Beginnings and endings are some of the most important, but hardest, parts of any story. But, what happens after the end? Wait, am I getting all metaphysical here all of a sudden? No, don’t worry, the concerns of this article are much simpler, but the question stands. So, what happens after a video game, movie, or short film ends? Why, there’s a cut to black and the credits roll, of course! But who really makes these things? Should you hire an end credits maker, or go it alone? Today, I’ll help guide you through the murky waters of black backgrounds and rolling names.
And hey, don’t worry if this is an aspect of film or game-making that eludes you. After all, you can’t be expected to do it all; in our age of ever-increasing hyper-specialization, it’s always good that you can outsource a part of the process to pros.
A Little History Lesson
We’ve all seen end credits a million times in our time on Earth. Even if you’re not much of a movie or video game buff, you’re probably seen your share. And even if you’re not a particularly avid watcher or player, you’ve also probably noticed that not all credits are the same. Today, credits come in all kinds of shapes and sizes that go beyond the “cut to black, cue the cast and crew.” Being an end credits maker slightly more involved and complex than that.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the bare basics. In our previous article about credits, I said:
Closing or end credits are a list of the cast and crew that took part in filming a particular movie, TV show, animated feature, or video game. You’ve seen it a million times, probably with tears still fresh on your cheeks from the emotional toll of the last few scenes as the credits signal the definitive end. Isn’t that sort of bittersweet? While end credits are a celebration of the multi-pronged efforts of a production team, they also have the unenviable position of capping a story. For instance, if a movie can be read as a text, then credits are the final punctuation mark, be it an exclamation sign, a question mark, or a full stop.
But When Did They Start Showing Up?
For something that’s such an entertainment staple, pretty recently, actually. Believe it or not, end credits weren’t common until the 1970s! While, sure, opening credits were a thing — usually just a couple of mentions to the director and main actors — being an end credits maker wasn’t even a job. Some movies, like Around the World in 80 Days (1956) did have credits, but the practice wasn’t really a thing; it was more of an artistic affectation, something directors did for effect.
So, indeed, full closing credits were not the norm, but the exception. That trend quickly changed, though. By the end of the 70s (cue funky music), some credit sequences ran for over 8 minutes. Sure, that can seem normal today, considering that some credit sequences are even longer. But, at that time, these sequences were pretty much neverending. Although, to be honest, probably no one sat for them. After-credits scenes were not much of a thing back then; when a movie was over, it was over.
In fact, movies were more about making a statement with their opening scenes. Ever seen a James Bond flick? The bombastic, over-the-top musical numbers were a way to reel audiences in. After the movie was over, there was hardly any incentive to keep people glued to their seats. It was over, people were free to step over their spilled popcorn and back to their lives.
Today, though, things are different. But we’ll get to that later.
The Job of The End Credits Maker
So, it’s up to the end credits maker to create these sequences. They can range from:
- The simple, rolling credits sequences that we’ve seen a million times.
- More complex end sequences that use motion graphics, montages, or other techniques. These are now commonplace in MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies.
- A combination of both.
Nowadays, the old end credits are not quite what they used to be. While, sure, you may think that it doesn’t take much artistry to create amazing end credits, just check out what the end credits maker managed to create for Avengers Endgame (spoilers, of course).
So, you see, end credits now go can go beyond just naming the cast and crew. They can be powerful story recaps that go over the most important plot beats and add an even greater sense of scope and epicness. They’re a chance for every character, actor, and actress to get their due and take a bow, basically. If you cried during the film, it’s very likely that the end credits maker will try to get one final tearjerker out of the sequence as well. Dastardly!
But, it also means the following:
While — as is the case for scrolling lists with the names of the cast and crew — this can be a one-person job, it can also mean liaising with the art or animation department, depending on the requirements of the feature. As we said above, end credits aren’t just there to signal the end of a story, they can also add to the emotional impact in ways that aren’t immediately evident
Do I Need an End Credits Maker?
Well, your need for an end credits maker will depend mainly on what type of sequence you need. Is it just a cut to black with a few names, or a more involved animated sequence? The more involved the sequence, the higher the likelihood that you’ll need a pro or a team of pros.
But, if all you need is a very simple sequence, there are plenty of free (or paid) programs that can get you out of a jam. Mind you, these are pretty basic and are great if you have an indie or small-time production in the works. If you need credits for a production that’s meant for mass consumption, you should think things over. After all, nobody likes looking cheap, or like they improvised something, right? The more you care about results, the more you should leave it to the pros.
But if, for example, you have a video game that requires something more intricate, that’s a different matter. Say you want a recap animation or something like the Iron Man credits above. You’re going to require the help of a very capable team, not just an end credits maker. Some credit scenes employ a mix of techniques that are beyond the reach of one person alone. In essence, you may have to outsource work to a whole different studio that specializes in state-of-the-art credit sequences. If you’re one of ’em gaming bigwigs, you may even have your own credits department that takes care of that for you.
Just keep that in mind.
The DIY Way
If you’re in a bind, here are several programs that can help you out. These are programs that will basically auto-generate credits for you over a black background. They’re easy to use, mostly free or very cheap, and look pretty OK. Consider the bare-bones video editing applications, but acting as your very own end credits maker.
- Hit Film Express. This is an advanced end credits maker for Windows and Mac. It also features plenty of plugins if you need to pack your credit sequences with something extra.
- Shotcut. A super-reliable free option. It’s also available for Windows, Linux, and Mac, so you’re spoiled for choice — no system limitations here!
- Easy Video Maker. The easy way out out of a list of easy ways out (say that out loud real quick). The main draw from Easy Video Maker is that it’s oriented to beginners. You don’t have to be an old hand at video editing to get a lot out of this. Now, be warned that the free version supports credit sequences of up to five minutes — more than enough for most indie productions unless you’ve enlisted your whole town for your opera prima, that is.
There are plenty more end credit maker options, but these should suffice for now. But what about if you want to take it seriously? What are your options? I’m about to make it as simple as possible to avoid wasting your time. If you’re looking for high-quality credit sequences, then I’m about to blow your mind.
That’s right. We’re a complete outsourcing platform that can cover every step of the creative process, A to Z. We can help you out with your production with anything from scriptwriting to finding the right end credits maker. Some of the best parts of working with the Bunnies?
- We love quality. No one gets into our platform unless they can prove they belong in the top 2% of talent. If you’re looking for advanced video pros, you’ve found ’em.
- Turnaround is not a dirty word. Often, our clients come in needing their projects completed by yesterday. We typically deliver great results between 24-72 hours, depending on the project’s scope and complexity. We also offer unlimited revisions, so nothing of that one-and-done hoopla around here.
- We can take of your projects whether they’re big or small. In fact, the bigger your project, the better the rates!
- No two ways about it: we deliver the work, you keep the copyright. No underhanded tactics or small print here.
- You don’t like the final result? Then you get all of your money back, easy and simple. We care about you getting what you want, not about the cash.
So, if you’re ready to take your sequences to the next level, give us a holler. We’d love to have a chat with you!