Check out ten of our favorite opening and ending credit sequences from the worlds of film, television, and video games.
Sometimes credit sequences can be as compelling as the film they bookend. The opening credits set the tone for the following presentation. The ending credits force you to stick around and digest what you’ve just seen. Let’s take a look at ten of our favorite credit sequences. We’re omitting a few — True Detective, Skyfall, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Alien — as we’ve covered these in a previous post on title sequences.
1. The Avengers
This credit sequence comes from 2012’s The Avengers. Production studio Method Design, led by Steve Viola, uses specific photorealistic elements to coincide with each character. The camera pans around the elements as the credits roll, tracking with the movements of the camera and elements.
Video via HuckleberryNimbus
2. Game of Thrones
If you’re a fan of 3D animation, then the Game of Thrones intro should be right up your alley. Developed by production studio Elastic, with the leadership of creative director Angus Wall and designer Leanne Dare, the Games of Thrones opening sequence utilizes a growing and developing 3D map. What makes this particular credit sequence so amazing is the looking glass approach, which allows the audience to zoom into the micro-level of the map and see it come alive.
Video via GameofThrones
3. Sherlock Holmes
When Guy Ritchie released 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, audiences were treated to a new form of end credit sequence. Production studio Prologue’s creative director Danny Yount led a team of fourteen talented artists, which included designers Lisa Bolan, Henry Hobson, and Simon Clowes. The team took images from the film and broke them down into an archaic hand-drawn form on stained paper. The effect was incredible and made this one of the more unforgettable end credit sequences in recent memory.
Video via MajesticFish
4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Much like the James Bond franchise, Mission: Impossible films always showcase a solid opening sequence — with M:I’s openings always built around a burning wick. For Rogue Nation, production studio Filmograph (led by Aaron Becker) crafted a solid intro of rapid cut scenes from the film that act as a primer for what’s to come. To really sell the intro, the team used the classic typography and a mixture of masked images within that type.
Video via sumit7362
Production studio Mill+ and creative director Rama Allen created this opening sequence for the History Channel original series Vikings in 2013. This sequence is a visually stunning and presents several captivating images. The truly amazing part of this credit sequence: the majority of what you see is in camera. There are only a few VFX enhancements beyond the layering of images and the matte painting of ships at the end.
Video via Rama Allen
6. Crimson Peak
In this two-minute intro to Crimson Peak, the audience is given a sneak peek of Allerdale Hall, the house where the majority of the film takes place. This sequence was fully rendered in 3D by Toronto based production studio IAMSTATIC.
Video via IAMSTATIC
7. The Last of Us
The Last of Us has been hailed as one of the greatest video games in history; it won over 240 Game of the Year Awards. In order to develop a solid opening that could bridge a twenty-year gap between the prologue and the game’s first act, an appropriate title sequence was needed.
For this, developer Naughty Dog turned to designer Henry Hobson. His titles work alongside the news reports and show a growing fungus which infects its way through blackness. What this sequence really does is give the player a breather from the emotional intensity of the prologue before casting them into a world of anarchy.
Video via Henry Hobson
8. Penny Dreadful
One of the very best credit sequences on television these days comes from the show Penny Dreadful, which airs on Showtime. In this opening sequence, we are treated to images that give us subtle clues and insight into the story of the show and the characters. This sequences uses a mixture of incredibly well-shot stock images, scenes from the show, and practical elements — all of which are enhanced through digital processes. Creative director Erik Friedman led a team of 6, which included concept design, editing, FX, typography, animation, and footage.
Video via Penny Dreadful
Prologue and Danny Yount, mentioned above, also worked on 2008’s Iron Man. Yount and director Jon Favreau worked to keep the energy up, treating viewers to multiple wireframe deconstruction animations of the Iron Man suit, both in its original form and its final version.
Video via Danny Yount
10. Spectre (Radiohead Opening)
Our final credit sequence is for 2015’s Spectre. This sequence was a collaborative effort between Rattling Stick and the Framestore, both led by veteran designer Daniel Kleinman. Every James Bond film opens with a title sequence that offers insight into the story without giving the story away. For Spectre, there are various images spanning the entire Daniel Craig era of James Bond.
Instead of showcasing the theatrical version of the title sequence, we’ll show a version of sequence that features unused theme music created by Radiohead. Since it was never used, Radiohead offers the song to fans for free through their SoundCloud account.
Video via Tomas Guitar