David Ziegenhagen

Post-digitality in Movie Title Sequences

The title sequence is a much-ignored phenomenon in film studies. Although part of the movie, the title sequence may be recognized as a (short) movie on its own. Since the 1950s the title sequence has become a specific intermedial moving image that includes different forms of media by combining live-action material, graphics, animation, typography as well as sound and music. Thus, the credit sequence is somehow visually separated from the movie. However, since the emergence of recent plurimedial forms (websites, smartphones, computer games) which combine videos, type, images, sound, animation on the same screen or device, the digital natives are constantly confronted with intermedial forms. The classic title sequence is not recognized anymore as a specific plurimedial phenomenon because the spectators are used to such multimedia their everyday live, being already ‚multimedialized’ when watching the movie title sequence. So in recent movies, there appears to be a new aesthetic that could be described as post-digital: a nostalgic touch, a kind of retro-design that makes the title sequence something eye-catching again. It is somewhat paradox that computer generated imagery (CGI) makes it possible to create and emphasize the analogous in the (digital) image. I would like to demonstrate how recent movie and TV title sequences are striking examples of how the term post-digital could be applied in film studies.


CV David Ziegenhagen works as a research assistant at the Institute of Media and Communication (University of Hamburg). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geography and media studies from the University of Osna­brück and completed a master’s degree in media studies at the University of Hamburg. He is currently in the early stages of his PhD thesis on typography in movie title sequences.