21 September 2008

Vampyr!

Speaking of digital restorations. The good folks at the Criterion Collection asked me to lend a typographic hand to their release of Carl Theodore Dryer's Vampyr-- a wonderful and wonderfully surreal picture. Even though Vampyr is a sound picture it's full of subtitles and written text. Criterion puts it this way: "Subtitling Vampyr presents a special challenge. Dryer relies heavily on written text that fills the frame, and subtitles can be hard to read -or even see- against this background. For this reason, the Criterion Collection, taking care to reproduce the look of the original as closely as possible, prepared a version of the film in which the on-screen text has been digitally replaced with an English translation."

The design of that typeface, as well as the layout, fell on me. That meant, firstly, drawing a font in the style of the original hand-lettered inter-titles. What made it all sing was the fantastic work of the video production crew who added the requisite dust specs and halos around the letter forms.

Thrilled? Honored to be a part of a picture as great as this one? You bet. Purists, don't be alarmed. History was neither harmed or rewritten for this production. Both versions of the film are available in this release.

Click on the image for a larger view.

• The Criterion Collection