My project was to take the NBC comedy, Community, and remix it as a sci-fi show in a new intro. I used clips from about eight episodes from seasons 2 and 3 and the “theme song” is an original song called Run One from the film Run Lola Run. Its name is Civil: Community in the Stars (civil is short for civilization, which is a synonym for community with more of a historical or sci fi feel, in my opinion). It runs for approximately 105 seconds.
I knew that I could use sci fi signatures to convince the audience that they knew what was going on, when in fact they likely don’t (since the original context is lacking). As Edgar-Hunt said in The language of film, “one look…and we feel we understand exactly what is going on.” (Edgar-Hunt, 2010, p. 2) I employed this principle to my advantage; for example, one clip shows the “crew” walking dramatically in slow motion. In reality, this moment in the show is a comical one because one of the characters is making everyone else walk intentionally slowly; there was no editing to slow them down. This scene is an example of the iconography of the classic genre films that Thomas Sobchak discusses in “Genre film: a classic experience.” (Sobchak, 1975, p. 4) The slow-mo group walking in a straight line is a classic straight out of a variety of genre film types (action, gangster, etc) but is absolutely a staple of films with crews of some kind, like space crews as is the case here. This wasn’t even my doing; this was the show itself paying homage to a genre, as it often does. When I was picking my font, I decided on one called Xirod. I knew the type of font was a big decision from Kim Golombisky & Rebecca Hagen who insist among other things that the type impacts readability, legibility, and visual hierarchy. (Golombisky & Hagen, 2010, p. 86)
I made a lot of intentional creative choices for this project. I knew I wanted to have clips of every character shown simultaneously with the name of the actor (as is common in TV intros), so I carefully chose clips that prominently featured a given character as the one for which I would put that actor’s name. I didn’t want to begin with the credits, since most TV shows don’t do that. Since this is a sci fi show, I began with the “enemies,” then showed the group as a whole before introducing them individually. I had thought of two awesome soundtracks I’d like to use for this intro: Drive and Run Lola Run, both of which have incredible, futuristic, unique soundtracks. I eventually settled on Run Lola Run, though, because it was faster paced. The song from Drive that I liked seemed too morose overall and I wanted a more action-packed feel as opposed to introspective and sad. I worked very hard on choosing the clips; Community is a comedy that takes place at a community college, but in its later seasons it has experimented with different genres. Never do they actually, completely break reality, however–one episode I utilized liberally was about the study group being stuck in a KFC flight simulator. I also used scenes from the Dreamatorium, a room that offers the viewer a glimpse into the mind of one of the characters, Abed. As stated before, I worked hard to find a font that satisfied what I wanted; I had to use one from dafont. I picked the color green because it is traditionally a sci fi color. Instead of having the credits roll in in a dull way, I chose a standard “zoom” video transition, while for the title at the end, I picked a “zoom cross” transition and put it on both sides. I added an effect to the video that made the colors pop a little more, as well as adding a “ghosting” effect to one of the first clips to emphasize the slow-mo. Other effects I added were a fade-in at the beginning and a fade out for the audio at the end. Most TV intros I’ve watched use short clips with regular cuts to separate them, so this is what I did (no clip lasted longer than a few seconds).
Yet again with the fonts, I had trouble finding one I liked. I showed the trailer to a friend before picking a cool font and he didn’t understand what I was going for. Yikes! So I realized the incredible importance of a font. Early on a noticed the trouble lots of people had (audio and video not synced) but I didn’t want to use any dialogue in mine so it wasn’t a problem. To be frank, I encountered few problems or frustrations. Probably the biggest frustration was finding clips I wanted. I had a bounty of action-ish clips, but not all were sci fi esque. Cutting down on these in order to keep the intro pure was difficult but necessary to keep the vision the way I intended. Advice for future students: definitely familiarize yourself with Premier early on because it’s incredibly fun! I tried out every transition and effect to see what they did, and this was not only fun but really helped me get acquainted with Premier’s capabilities. I was able to shape my intro by experimenting with all sorts of cool effects.
Robert Edgar-Hunt, John Marland, and Steven Rawle (2010) The language of film. Lausanne: AVA Academia.
Kim Golombisky & Rebecca Hagen (2010). White space is not your enemy: A beginners guide to communicating visually through graphic, web, and multimedia design.
Thomas Sobchak (1975, Summer). Genre film: A classical experience. Literature Film Quarterly, 3(3), 196.