Saturday, 19 March 2016

Evaluation of Shots

Evaluation of Shots

     Favourite Moments

We all think that this shot works the best (at 1:09-1:13), as it is visually very pleasing. The shot is short and simple, but it tells us a lot - that the spy is picking up the symbol, we see what the symbol looks like, and that the assassin is standing behind the spy. It shows the danger of the assassin behind him, and the viewer realises that something bad is about to happen.


We also thought that this sequence of shots of the spy hurriedly looking through paper (from 0:56-0:59) is very good. We used jump cuts to add a sense of pace (to contrast with the long, unbroken take that preceded these shots) and to create a feeling of chaos because the character is desperately worried (There are 4 cuts in 4 seconds). This sequence is very exciting and creates a feeling of panic and desperation which comes across well in the scene.



     Improvements

We think that the only shot that didn't fully work is the opening shot which could be confused with a point-of-view (POV) shot. It wasn't meant to be, because the camera was at waist-level the whole time and the aim was to achieve the feeling of an 'omniscient camera'. An example of this in a film is the 3 minute shot in Goodfellas where the camera is an omniscient spectator of the action and follows the characters around.



This shot was filmed on a steady cam which we would have used for our opening if we had access to one. However, we had to settle for a handheld camera which was a little too shaky, and so could be mistaken for a character's perspective. Our opening shot starts unmotivated, while this shot from Goodfellas starts motivated (following two characters down steps, through a kitchen and into a restaurant). The movement in our shot then becomes motivated, as the spy character enters frame and we then follow his actions. The Goodfellas shot becomes unmotivated from 2:57 as the camera spins around to show another character independent of any on-screen movement.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Evaluation - Progression

Evaluation - Progression

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?


During the time between the preliminary task and our main task, I have learnt a lot of things that were extremely helpful in creating our final product. Our preliminary task was useful because it taught us the basics of filming; the main task, however, has expanded my knowledge more of the process of creating a product.

The main thing that the main task has taught me that the preliminary task didn't was the importance of research. Our preliminary task was very simple - there was no real story behind it, it was simply two people having a conversation. However, for our main task we needed to include a lot more; our piece had to fit with a certain genre, have a certain atmosphere, and make sense as part of a larger story (even if that larger story is not shown). As a group, we had to research into genre conventions of action/thriller movies to ensure that our film made sense and would be recognisable within that genre. Research also inspired us somewhat with our final piece, for example with the long shot which was inspired by the slow openings seen in movies such as Casino Royale and Sherlock Holmes. Research was also useful in providing inspiration for our symbol, which was really helpful not only in giving us ideas for it but also in granting it a greater meaning.





Another thing I learnt in the progression from the preliminary task to the main one was the importance of working with the right people. In our preliminary task, me and Samuel worked with a person who didn't show up to shoot, and Crystal worked with people that she didn't really know and wasn't comfortable around. We therefore made sure that we were working together for the main task as we get along quite well and know that we are all focused and hard-working.

We also learnt was the benefit of bringing in outside actors. In our preliminary task, none of us had brought in anyone to act in our films as there had not been the need. However, in our main task we brought in an actor, Oliver, to be in our opening alongside Crystal. This was useful as it freed two of us to work behind scenes, plus having someone who knew how to act was useful as it made our film much more believable. Oliver was also really helpful in giving us feedback on how it looked and ideas of how we could stage it.

All in all, we learnt quite a lot in the creation of our film. Our preliminary task was helpful in teaching us the basics of filming, but making our main task taught us so much more in terms of all the work that goes in to making a film.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Evaluation - Technologies

Evaluation - Technologies

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?


     Pre-production


The only piece of outstanding technology we used during pre-production was celtx which is a free online screenwriting software which we used to format our script. Sam had used this product before so was familiar with it, and it proved very useful in the process of writing and planning our film. We could have written the film in Microsoft Word, or even by hand, but using celtx made it much quicker and easier to format our idea into a screenplay style.



     Production


Instead of using the school's camcorders for our film, we decided to use Sam's Canon 600D DSLR camera. DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex) generally have a more cinematic quality to them than camcorders because of their larger sensors (APSC in the case of the Canon 600D), plus they have the ability to use interchangeable lenses. Because we knew the film would be set at night and would therefore be very dark, we chose to use lenses which opened up to f/1.4 and f/1.7 to let in as much light as possible. However this also meant that the depth of field was very shallow meaning that focus was an issue. Fortunately Sam had some experience in focussing manually while shooting wide open, so it was less of an issue than it could have been.



We used two lenses in our film, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the Yashica 50mm f/1.7. They are both quite sharp and opened up very wide to let lots of light in. However, neither of the lenses has IS (Image stabilisation) and so we had to use a camera rig to stabilise the footage.

The one major drawback of using DSLRs for filming is the poor quality of the on-camera microphone. If we had dialogue in the film, we would have had to use a boom pole with an additional audio recorder, which we did not have enough crew members to use. However, as we didn't need dialogue, we attached a Rode Videomic to the top of the camera to pick up ambient noises, and decided to record most of the sounds through foley and add them in post.

To light the film, we used one 800W tungsten redhead with some CTO (colour temperature orange) to act as a key when the spy sits down at the table. We also used a small table lamp to illuminate the hallway. By pointing it to the floor, and bouncing it off some CTB (colour temperature blue) it gave the light a very diffused quality which contrasted well with the key light at the table. We also turned on a bathroom light in the corridor to stop it from being too dark (as can be seen on our behind the scenes video).

     Post-production

We edited the film on Final Cut Pro X on an iMac. Before this film, none of us in the group were experienced in using macs, but we very quickly became used to the operating system (although there was some difficulty coming to grips with the macs at first as inverted scrolling can be very annoying). Nonetheless it was quite easy to learn and the computer was very quick which meant that render times were low so we could experiment with various edits easily. We exported the film in ProRes which was a high quality option so we could preserve image quality.


We had to record foley for the opening, and so we used the Zoom H1 because it is a very compact and easy to use audio recorder with a built in microphone. It was easy to bring to school when necessary and can record very high quality audio.

     Overall

Throughout the making of this film, we learnt a lot about how to make technology work for us, and not the other way around. We learnt how to confidently edit on Final Cut Pro X, how to use macs, and how to use blogger.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Evaluation - Audience

Evaluation - Audience

Who would be the audience for your media product?


ln order to assess our potential audience, we decided to research what sort of people would be interested in action/thriller films. Generally speaking, action/thriller films are targeted at young men aged about 12 - 30. Since our film is a 12, it is less likely that people younger than that will watch our film. However, we decided to do our own research to see how true this would be. Below are our findings from the surveys, with the surveys themselves below them.


These findings confirm the belief that males prefer action/thrillers more than females do, which is shown by the fact that 9 males listed action or thriller as their favourite genre compared to 5 females. However, the result for age was different than expected, as the age for both genders is very spread out. One interesting feature is that thrillers are enjoyed much more than action (6 more total), which suggests that the combination of the two genres is likely to attract a larger audience than action films alone. Indeed, thrillers seem to be the most popular genre for both genders. This suggests that our film would have a large and varied audience of all ages, although there would be more males than females.




How did you attract/address your audience?


As seen in an earlier post, we decided to create a poster in order to attract an audience to our film. We ensured it would match the genre by both looking at genre conventions and by asking people what our poster sketches suggested about our film. This was, in fact, how we decided to scrap our original idea - when asking around, people thought it sounded more like the poster for a horror movie, which is not what our film is. We therefore came up with another sketch, and showed it to the people who took our survey. We recorded the responses, and found that the majority of people recognised it as being an action/thriller, although a few still thought it might be a horror. We then asked if they would want to see this movie, and most who enjoyed action/thrillers said that they would. This shows that it would be a good way to attract an audience.

Another way that we could potentially attract an audience could be by producing a trailer showing some of the good (but obviously not best) moments of our film. We would need to intrigue them in a way that would make them want to come to our film, but without giving the whole plot away as some trailers do. This would be a good way to captivate an audience and draw them to our film.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Evaluation - Distribution

Evaluation - Distribution

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Evaluation - Representation

Evaluation - Representation

How does your media product represent particular social groups?


As there are only two characters in this piece, very few social groups have been represented. Our opening involves a young adult Caucasian female and a Caucasian male in his mid-twenties. In terms of gender this is fairly representative of the general population, although it does not represenpeople who do not fit into the gender binary. In terms of race and age this is not very representative of the whole population as it pretty much only represents Caucasians in their early/mid-twenties.

     The spy

When deciding the character of the spy, we wanted to stick to genre conventions which generally involve a 30-something year old Caucasian man. This character is used because it represents the sort of person the film is targeted towards, as action/thrillers are generally targeted towards young men. This can be seen in a multitude of spy films, including very famous ones such as James Bond films, Mission: Impossible, and the Bourne series. We tried to make our character as close to this as we could, although we had a fairly limited selection of people to choose from. As a result we cast Oliver as a spy, even though he was slightly younger than the 'typical' spy.

     The assassin

For the assassin, we decided to cast Crystal. Our main debate about the assassin was about gender, as the gender of assassins in movies is quite varied. In the past, killers have almost always been male - however, in recent times there has been a huge influx in the number of female assassins, although there is still variation in gender. In films like the Bourne series, for example, assassins are male, whilst in others, such as Kill Bill, assassins are female. In the end we decided to go female, partly because we knew Crystal would be fantastic as the assassin and partly because female assassins often seem to have more of an edge of mystery and danger than male ones, mainly due to the fact that it is unconventional, which would make an action/thriller more exciting.


   Age and ethnicity

In terms of age and ethnicity, our film is not very representative. Both of the actors are young adults, and both are Caucasian. However, there are reasons for these choices. In terms of age, we decided that using fairly young actors made sense, as the jobs of both spies and assassins are quite active and dangerous, so require young people. Also, the level of risk means that older people are less likely to survive and their experience would make them more likely to have jobs in organisation or leadership. Therefore it made sense to use young adults.


In terms of ethnicity, we decided to stick to genre conventions in our choices. The genre conventions of action/thrillers is to have Caucasian actors as the main parts. Some examples of this would be James Bond and Jason Bourne in terms of spies and Mad Max, Die Hard and Taken in terms of action/thrillers generally. In all of these, the main protagonist(s) are white. As well as this, in the context of the film it makes sense to have Caucasian actors as the film is set in England where the majority of the population are white. Therefore it makes sense to use Caucasian actors in our opening.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Evaluation - Forms and Conventions

Evaluation - Forms and Conventions

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?



Friday, 12 February 2016

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Whilst we were filming our opening, I decided to film some footage for a behind the scenes video. Below is the video, which shows us preparing for the film, filming the scenes, fixing some problems we encountered, and how we felt about the shoot, plus a picture of a list of shots and takes which recorded our best shots and was quite useful in editing.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Poster

The Poster

We decided to create a poster for our film.  Posters are important because they help potential customers understand what the film is and what it could be about. The poster has to represent our film, so I decided to look into posters for other action/thrillers. Below are some examples of posters from various action/thriller movies.




     Poster conventions

I can see from these posters that there are lots of conventions for action/thriller movie posters. Here are the things I noticed:
  • Dark electric blue colours
  • Dark colours
  • Occasional dashes of red/orange
  • Lots of shadows
  • Includes pictures of main character(s)
  • Title in red or white
  • Action shots
  • Often creates an idea of excitement and mystery
  • Generally fairly simple (e.g. just a picture of one man)

     Ideas for posters

We decided to come up with a few ideas of what our poster could look like. The first one is a picture of one of the main characters with the symbol of Arc Death projected over the top of them. This could work because it would be dark and shadowy, and would create a sense of mystery. However, it may look quite horror-esque, which is not the feel that we are going for. The other idea is of a hooded figure with squares instead of a face, creating the idea of a hidden or concealed person. The squares are all some shade of black and white except for one, which is red with the symbol of Arc Diath inside of it.

We decided to go with the second idea, as it creates the idea of a 'veiled facade', a hidden and unrecognisable person. Below is a sketch of what our poster could look like:


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Title

The Title

I decided to look into different film titles to find ideas for what we could call our film. The name of our film is really important, as it needs to sum up the film, give a clue as to what sort of film it will be, and encourage people to watch it. Most action thriller movie titles fall into certain categories. Below are the categories, and examples of movies in those groups.

     Titles relating to character

  • The Bourne Identity
  • The Dark Knight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Sherlock Holmes

     Sophisticated words relating to plot

  • Memento
  • Inception
  • Prisoners
  • Psycho
  • Taken

     Words relating to a place/organisation

  • Casino Royale
  • Spectre
  • Everest
  • Shutter Island
  • Fight Club

     Ideas for our title

We decided to brainstorm ideas for titles for our film, focussing on the areas highlighted above. Since our story beyond the opening is very vague and unknown, we decided not to use a name for our title but instead focus on words. We thought of words that might relate to words in our film, used a thesaurus to find more complex synonyms for them, and even tried translating a few into different languages. Below is our brainstorm:



We decided to base our title around the word 'hidden' coming up with words such as 'veiled', 'private', and 'cover'. Crystal then took the best words and started trying out different variations of them to see what titles we could come up with. Below is the refined list of titles we have come up with:


     The title

After a discussion in our group and a small vote, we decided that the best, most intriguing and most suitable title for our film is 'Veiled Fa├žade', as it has an air of mystery to it and creates a sense of suspense. It also sounds like a title for a professional action thriller film.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sound Effects

Sound Effects

As well as having music in our film, we also needed sound effects. These are important as they make the film feel more real. We watched our film through and wrote down every sound that we expected to hear, e.g. footsteps, thuds, fabric noises. We then went through and thought about how we could get each sound, deciding whether we would get it online (providing it was royalty-free) or make it ourselves using foley. In the end we decided to make most of our sounds using foley, as getting them online would be hard due to copyright, plus we could tailor sounds we made ourselves to the exact way we wanted them. Below is a list of the sound effects we needed & how we could get them, and a short behind the scenes video of us recording foley.



Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Rough Edit

Rough Edit

We have made a rough edit of our film. It still needs some work, but it is a good idea of what it might look like. We still need to add sound effects, change the music slightly and come up with a look for the title. For now, however, here is our edit:



Saturday, 9 January 2016

A Conversation About Continuity Editing

A Conversation About Continuity Editing

When making a film, continuity is very important to ensure a film makes sense and can be enjoyed without the viewer being distracted by issues with continuity. We made an audio recording of a conversation we had about continuity editing within our opening, discussing techniques such as match on action, shot/reverse-shot and the 180 degree rule.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Sound

Sound

We have decided to add most of our sound in post, as there is very little, if any, actual sound in our scene. Also, carrying around an audio recorder will be difficult and unnecessary, plus it would just be another thing to think about.


     Music

We will be using royalty free music composed by Ben Worley and Triune Scores. The tracks have been broken down into their component parts and so are very customisable. There is an excellent selection of dark and tense music which will work very well.
The Music