Elastic’s double exposure titles for True Detective season 2

HBO crime drama True Detective is back for a second series, with an all new cast and another great double exposure title sequence by US studio Elastic.

HBO crime drama True Detective is back for a second series, with an all new cast and another great double exposure title sequence by US studio Elastic and production partner Antibody.

The show’s first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, followed two detectives hunting a serial killer in rural Louisiana in the 1990s. The series was a huge success, winning a BAFTA and a Writers’ Guild Award as well as Emmys for casting, directing and Adam Arkapaw’s brilliant cinematography (the whole series was shot on Kodak film, save for a memorable six-minute tracking shot).

It also received an Emmy for Outstanding Title Design: created by Elastic and Antibody, the show’s lavish opening sequence paired images of lead actors with bleak shots of industrial estates, desolate swamplands and abandoned playgrounds.

As creative director Patrick Clair explained in an interview with Art of the Title, the sequence used double exposure to portray the idea of characters being shaped by their surroundings and struggling with internal conflicts.

Titles were inspired by the work of photographer Richard Misrach, and made using digitally slowed footage from rushes to create a surreal and dream-like effect. The muted colours and ominous soundtrack (it’s set to Handsome Family’s 2003 song, Far From Any Road) perfectly captured the eeriness of the show and its setting.

The opening sequence for series two, which aired last night, uses the same double exposure effect but features new imagery and a chilling new soundtrack from Leonard Cohen.

The saturated colours have been replaced with bold reds and blues, and swamplands with bleached cityscapes and sunny California desert (the new series is set in a fictional Californian city, and stars Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell).

It’s a long sequence – at 90 seconds, it’s bound to annoy some viewers as the show goes on – but it’s beautifully made, and Elastic have done a brilliant job of creating an entirely new look for the series, while retaining many of the same visual effects from season one.

The landscape isn’t quite as eery, but the shots of forest scenes and dark roads, coupled with the blood red used throughout, create an equally unsettling effect. Episode one has so far received mixed reviews, but the new titles don’t disappoint, and it’s great to see such a cinematic approach to opening credits on TV.

True Detective is aired on Sunday nights on HBO in the US, and on Mondays on Sky Atlantic in the UK.


Design Studio: Elastic

Creative Director: Patrick Clair

Lead Animation and Compositing: Raoul Marks

Design: Patrick Clair, Paul Kim, Kevin Heo, Jeff Han

More from CR

Record sleeves of the month

Our latest pick of great album art includes an animated record sleeve for Jaga Jazzist, acid bright folk art for Nozinja, a beautiful deluxe box set for Of Monsters and Men and some psychedelic designs for Tame Impala. First up, though, is Andrew Archer’s illustrated cover art for Everything Everything’s Get to Heaven.

CR July: The Live issue

CR July is dedicated to innovation in live experiences with features on theatre, virtual reality, live streaming apps and the revitalisation of a great British seaside amusement park. Plus we have interviews with Tamara Rojo, the artistic director of the English National Ballet, and the Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis

D&AD New Blood 2015: the winners

D&AD has announced the winners of its New Blood student awards, with three black, four white and 20 yellow pencils going to projects for Nationwide, Airbnb, WeTransfer, WWF, Pantone, BBC, Vice and more.

Further thoughts on a flag for the ‘former’ United Kingdom

Last September, Scotland decided to remain part of the United Kingdom, but with the SNP’s significant presence in Westminster, Scottish independence is still firmly on the political agenda. Quentin Newark follows up his previous post on what the UK flag might look like should Scotland eventually become a separate nation and, in light of what other nations have done, looks at some more design ideas

Graphic Designer

Fushi Wellbeing

Creative Designer

Monddi Design Agency