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007 MAGAZINE
Issue #30 (1997)

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Main Title Man

In the six-year gap between James Bond movies the legendary 007 credit title designer Maurice Binder passed away, leaving a creative void seemingly impossible to fill. He had been responsible for all but two of the Bond filmsí credit titles, and established a style which had become as much a part of the 007 series as the girls, gadgets, and cars. Who then, could fill the void?   Whoever took on the job would certainly be scrutinised and compared by generations of James Bond fans who had been weaned on Binderís erotic and masterful credit titles.

Daniel Kleinman graduated with a first from art school in 1977 and quickly gained a reputation as a commercial artist and illustrator. His album cover work brought him to the attention of music video directors, and in 1983 he became a director in his own right with ĎWheels of Industryí for Heaven 17. Over 100 videos followed in which Kleinman pioneered the creative use of special effects devices including Paintbox.

This work led to numerous awards for music videos, and three acclaimed one-hour HBO specials for Prince, Madonna and Van Halen. After directing a selection of high-profile commercials, Kleinman moved into TV with the BAFTA nominated Smashie & Nicey Ė The End of an Era for BBC1, starring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, which also won a Silver Rose Best Comedy award at Montreal Television Festival. After directing the music video for Gladys Knightís ĎLicence To Killí, it was only a matter of time before Kleinman and Bond brushed shoulders once more. And in GoldenEye he has paid homage to the master, while establishing his own identity as the foremost creative main title designer working in cinema today.

Intrigued by the new technology employed to produce the main titles for GoldenEye, GRAHAM RYE decided to investigate further for 007 MAGAZINE - Issue #30.

GoldenEye (1995) Main titles raw footage

How did your involvement in GoldenEye come about?
I know Barbara [Broccoli] a bit and I did the music video for Licence To Kill with Gladys Knight, which everybody seemed to like. Itís slightly dated now I think the girls I used in it were really great, but itís amazing how fashion dates so quickly. Itís already sort of beginning to look a bit cheesy. I loved doing that video, it was really great fun to do, and I think it was because everybody liked that, that I was asked to do the titles this time. Ití s a shame that Maurice [Binder] passed away in between, but itís nice to be able to step in and do it.

Obviously itís very different, yet itís the same in some respects as Maurice Binderís style. Were you very conscious that you were following a style that was already set?
I was conscious of the fact that there were certain elements which I thought had to be preserved and strangely enough Barbara and Michael [G. Wilson] and Martin [Campbell] didnít really.... when I initially spoke to Michael and Barbara they really gave me pretty much an open brief. They told me roughly the plot of the film and I went away and I think I could really have done pretty much anything. But I was aware that there are certain elements which I think should be there, which are elements that Maurice always used, and I think itís part of the genre of Bond that there are certain things you expect to see and certain things that need to be improvised around. I think that trashing what was a successful formula just for the sake of completely changing it would have been wrong. I wanted to keep the elements of girls, I wanted to keep the elements of guns, the colours, the sort of little wry ironic sense of humour that he used to put in there, but bring it all massively up to date and do it with new technology, and obviously try and stamp my own personality on it as well, so itís a variation on a theme of Mauriceís but not an exact replication. I think part of the Bond formula is that you go to see it and you think partly you know what youíre going to see and partly you donít, and partly itís the familiarity of it and thatís what I like. I like the slightly kitsch nature of the title sequence. They have always had a strong slab of kitsch self-consciously in there and I think thatís made it funny and beautiful and erotic. Itís all those things, which is what it should be Ė it sets the tone of the film.

GoldenEye (1995) Main titles raw footage

So if youíre given an open brief Ė obviously you know basically what the plot is Ė whatís your first step? Do you rough things out as sketches, how does it work?
At that point they were still shooting and there wasnít a complete cut of the film. I was at Leavesden and took a look in the screening room. I just saw a couple of scenes cut together and I went away and really just did really rough sketches. I went to art school, thatís my background, so luckily I could do them myself and I just did lots and lots of different sketches of ideas which I then went back and showed to Barbara and Michael. We talked them through and said what about this, what about that. I weeded out quite a few because I didnít like them. I showed them the ones that I thought were more interesting. It didnít have colour, it didnít have a plot or a theme, it was literally just visual sketches of ideas I had. One of the things, for instance, which got chucked out, was where I had the world and a girl as a kind of satellite flying round the world with golden eyes kind of looking, beaming down on the world, because it kept in the theme of a satellite going round the world and the girl representing the satellite, Goldeneye, the whole thing. So I just did a rough sketch of that, showed it to Barbara and Michael and we went through it together and I said ďany of them you donít like just tell me and Iíll chuck them out and the ones we like Iíll work further onĒ Ė and they pretty much liked all of it. Actually, it would have been easier if they had said ďI hate that. I hate that. And I really like that,Ē but they were quite positive about practically all of it, so then I went away again and worked them up even more.

This was all by hand?
Yes. All by hand, just sketches Ė and I got a load of colour reference and cut out pictures from magazines, all sorts of things just to begin to get more of a sense of what was going to happen in it. Then the next stage was to get a storyboard artist in, and I sat with him and went through all my ideas. The main thing for me was to make it feel like it represents time passing and it also represents the fall of Communism. It had all the traditional sort of Bond elements in so that the storyboard, which I didn't draw, but I sat in this room with all my pictures pasted to the wall and worked on it with the storyboard artist. Then I took that to show to Martin, Barbara and Michael, and I think Terry Rawlings the editor sat in as well. We all sat round and had a look and everyone said they thought it was really great and that was it. We went away and did it.

What's the next step from the storyboard?
Once everybody's seen the storyboards and likes the idea, we set up the actual filming. My big problem was that I didn't have the (title music) track because right up until just before filming we didn't even know what the track was going to be. But just before we started filming we got the music track, but only a rough demo version. Normally when you do a storyboard and plan out ideas, particularly if itís for a music video or a commercial or something you know exactly what the music's going to be and you fit it all together. So it was quite weird filming without knowing what the music was going to be, but luckily we had a rough version of it, so I had the pleasant task of doing the casting for the girls. We got them in and we did two lots of casting of maybe twenty or thirty girls in each casting and whittled it down to four or five. In the end we used five girls. We had four days filming and we spent the first two days filming on a normal small stage against blue-screen so that we could do all the optical special effects, filming just objects Ė guns, statues, flags all the elements that I actually used in the title sequence Ė and I had my storyboard so I knew what angle I needed to shoot them at and what lighting. They were all shot completely separately, then we had two days of shooting the actresses. I did the kind of silhouettey dancey stuff on one day and all the close-up beauty things on another day, so after that four days of filming, once it's in the can it then goes through the editing process, which is what really takes the time.

Concept sketch for the GoldenEye title sequence

 
Concept sketch for GoldenEye (1995)

ABOVE & BELOW:  Storyboards and concept sketches for the GoldenEye Main Title sequence.

Concept sketch for the GoldenEye main title sequence

 

So all of those elements we see moving on screen, they're all live action shots, none of it's computer generated?
Yes. There's a couple of computer generated images which are the gun barrel, because I redesigned the opening gun barrel, the dots with the walk-in at the front and made that look a lot crisper even though I really like the old one, itís fantastic, but it was done optically and it began to look a bit rough round the edges. I didn't want to change it, so we just updated it so that it looks more modern and it actually moves in three dimensions and the reflections change. So that was computer generated and then at the beginning and end of the title sequence you kind of travel in through the barrel of the gun and out through the barrel of the gun at the other end. That gun and the inside of the barrel and the bullet that flies out of the gun is all computer generated, everything else is live action.

So you had seen the footage of the car racing along the road and decided you were going to move from the credits into the live-action via this scene?
That's right, I had to think of a way to go into the title sequence. The way you come out of the title sequence has to be seamless, and Martin told me the first shot was going to be zooming along the road and I just tried to think what would be the most dynamic way of firing you off into this great shot of hurtling down the road. I liked the idea of using the gun barrel as a kind of launch pad. Itís almost like a door or a sort of portal out of the live action into this kind of dream world sequence, so you go into this fantasy world through the gun barrel and then back out again into reality through the gun as well at the end. It seemed like a good way through, but the only really good practical solution of how to do that was to get it computer animated, so that was all done digitally in the computer.

One of the amusing elements in the titles is the two faced girl as she opens her mouth and the gun comes out.
This image was partly to do with when I was coming up with ideas.
I had lots and lots of ideas on themes that came from the film, so, Janus being the Roman two-faced god, was what originally inspired the idea. I didnít want to have Sean Bean there with two faces, that would have been silly, and I didnít want to have a Roman statue with two faces because it would be confusing with the Soviet statues I used, and I didnít want to be too specific. I just wanted to be vaguely symbolic. Itís a cipher for whatís going on in the film, not anything in particular, but if nobody gets the connection it really doesnít matter. Initially that idea came from the villain in the film being nicknamed Janus, the two-faced god. So I thought having the girl with two faces represented the evil forces in the film, and obviously the gun coming out of the mouth is an erotic joke in reverse and makes her seem evil and nasty, its just a startling image for the film. I think itís slightly unfortunate it ended up that my name was on screen at that time and everyoneís looking at the girl with the gun and nobody looks at my name, but that doesnít matter.

I think thatís one of the things about all the titles for the Bond films. Most people look at the imagery, so if you donít see the film several times you donít necessarily read the names.
But then again a great long list of readable names at the beginning of a film is like the kiss of death. What you need to do actually, which is what Maurice was so brilliant at, is to start the film off visually with something that sets up an atmosphere. Everyone knows whoís in the film anyway and most of the names probably appear at the end again anyway. I didnít do the end titles, that was done graphically.

Did you think it was necessary to use a silhouette of Bond in the actual titles. Was it important to show Bond in the titles?
I wanted to for two reasons. I didnít particularly want use a close up of Pierce in the title sequence because one of the things Iím not that keen on in Mauriceís titles is seeing people as individuals out of context of the film, because to me that kind of breaks the mystique of seeing their character in the film. I prefer it to be more symbolic and more graphic, so consciously I didnít use any clips of Pierce in the title sequence, but using the little silhouette figure seemed fine and itís something that kind of fits with the Bond graphics and everything. Also in the lyrics of the song, the song seems to be singing about a person [Pierce?], it seems to be singing about Bond and his character, so just a couple of times I wanted the reference of the words of the song to connect with the visual. I think Ďsee him surface in every shadowí seemed to me to see him walk out of the shadows. He actually walks out of a dark area of a big girlís head, which seemed to fit, so I felt that keeping the little Bond figure, so long as heís quite backgrounded, seemed like a good idea.

What about the actual edit of the music, because obviously the single was different from the main title. Who decides which version of the song is used?
Well itís slightly problematic. Thereís a laid down length for the title sequence which comes from the film company, itís from MGM/UA I think. They donít want the title sequence to be longer than, I think it was 2 minutes 45 seconds or 3 minutes. I think Martin Campbell didnít want the title sequence to be too long because he was having slight problems getting the film down to length anyway. Also you know, itís not the main film, itís not about the titles. Itís nice to have a decent chunk of title sequence, but you donít want it to go into overkill, so I was quite keen to keep it down to 2.5 minutes. I think it ended up at about 2 minutes 45 seconds, and thatís not long enough for a single. If you record a song, unless it was The Shadows in 1960, you donít make records that are that short, on the whole most singles are over 3 minutes and often much longer. So it has to be a cut down version, and who does that edit, that cut down of it, is pretty much a bone of contention. 

Daniel Kleinman's concept sketch from GoldenEye (1995)
 

Concept sketches from the GoldenEye title sequence

The record company have an interest, Tina Turner has an interest, Nellťe Hooper the producer and Bono and The Edge all have an interest. Iíve got an interest. Martin Campbell has an interest. Everybodyís probably got an idea of how the song should be cut down or what comes where. The first track I received was 4 to 5 minutes duration, which is miles too long, and thatís what I had to start my edit with. I had already filmed the title sequence and was beginning to edit it, and I had a track that was 5 minutes long. I knew some parts of the track were going to go, and it wasnít even mixed. What was tricky was I was editing and not knowing which bits of the track were going or which would stay and in what order. So I did my own edit. I guessed, basically, and I sent it off with a rough edit saying this is what I think it should be, which most people, I think, fairly universally ignored. Nellťe Hooper did an edit, which I think was the final one, which got it down to the time. I think they found it quite difficult to get it down to that time, and that wasnít even the worst of it, because after the edits were done then they went and mixed it. There are several different mixes, so of the actual song itself there are lots and lots of different versions. There was one version I really liked, and I think youíre right, the one actually used in the title sequence is much better than the single. I seem to remember there was one of the Nancy Sinatra ones, I think You Only Live Twice was the single, the mix of it which is on her album has an enormous number of backing vocals on it. Itís really over-produced and isnít nearly as good as the one used in the actual title.

GoldenEye (1995) Main titles raw footage

It seems nightmarish to me that youíve got people in those credits, moving, swinging hammers, which one would assume you have to edit to a beat. So if you havenít got a music track how the hell do you synchronise everything?
Well, the way I got over that was very early on. My producer David Botterell was talking to Nellťe Hooper, and when he was doing his rough edits and demos they did the demo. We said look, weíre begging on our knees that when you lay down the click track, which is the beats of where the beat comes, that the tempo you use for your demo track, the rough version that we are going to start editing to, when you do the final recording and the final mix that you keep the same tempo. You can add in strings, you can change the sequence of what chorus happens where or whatever, but weíre in deep trouble if you donít keep that tempo exactly on that beat, because at least then Iíve got some structure to it, so youíre absolutely right, you hit the nail on the head there. About 3 weeks into the edit we got the final mix track, it was the one that was going to be used, and we had to put it against the pictures we had been doing and saw it for the first time Ė the real music and getting on for what was going to be the real pictures Ė and crossed our fingers and hoped it all kind of synched up and worked, and it did more or less. There were a couple of areas where we were a bit out, areas which had been on the demo track but wasnít on the final mix. I think it was where a big stiletto heel comes down towards the end of the sequence. In the demo track there was a big musical bash where that hit and that went, so I was a bit surprised that wasnít there, but I donít think that matters too much. The other thing I did was put in some sound effects. I went to Leavesden and worked with a sound effects guy, and he put like an explosion when the bullet comes out of the gun, and later on where there is another gunshot because there was something taken out of the music track. Iíd done quite a big action to go with the music originally, but it wasnít there when I got the final version, so I got over that by putting the sound effect on there. So itís tricky, I mean the whole thing. What made it even more difficult was that the digital technology that I do the optical effects on runs at a different speed to the music track, so every time you want to hear the track or look at pictures youíve got to slow one thing down by a certain percentage or speed up the other one. And the machines, even though theyíre meant to be absolutely accurate, if you dial in and say speed this up by 15.752% or whatever it is Ė I canít remember the actual formula Ė it might be out by a little bit, so everything looks out of synch and you think, oh god what have I done!

I was going to ask you about the technology involved. I donít want to get too technical, but I assume all these elements are fed into the computer system, and somehow you are able to play about with it in all kinds of different ways. Can you explain how this works in nutshell?
In simplified terms what happens is that we film everything on a movie camera and it goes onto a piece of 35mm negative. That negative gets scanned into a computer, but in the computer it doesnít exist anywhere except as numbers on a disk, but it comes on to a screen and you can do an enormous number of varied optical effects on the computer screen. I shoot the elements against blue screen because the computer takes away the blue and inserts a different background. I can make someone smaller or bigger, I can change the colour, I can distort things or change things around, I can have 100 different elements that are on different pieces of film all collaged together in one scene. Youíve got a paintbox device which means if you have got wires or strings or poles you donít want to see, you can retouch them out like you would in photographs, or you can fly things around, or you can add smoke. You can do all sorts of incredible things. The trouble is that itís very expensive, it takes an enormous amount of time to do, and itís very slow. The main reason itís slow is because the computer can only work at its given speed. Itís unlike editing for TV or for adverts or anything like that, which only ends up on tape to go out on TV where picture quality is very low. For film, picture quality is very high. Film has to be projected so it has to be very very detailed. So if youíre saying to the computer, Ďwhat I want to do is make this girl look like sheís got two heads and I want you to make them join together so you donít see the seamí, it takes ages, and thereís lots of complicated work to do. You do all the calculations, work it all out and press go, and then it happens in the computer, but it does it all incredibly slowly and you have to wait ages and ages while itís processing. And thatís just one level. So if youíve got 20, 30, or 40 different levels of things going on, the actual processing of it takes a really long time.

What you donít want to do is to be having ideas and experimenting on this machine, so I took the film into a different type of edit. A type of edit you use for TV, for adverts and special effects for TV programmes, and I basically did the entire title sequence on that system, which is a lot quicker but much lower resolution. Then we went into this computer and said now do it again, so in effect I had to do it twice. The good thing about it is that it means that youíve got complete control and youíre not making things up on this very expensive and slow machine, but the bad thing about it is thereís no way of plugging one machine into the other and saying, sort of, copy this. You have to remake it from the beginning and just use it as a visual match.

Danile Kleinman credit screen GoldenEye (1995) main titles

It sounds very frustrating!
It is very frustrating and very time-consuming, so we were working literally around the clock. Even though itís only a 2.5 minute sequence it took several months to do with this new digital technology, which has been used for doing opticals on films as opposed to the old way, which was all done with projectors. It was all kept on film it didnít go to computer. The advantage now is you can see what youíre doing and you have much more control over it, and you can do many more things, the downside of it is it takes a really long time, and itís probably more expensive, but the end result is more spectacular. Itís really amazing technology and itís used for doing film opticals, but I think Iím probably right in saying itís never been used before for doing one sequence which is so long. I should think maybe the longest sequence itís been used for in science fiction or fantasy films might be 10 to15 seconds, and we were doing something which had to end up as being one continuous piece of film for nearly 3 minutes, so in terms of pushing the technology, it was really on the edge.

I noticed in the Tina Turner GoldenEye video there was a Bond silhouette featured. Did you have anything to do with that?
They took a couple of shots from the title sequence and used it in the video but I didnít have anything to do with it.

How long, including all the storyboard work and the preparatory work before you actually get to physically shoot stock and then put it on computer? How long did it take in total to produce the GoldenEye titles?
From the beginning of having the ideas to actually handing over the finished film, I think it might have been three months.

Where did you actually shoot the live action?
It was shot in a studio just outside London, just up the A40, so actually because I wasnít using any sets or any real locations it was all just shooting elements, where it was shot wasnít particularly important.

Do you know if you will be working on the main titles for BOND 18?
I hope they will ask me because Iíd like to have another go. Luckily, everybody seemed to like them. I think a lot of people who work on it and get involved in it....I think itís because theyíre fulfilling their youthful fantasy, it definitely is for me. If Iíd thought when I was 10 years old that I could be filming bits for James Bond, I would be just so ecstatically happy. When I was asked if I wanted to do it I just couldnít possibly turn it down. It was just too good a thing.  

Do you consider yourself to be a Bond fan?
Oh yes, absolutely. Itís partly because itís part of film history, which Iím interested in, I actually am interested in Ian Fleming as a character and when I was a kid I collected the bubblegum cards. Iíve still got a set of Thunderball bubblegum cards, Iíve still got my Aston Martin that flies a man out of the roof Ė itís all part of something that men of a certain age did Ė all those things when they were a kid, and I did, and thatís why I love it.

CONTINUE TO PART 2

 

GoldenEye Logo

Animated Storyboards from GoldenEye

This animation is made up of 65 frames and will loop continuously.

 

MAIN TITLES

Animated storyboard sequence


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