Long Story Short: A Dialogue from ‘The Crown’

Project Title: Wife or Crown| Software: Adobe After Effects | Length/Duration: 30s | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (1920 x 1080) | Pixel Aspect: Square Pixels | Frame Rate: 30 fps | Output: H. 264 | Typefaces: Unna Regular, Unna Bold, Unna Bold Italic| Audio: Season 1, Episode 5 of ‘The Crown’(16:05–15:02)

In light of the rising popularity of the historical drama, ‘The Crown’, this short animation previews the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh before her coronation around the 1950s. For this project, I wanted to showcase the shift in the relationship dynamic between Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh as they make the transition onto the throne.

A coronation is an act in which a monarch in line ascends to the throne, and often in Western-style tradition, they are anointed as a representation of their dedicated service to God. As a result, the people will kneel before Queen Elizabeth, but to Philip, it would mean kneeling before his wife. The position leaves them in disagreement as Elizabeth wants to follow coronation tradition while Philip wants to maintain his masculinity. Through this motion study, I want to portray the battling opposition between Philip and Queen Elizabeth and the frustration they have for their perspectives to be heard.

Due to the nature of this dialogue, I needed to utilize a typeface that would be easily legible at a fast pace. I noticed a distinct improvement in clarity and coherence when using a single typeface with variation instead of playing with multiple typefaces. For that reason, I chose to only use the typeface ‘Unna’ to create a modern and sophisticated tone, using variation in size, emphasis, and movement to create unique voices throughout this piece.

Initial Ideation

text about the initial sketches.

Mood board for project concept
Brainstorming motion study keyframes

Rough Cut 1

In the initial stage of this dialogue, I wanted to convey Philip’s frantic behaviour at the start of this scene by giving his role a bold colour to better emphasize his verbal attacks. In addition, I started to brainstorm ways to showcase kneeling through typographic movement as it becomes a recurring theme in the text.

Rough Cut 2

The next version started by implementing more movement into the scene, emphasizing the importance of kneeling through size and negative space within the lettering. At 00:25, the idea was to exaggerate Philip’s opposition to kneeling and to showcase his exuberance for getting his point across as a husband who is kneeling to his wife.

Rough Cut 3

From my previous assumption, I believed that leaving text on the screen for longer would allow viewers to take in the information better, but as a result of its fast pace, the viewer would get lost from all the additional text on screen. I applied the appropriate changes to limit the confusion.

After establishing the repetition of the word ‘kneeling’, I branched out to more visual representations of their emotions. At 00:38 and 00:43, I wanted to showcase the Queen’s unattractive authority through typographic texturing and movement, as well as revealing the insecurity and weakness inside of Philip.

Rough Cut 4

In the last sequence of this dialogue, the goal was to represent each side of the argument as they fight between Philip’s insistence for wanting a wife and not a Queen, as well as Queen Elizabeth’s cry for wanting to represent both titles of wife and Queen.

Final Edit

The final development of this motion study took a new approach to the argument between Philip and Queen Elizabeth in the last sequence. I chose to center the text for better visibility and experience for the audience as the text moved quickly. In making that choice, I made sure that it would be easy to distinguish between Philips's role and Queen Elizabeth through manipulation of colour and form to the text. Changing the position of the background colour also aided in establishing the opposing views between the characters, and was a feature that built tension when the speed of the conversation would shift alongside the power dynamic between them.

As a last statement after Philip’s plea for her to make an exception for him, I chose to hold on to the pause and allow the dialogue to breathe for when the Queen finally says ‘no’. Her last word of finality and authority was naturally a great way to bring the dialogue to a close.

A product designer from Toronto dedicated to user experience. katng.io

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