In my opinion the movie can have a long or short opening and it won't make any difference unless it's interesting. I think that the opening might be way too boring if it's longer than 4 minutes, because the audience actually came here to watch a film, and not the titles. We must think about them and think that they are babies: if they get bored, they will start crying!
We also have to remember to start the movie correctly and not to make it too fascinating and full of action, otherwise we will have to keep the tension for the whole movie, which will be extremely difficult. We must divide the tension and put all over the film equally, with the most on the last 15mins. If we won't make it this way, there will be a risk of "Instant arousal" like Jean Jacques Beineix said.
|Jean Jacques Beineix|
The next thing we must keep an eye on is not too give too much information on the beginning, and sldo noy too much. If the audience knows too much then there is no suspension, and they can go home. If they don't know what's going on, then they will lose interest and will to watch the film. That's why its important that "a good beginning must take the audience feel that it doesn't know enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little."
The classic opening Stanley Klauffman was talking about is to get a establishing shot on the city, and make the camera go slowly to the main character/object/place. I don't really find it interesting, but it's good to know at the beginning where scene takes place.
I have been already describing title sequence of "Se7en" made by Kyle Cooper. The way he has done the letters moving around and changing size was fantastic, and with a great climate to the scene and music it really co-operates amazingly. From the opening we might also guess that the character cutting faces from newspapers, crossing eyes and sawing the paper might be crazy - maybe some kind of psychopath killer.
Nice idea and "a favourite trick of Film Noir" was to make the opening - the end of the film. The scene goes to the end of the film and then the movie is about how and why did it happend. It is very effective, however keeping the suspension is very difficult as we know what happend.
The movie called "The shining" is a very successful movie because it creates lots of suspension with some great editing help.
However, even thought the opening is very easy to make if you only have the helicopter, it creates the idea of something following a small car from behind, and we can be sure that they are going wrong way. From the documentary I've quoted "The camera is like the predator", and I think this is the word I needed.
As a bonus I will give one quick movie taken in class room:)