Up in the Air- Opening sequence
The opening film sequence for Up in the Air (2009) takes the viewer on a journey through the clouds and across the abstract landscapes of America. Each still is like a vintage postcard. The moving sequence is inter-cut with slides of lush greenery, dusty canyons, and intricate cityscapes. And the cherry on top? Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ “This land is your land” is the soundtrack behind the film edits that make the images float, glide, spin across the screen. It kicks the sleepiness out of the aerial footage and gives it a boost of vibrancy. The studio responsible for this, Shadowplay Studio, also made film titles for Juno (2007) and Thank you for Smoking (2005).
Besides a great opening title, you should see this film because it does a great job of capturing thoughtful humor in airport security, firing people, and break-ups. George Clooney brings charm to his character as a professional that large companies hire to lay off their staff. In an economic recession, he’s a busy man zipping across the country firing people on other’s behalf. While the theme of the film might be a downer, the film is overall enjoyable and fun.
All images courtesy of Paramount Studios and Shadowplay Studio.
Indie Wire interviewed the filmmaker, Jason Reitman and asked this about the film titles:
When did you come up with the title sequence; it perfectly sets the tone for the movie. What was your goal there?
“I figured you put a camera in a plane, you put it up in the air, you point down, you get aerial footage, right? I really thought it would be that simple. It was so complicated. Every time you see aerial footage in a movie it’s from a helicopter at 12,000 ft. To get it from 25,000 ft, first we went up with a jet and we had a camera that was going through this bubble system, except the optics weren’t good enough and atmosphere was giving us trouble. Then we went up with a propeller plane and the pilot had to wear an oxygen mask to get up that high; we took a camera out on a wing, we went digital instead of film, and then the camera would not go straight down, so they’d have to put the plane into a dive to get the camera to go down. I mean it was just like unreal how hard it was to get this footage. But I’m really happy with the results and of course it made for fun opening titles.”
See Up in the Air opening sequences at MakingOf.
Apple produced short videos for Up in the Air, including one about the titles.
Also worth checking: Classic Film Stills from the Hot Dog.
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