Monday, 31 January 2011

Bag Swap (with sound)

We added a soundtrack to our Bag Swap video using Soundtrack Pro, and then exporting it into Final Cut onto the original footage. We then exported the final finished film from Final Cut into Handbrake to convert it to a lower quality MP4 file so it could be uploaded to the blog quickly.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Introduction to LiveType

LiveType is what we will be using to create the titles for our Thriller openings. The process of using LiveType is very similar to that of Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro. 
You start with this blank screen. Once you know what titles you want and they have been written, they will appear here and then you will be able to move them around and put them in the positions you think will work best.
This is the screen used when you write what titles you want. The small box on the left is the text box. For example, if Ben and Sebastian were to produce the sound for the film, I would write it in the box for it to appear on the blank, white screen. Down the write hand side of the screen, you can choose what font you want. There are many different fonts, for all genres. The small screen above shows the font style. You can also choose an effect to go with the font. This will also appear in the small screen to show how it would look. 

Although it is not quite clear in this picture, this is an example of how the title can appear on the screen. The first time the titles run through, it is quite slow, but as it plays again, it speeds quite significantly, so you must extend the timing to about three seconds to slow it down.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Introduction to Soundtrack Pro

Learning how to use Soundtrack Pro is a key part in the creation of our Thriller opening. Not only do we have to create our soundtrack for our final thriller using it, we also have to create practice soundtracks to go with our practice pieces. 

This picture is of the different selections of sounds you can use. By clicking on a certain category, a long list of different of sounds, some appearing in multiples with a slight tone difference in each one. 

The wide selection gives you a better opportunity to create the perfect soundtrack. Choosing one of the many different versions of each sound over another could either make opening more effective or not effective at all. When the right sound has been chosen, you click and drag it to the grid pictured above. Once there, you can shorten and loop your sound. On each separate track slot, you can have a different sound. These can overlap and play at the same time if on different tracks. 
This section is where you can quieten each sound separately. You quieten it according to track number and importance.

This last photo shows roughly what the soundtrack should start to look like. This is an example of only two tracks, the more sounds you use, the more tracks.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Introduction to Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is what we will using to edit all our footage once we have filmed. There are four separate screens: one for selecting footage to drag into the editing section, a second for viewing the footage and cutting it, a third for viewing the footage all together and the forth is where the editing tracks are.

This is a screengrab of all four screens together. Once the footage has been chosen you drag it into the the bottom section. This is where you connect all the footage as it is being edited. You can also shorten and legthen the clips in this section. To connect the footage together, you click and drag it until there is no space in between.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Camera Introduction

Last lesson we were introduced to the cameras that we would be using to film our thriller openings in the near future. As the cameras we will be using are professional quality and extremely expensive, there were a number of health and safety checks that the teachers had to go through, including making sure that everyone in the group could operate the cameras & tripods properly, how to take out/hire the equipment from the media technicians and how to film safely when on location.

Screenshot of Final Cut Pro
The first thing we learned was how to turn the cameras on, and insert the memory cards we would be using. Each group has two 8GB SD memory cards that will hold the footage recorded on the camera until it is transferred onto the group hard drive to be edited on one of the iMacs using Final Cut Pro.

We also were shown how to focus the camera (by using manual focus mode and auto focus) and how to use the zoom function. We were then instructed to record an object in the room and to focus on it using the manual focus ring on the front of the camera, behind the lens.

After this we were shown how to set up the tripods, and ensure they were level by using the spirit-level on the back of the tripod. If the tripods were not level, the shot would not be level either.

Here is a list of the rules we must follow when using the cameras and other equipment:

1. Keep the camera dry at all times when filming on location
2. Never touch the lens (the most important and expensive part of the camera)
3. Keep at the camera settings the same
4. Be responsible with all equipment at all times
5. Return the cameras and equipment back to the media storeroom/technicians on time
6. Check the equipment is working before leaving the college
7. Make sure the rental form is signed by a teacher before taking out any equipment

Analysis of our ‘Bag Swap'

On Thursday during our 3 hour lesson, we were given the task of planning, filming and editing our own short film sequence. We were allowed to chose the location and all other elements of the sequence, but it had to include a bag swap.

The sequence starts with an establishing long shot showing one of the main characters (played by myself) walking towards the camera, along the side of a road. The camera remains still until the character gets closer and walks to the right, at which point the camera pans to the right to follow their movement.
The character then walks through a gate into a small park.

We then cut to a long shot of the other character, who is waiting in another part of the park. 

When editing, we realised that this shot could have been a bit closer, as the character is small and hard to make out.
The next shot is a medium shot of the first character walking into the park, and receiving a text message. He stops and gets out his phone, and we cut to an over the shoulder shot showing him holding the phone 

Immediately after this, we added a close up of the phone screen to show the audience exactly what the message on the phone said. The character then puts his phone away and walks off.
We then see a close up of the second characters eyes, looking around to see if he is being watched and to see if the other character has arrived yet. 

After this, we cut to a panning shot which shows the second character looking around to see the first character arriving. The camera pans from left to right, so the audience see the arrival of the first character at the same time the second character does. 

Character 1 then sits down beside the second, and puts his bag down on the ground. He then looks around, as shown with a close up of his eyes, to make sure no one is watching.

Both characters then simultaneously pick up the other’s bag and walk off, ending the sequence.

How is Suspense Created in ‘Memento’?

‘Memento’ is a psychological thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan (who also directed ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Inception’). It stars Guy Pearce as a man named Leonard who has some form of amnesia, which leaves him with no short-term memory. This means that he can remember things like his identity and everything he knew before the amnesia began, but now he forgets things shortly after they happen. The film creates suspense with its use of editing, and the way the two narratives are told. The first narrative is shown in black and white, and features Leonard alone in a motel room talking to an anonymous caller on the phone, and is in chronological order. 
The second narrative is shown in colour, and shows Leonard conducting his investigation into the murder of his wife. It is told in reverse chronological order, which means that the audience are unaware of the previous events as each sequence begins, allowing them to feel the same confusion that Leonard does due to his memory loss.

The title sequence at the beginning of the film starts with a close up of a hand holding a Polaroid picture, shaking it every 10 or 20 seconds, while the titles showing the names of the film, directors, producers, and actors fade in and out in a blue font. We then see a man putting the picture into a camera, and then taking a picture, and realise that the sequence is being played backwards. This is followed by close up shots of a bullet on the floor, a pair of glasses, and blood running up a wall. A gun then flies into the man’s hand, and the body on the floor rises and comes back to life, as the sound of a gunshot is heard backwards. As this is such a violent opening, the audience is both shocked and confused, and left trying to figure out why this person was murdered, and why it was shown backwards. This sense of confusion and tension continues right until the end of the film, when the audience realize that the beginning scene is also the end of the film, after seeing all the events leading up to it.

The film also uses the combination of music and Leonard’s voice (talking to himself) to create suspense. In the scene where he discovers that ‘Teddy’ is in fact John Edward Gammell (the man he believes killed his wife), Leonard is shown sitting in his motel room, and undressing. As he takes his shirt off, he notices his tattoos, which cover a large part of his body, which he has forgotten about due to his amnesia. Soft, orchestral music with a discordant melody plays in the background, as we see close ups of some of the many tattoos on Leonard’s body. The editing pace is slow, with most shots lasting around 5-10 seconds, but some shots (such as when Leonard looks in the mirror at the tattoo on his chest) last for 20-30 seconds, slowly building up tension.

There are no real shocks in Memento (other than the murder at the beginning), instead the film uses the prolonged sense of tension and confusion until the resolution at the end to create suspense.

Title Sequence Analysis

Here is my analysis of the title sequence of ‘The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3'

(click the image to view full size)

Analysis of the Opening of ‘The Stepfather'

The first thing the audience sees during the opening of The Stepfather is an ident for the production company Screen Gems. It fades in from a black screen, like a drop of blood falling into dark water.

The screen then cuts to a medium shot of a truck in a suburban street, with a man inside delivering copies of the ‘Salt Lake City Gazette’, throwing them out of the window onto the driveways of the houses. The truck then stops outside one of the houses, looking down a clipboard to see that the house’s subscription to the gazette has been cancelled, and drives on. In the top left of the screen, the names of the other production and distribution companies are shown in a black, bold font. In the background, quiet, sinister music plays, creating feelings of tension and suspense, even though the film has just begun.

The film then cuts to a slow tracking shot, moving from right to left focusing on a shaving kit, presumably inside the house seen in the last shot. A man then appears in the mirror, while the name of the film, The Stepfather, appears in the bottom left. 
He continues with a normal morning routine, including shaving, and showering, but then, when he changes his contact lenses to alter the appearance of his eyes, we realise that he is deliberately trying to change his appearance. Throughout this routine, the names of the main actors fade in and out in different corners of the screen, appearing for a few seconds and then disappearing.

The next shot is a tracking shot showing a collection of family photos above a fireplace. The man picks up two suitcases and carries them downstairs. As he reaches the bottom, he turns on the radio, and the song ‘Silent Night’ begins to play, as the names of the casting directors appear in the bottom left of the screen. 
Walking into the kitchen, he notices that the phone has been left off the hook, and replaces it before putting some bread in the toaster, as the name of the costume designer and then the music supervisor are shown the top and bottom right corner of the screen, one after another. As he takes out and eats the toast, the names of the editor, production designer, director of photography and then executive producers appear.

The man then walks out of the kitchen and around the house, and is followed by the camera, which then tilts to the side to show a dead child leaning on the kitchen table. The original sinister music then comes back in with a sharp high-pitched stab, to make the audience jump. The camera then pans around the house to reveal more dead bodies lying around, on the floor and on the sofa. The man calmly walks around the house, collecting his things before leaving. As he reaches the door, he has a flashback, and there is a cut to a close up of a girl screaming, then back to the man. He picks up his suitcases and walks out the door, while the camera cuts to a close up of the same girl lying dead on the floor.
We then see the man in his car, adjusting the rear view mirror.

As he looks in the mirror, the names of two more executive producers appear below it, and the man then drives away.

Introduction to camera.









    JVC GY-HM100 ProHD Solid State Camcorder

    Compact Hand-Held form factor - weighing only 1.44 kg., the GY-HM100 is the smallest and lightest HD camcorder to offer true 35 Mbps professional performance.

    Its size and portability open up new possibilities for high-quality HD recording applications, while reducing the strain of hand-held operation.

    Newly developed progressive 3 CCD provide 1080p digital processor applies 5 advanced noise reduction technologies. A 10x Fujinon lens provides edge-to-edge sharpness, and offers manual or auto focus, zoom and iris.
    This is the description of the camera we are given in Media As, this high-tech equipment comes with rules and regulation which we were taught in a camera introduction.

    1. You MUST always have you Media ID card to hire a camera.
    2. You MUST be careful whilst using the camera.
    3. You MUST hand back the camera by it's return time.
    4. You MUST hold the camera appropriately.
    5. If you are having trouble with the camera you MUST see a member of staff.
    6. You MUST NOT leave the camera unattended. 
    7. Do not touch the camera lense.
    8. Don't use the camera in bad weather conditions unless you are able to protect it with good shelter. 

      • Firstly make sure your battery life is high.Youdon't want to travel and then come back because you have no battery.
      • Make sure you have recording time availible, you can check the battery life and the storage on the cameras menu.
      • When inserting the memory card you must push the white bit up, open the memory slot and push it in, after checking its the right way.
      • Make sure you are recording on the right memory card.
      • Change focus with the buttons such as auto focus.
      • Change lense focus by twisting around the lense.
      • Hold the camera steadily.    
      The Tripod

      Tripods are used for both still and motion photography to prevent camera movement. They are necessary when slow-speed exposures are being made, or when telephoto lenses are used, as any camera movement while the shutter is open will produce a blurred image.

      Using the tripod:
      1. Extend legs to desired height. Dependent on what visual shot you want.
      2. Spread the legs as far out as possible, to make sure its stable.
      3. Slide the camera carefully on top.
      4. Make sure it's secure by twisting the black lever on the side.
      5. Do the pick up test to make sure it's steady.
      6. Whilst Travelling take off the camera and pack up the tripod.
      7. Slide the camera off by pressing the red button down.
      8. Return by return time.

    Analysis of title sequence

    A 'Title Sequence' conventionally takes place at the start of a film or programme, it is used to inform people the main names who contribute to the production of the movie. Title sequence is methods which present the opening credits, accompanied by visual and audio effects.

    In class we were shown an example of a title sequence and was asked to anaylse the time line and which effect have been used and why.

    Title sequence(The taking of Pelham 1,2,3):

    The order the credits are shown in:

    1st- Columbia & Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Picture (Film production and distribution company).
    2nd- Association with Relavitity Media (An independent motion picture and investment company).
    3rd- A Film by Tony Scott (Film Director).
    4th- Denzal Washington/ John Travolta (Main actors).
    5th-The taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (Title).
    6th- Rail Control Centre- Midtown (The location of the current scene).

    The order shows which is the most important, in the production process.
    This sequence included special effects for example 0:23 shows the transition which resembles a train and city life, accompanied by the sound of the subway, this was appropriate as the film is set in NewYork, and NewYork is famous for its busy streets and subways.
    The opening sequence sets the scene by using the establishing shot of NewYorks morning skyline, as the audience we are informed the location and that it's te start of the day, relevent to the what is shown next, Rail control centre work place, showing it's the start of a working day.

    By studying this sequence title I have been inspired to use creativy whilst presenting the opening credits also I'm now aware of the constructive order which names should be shown.

    Analysis of 3 scenes from Momento. How is suspense created ?

    Momento (2000)

    Momento is a psychological thriller about a man with anterograde amnesia which renders his brain unable to store new memories. The man is on a vengeance to kill the man ‘John G’ who raped and attacked both him and his wife, he believes that the man is responsible for his wife’s death but later discovers his wife survived the attack, the attacker is dead and he’s responsible for her death.

    Momento part one:

    This is the opening to ‘Momento’. This scene creates suspense firstly by prolonging the time focused on the picture of a bloody crime scene. Then we notice the picture fades and hand movement is playing backwards, time is reversed so the audience are left anticipating what’s happening? The music adds to the suspense, by creating a dramatic atmosphere.  We are shown a dead body and blood, the audience put two and two together realising its a murder scene, the fact the man still remains makes us question his motive. Then we see the man shot the victim.1:46 it quickly cuts to the same man in a motel, the scene is in black and white which causes a ambiguity to what has just happened. Was that a flash back or a dream?  Whilst he is in his motel room we hear the diegetic sound of the characters voice, he is talking about being in the room, but his voice and dialogue sounds uncertain also hearing a sound which resembles a heartbeat, this creates a tempo, which feels like it is leading up to a climax. Throughout this scene we are shown images with writing on for example 4:18 shows a picture of ‘Teddy’ a character we are familiar with, the note says ‘Don’t believe his lies’ as the audience we take this on board, yet we are unaware of why we shouldn’t believe him, this leaves us in suspense.

    Momento Part 8:

    In this section the lightening is dark as it’s night, he is woken up by sounds what sounds like a women being attacked, we see a glimpse of light under the door we do not know who is in there,  the man reaches for the gun this shows us he is threaten, the audience are in the blue and are wondering who’s in the room.  Eerie music begins to build up pace, the audience are left anticipating. 33 seconds in the man is thrown to the floor unconscious, his head pouring of blood we are unaware whether the attacker has left. 2:45 cuts to him back into the motel room, the story line isn’t comprehendible, the time line is blurred hence we are anxious to understand.

    Momento part 10:

    There is tension between the two character and they are arguing. The tension creates suspense to whether they will attack each other.  The dialogue of ‘Teddy’  is accompanied by music, this gives the dialect  greater significance, almost reflecting it is the realisation of the whole movie, the point when the truth is uncovered. 2:10 ‘Leonard’is told it was his wife that had diabetes, meaning the story in his head of ‘Sammy’ was actually him. 2:11 ‘Leonard’ has a flashback, the flashback merely backs up the statement ‘Teddy’ just made, this leave the audience questioning the whole story, contemplating on the truth... whether they can ‘trust Teddy’. 4:46 ‘Teddy’ declares his name is ‘John G’, the audience realise that’s the name of the attacker and he could possibly be the killer.

    Throughout 'Momento' suspense is caused by it's unique format, working backwards the audience are left finding clues which unravel it's mystery, why Leonard killed Teddy? The ambiguity of the story line keeps us in suspense, the fact Leonard is uncertain and relys on photos for information keeps us questioning the narrative. Music and colour effects also are used at crucial moments, which at the end of the film we can recap and realise, the purpose of it.. for example 'Sammys' story.

    Introduction to the Camera

    As we are starting to work with the cameras, we had to have an introduction to them. We learnt how to film with them, connect them to the tripod and playback what we have filmed.

    When attaching the camera to the tripod, you have to make sure that all legs are equal length so that he tripod is stable and doesn't fall over whilst the camera is attached.  Once the camera is on and tightened into position you can start to film.


    • Never move the tripod with the camera attached, it may get damaged.
    • DO NOT use the camera whilst it is raining. Getting the camera wet will cause expensive damage. If there us a vital scene that the setting of a rainstorm is needed, be sure to use a large umbrella to unsure the camera is completely covered.


    What is intertextuality ?

    Some post modern films are inspired by classic movies hence they restyle famous scenes, to show their inspiration, respect and keep the traditional convention, this is intertextuality.     
    Intertextuality found within parodies, mash up videos, trailers and films.

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Alfred Hitchcock(1899-1980) a legendary director and producer. Hitchcock discovered many suspense techniques, within psychological thrillers, these techniques are imitated today (intertextuality). His most famous scene is the shower scene in ‘Psycho’, this scene has been endlessly borrowed in thrillers since. In class we were shown a few thriller clips which used intertextuality, we had to identify where it had been used and the effect it created. I’ll be showing you a few of the clips and identify when they use intextuality, all clips have borrowed asspects from this well-known movie.

    (Psycho 1960 Alfred Hitchcock)


    What lies beneath (2001)

    ‘What lies beneath’ is a supernatural thriller staring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. ‘What lies beneath’ presents the women as vulnerable,she is dressed in the virginal colour white, wearing only a dressing gown. This representation of a women in  thrillers originated from ‘Pyscho’. The lady in 'Psycho' is presented feebly also wearing a dressing gown and then later stripping leaving her bare and powerless. The fact the man is phyically holding her presents her in a lower posistion, sticking to the 'Pyscho' tradition of women being the victims in thrillers.
    In ‘What lies beneath’ the setting is a replica of ‘Psycho’ as it is in a bathroom, sharing similar details such as the big shower head, the see-through shower curtains and the detached bath tub.This is a form on intertextuality and the audience see this and may recognise it from ‘Psycho’. Recognition leaves the audience in suspense, because they are aware of how the scene ‘Psycho’ ended hence they’ll suspect the same.
    Camera shots are borrowed from ‘Psycho’ such as the camera focusing on the women’s eyes, and the shower, from these subtle shots the audience can also identify ‘Psycho’ is an inspiration to the production of this film.

    Student film Succubus (2010)

    Succubus  is a student movie inspired by ‘Psycho’, this includes intertextuality, mainly through setting and camera shots. The setting is in a bathroom and a shot of the character showering is shown, this is also in ‘Psycho’. The camera focuses in on the shower head and the blood on the victims feet these are two known features ‘Psycho’ uses. The man is attacked by the same weapon used in ‘Psycho’ yet there’s a modern twist, the roles are reversed the man is being attack by a female, the typical tradition of the girl being vulnerable is broken, although the roles are reversed it’s clear this scene is inspired by Hitchcock’s famous scene. In this clip I identified the use of intertextuality within the audio, whilst the man is being attacked similar if not the exact music from ‘Psychos’ stabbing scene is being used.  

    I've shared two examples of intextuality inspired from 'Pyscho'. These two clips interested me because they're both inspired by 'Pyscho' yet they have borrowed different details, this shows intertextuality doesn't have to be a direct copy, it can just include subtle attributes of a scene. 'Succubus' is a mordern twist reversing roles, manages to show it's influence cleary wheras 'What Lies Beneath' keeps the traditional roles, and includes intextuality by acting and setting. The fact intextuality can be subtle, intrigues me yet when it is noticeable, it can give you an insight to the rest of the narrative, it shows inspiration and knowledge of film and most importantly in this case keeps the conventions such as music, which hightens suspense making a good thriller. 

    Saturday, 22 January 2011

    Camera Skills

    We had our introduction to cameras, learning how to use the cameras and tripods and camera shots we could experiment with.

    Here are a variety of camera shots:

    Wordle: Untitled

    Thriller Sub-genres

    A sub-genre is a subcategory within a particular genre. Thriller is the genre we are looking at and there are many sub-genres to go with it.

    Here are some examples:

    Sc-fi Thriller - I Am Legend

    Crime Thriller - Reservoir Dogs

    Action Thriller - Deja Vu

    Psychological Thriller - Memento

    Supernatural Thriller - What Lies Beneath

    I'm interested in making a psychological thriller because it gives me more freedom to express feelings through camera work such as rainy days depicting depression or sunny days showing happiness.

    Friday, 21 January 2011

    Detailed analysis of The Stepfather (2009):

    Detailed analysis of The Stepfather (2009):
    The ident uses special effects portraying blood, and then shows an American subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group ‘Screen Gems’ here the audience are informed, who helped distribute this movie and most importantly the genre of the film. Splattered blood connotates murder hence the audience are subtly informed of the expectations of this film (Murder, suspense and violence).

    The establishing shot is a long shot of suburban houses are shown with a car in front. The camera is panning giving the effect that it’s moving along with the car, hinting a connection to the car. We do not see who is driving the car; this leaves the audience in anticipating. Next a shot from the cars point of view shows the throwing of the paper to a house, the camera pans to the next house, a close up of a house is shown, establishing the significance of that home. The car pauses, we see the man in the car, the audience are no longer in left anticipating suspense. 36 seconds in the man in the man in the car picks up a clip board, a close up of the clip board is shown, informing the audience of the destination ‘Salt Lake’, and that the man is just doing his job, also realise one address is highlighted, and cancelled separating it from the rest of the houses. This creates suspense as the audience want to know why this house has been cancelled from the man’s paper round. Throughout this scene we hear non-diegetic music which you can describe as eerie, this creates the suspicion that something isn’t right adding to the audience suspense.

    43 seconds, a panning close up of shaving apparatus’s are shown, they’re clean and perfectly arranged, this connotates the owner of this is a man, possibly with OCD which is unusual, obsessive behavioural patterns or simply a man who was in the marines/army/military.

    52 seconds, a shot of a man looking into the mirror is shown, he begins to groom himself starting with washing his hair, then showering, all what seems to be normal but can symbolise ‘washing the blood off his hands’. Close up focus on his face and his hands are shown, whilst he is shaving he uses different tools step by step, showing he is a guy who knows precision. Close up of him cutting himself shaving 1:27, indicates he is guilty and has blood on his hands. 1:37 he removes contact lenses changing his identity, leaving the audience suspicious of his character.
    1:47 the eerie music remains, camera pans along family photos, Christmas decorations are seen. Audience are aware of the time of year due to decorations, the lighting has a bluish hint to it creating a cold ambience, this isn’t the conventional association with Christmas and family, it should be hearty warm and cheery, suspense is caused as this doesn’t fit with the typical homely atmosphere, no children are around and the man doesn’t have a fatherly character, instead he has packed suitcases and is leaving the festive season, the audience question whether he is actually the father.

    2:13 The man turns on the CD player, ‘Silent night’ is playing, we hear the diegetic noise of something beeping, its the phone off the hook, the man puts it back on. He makes a coffee and breakfast, which is seen a ‘normal behaviour’, his eyes focus on something we can’t see the, the camera rotates showing a dead child at the breakfast table, the man isn’t effected by the body, this confirms he is crazy and is the murderer. More dead bodies of the family members in the photos are shown. 4:07 a flash back is shown, sounds of the murders, cover the ‘Silent night’ song, giving the effect of the noises haunting him in his head, connecting the deaths with him.

    4:30 he leaves the house, gets into the car looks into the car mirror almost visually showing he is looking back on what he has just done. He removes the tissue he used to cover the cut from shaving licks the blood off, then flicks the tissue out of the window and then drives away, without being caught; this gives us the sense he has done it before, and shows the lack of guilt he has. The fact he hasn’t been caught keeps us in suspense, questioning whether he’ll kill more? Or will he eventually get caught?

    The Stepfather

    Wednesday, 19 January 2011

    What makes a Thriller?

    I created the image below using the site
    Wordle after brainstorming the words that came to mind when thinking of the Thriller genre.

    Analysis of a title sequence - The Taking Of Pelham 123

    State the Production & Distribution companies. How are they introduced? What purpose do they serve at the start of the movie?

    • Columbia Pictures - this is saying that it is going to be a big movie. BIG INTENTIONS!
    • Metro Goldwyn Mayor
    • A Scott free escape artist Production.
    A black line appears on the screen and rolls along revealing the credits, like a train running on a track.

    List the information that is included in the title sequence.
    1. Actors names - key actors/ more minor actors
    2. Casting
    3. Costume
    4. Music
    5. Co-exectutor producer
    6. Editor
    7. Production assistant
    8. Director of photography
    9. Exectutive producer
    10. Production by Todd Black/ Tony Scott
    11. 1.58pm

    Film Title - where exactly is this placed? Start, middle, end?

    The title appears fully in the middle of the screen at 1.15, with the "1,2,3" appearing to the beat of the music. 

    Monday, 17 January 2011


    Intertextuality in films is where one film has a particularly famous and popular scene in it that writers take, modify and add into their films. For example, the famous shower scene from 'Psycho' has inspired many other films including 'What Lies Beneath', 'The Stepfather', 'Fatal Attraction' and even a student made film 'Succubus'.

    All of these films copy one or more of the main elements of the scene in 'Psycho': a murderer, the knife, the setting of a bathroom. Each film adapts the scene to fit the plot of the film, therefore making necessary changes.

    'What Lies Beneath' copies the Mise en Scene of 'Psycho's' shower scene. The scene is still set in the bathroom with the element of the shower being turned on. The camera focuses on the water, similar to the shots from 'Psycho'. Again, there are only two characters, the victim and the attacker. Like in 'Psycho' the victim is female and the attacker is male. The difference between 'What Lies Beneath' and 'Psycho' is that in 'What Lies Beneath' there is no element of the knife and the victim has been placed in the bath by the attacker to drown to death.

    'Succubus' is a student made film that also uses the scene from 'Psycho'. Again, this film uses the setting of a bathroom, though this time, its a shower in a locker room. The roles of the victim and attacker are reversed in this film, this time the victim is male and the attacker is female. At first, it seems that the attacker wants to get in the shower with  the man but then she produces a knife - another main element from 'Psycho'. This scene copies many of the camera angles that were used in 'Psycho': close-ups of the shower, the knife being used and the victim himself. There is also a close-up of the victims last movement, this was also in 'Psycho'.

    'The Stepfather'. Again, this film has the original male attacker and female victim, although this time there are two other people in the house. The victim is chased upstairs into the bathroom by the attacker who is clutching a knife. Here we know that the knife and bathroom element have been 'borrowed' from 'Psycho'. As the man kicks the door, a mirror breaks and shatters on the floor. The woman then picks up a shard of mirror and holds it as a weapon to defend herself. As the man raises the knife to stab her, she stabs him in the neck with the shard of mirror. This is a twist that wasn't used in 'Psycho'. He ends up falling backwards into the bath, pulling down the shower curtain in the process. This is another element from 'Psycho'. Originally, in 'Psycho' the victim breaks the curtain, but this time its the attacker who pulls it down.

    All these films have taken the shower scene from 'Psycho' and made it their own, only keeping the one or two of the main elements in their 'shower scene'.

    Sunday, 16 January 2011

    Thriller Sub Genres

    The term ‘Thriller’ is a very broad name for a genre of film that uses tension and suspense to create excitement for the audience. As it is such a broad genre, there are many different sub-genres, which each one featuring specific elements in addition to the standard features of a thriller.

    One of the main sub-genres is crime. Crime thrillers feature the account of a crime (or crimes) that were carried out either successfully or unsuccessfully, and are usually told from the side of the criminal rather than the law/police or victims. The main crimes featured in these types films are murders and robberies, and usually feature action over psychological aspects. Murders and killings are usually depicted in a dark, gritty tone while crimes such as robberies and heists are portrayed as being cool and trendy, as in Ocean’s 11.
    Examples include: No Country For Old Men, Reservoir Dogs, Ocean’s 11, Silence of the Lambs.

    Another type of thriller is a Mystery, which feature characters either involved in or trying to solve a mystery, which is the main plot of the film. The audience is often also left trying to solve the mystery as the characters are, creating a feeling of suspense. Many mystery thrillers also end with dramatic twists, to ensure that none of the audience could predict what was going to happen.
    Examples include: Shutter Island, Vertigo, Memento, and The Number 23.

    Psychological thrillers are also a common type of thriller, which feature less physical action than other types of thrillers, instead showing mental and emotional conflict between the characters. Many often end with a very physical (and often violent) final confrontation between the characters.
    Examples include: Panic Room, Red Eye, Phone Booth and The Talented Mr Ripley.

    Other types of thrillers include Supernatural thrillers, which involve paranormal elements used to create suspense, such as psychic powers, as seen in The Others and What Lies Beneath.
    Conspiracy Thrillers feature a main character who must expose/defeat a powerful group of people, and are often the only person who knows the truth or full extent of the wrong/evil activities the group is conducting. Examples include Flight Plan and In The Line Of Fire.
    Another sub-genre is Disaster Thrillers, which revolve around natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes, as seen in The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and Deep Impact.
    Technological Thrillers (or techno-thrillers) feature the manipulation of technology, which results in danger, creating suspense and tension, as seen in films such as I Robot, Terminator, and Jurassic Park.

    Personally, I think the most effective sub-genre is Psychological thrillers, because they rely more on the mise en scene, sound, and editing to create suspense, and shock, rather than action and violence, as in other types of thrillers.


    How is suspense created in the film Memento?

    Suspense is created in the opening scene of Memento by the use of a technique that reverses the film. Suspense is created because you don't yet know why the film is in reverse. It was an interesting way to start the film and it created the right atmosphere for a Psychological Thriller.

    Suspense was also created with the flashbacks. Each flashback held the answer or showed a vital clue to the story. The flashbacks created suspense because they kept going back to crucial points in the story, though at the time you're not sure why they are so important.

    Detailed analysis of 'What Lies Beneath'

    This 1 minute, 55 second long clip from What lies Beneath starts with the main woman walking up the stairs. When the clip starts there is traditional 'spooky' music that fades, almost, into the sounds that you might hear at a lake.

    Whilst the music is playing, the camera has moved away from the actress, who is paused on the middle of the stair case looking up at something. The camera stays in the same place, height wise, as it turns to capture what the actress is looking at. Now, the camera seems to 'be on the floor, focused on the bottom of the bathroom door. We now know why the woman was staring at the door - there is steam leaking through the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor.

    Whilst the camera has been turning towards the bathroom door, the woman has made it all the way up the stairs. The door opens as her feet come into view. The camera is then on the inside of the bathroom door using the match cut technique. When she opens the door, the camera is her height and facing her. The shot is then switched to face into the bathroom, still at her height.  Throughout this, the music is still going, with the added 'creaking' sound for when the door opens. When the camera focuses on the bathroom, we see that it is full of steam. The actress' facial expression shows that she has no idea why the bathroom is full of steam which makes us want to shout ''Don't go in there!''

    The camera moves forward - being her eyes. The focus then switches to her and then back to the room, showing the layout of the bathroom. It switches to her again, then back to the bath. As the camera gets closer to the bath, the woman comes into the shot and the camera is filming from over her shoulder. The camera is then beneath her as she looks into the bath. As she leans forward to remove the plug and let the water out of the bath, we see her reflection. When she starts to straighten up, we see the reflection of a woman who is not there in person. The woman screams when she notices and wakes her husband, he runs into bathroom to find her shocked and staring at the bath. The clip ends with the last of the water going down the plugwhole in the bath.

    This clip shows suspense right from beginning to end. Where the woman goes into the bathroom which is full of steam and has a look of terror on her face, you can clearly see that she doesn't know why there is all the steam and that she doesn't know who is in her bathroom. When the reflection of the other woman appears out of nowhere, it is clear that the main woman is completely terrified by this appearance. 

    Thriller Sub-genres

    Sub-genres are different categories which can classify under a particular genre, they can also be other genres combined.

    Thriller Sub-genres:
    Crime Thriller- Associated with mainstream fiction, typical story line include criminal motives/ detective work.
    Example (Takers 2010)

    Psychological Thriller- Thrillers which cause suspense psychologically rather than physically, involves mystery and engages the audience on an inquistitive level. Example(Inception 2010)

    Supernatural Thriller- Supernatural Thrillers include the paranormal world. Typical conventions include alien abduction, ghost and unexplained mystery.
    Example(The Unborn 2009)

    Mystery Thriller- A thriller where suspense is caused by mystery. Conventions include a detective character, mystery and false plateau.
    Example(Shutter Island 2010)

    Legal thriller- Legal Thrillers are similar to crime thrillers, yet legal thrillers always include legal forces hence the conventions are, police force, heros/heroines, the law and criminals.
    Example(Runaway Dury 2003)

    Disaster Thriller- Disaster Thrillers involve natural disasters, or the world disasters (something taking over the world). Conventions include, earth quakes, floods, volcanoes and other causes that can destroy the world.
    Example(The Day After Tomorrow 2004)

    Sci-Fi Thriller- Sci-fi includes science fiction, things that aren't real (fantasy) the typical conventions of sci-fi thrillersinclude, spaceships, other life fourms and monsters.
    Example(Skyline 2010)

    Conspiracy Thriller- Includes a conspricacy typical conventions are investigation and a hero confronting a large group of enemies.
    Example(Edge of Darkness 2010)

    INCEPTION (Psychological Thriller)

    ‘Inception’ A thriller released in July 2010, it inspired me to look into its sub-genre (Psychological thriller) reason being is because ‘Inception’ hinted subtle clues to the phenomenon and engaged the audience by making them feel they had to work out the mystery and question reality. Inception had an ambiguous ending, leaving you thinking for days after you’ve watched it. A movie you can’t get off your mind must be a brilliant movie or overly terrible, in this case it was brilliant! This movie caught my interest into Psychological thrillers, and is the reason this sub-genre inspires me at this moment in time.

    Being inspired by this sub-genre I researched what makes a good ‘Psychological Thriller’?
    I found that the best Psychological Thrillers include: Suspense, unpredictability and a mind-bending plot.