Does Size Matter ?

Don’t ever let it be said that you can’t learn some bloody useless information from me. If nothing else, when the afternoon film rolls around on boxing day, this will give you something to blather on about during the opening sequence.

Those of you that know me, will know about my film obsession. I try not to make too big a thing about it because one could easily become a frightful bore, (what do you mean “become”? - Ed) but it's still there nevertheless. I mention it to try and explain away the incredulity of the following post - to be fair I can hardly believe I've written myself, but here's how it came about:

In the course of my movie watching I see Film Studio logos a lot... An awful lot. While they're interesting the first time, they tend to go unnoticed (and certainly uncommented upon) in subsequent appearances. That is until one of them changes. It might only be a minor change but when you notice it, it's like the proverbial sore thumb for the next two or three outings, until it becomes the new norm.

For example, when 20th Century Fox became part of the Newscorp Corporation (1981-84), I'm sure like me, all you ever noticed under the glare of the famous searchlights was the "A News Corporation Company" sign at the bottom of the screen... (Or perhaps you didn't and I'm just a cinema weirdo)

Anyway, this weekend I realised that another one of them had had a fairly minor change recently, and what caught my attention was the size of the logo. This got me to thinking how big would these arduous logos be if they were ever rendered in real life - and is size important? :-) I was always told its what you do with it that matters, although luckily this has never been an issue..... Moving on...

To correctly answer the question, some research was required. Here for your delectation and amazement are the results. The rules (as defined by me) are measurement of Logo Text size is the score. So, in no particular order....

DreamWorks SKG Animation - The boy on the moon.

So it turns out that DreamWorks logo features the son of the artist that painted the original artwork for the sign. The young man sat on the edge of a crescent moon fishing is an image of William Hunt, son of Robert Hunt. Safe to assume then, that as a young boy he is probably about 5 feet tall which gives us a logo size of 3 feet (give or take)

However, he's clearly sat in the crescent of THE moon, and as we know the moon is 3,474km in diameter so perhaps it could be that William is depicted as being 768Km tall, thus giving us a total logo size of 983Km or 610 miles.

Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen (yes, thats what SKG stands for) had a pretty good shot at the title with a logo that big.

Worth noting that Dreamworks is now owned by Paramount Pictures, however Dreamworks Animation is still independent, so that’s the logo I’ve used here.


And here's the clip:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) - Roaring Lion

Lions aren't very big in the grand scheme of logos. Average shoulder height of a fully grown male african Lion is up to 123cm (4 ft). MGM have changed the logo a few times, all with basically the same theme and they've had four named lions (and probably a couple of unnamed ones) who are respectively Slats, Jackie, Tanner and Leo. But then as the logo says this is "Art for art's Sake" so the casual observer shouldn't read anything of importance into it I suppose.

Anyway, all that aside, a 4ft Lion, gives MGM a total logo size of 5ft 8in (1.75m)


and here's all the MGM Logos rolled into one convenient clip:

20th Century Fox - Searchlights

Emil Kosa Junior created the original 20th Century Pictures logo in 1933. Two years later they became 20th Century Fox through a merger with the Fox Film Company and Pictures became Fox. Emil Kosa was a well known Matte Artist and examples of his work can be found in such movie greats as The Sound of Music, Cleopatra, The Fantastic Voyage, and probably most famously the Planet of the Apes - spoiler alert - see that Statue of Liberty?, That's a painting that is.

Luckily, the logo is easily scaled based on Searchlight technology. For military use initially (but also for public events, and Grand openings - and no doubt lighting up studio logo's) two companies together, Sperry and General Electric, manufactured Carbon Arc Searchlights right around the time the 20th Century Fox logo got going. While Movie Arc Lights were 24 inch diameter, it's a fair assumption to make, that the larger version are what are imagined in the logo. They have a 60" diameter, originally cost $60,000 each and have an effective beam length of 5.6 miles. Impressive stuff eh?

Right then. So a 60" diameter light translates into a total logo size of 12.16 meters


And the now obligatory collection:

Paramount Pictures Mountain

Paramount Pictures have a mountain of a logo - known as “The Majestic Mountain”. The story goes that it started life as a doodle drawn by W.W.Hodkinson during a meeting with Adolph Zukor (the founder) and is loosely based on the “Ben Lomond Mountain” in Utah (which incidentally is 2,960m high). However, Paramount went on to film a live action version of a mountain widely believed to be “Artesonraju” in Peru (which stands at 6,025m).

Of course nowadays, everyone’s logo’s are digital representations, but for the purposes of the exercise and to be favorable we’ll go with the Peruvian version of events.

Interestingly, the stars around the logo were originally there to represent the 24 film stars that were contractually signed up to Paramount at the time. This changed to 22 in 1974, but I can’t find any reference as to why - probably just aesthetics.

Regardless - given a little bit of measuring and maths, Paramount score a TLS of 7.23Km.


And the whole range of Paramount logo's….

The Warner Bros Shield

A tricky one this - not much to go on, in the way of scaling. There have been hundereds of different versions of this logo, but I’m going to go with the Warner Bros / New Line Cinema version because at least here there is something.

This version of the logo is animated and transitions from the standard WB Shield that you’ll have seen many times, into the NewLine Cinema logo (A Frame of film with the sprocket holes at an angle across the right hand corner). This is our reference point. The sprocket holes on the New Line logo are represented as being square - thus directing us to CinemaScope film. Interestingly, CineScope sprocket holes were originally referred to as “Fox Holes” because all CineScope films were made by 20th Century Fox.

A single “Fox Hole” is a mere 1.85mm in height, thus giving us a film strip which is 15.91mm in length. Following back through the animation, this translates to the downward edge of the “B” in the logo, giving us a Total Logo Size for Warner Bros. a piddling 22.02mm... Hmm, those clouds must be water vapor from a cup of tea!

Wbnl1 Wbnl2
and the show reel…

Columbia Pictures and that woman with the Torch

So this woman with the torch is the personification of America, known as “Columbia”. She was given the elbow by much of the US in 1920 when that other woman came along (The Statue of Liberty). Essentially, she is America’s version of Britannia - another goddess we don’t hear much of nowadays....

As for who actually modeled for the logo - well there’s a long list of names, among them, Claudia Dell, Amelia Batchler, Jane Bartholomew and Annette Bening. The current model is Jenny Joseph, who stood for Michael Deas when the digital rendition was made in 1993. However, he says that the face is a composite and not that of Jenny Joseph.

To the maths... The average height of an american woman is 1.76m, thus the Columbia logo has a TLS of 0.76m


In all her glory:

Universal Pictures

And it's here that we appear to have a clear winner. Appropriately so, given that this year marks their 100th anniversary.

From Tangier all the way down North Africa to Grand Lahou is a distance of 2,117 miles (3,407Km)


So scaling up (and excluding subsidiary text) this gives Universal Studios a whopping Total Logo Size of 4,543Km (2,822 miles). Insane!


All the Universal logos:

Does Size Matter?

The reults then - as follows:

1st: Universal Studios (4,543 million mm)

2nd: DreamWorks Animation (983 million mm)

3rd: Paramount (7.23 million mm)

4th: 20th Century Fox (12,160 mm)

5th: M.G.M. (1,750 mm)

6th: Columbia (760 mm)

7th: Warner Bros. (22.02 mm)

Well, there you go then - I’m sure that’s wasted 10 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back, but does it really mean anything? Is there any relationship between logo size and Film Production??

Nope - it's utterly meaningless... unless you know otherwise.... :-)
Time I found something else to worry about.
Ta Ra.

P.S. - With thanks to the internets, wikipedia and my memory for finding all this guff. #KeepItFree

This post originally appeared here: Posterous