How TV show Stranger Things title sequence was done 95% in-camera

Nov 4, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

How TV show Stranger Things title sequence was done 95% in-camera

Nov 4, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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It’s been a long, long time since title sequences were made in camera, by optically projecting the titles frame by frame on film. It’s all digitally made now. Stranger Things, Netflix’s 80’s themed series has taken a cue from the 80’s not only on the content of the show, but also on how its titles were made.

The logo in the opening is not CGIed at all, it is actually shot in camera and then manipulated in a computer.

The initial typecast for the logo is ITC Benguiat, a popular typecase for 80’s paperback horror books (and for the FBI piracy warning for some videos). The logo was “printed” on Kodalith, a high contrast film and mounted in front of a camera. Then the team used a flashlight to illuminate the film. This really gave the lettering a textile and “imperfect” look. Just like the one you would get from optically making a title.

The film shot was disassembled by computer and rearranged to make the title. So, yea, maybe you can say that there is some software involved, but the core look is made in camera.

[How Stranger Things got its retro title sequence | Vox]

P.S. if you are into Stranger Things, you must check this 80’s inspired short horror film.

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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11 responses to “How TV show Stranger Things title sequence was done 95% in-camera”

  1. Huge Dom Avatar
    Huge Dom

    Good blend of old and new.

  2. Aankhen Avatar
    Aankhen

    Stranger Things, Netflix’s 80’s themed series has taken a queue not only on the content of the show but also on how the titles were made.

    What does this even mean? :-S

    Anyway, cool technique. I definitely thought it was all digital, which makes me wonder what the point of doing it physically was.

    1. E Avatar
      E

      Also, it’s “taken a cue”. And you didn’t explain what it took a cue from. I’m assuming “80’s themed series”, but your sentence structure doesn’t make that clear.

    2. ext237 Avatar
      ext237

      The sentence and concept in the article are fully self-explanatory for those who have graduated past 5th grade readers. The attempts at CGI titling back in the 80’s were awful and beyond cringe-worthy. Creating impressive titles in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s required a significant amount of creativity and workmanship. Kudos to ST for keeping the 80’s motif a solid part of the experience, including the attention to detail in their title sequence.

      1. ext237 Avatar
        ext237

        I wonder if I should actually start watching this show, looks interesting.

        1. Dunja0712 Avatar
          Dunja0712

          @ext237:disqus I just finished the first season, and it’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! It’s incredibly tense! So if you’re having second thoughts, I vote “yes” on whether you should watch it. :)

          1. Aankhen Avatar
            Aankhen

            Seconded on the first season! (Heh.)

      2. Aankhen Avatar
        Aankhen

        The sentence is obviously garbled. What are you trying to accomplish by pretending it isn’t?

        Re: how much work titles required in the past, I never suggested they didn’t. My question is about the value of spending a lot of time creating the logo in camera when the end result appears digital. ‘It took a lot of effort’ ≠ ‘it’s good’. I would much rather they had directed their efforts towards practical creature effects.

  3. Dunja Djudjic Avatar
    Dunja Djudjic

    Petar :)

  4. TheFakeChannel Avatar
    TheFakeChannel

    The title and description of this article is not accurate. The Kodalith footage that Imaginary Forces shot was not “disassembled by computer and rearranged to make the title.” It was only used as a reference to inform how they would then animate the sequence digitally (using After Effects and Cinema 4D).

    1. Aaron Villa Avatar
      Aaron Villa

      Agreed! Please update your inaccurate title.