The title sequence of Stranger Things is a friggin' minimalistic masterpiece. There's not a whole lot going on...no funny gags like The Office or clever semiotic associations like Dexter...it's just neon red typography floating in blackness—slightly flickering—to the dull beating sound of retro synthesizers.
It's just begging to be recreated by you.
Luckily, Javert Valbarr of FXhome takes you step-by-step through the process of creating Stranger Things inspired titles in HitFilm Pro. You can also download the project files so you can follow along. (Link's in the video description.)
Okay, let's check it out:
We need to talk about title sequences.
I love them.
Most of them. Some of them. I guess I really, really love only a handful of them, but that love is so deep and passionate that it stretches it far enough to tenderly envelop the entire art form as a whole. One title sequence that totally blew me away the first time I saw it was the one for Stranger Things. It's so simple yet so perfect for the type of show it is, which is essentially a play on horror/sci-fi/thriller shows from the 80s, especially Tales from the Dark Side.
Okay, so why am I going on and on (and on and on some more) about my dumb love for title sequences in an article meant to show you how to make one that looks like a horror TV show set in the 80s? Because...that's the point.
People love title sequences...or at least, they want to love them. You know how it feels to sit down and watch a new show and the first thing you see is a bomb ass title sequence that not only sets the tone for the entire show but also informs you about what you're going to see a minute later.
I chase that feeling every time I turn on Netflix or Hulu. I give every new show I watch a chance...I watch the entire title sequence at least once, and if it doesn't interest me, I hit that "skip intro" button. But, oh lord, if it does interest me, I fall in love with it. I watch that thing every episode. I make up a little dance that my kid and I ritualistically perform when it comes on. (We just did that like...4 or 5 times tonight watching Stranger Things 3.)
So, you might've clicked on this post to learn how to make a slick title that looked like Stranger Things, and that's cool. But remember, everything about your project—the story, the cinematography, the costuming, the dialogue, and yes, the title sequence and even the theme song—has the potential to become the thing that sticks with audiences and makes your film or TV show iconic.
Don't waste any part of your project. Don't phone anything in. Don't assume that something isn't as important as something else, because it might end up being the thing that your audience clings to.