Shetland

Art Direction, Editing & Motion Design

Playdead were commissioned to design the opening titles for this popular BBC One crime drama.

Here’s our creative written treatment for the chosen title sequence:

This concept focuses around the landscape of the Shetland Islands. Huge open skies with billowing clouds will be contrasted against darker more menacing imagery, graded to have an eerie feel. Deserted roads, harbours, beaches etc… These will be revealed and transition between one another by water spilling and splashing onto the screen, washing away the past and providing windows into the present and future.

As the sequence progresses, the shots become tighter and more claustrophobic, opening on a wide landscape shot to close up or macro shots of smaller details and textures, echoing a murder investigation, before suddenly pulling out wide again to reveal the main title.

The text elements will be treated so they feel like they belong within each shot, sometimes bleeding into the page, disintegrating, leaking and smudging into water particles, or being revealed through the swipe of a hand, brushing away sand on a beach.

The water elements will become more and more dark and forceful as the sequence progresses, as if the tide is coming in and closing in on you. Emphasis will be placed on the editing of the footage, slowing down, and ramping up the speed of imagery, as if the pressure is building. It will move through the morning, the day and into evening time, with longer, darker shadows being cast across the land.

Overall the sequence will feel filmic and well considered, treating and manipulating the footage in key places, whilst letting the imagery and landscape of the island speak for itself.