Top Secret (1982)

Concept and creative process

Titles for the gameshow where everyone was let into the secret. Barry Took and his team of special agents Liza Goddard, Chris Kelly, Jan Leeming and Alfred Marks met the people with the secrets and tried to persuade them to tell their stories. Designer Mina Martinez photographed thirty of her colleagues in the BBC Graphic Design Department as extras for her titles. The monochrome prints were cut out, assembled under a rostrum camera and animated by hand with the camera filming in reverse. Shooting began with all of the cut-out figures arranged in a complete circle with the tabletop of the rostrum camera set-up revolving for some 12 seconds with a black circular matte in the centre of the circle. The camera was rewound to zero on the frame counter and the reverse matte i.e. a clear circle on a black background replaced the original black circle. Previously printed still photographs were framed inside the clear circle and filmed as a sequence cutting from one to the next in-camera. The circle centre remained clear as the revolve continued until the hand animation of the cut-out figures began, one by one from both ends of the line, aided by a 2 second camera track-in on the line and a pan to move the last remaining figures out of shot. The revolving and tracking ‘Top Secret’ title was shot separately as a matte and master and composited with the rest of the shoot in a film optical in the lab, resulting in the sequence seen here in the clip.

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