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10Mar/10Off

The Best Thing About ‘Up in the Air’ Was San Francisco in the Title Sequence

The Best Thing About 'Up in the Air' was San Francisco in the Title Sequenc

An effective title sequence can give a film a lot of good will in the mind of the viewer while the filmmaker tries to establish what's necessary to draw folks in. If there was an Oscar category for Best Title Sequence (it has been suggested, and was rejected in 1999), "Up in the Air" would have gotten a vote from me, were I a voting member.

And not just because it features San Francisco very prominently. (You may recall that there are a total of 3 shots of San Francisco from the air in this sequence - watch it here.) More after the jump...

A site called The Art of the Title Sequence is honoring "Up in the Air" with an interview of Gareth Smith from Shadowplay Studio.

The Art of the Title Sequence, San Francisco

Click on the image below to view the entire sequence in video:

The Art of the Title Sequence, Up in the Air, San Francisco
Click on this image to view the entire sequence

The whole interview is worth a read, even if you're not a design nerd. I liked the explanation of some of the other treatments they did for Director Jason Reitman, especially this:

We experimented with a technique where we printed each frame of the footage on an ink jet printer, then color xeroxed it to give it a vintage quality. At this point the music was going to be “Ramblin’ Man” by Hank Williams. It’s an old recording – and the vintage look was appropriate to the sound of the song. We all really loved this look, but Jason ended up changing the music to a modern recording of “This Land is Your Land,” so the heavily treated look didn’t work quite as well.

I may have missed a shot or two of SF - extra credit if you can shame me in the comments.

UPDATE: Just realized that SXSW has a Title Design Competition, and yes, Shadowplay is a finalist for "Up in the Air."

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  1. Quuuuuuiiiiiicccccckkkttttiiiiimmmeee?!!! NOOOOOOOOOO. (those of us with PCs don’t/shouldn’t have iTunes installed in order to keep any kind of performance in your computer whatsoever). Looks like there isn’t a link to anything else on the web tho…doh. I was really wanting to see this too :(

  2. yea this sequence is really dope

  3. ooh, my comments section just got a whole lot cuter.

  4. There was one more shot when Clooney’s protege moves to SF to take a new job.


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