My latest assignment for my digital media convergence class has been to pay more attention to text on TV. Text- it’s a simple concept and an element that goes virtually unnoticed in movies and on TV shows, but even so, it plays a vital role in media- even if it’s just to display the title and credits. The way a text is revealed is something that many people put a lot of thought into. Text has the power to set the mood for a scene and to establish pace as well as energy. The type of font that is used, what color it is, how it comes onto the screen, how long it stays there for, what its background is, and how it leaves the screen are all things that must be thought of- there is a reason behind everything.
I took a look at the text used in the show I watch every week, Glee. The title is presented 1 minute and 17 seconds into the show, and it is timed perfectly with the music in the background so that it pops onto an all black screen right on beat when the music strikes a certain chord. The word “glee” is what is seen, and it is in all lower cases placed in the center of the screen in all white letters, which obviously stands out against the black background. The title stays on the screen for a good 4 seconds while the choir voices fade out and are proceeded by natural sound from wherever location the next scene takes place. This tactic provides nice foreshadowing into where the audience will be taken next, and it’s a smooth transition that’s believable and seamless.
The acting credits appear at the beginning of the show immediately after the title page is revealed. The names are in the same font and color as “glee” on the title page. This provides unity and strings the two together. The credits blend in well and provide no distraction from the action on screen. They all fade in and fade back out over the duration of approximately 1.5 seconds. They all appear on the bottom of the screen in different locations (either lower left corner, lower center, or lower right corner).
I learned from paying attention to Glee’s text that even a simple delivery can still be effective. Glee doesn’t use fancy graphics or dazzling colors, but their title page makes just as much of an impact as the flashy stuff would because of the fact that it is so simple. A black screen with white text and simple lettering is powerful in it’s own sense, and most importantly that’s the style that fits the show. Text, if not done right can really take away and distract from the content of the show, but Glee is able to master the art of text so that it flows well and compliments the show in every way.