Thursday, 28 April 2011

Evaluation - Question 1: Forms & Conventions of Real Media Products and Our Title Sequence (Part Two)

In addition to 'The Stepfather', another film that inspired us when creating our thriller was 'What Lies Beneath'. This is a psychological thriller (as is ours), so after watching this film we naturally gained ideas about the titles and ways of introducing our character from it that would fit the conventional thriller style.

The images on the left and right are the names of our thriller and 'What Lies Beneath' taken from the opening titles of each. Both use a white font, and an animated effect, which makes the text move slightly, grabbing the audience's eye and showing the importance of this title (as it is the name of the film) and to differentiate it from the other titles.
This can be seen in the video below.

 

The opening shots of our main character, and of the female character in 'What Lies Beneath' are also very similar. Both are shown with a high angle/birds eye close up of their face, and their eyes opening. The difference between ours and 'What Lies Beneath' is that in our thriller the character opens his eyes slowly and looks confused, whereas in 'W.L.B.' the woman opens her eyes quickly and sits up, and appears scared/startled. 


Here is a video I created in Final Cut Pro using clips of our thriller and 'What Lies Beneath' to visually show these similarities, first with the film titles and then the opening shots of the characters.



video

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Evaluation - Question 8: Improvements Made From Our Preliminary Task (Part Two)

The video below shows two clips we created, one from our prelim and the other from our final opening, both using close ups. The first clip is a panning shot followed by a close up of the characters face. The panning was hard to control and create smoothly, so we decided not to use many panning shots in our real thriller. The second clip is also a close up of the characters face, but slightly closer so the whole face is not seen, which directs the audience's attention to the characters eyes.
In the first clip, the focus of the camera changes as the shot pans upwards. This was not deliberate, but we thought it looked good so we decided to use that shot when editing the Prelim. As a result of this, when we were filming our real opening, we decided to create a similar change in focus, but this time did it manually by using the focus wheel on the camera, rather than just relying on the auto-focus to change it self. We added this to show the hazy/confused feeling that the character feels as he is just waking up. This is shown in the second half of the video below.


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This video shows one shot from our Prelim and one from our final opening. Both are low-angle shots, and supposed to be from the other character's point of view. This kind of shot shows the character's vulnerability by showing the other character's power over them as they are looking down. The first shot (from the prelim) looks boring, as the camera is static, and no effects were added, whereas in the second shot, we added a desaturation filter to take the colour out and a light ray filter to make it look blurry/distorted. Also, the camera is moving/shaking from side to side to show the character's fear.


video




The third video shows two match cuts from out prelim and final opening. I think that both of these are edited well, and look seamless. The only improvements we made with the final clip is the setting and shot composition, as the character moves from the centre of the screen (taking up all the space) to the standing up shot, where they occupy a much smaller proportion of the frame, showing their surroundings.


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Friday, 8 April 2011

MY WORK HAS BEEN DELETED!

Sometime today my second part of Evaluation - Question 8 was DELETED from the blog. This was a VERY LONG AND DETAILED POST which included 3 videos of clips from our prelim and final movie, and analysis of the editing, mise en scene, and camera in these clips.

This morning I had 39 posts, now I have 37, which means that 2 of my posts have been deleted today.


Ben Bezzina

Evaluation Question1: In what ways does your media project, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Whilst creating our thriller opening we followed the conventional running order of the title sequence. 

Firstly we started with the ident, the ident shows the production company with their personal logo. Like shown in 'The Stepfather and 'Victim'. Both of these idents have a similar, colour scheme; idents make be designed considering the connotations, connotations which reflect the film that's about to be screened, here the colour scheme and shape of the logo for 'Screen Gems" connotes blood being splattered, which is reflective of a thriller genre. The ident is the first impression so it's clever to hint a theme to the rest of the film.




Once the ident has been shown the production company is shown again, in step father they showed the company on top an establishing shot of a suburban house, this informs the audience of the first location. Whereas in our one we done it on top of trees, we decided we wanted to be a little more discrete and leave the audience guessing the location.


After presenting the companies and associations, it's conventional of title sequences to show the stars therefore we followed this convention. We decided to put the star name on a cinematic view of the setting, as it's clear and the audience can read the name without difficulty and also it situates a location.





After the stars are shown then comes the names of the casting directors and music, then title. In 'The Stepfather', they show these names whilst the main character is carrying out he's routine, this introduces us to the character and hints a narrative. Wherear we mainly edited the titles upon footage of the surrounds, we done this intentionally therefore, we would leave the audience in suspense and be a little more discrete. The way we edited our title sequence suits our sub genre 'psychological', as it's leaving the audience anticipating and thinking about what's going on in our location.


The title: 

We used 'What lies Beneath' for inspiration for our title, as the title is reflective of what's about to happen, the effect they used associated with water, and in the opening the women opens her eyes from being under water. Our title we wanted to reflect the internal state of our main character and the editing rather than the visual aspect, there for we added a flickering effect to represent our main characters blurred memory and the flashbacks in the editing.








We used this shot from 'What lies Beneath' as inspiration for our thriller opening, at first we could only see her eyes, this left the audience wonder for a split second, who could that be? the fact the audience are left waiting for the reveal, makes them use there heads, and also shock them when they find out the character.

Momento was the largest inspiration for our narrative as it's a psychological thriller, and we also was influenced by there choice of editing skills, for example whilst telling the past, they would use a black and white filter we also done this in the flashbacks to separate the past from the present, also to represent our characters memory being in 'black and white' simple dark hazy memories.







Evaluation - Question 8: Improvements from Prelim to now

We have mad many improvements from our prelim to our final opening. One being the sound. We put a lot more thought and effort into the sound and took more time comparing different sounds to see what would be more effective.

As well as sound, our mise en scene was more realistic. We thought about the representation of the characters this time round and what would make them more effective.

The editing of our prelim was not as clean cut as our final thriller. This was because we was not as experienced because it was early on in the project. Having the experience is key to make the opening successful because it will look more professional.

Our location added to the effect and made it more successful than our prelim. For our prelim, we used a almost deserted staircase in college. It was not the best place we could have had it and we know now that the location can really effect the outcome of your film.

Overall, our final opening was a lot more successful than our prelim because we took more time to really think think about the elements and we were all more experienced with the technologies required.

Evaluation - Question 7: Technologies used




video


Other elements we used that are not featured in my short documentary are:

The cameras: Video and Still, they played a key part when we were planning and, obviously, when we were filming the footage.


Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro and Livetype is what made our opening real. We used these to edit all footage, create music and the titles.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Evaluation - Question 2: Representation In Our Thriller

In our title sequence, there are only two characters. These characters are represented in contrasting stereotypical ways. As it is a Psychological thriller, we wanted to create an atmosphere where the audience did not know what was really going on (or what had happened, in this case). Throughout most of the opening, the audience is lead to believe that the main character is the victim, by the way he is portrayed on screen.


The opening shot of the main character shows a bloody hand. At first, the audience think that this is perhaps a corpse but then the hand moves, and the character is revealed. He is shown lying on his back, as if he was the victim of an attack.






























The female character is portrayed as a stereotypical ‘victim’. The clothes she is wearing show that she is a young, feminine and vulnerable. Also, the amount of fake blood we used was deliberate to show that she was the real victim, and to differentiate her character with the main one.





In the screenshot above, we see the main character standing over the body of the dead girl just before both he and the audience realise that he is in fact the one who murdered her. This is the turning point where we finally see the main character in the opposite role; standing over the victim with a gun aimed at them. The low-angle medium close-up of the murderer from the victim’s point of view makes him look very powerful and intimidating, in a stark contrast to how the same character was shown at the start of the opening, lying on his back slowly opening his eyes.

 










There are a number of similarities between the main character in our opening and the main character of the film ‘Memento’, which is one of the films that inspired us when we were making our thriller. The first similarity between the two characters is the aspect of memory loss and confusion. When our character wakes in the forest, he doesn’t know where he is or remember what happened, which is the same situation as Leonard (pictured below) in ‘Memento’ who does not have any short term memory. He finds this very confusing, and struggles to find out what he has done in the past.


Evaluation - Question 3: Target Audience

The target audience for our thriller is primarily males between the ages of 28 & 45. As the sub-genre of our thriller is psychological, it would be of more interest to men rather than women. 
Psychological thrillers also tend to attract a quite ‘intelligent’ audience (no one wants to see a film they might not understand).
Also, as it is a low-budget film, it is unlikely that many young people (under 25) would go and pay to see it. It would be much more popular with an older audience who are less interested in Hollywood Blockbusters, and more interested in independent ‘art-house’ films.


An example of a typical member of our target audience could be:

  • Steve Goswell
  • Age: 34
  • Works at a Law Firm in the city
  • Lives in a London flat with a flat mate
  • Reads the Observer and Guardian newspapers
  • Interested in films, particularly low-budget, independent films
  • Interested in gadgets (Blackberry, Macbook, iPad)
  • Goes to the gym twice a week
  • Watches BBC4 and More4 often, as well as News channels
  • Enjoys socialising with friends in bars/pubs 
  • Has a degree in Mathematical Finance 
By carefully considering the different aspects of our target audience’s life, we can decide on the best ways to promote and distribute our thriller.

Evaluation - Question 8: Improvements Made From Our Preliminary Task (Part One)

Here is our preliminary match cut exercise, which we made just under 2 months ago. The purpose of this task was to practise using the cameras, transferring footage from the SD memory cards to the hard-drives, and begin using Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro. We also exported and uploaded the edited version to the blog.

video


And here is our final thriller opening:

video

It doesn't take much technical media knowledge to notice the vast improvements that we made between the two sequences. The most noticeable thing thats very different in the two videos is the length. This is mainly due to the fact that we only spent around 3 hours on the preliminary task, while we have spent around 1 month planning, filming and editing our final sequence.
Planning is also something that is different in the two sequences. In our preliminary task, we had virtually no planning at all, and nearly everything we did was thought up there and then, (aside from the storyline, which we thought of the week before when we did the ‘Jelly Babies’ sequence). This was partly because our group did not really work well together, and we spent quite a lot of time messing around. Since then, our group-work and planning skills have improved drastically, as most of us spent a large amount of time planning our thriller before we started filming. I think evidence of this can be seen in the final product, as I believe it looks almost like a real (low budget) thriller opening, which is also what we heard quite often when collecting audience feedback.

Another thing that many of the audience members mentioned when giving feedback on our final opening was the sound. All those that mentioned it said that they were impressed by how well it fitted with the Mise En Scene and helped build suspense and tension. This is mainly due to the skills I have developed in the past few months using the audio sequencing program Logic, and also Soundtrack Pro, which we used for the sound effects (ambient sounds and the flashback sounds). 
Looking back at our preliminary sequence, I can hear that we just used one long orchestral loop from Soundtrack Pro. I remember that I did not feel fully comfortable using the program back then, and as a result we just used one sound throughout, whereas in the final soundtrack, we used over 20 different sounds and effects (not including the music) as I was more confident using Soundtrack Pro.

Soundtrack Pro 
Some of the SFX used in our final opening

(Continues in Part Two)

Evaluation question8: Looking back at the preliminary task, what do you feel you have learned in the progression from it to the full product?

video
This starts with a shot from the prelim, we change the focus and position the camera in a low angle shoot, the angle connotes he is the powerful character. In the second scene from our final thriller we wanted to represent the character as the dominate male, but also make his identity a mystery. Since making the prelim we'd had improved on editing, although we use a similar camera angle, we edited the scene to make it more suspenseful through the use of music, and also dim lighting hiding identity and making the male figure more intimidating. In the prelim, we never had a choice of costume, yet in the final project we were able to add to the mis en scene by dressing our character in dark clothing, to represent him as the villain.
videoHere is an example of a cut shot. In the prelim stage we was less experienced with editing cut shots together, in our actual thriller opening we were more experimental with, editing cut shots as we went from a long shot cutting to a close up of the gun, whereas in the prelim it was more simple working with mid shots, and using a door. Recording the footage where you plan to make cuts are difficult, as you have to find positions which will work well for continuing, whilst filming the footage we plan to insert cuts, we had to position the camera in a way we felt would work well, this was difficult as we reverse angles and went from a long shot to a close up of the gun being picked up. We also used 3 angles to add a sense of realism for the audience, they are able to watch and feel like they can see what's happening from each perspective.




Feedback: The feedback was a a useful way of self evaluating our work, because once you've spent so long editing a product it's easy to become bias and becomes harder to see minor fault. Feedback allowed criticism which informs us of aspects to consider whilst editing/filming in the future:

Evidence of feed back:













Evaluation Question7: What have you learned about technologies from the process of constructing this product ?








Evaluation Question6: Audience Feedback

On the 5th of April we showcase our Thriller opening at The Screen On The Green cinema in angle, where other students and teachers were able to see our opening. Once 'Victim' finished screening, there was an uplift of applause, and a warm response. The screening allowed us to get audience feed back therefore, we video the feedback of those who watched 'Victim' in the cinema. People interviewed: Jerome Holder, Samir Tildi, Dan Lowe, Valeza Bakoli, Gem Omer and Ryan Cameron.

video

We also used The networking site Facebook to distribute our thriller opening and posted it as a video for friends and family to enjoy and comment some of the comment which we received on Facebook:



 The feedback allows us to get and insight, on what worked well and which, causes most suspense and entertains our audience the most. I find the feedback useful for self evaluating and learning how to improve.

Evaluation Question4&5: Which kind of media institute will distribute your media product and why ? How will you attract and address your target audience ?


Example of a student film which was distributed through the internet:




These student our one of many, which decided to distribute their thriller through youtube. There number of hits are continuing to increase and feedback is also being uploaded daily. By distributing work on youtube, opportunities are opened as you can be entered in competitions associated with film making on youtube also it is a learning process and its a method of distributions professional companies have started to use globally.




Evaluation - Question 6: Audience Feedback (Part Two)

After watching our thriller opening at the cinema screening, we asked some of the audience members for feedback:


video


Most of the people we interviewed were students from our college (aged 16-18), which meant they are not part of our target audience (ages 28-45). We also asked our teacher for feedback (seen at 0:42 - 1:25), as he is inside this age range and more likely to be part of our target audience for this type of film.


We also asked for feedback on our thriller on the social networking site Facebook, where it received generally very positive comments.


 







Almost everyone we asked said they enjoyed the film, and some even said it made them feel some of the emotions that thrillers are supposed to make the audience feel (tense, confused, surprised), despite the fact that most of those people were not our intended target audience.

Evaluation - Question 6: Audience Feedback (part 3)

Audience feedback after watching our opening on the Big Screen!




After we watched all the thriller openings at the cinema, I got feedback from some of the audience to see what they thought.


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video video
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Evaluation - Questions 4 & 5: Media Institutions - Distribution and Promotion

Our thriller will be distributed CANDI studios, which is a low-budget independent distribution company. G26 Productions is a production company set up by ourselves for the purposes of creating this thriller.


There will be a one-off cinema screening of our thriller opening at a local cinema (The Screen On The Green - Islington) which will be attended by around 130 students and teachers from City & Islington College. After this, we will collect some audience feedback from the people who attended.
The Screen On The Green
CANDI Studios will also release 200 copies of our thriller on DVD, in addition to uploading it onto the video websites Vimeo and Youtube as a form of online distribution.


Myself and the other group members have also linked/uploaded our thriller opening to the social networking site Facebook, where it can be seen by all of our ‘friends’ on the site (totalling around 1000 people). We will also hold small private screenings of our thriller for close friends & family.


As the images on the right show, after the Youtube video was linked on Facebook it gained around 20 views in a few hours.





















Here is a link to our thriller opening on Youtube:



Here is an example of an AS Media Thriller opening which has gained over 100,000 views on Youtube since 2007 when it was uploaded. This shows that it is possible for a low-budget student film to reach a very wide audience via the Internet.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Evaluation Question3: Who would be the audience for our media product.


Throughout the research process, we looked at target audience and discovered the majority of those who watch thrillers are male, yet we decided we never wanted to be bias and attract just one type of audience, therefore we included different sex characters, men and women can both identify with. We wanted to make our audience broad, but we also thought about what kind of characters would make up the majority of 'Victims' audience.

The title of our film being called 'Victim' and the genre Psychological Thriller, appeals mostly to a male in the age range 20-40. We considered the connotations of victim, yet we wanted to add a twist, we included a female character, which appeals to both genders, also the fact it's psychological and has violence in appeals mainly to men from their 20's upwards.

Name: Tom
Age: 36
Occupation: Technician
Hobbies: football, pub quiz's, golf, sudoku, travelling.

This is our typical audience, a man who is intellectual, who enjoys using his brain, and is amused by action/horrors/thrillers. His ideal film would include all these combined, therefore our thriller would be perfect movie choice for him. He usually watches films, which leave him thinking, a film which is a conversation starter, he is most likely to watch films with his work colleagues and friends.






 

Things Tom owns: