The title sequence for Westworld is a finely crafted piece of work that draws together experts from quite a few specialities
The Design Studio http://elastic.tv/
The production studio who won the contract to produce the title sequence, elastic, have an impressive pedigree, their work includes titles for: The Crown, Amanda Knox, Marvel’s Luke Cage, The Night Manager, The Leftovers (Season 2), True Detective (Season 2), Marvel’s Daredevil, 87th Academy Awards, The Man in the High Castle, Halt and Catch Fire, True Detective, Masters of Sex, The Americans, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Carnivàle
For the Westworld prohject, the team grew and shrank as needed during the project, but the core members were:
|“||Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy and J.J. Abrams have been extremely ambitious. They’ve built a story that is truly epic — I’m not just using that as a buzzword — it is expansive in terms of its sets, the time period, the aesthetics its combined, and the human themes at the core of the story. It works, it’s emotional, it’s engaging, and that to me is something very special. We felt very lucky to be a part of it.||”|
The design process was quite a long one. It started in February and finished in October, a few days before Westworld went on air.
elastic worked closely with the composer Ramin Djawadi and the showrunners, Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan.
They had just finished the titles for True Detective when Clair read an interview with Jonah and Lisa (Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan, Westworld Showrunners) on one of the TV rumour sites about Westworld. Clair was looking for the next project and asked Jennifer Sofio Hall, a Managing Partner at Elastic, get them the work - and she delivered.
|“||I think I’ve had more time with [Joy and Nolan] than any other show that I’ve worked on.||”|
–Patrick Clair, on Joy and Nolan
|“||[Ramin Djawadi] was great in terms of us making small changes to the sequence .. the next version of the music would have all of these amazing, artfully executed changes to how the music unfolds to support it in a really interesting way.||”|
–Patrick Clair, on Djawadi
Djawadi, Joy & Nolan all invested time in the relationship with elastic. Clair also acknowledges the inspiration of Bjork's video for the song All is Full of Love, which was directed by Chris Cunningham.
The design boards produced by elastic provided talking points, jumping off points, in the discussions with Joy and Nolan. At least some of these pictures were reused from previous projects. The styleframes.
The reference pictures seem to be the next step in the process, specific images that came out of the Design Board process. The look and feel references.
An iteration of the storyboard process, how the title sequence might have looked.
We start to see some images that appear in the final title sequence.
One of the most commonly asked questions is - who's the girl on the horse? From the frontal view we have here, it doesn't appera to be any of the actresses is the main production. If it's based on anyone, it may be someone at elastic, or a actor employed by them.
It possibly could be Armistice. It's a female with long blonde hair, but there's no snake tattoo on the right side of her face. Maybe an earlier version of the host, before she got the role of Armistice?
The Player Piano
elastic spent a day photographing the player piano in the production office, and then created digital versions of it that are used in the show - as well as in the title sequence.
Here's the Season 2 version of the opening credits. It uses the same theme as the Season 1 version (has the same music and continues to show partially printed hosts/items), but with a number of the elements changed:
Here's a comparison video showing the two versions side-by-side: