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.


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?


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.


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).


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.


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.