Joel Silver / Warner Brothers Pictures

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Orphan tells the story of a husband and wife (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) who have tragically lost their unborn child. Desperate to find a way to cope with their loss, the two decide to adopt what appears to be a sweet and innocent 9-year-old girl named Esther. Soon after welcoming Esther into their home, and introducing her to their two children, strange and disturbing eventualities arise surrounding the orphan, who is not at all what she appears to be.

Our longstanding friendship with Joel Silver induced our involvement with the horror/thriller, tasked with reimagining the studio logos, delivering the black light VFX sequence, the main on end title sequence and a vivified end crawl.

In the end of Act II, our cognition of Esther’s rancor is unveiled through her explicit black light drawings covering the walls of her room. The revelation galvanized our approach to customizing the studio logos at the head of the film. We saw it as an opportunity to introduce and augur Leena’s (Esther’s actual name) perverse behavior, treating each of the logos with a spasmodic, black light semblance. Dovetailing into the black light VFX sequence, Prologue was responsible for designing all of the horrid drawings Peter Sarsgaard’s character John discovers on the walls of Esther’s room. The disturbing delineations were hand drawn, and then composited into the scene. The artwork is a key component of Esther’s character as it sheds light on her arcane past, one spent in and out mental hospitals, and encumbered with sexual fantasies.

The main on end title sequence is a physical and psychological examination of our title character. We captured the stop motion, live action sequence with a Canon 5D Mark II and by utilizing Dragon Stop Motion. The concept of Esther’s identity being revealed in layers, the deeper we delve into her psyche, is recapitulated in the end titles with a neoteric vision. The type manifests itself as its own character, uncovered by the coruscating black light. In light of the historic aping of the Seven main title sequence pastiche, as evidenced in the U Turn titles for example, we elected to satirize this trend a little by aping ourselves and using the same hand drawn font as we did in Seven. The live action shoot consisted of stop motion, macro photography, high frame rate shots, and black light composites. Our choice of shooting the sequence in a macro manner allowed for an exploration of the minute details of the orphan’s idiosyncrasies, exemplified by the chaotic application of makeup and eradication of aged mental institute pictures and documents. Like the main on end, Esther lives vicariously through the end crawl, for which we designed and created all of the brush stokes and rebarbative etchings by hand. In her refusal to go quietly, it’s as if Esther has gashed the letters of the title while the crawl scrolls, determined to expunge her nightmarish history.

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