QED (1995)

Concept and creative process

‘QED' was a generic title sequence for a new documentary strand of investigative programmes in the fields of medicine, science, the natural world and technology. The brief was to make the long-running science series more accessible and attract a new audience beyond the science boffins. The concept behind this title sequence lay in the name Q.E.D., an initialism of the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum”, meaning "that which was to be demonstrated". 'QED' was a series of 4 title sequences, designed to be used in turn on different programmes in the strand, ensuring that the intro was always unexpected, fresh and surprising. Each title sequence concluded with the apple falling from a tree and the formation of the ‘QED’ logo, and was comprised of a combination of live-action shoots in a studio with actors, animals (for example a live snake), props and sets, all shot on 35mm film, sometimes on a motion control camera. 'QED' was firstly a visual reference to Newton’s solution to the problem of the falling apple that gave seed to the theory of relativity. Secondly, the colours of the logo 'QED' heralded the use of the three colours Red, Blue & Green throughout the title vignettes to colour brand the images, such as the identical triplets wearing different coloured nappies. Lastly, and most importantly, the creative idea favoured the human side of science over the technical complexities of science by means of a series of vignettes of simple demonstrations - for example a child listening to the sea through a shell or a Blues musician playing a guitar. These vignettes were tonally different depending on the nature of the film that would follow. The archer firing an arrow through an apple was shot at Oxford Scientific Films on sophisticated high-speed film cameras. Some of the images, including the animated logo, were manipulated and created using computer technology such as the Quantel paintbox and the Quantel Harry editing system. The title sequence was a Finalist in the Royal Television Society Awards.