Fuse Entertainment
AMC
Directed by Erin Sarofsky
Live Action
Main Title Sequence
Editorial
VFX/Visual Effects
Motion Design

The Killing

You can’t unsee a horror. Shockingly imprinted in memory, it flashes back, unbid. Waking or sleeping the image replays, making even the real surreal. If you are investigating a murder, replaying that horror is part of your job. But that doesn’t make detachment and objectivity easy, or the mess murder makes in a multitude of lives, more bearable. Veena Sud came to us to create an opening title sequence that would capture the essence of all of that for her series, The Killing.

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Getting Inside Her Head

You can’t unsee a horror. Shockingly imprinted in memory, it flashes back, unbid. Waking or sleeping the image replays, making even the real surreal. If you are investigating a murder, replaying that horror is part of your job. But that doesn’t make detachment and objectivity easy, or the mess murder makes in a multitude of lives, more bearable.

AMC and Fuse Entertainment came to us to create an opening title sequence that would capture the essence of all of that for The Killing.  The show tells the story of the murder of a young girl and the police investigation that follows in thirteen, episodes through the perspective of the people whose lives were impacted. None more so than lead investigator, Sarah Linden, whose job it is to solve the crime.

Giving viewers a glimpse inside Linden’s head, our sequence opens the story with Linden journeying through wet and eerie Seattle. As she drives to the crime scene, we view multiple environments through the rain splattered windows of her car: the red streaks of tail-lights, the bulk of pylons and concrete, all distorted through the wet. We see Sarah’s eyes, cool and detached. But we also flash to images from her inner eye—the dead teen’s body, hair floating in water, the beams of emergency vehicles, the ominous dark. Using camera effects to flash and stutter between real time and remembered, (along with similar typographic treatments,) gives the sequence a pulse-pounding rhythm full of dread and suspense.

We shot this sequence in Seattle, which is where the series is set. While the majority of the look is achieved in camera and with a moody color correct, almost all of the lighting effects and sky enhancements were done in post, integrated seamlessly with the film footage in comp.

The Process

When we can, it’s nice to share process, and for these titles it’s lovely to see the progression from Lyndsay’s original boards to what Erin, with Veena Sud’s guidance, ultimately landed upon. While the initial treatment focused on the wet, mercurialness of Seattle, Erin transformed that into a dark, introspective look at Linden’s life in her car— an investigator going from location to location to piece things together. The darkness allows for light moments that transition us into Linden’s thoughts and the images that flash through her mind.

The Killing Style Guide

We were also commissioned by AMC to create The Killing graphics package for the network because they wanted  brand consistency across all points of communication. Browse through some of the pages of our style guide.

Project Credits 
  • Director
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Executive Producers
    Rachael Steele
  • Louise Krakower
  • Director of Photography
  • Line Producer
    Eugene Mazzola
  • Editor
  • VFX Supervisor
    Matt Crnich
  • Concept Artist
    Lindsay Daniels
  • Motion Designers
    Gene Park
  • Aaron Kemnitzer
  • Nik Braatz
  • Chris Ryan
Client Credits 
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