opening for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerthe original Prime Video series, is one of the most eye-catching title series for its premiere TV this year. Over the course of 90 seconds, a series of delicate veins of granite, gravel, and echorde transformed and streamed across the screen into a latticework of intricate symbols inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, gathering in a sequence that seemed at once ancient and timeless. its implementation.
The sequence, co-directed by Katrina Crawford and Mark Bashur of the Seattle Plains of Yonder film studio, was one of five ideas their team brought to the show.
“It was glued directly to Tolkien’s world, where sound and music were central to his world,” Bashore said in an interview with Polygon. “One of the first things we said when we showed some images on the show was, ‘What if we make a title sequence that’s generated from the audio world?’ ”
To achieve this, Crawford, Bashore and their team drew inspiration from the field of cymatics, the study of sound wave phenomena and their visual representation. Coined by 20th-century naturalist Dr. Hans Jenny, the most common and best-known iteration of cymatics is the Chladni plate, a device invented by 18th-century German physicist Ernst Cladney to visualize vibration patterns.
“Concept [of cymatics] He was really likable,” Baschore said to Polygon. “But of course, we had multiple moments of panic early on while trying to figure out how to do it. So we started at the kitchen table. Katrina created this basic science rig assembled from cheap parts and an iPhone, and we’re going to put sand on this excavator and play different tunes through it. Gregorian chants, angel music, rock ‘n’ roll – you name it. And the sand shifts and moves according to the sound. When we looked at the footage, we knew we were up to something.”
The opening title sequence took a total of seven months to complete from the first proposal to the final edit. The result is a mixture of live action footage and CG animation with an emphasis on emulating the inherent imperfection of cymatics itself.
“The real Cymatics is kind of crazy, kind of pretentious, and almost brutal. And we [were] “Even on CG’s heaviest shots, we’ve been pushing to bring back more of that flawed, wild action again,” Bashur told Polygon.
Crawford cited a song from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”—”There’s a Crack, a Crack in Everything/This Is How the Light Comes In”—as another inspiration for the opening title sequence. “We love this quote, and it really connects with what we wanted from the sequence and with the creation myth of Middle-earth. It almost feels like a paraphrase of Tolkien. There’s this discord that has been incorporated into the music that exists along with the harmony. That’s how you build things; there’s These different aspects, this duality are what brings beauty. We loved it.”
Of course, any title sequence worth remembering is inseparable from its musical score; This is especially true for a person who is designed to perceive the sound himself. Unlike the series whose score was composed by God of War Composer Bear McCreary topic title rings of strength It was written by Howard Shore, known for his work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Apart from Shore points and the concept of cymatics, the visual elements of rings of strengthThe editorial is steeped in Tolkien’s world lore, with Crawford directly citing the goddess Ainur as an influence bridging the gap between the real-life inspiration of the sequence and the world of the series. “When you read the origin story, Tolkien writes very clearly that you have Eru Ilúvatar, that divine father who created Ainur and telling them to take their powers and put their own kind of personality and things into the universe. They build the universe, coordinate it, weave it together through song. So that sense of awe. And the question is very cool and it inspired us a lot to try and think about how to represent that in the sequence.”
The concept of resonance appeared in the second episode of the show, when the dwarf princess Desa spoke of it to Elrond about the dwarves’ ability to evoke meaning from the “songs” sung by the Khazad-Dom mountains. These parallels, no matter how strange, were not planned.
“It was just a happy coincidence; we didn’t see anything while the sequence was working,” Crawford told Polygon. “We haven’t seen texts, nothing. We base all our ideas mainly from Tolkien’s own writings.”
Crawford sees similarities between the title sequence and the opening Episode 4 “The Great Wave” Where Númenórean Queen Regent Meryl dreams of destroying her homeland. “This whole scene about transformations and impermanence relates directly to the theme of our sequence and the theme of Tolkien’s writings. We form something, then it is instantly squashed, and perhaps something takes eons to form, but there is always a reversal of the universe. There may be something ‘forever’, but it is not always “.
Anticipation for every aspect of the show, including the title sequence, peaked in the days leading up to the premiere rings of strength. So much so that Series characters montageoriginating from an Entertainment Weekly cover story, has been confused with the opening and has gone viral.
“Someone sent that to us when it caught on fire and it became a big humorous thing,” Bashur told Polygon. “And that’s funny. The best I’ve seen is someone describing him walking into downtown Portland at 11 p.m. If they did a Lord of the Rings sitcom, that would be an excellent headline.”
In the end, Crawford and Bashur are relieved and excited to welcome the opening of the physical address. “We finished this thing a long time ago, because it has to be translated into 60 different languages and so on,” Bashur told Polygon. “So it’s good to finally have you there already.”
Ultimately, Crawford and Bashur are most proud of creating an abstract and majestic opening for such a high-profile television series, especially one with such a rich and well-established history as The Lord of the Rings.
“We try to be very respectful of the fact that audiences can hit the ‘skip intro’ button. We want to respect the intelligence and knowledge that exists when it comes to a show like this,” Crawford says. “There are people who come to this show without knowledge of Tolkien, and there are people who come to the show who are the masters of the Tolkien world. Do you get a sense of epic timing when you watch the sequence? Are you ready when the show really starts? If that works, then we’ve done our job.”