The Mill credits:
Creative Director - Henry Hobson & Andrew Proctor
Typeface Designer - Manija Emran
Executive Producer - Stephen Venning
Producer - Lee Buckley
Music - Florence + The Machine
The Tale: Overview
"The 'Snow White and the Huntsman' titles are a real statement of intent for Design at The Mill," shares The Mill L.A. Executive Producer Stephen Venning. "While The Mill is known for high-end VFX, 'Snow White and the Huntsman' marks a true first for the team in designing, directing and creating a major movie title sequence from start to finish. Titles have become an iconic part of some of the best movies of all time; this is an exciting new direction for our company."
The Battle: Scope of Work
The project involved a complete production cycle for the sequence, from concept and design, to executing a phantom shoot to capture all costumes and props, through to CGI and VFX compositing of the various elements. It also features our custom font design for the heads and the film opening titles themselves.
The early discussions with Rupert Sanders and the production team were highly collaborative. We explored several concept routes before we conceived the idea of an almost photo realistic high-speed sequence of an authorial battle scene to emphasize the epic proportions of the story.
The finished sequence was a combination of live action footage, elements from the film itself for the backgrounds and very stylized 'shattering effect' CGI animation.
Good Versus Evil: The Challenge
One of the creative techniques we used with great success was a high speed phantom camera. It allowed us to explore the textures and micro details of the knights' armor in incredible detail. It also captured the beautiful graphical explosions of the dark knights in action creating grandiose and mythical imagery for the final battle.
In terms of shooting, the trickiest element was filming the raven. When shooting phantom you only get the tiniest of moments to get the action you need, so working with an animal to get the performance you're after in a split second takes a lot of patience, dedication and ingenuity. The results were well worth our effort as the texture we got on the bird's wings from the phantom camera are fantastic.
From a visual effects standpoint, our greatest challenge was to create a high speed macro shot of the ‘shattering‘ of the dark knights. The film VFX team would have had months to crack this in their shots. As the title design team we had to effectively mimic their effect with a macro level of detail in a 10th of the time.
The biggest challenge was creating striking movie level quality of images that frame and effectively draw focus to the key principle titles. Images and text need to work together in perfect harmony to captivate the viewer and guide them through the titles content at the same time. These titles work so well because of the successful symbiosis between the phantom footage quality and the text.
The Evil Queen: Typography
The intricate design and exploration for the titles and the main film title at the beginning of the movie culminated in creating a custom font for the encapsulating the classic feel of the setting while at the same time boasting a contemporary and sharp look.
Creative Director Henry Hobson developed the completely customized typeface. The new font was named Ravenna after a character in the film - the Evil Queen. It is bold and dramatic, yet subdued to match the multifaceted character and her intriguing steadfast ways.
Every Fairytale Has a Happy Ending
“In the case of ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ the main title sequence shows at the end of the movie as opposed to the beginning. This was a strong creative choice by director Rupert Sanders and one that guided our exploration for the titles,” shares The Mill L.A. Creative Lead Henry Hobson.
Positioned at the end of the film, the titles have a unique challenge - to tell the story in a new and captivating way. Abstract imagery combines with a hyper-real action sequence as the viewers find themselves deep inside the epic battle between good and evil.