We were approached by Don Carmody productions and director Rob King to help create a striking and impactful opening title sequence for Tokyo Trial, a four-part Netflix original mini-series. The show is a docu-drama set in post WWII and revolves around the controversial court hearings of Japanese war criminals that took 2 and half years before determining the outcome. We were tasked with creating an opening title sequence that dramatically set the tone of the show, while also providing historical context for the story itself.
To create the piece the we were given access to some beautifully shot close-ups of some of the period-specific props for the show. We utilized the motif of the projector as a way to introduce the viewers into the late WWII era and journey them through the historically relevant moments that led to the infamous Tokyo Trials. In addition to the striking close-ups of the projector, typewriter and court elements, we were also given access to a quite a large vault of documentation film from WWII as well as the actual trials. We wanted to create a sequence the blended together real events with stylized/cinematic elements. The goal was to emphasize the tension and very real drama that took place during this time. We aimed for a very organic, filmic, documentary driven aesthetic while also maintaining a sense of calculated design.
We began our process by creating style-frames to experiment with, and ultimately help convey the process and style of the piece. We looked at various ways we could blend and superimpose the archival footage with the "staged" close-ups.
We also experimented with different ways of displaying the final show title before ending up with the clean look that you see in the finished piece.
We had an alternate earlier concept for the titles that was used in the pitching phase. We generated these style-frames before actually getting to see any footage from the show itself. You can see that there are some stylistic elements that carried through from this original pitch into the final piece (namely the texture, film clutter, and use of very shallow depth of field, as well as the use of archival footage. Ultimately once we saw more material from the show, and had further discussions with the director, we came up with a more subtle, less stylized approach.
Opening Title Sequence Credits:
creative studio: reactiv
creative director: Alon Isocianu
executive producer: Anna Junger
producers: Anna Junger, Angela Holmes, Emily Buller, Alex Nursall
Editor: Alon Isocianu
Compositors: Alon Isocianu & Jacob Doforno
Title Animation: Jacob Doforno
Directors: Rob W. King & Pieter Verhoeff
Executive Producers: David Cormican & Don Carmody
Post Supervisor: Phil Stilman
DOP: Rolf Dekens N.S.C
Music By: Robert Carli