the Opera

When I originally decided to work on Phantom of the Opera title sequence I always envisaged that it would be set in the late 1800’s in Paris. This caused me a problem that I had not considered before and that was the availability of suitable images, photographs of that period. I’d completely forgotten that this was at the birth of photography and film and so original photograph’s of locations and people of this period were not easy to come by. In fact for some images I used modern photographs and removed cars and road signs and then gave them an aged look using Photoshop.

The internet provided the majority of the images but for some I resorted to scanning in photographs from library books or captured images from old black and white films. (NB: I didn’t use any of these images in the end as I wasn’t sure about copyright).

Soundtrack – Phantom of the Opera

I got lucky with the sound track by finding exactly the right music track for Phantom of the Opera from one of the sound library disks, of course when I say lucky I actually reviewed 100’s of tracks until I found one that I really felt went well with the Phantom of the Opera theme of the film title and the timing of video sequence itself.

How was it done

I’ve covered this thoroughly elsewhere in the blog but essentially all the work was designed in the Adobe Creative Suite of applications, Photoshop for the imagery, After Effects for the scene design and motion graphics work and Premiere used to edit all the scenes together. This was my first real use of After Effects and in particular using Cameras and Lighting.

Real World

In the real world if I was doing something like this again I would of course engage models wearing costumes of the period and photograph them in positions and scenes to match the title sequence. The same for backgrounds I’d secure location shots or look at commissioning models to be built of the locations in miniature and scaling these up for the background images.

Using these methods I would have greater control over the final images rather than adjusting the title sequence to match the available images. I’d approach the soundtrack development in a similar fashion by commissioning a music track and engaging actors for the voiceovers in the sequence ie. Crowd sounds, laughing and conversations to match groups of people appearing in the titles.

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