Friday, 18 April 2014

Evaluation Question 7

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

In this task we were trying to get some continuity so that our shots would flow from one to another. This can also be called invisible editing. We also attempted something called match on action which is the cut between two shots without it looking like time has passed between the two shots taken. This is important when continuing the flow of a scene.

We used the 180 degree rule which was whilst we were having a conversation.

This rule involves using a shot and reverse shot to capture both the characters in the scene and focus on one of them at a time. I felt that this task really helpoed me develop my skills needed for creating my own thriller. It was quite difficult as I had never actually filmed something entirely on my own so filming my own thrilller was definitely a challenge. However, the preliminary tasks were really helpful in preparation.

This is an example of my use of match on action.

Camera Shots & Camera Angles

In our last lesson, we filmed ourselves experimenting with different shots and angles. We then had to put the video together using 'Final Cut Express' and then did a rough edit of the video adding text to describe what kind of shot it was. 

Here is the video I created:

We worked as a group in order to create different scenarios by filming from different angles and using different shots to best represent what is happening. This really helped me develop my understanding of the best ways to film and it gave me a chance to be creative with my ideas as the teacher wasn't advising us and we were left to produce the footage alone. This really built my confidence with filming and was great preparation for filming the thriller.

My preliminary task didn't have a genre so I was simply just practicing filming before I researched into thrillers and started planning for my opening. My shots have improved by quality and the flow of the shot, also making sure no rules are broken. In one of my preliminary tasks, I broke the 180 degree rule and the continuity was not as good as it didn't flow however, I feel that with my final thriller I am now able to film vey well. 

m my preliminary I learnt that continuity is really important as it'll put the audience off the narrative and focus on the poor filming/editing - which could lead to disappointment. I learnt how to use 'over the shoulder' shots and tracking shots - On top of that I learnt that the sound track can really affect and change the view of the audience. The sound track built suspense and made the preliminary more tense than what it is without the sound track. I also learnt how to work with the camera and the tripod more, being able to keep the camera steady for a neat outcome.  

My thriller opening needed effective work and effort in the mise-en-scene as it needs to create a mood and scene so that the audience can relate and connect themselves with the movie more. Where as in my preliminary we did not think about what could of ruined and effected the genre. The lighting was more thought through in my final thriller opening as in the preliminary we used the original lighting with no editing included.

If I compare my preliminary shot and my thriller opening shot I can tell the difference between the quality and lighting however, my final thriller opening is better because the lighting suits my narrative.
For my opening thriller I thought about making shadows to symbolise the main character being a protagonist. In my preliminary the sun light behind the character means that she doesn't stand out enough. 

In my preliminary there wasn't much editing involved, however in my final thriller opening I had many different editing techniques involved such as fade in fade out, cross fades, soundtrack and volume changes. It was a lot more complicated but you can really see the quality difference between the two. I feel more confident using the equipment, software's and websites as I have a wider knowledge about what they are, how they work and what they do.

This preliminary task was the last one I did before filming my own thriller. I thought it very useful in building my knowledge of what shots work best and understanding what makes a good film opening as we did our best to copy the original. I think this was the most successful preliminary task I have done and I found it the most beneficial as it related more to my actual thriller task. I also had to do a lot of editing with this footage which was really helpful as I began to learn new things which I was able to use when it came to editing my actual thriller.

Was my thriller successful or not?

I think my final thriller opening is a success as I believe it has met the criteria for the task. The genre is clear to the audience and the soundtrack matches the visuals. I've used different camera angle shots to develop the narrative with continuity. I have done a lot of research towards opening titles, and I believe my titles are clear, simple, of a decent size and they appear on screen for the right length of time so they can be read (at least 4 seconds). They're all in the right order and flow with the visuals. My use of editing has helped build the narrative and therefore, I think I have really improved since my preliminary project. From editing to filming different shots, I have a better understanding of media today than I did when I first started the course. I have more confidence in editing and using different software's. I have a more in depth knowledge of films and I am proud to say I have improved a great deal and would like to develop my skills even further. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Evaluation Question 6

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

I have learnt many new skills and developed knowledge of camera work, features and editing software's, including Blogger. 

The tripod helped me create a still shot without any movements which can occur while the camera is hand held. The tripod allowed me to take shots that I was unable to reach otherwise and helped me take some decent shots of different scenes. However, for some of the shots the tripod wasn't long enough to be able to get the perfect shot and it wasn't possible to use it for some of the shots I needed as the tripod wouldn't have been able to sit in certain places. 

I used a professional Canon Camera which produced good quality visuals however they were very dark. Using the camera I learnt different skills such as adjusting the focus depending on whether you want a blurry shot or a really clear shot. I did this by turning the lens in front of the camera. The camera was light in weight and easy to use. This was an advantage as we didn't have to do as many retakes of shots. The camera had a really smooth zoom and it was fast when zooming in, zoom out, which gave us the opportunity to get close up shots from further away. The camera lens was wide which meant there was more mise-en-scene in the shot. The disadvantages of the cameras were that the batteries kept running out which interrupted the filming process and delayed the schedule.

Final Cut Express: 
Final Cut Express is the software I used to edit my thriller opening. I had never used this program before doing the preliminary tasks in preparation for editing the final thriller. I had to learn most of what I know now as I was editing my thriller footage. I'm really glad that I know how to use Final Cut now, as now I could edit any footage given to me and add different effects such as cropping, adding text/audio, slow motion, colour correction and I can also import and export without any guidance. 

Final cut has really helped me understand important editing is as it can change the perspective of things and can build suspense just by doing lots of cross cuts one after the other. This is one of the examples of my editing process where I chose to fade out the music at the end of my footage. I have also included effects such as fast forwarding and rewinding which I have taken a screen shot of to show the sound.

LiveType: I used LiveType to create my titles for my opening. I found it really easy to use as it was basic picking, choosing and exporting. First i tried to use After Affects however I couldn't understand how I could use it so i tried LiveType and i found it much more easier for me to use. 

Youtube:  I used this website to find other thriller openings to get some ideas as well as to use trailers for inspiration from other films. Youtube was a great help to me as it was really easy to upload my rough edit and final edits to and then embed them onto my blog.

Blogger: I had never used Blogger before starting my media course. I enjoyed changing the layouts and I learnt very quickly how to embed different features such as pictures and videos on my blog which once I knew how to do allowed me to become more creative with it.

Google: I used Google for all of my research on genre and sub-genres, theorists, and conventions. I did a lot of in-depth research to find out about thrillers that have been released, producers, distributors and budgets. 

Art of The Title: I used Art of The Title to find out about how professional openings are supposed to look. I researched and analysed different openings to find out how long the openings usually are and how long the titles appear on screen for in order to produce a professional looking thriller. The order the titles and the presentation of them gave me a clear image in my head of what needed to be done. I found this website extremely helpful.

Evaluation Question 5

5. How did you attract/address your audience? 

My intention for my thriller opening was to gain positive feedback from the audience and to know that they would be interested in watching the full film. I wanted to catch their full attention through the visuals due to the different shots and angles, costumes and the clear, white titles I have used in order to make them stand out.

I have created an annotated version of my thriller opening to show what my intentions were for each part and how it would look from the audiences point of view.

I want to make the audience eager to know what's going to happen and what is going on at that particular moment before it's revealed. The audience asking questions is good because it shows me that they're interested in my narrative. The feedback helped me to improve my final edit as I was made aware of what people liked and what they didn't. Here are some examples of what some people said:

This feedback helped me to see where I could improve and what does and doesn't work in my thriller. By making these improvements, I will gain an even wider audience and I would receive even better feedback. My main aim of my opening is to engage the audience, create enough suspense to keep them on the edge of their seats and make them want to watch the rest of the film.
If I were to make a trailer I would make it very dramatic and full of suspense. I would have a powerful soundtrack and focus on showing the climax scenes of the movie to let the audience see how good it is which will make them want to buy tickets. This will appeal to anyone that is interested in horrors, thrillers, psychological or crime thrillers. I would set up an online website specifically for Leverage and promote it using Twitter at #LeverageReleaseDate to increase the fan base. Publishing behind the scene clips and teaser trailers will make the audience more eager to know what the film is about. After a few weeks of the film release it would appear in the theatres and I would publish Blu-Ray DVD's. Also, making an online download (at a low price) would increase awareness as most young people these days use the internet more than anything else. This can raise sales revenue as the people who didn't get to watch it in the cinema can still watch it easily and people who really enjoyed it in the cinema can buy it on DVD.

I took into consideration both the positive and negative feedback from my audience research and if I were to re-shoot the thriller or make changes to the opening sequence then I would definitely make sure that I meet the requests of my target audience.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Evaluation Question 4

4. Who would be the audience for your media product? 

Due to the nature of my thriller, I was more tempted to include male actors as they are more stereotypical of drugs dealers.

Here is some feedback that I received by my target audience after they had watched my thriller opening. I was really pleased with the feedback I received and they said that the thriller conventions I used really appealed to them. Additionally, the audience stated that they liked the way I had ordered the footage in a way that they were left asking questions about what was happening however, they liked how it was revealed at the end.

To make sure I was choosing the correct classification rating for my thriller, I visited the BBFC guidelines website to identify which was best suited to my film. I then created a blog post on why a 15 certificate rating was the correct one for my thriller with illustrations. 
Some feedback from my friends regarding my thriller consisted of comments such as:
  • "I like the soundtrack with the video"
  • "The special effects really add to the storyline"
  • "You have used lots of great shots"
  • "The way you have edited the order of the shots really helps build the narrative"
The film 'Momento' is similar to mine and that film appeals to people aged between 15 and 45. The fact that it is mostly psychological means the audience members are older however, they also use older actors to play the role which also helps create a wider audience base. 

Having younger actors, mostly male links to the narrative of my film because men are stereotypically more dominant and superior therefore, drug dealing and kidnapping is something they would partake in. Additionally, crime is generally seen to be committed by men which is why I chose to have the two people involved in criminal acts in my thriller to be men. 

These are some examples of my target audience:

These people suggest my target audience are people early to mid 20's who are really interested in watching films and enjoy just sitting at home and relaxing in front of a film. These two people are quite different which therefore represents the versatility of the audience for my thriller.

This is Billy Clark and Peter Ring. Billy is twenty four, lives in Central London and works full time as a carpenter. Peter is nineteen, lives in Borehamwood and works part time in Sainsburys. These boys both dress casually and whether they are hanging out with friends or going out for the night. They both really enjoy watching films and spending time with friends and their families. Peter particularly likes horror films whereas Billy prefers thrillers. Billy's favourite thriller is 'The Call' as he said "It was exciting the entire way through, had an action packed storyline and was well acted. "Peter loves to watch thriller films such as 'The Orphan' as it creates an eerie atmosphere. "This engaged me the whole way through which is why I really enjoyed it."
Peter is really into the latest music varying from RnB, Hip Hop and Pop. Moreover, they both enjoy listening to artists such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Jason Derulo and many more.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Evaluation Question 3

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

I have done a voice over my original thriller in order to present my work in a more creative way.

If I had the opportunity to create a movie trailer for my thriller, I would definitely chose to do so because film trailers are the best way of promoting your film when it's first made and it helps to build your first target audience. I would be able to release the trailer in advance and then release the film onto DVD or Blu-Ray. The reason this is the best thing to do is because it gives the audience a taste of the special effects and a rough idea of the narrative, done so in such a way that they are intrigued to watch the entire film. 

Furthermore, in order to promote the film, there could be to release images from the film and have companies such as coke zero or beer put these images onto their products so that the audience increases as it builds up to the release date of the film. 

Lastly, to promote the film the film studio could upload an official website for the film whcih enables the audience to view trailers, posters, images, have interviews with cast members and behind the scenes clips online. They could even pre-order the film before it comes out which will more than likely increase sales. 

Evaluation Question 2

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?

I have presented all of my ideas onto a prezi to answer this question in order to be creative with the presentation of my work.

The prezi shows how I came to the decision as to what type of characters would play each role in my thriller. I really thought about the age that would best represent my narrative and the social class of them. This also linked in to me thinking about costumes as they have very little money, they wouldn't be wearing very expensive or good quality clothing.

Here are some screen shots from my thriller and from 'The Call' to show the stalker being male and the antagonist being very similar to the character in 'The Call' where the man kidnaps young girls. He is also quite young and is not fully revealed until half way through the film. I have followed the same convention as I have found that hiding his identity leaves a sense of mystery. He is however, of a different race which I have chosen to do because I wanted to conform to generic conventions of a thriller as I used a black man to play a criminal which is a very stereotypical representation.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Evaluation Question 1

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

My thriller incorporates generic conventions of a thriller such as the drug deal scene which is very common within crime thrillers. Also, my use of filming at night is supportive in the generic conventions as most crimes are known to take place when it's dark. I think my use of conventions definitely indicates what sub-genre my thriller is and the way it has been edited so it's out of chronological order would suggest it's also psychological as well as crime making it a hybrid. I was influenced by the film 'Momento' when it came to rearranging the order of my shots and with the special effects I have used as these are used extremely well in this film.
I have selected 9 frames from my thriller opening which incorporate or challenge generic conventions of thriller films. Some of these show how I have indicted the hybrid genre and how other thrillers have influenced my work. I have sectioned each frame into a different sub heading to show the ideas I had about the creation of my final thriller opening. 

Frame 1: The opening and how it builds the narrative
To create a suspenseful thriller, I decided to film through a pillow case to represent it being over someones head and it's a point of view shot of the kidnapper. I tried to make sure my camerawork was effective enough by not just simply filming in an ordinary way, I wanted to try something different. I only used a small variety of shots, most of which were medium shots and close ups. This is because I felt these shots would suit my narrative better as it would reflect the confinement the child is feeling once he's been kidnapped and also how the dad feels trapped by his boss who makes him participate in drug deals. My lack of long and establishing shots is justified because I wanted the audience to be engaged in the action taking place so they could follow my complicated chronology of events. If they see what happens close up then they are more likely to understand it and empathise with the characters.
Frame 2: My characters and how they are developed throughout
My main character is first shown taking part in a drug deal which adds to the theme of crime. Also, the young boy is not actually shown to start with which I decided to do in order to keep the suspense for the audience. Furthermore, I intended for the child and his father to be seen as victims which I believe their relationship together really helps to show this. The costumes of my characters develop the image of the male character being reluctant to take part in the drug deal which is not very stereotypical. Also, it's usually teenage boys who would be seen buying drugs on the street in thrillers however, I chose to use a girl as I felt it would work better as it's not what the audience would expect so it would entice them to continue watching the film. I wanted the audience to be intrigued by the opening which is why I decided not to only use stereotypical features.
Frame 3: Special effects
I used special effects to create suspense of the characters being watched. I did this by using a photograph effect so it looks like someone is taking photos of their drug deal as evidence against them. Also, the special effects of rewinding and fast forwarding the film in order to portray the stalker watching the videos back. I had to use a lot of colour correction to my video as a lot of my shots were extremely dark due to the time of day I filmed which was intentional for the outdoor scenes. Unfortunately some footage was too dark even with the lighting I used however, the colour correction worked really well for my thriller as the really dark footage was converted into a dream which meant a dream like colour effect could be added to it. These special effects help to build the narrative and gradually tell the story without giving away the ending which is also a common generic convention of a thriller.
Frame 4: Lighting
This shot makes my character look like a silhouette which really creates a sense of mystery which is a generic convention thrillers. The black clothing against the light I used in the background really highlights his outline which would suggest he doesn't want to be seen or that he is the protagonist of the film. This mystery will engage the audience and make them ask questions as nothing is given away. I didn't use too much lighting as I wanted the sense of it being night time and to create a more eerie atmosphere. However, I did use a light outside which created a shadow as he approached the door. This adds to the tense moment and allows the audience to feel uncertain about whether he is the villain or the protagonist.
Frame 5: Camerawork
I decided to film the child through the window to represent him being watched without him knowing. He appears oblivious to it all and this appearing at the end gives a conclusion to the rest of the opening. I liked the effect the shot had through the window as it created an eerie atmosphere which really added to the intensity of scene. I wanted to be creative with my camerawork so although I didn't use many different types of shots, I did use many different angles and tried filming through different objects such as sheets, pillow cases and windows in order to produce the most realistic effect. I feel that this really helped to develop the narrative as well because these different types of shots each have a purpose and therefore, fit in with the story.
Frame 6: How my thriller supports the genre
This image really captures the idea of someone watching someone and the consistency between this shot and the boy through the window creates the image of the boy being videoed. This would suggest that it is a crime thriller however, through my editing I realised I could make it a hybrid of crime and psychological. I have incorporated many shots which imply there is a crime issue for example, the drug deal, the kidnap and the stalking. The opening sequence of my thriller makes the audience ask themselves questions such as why is the man watching them? Why does the dad take part in drug deals? This means that my thriller is successful in following the genre in which it follows.
Frame 7: My thriller title

My thriller title is white text against a black background in order to make it stand out. I think it's more successful as it is simple and creates a dark, eerie atmosphere which is a key feature of a thriller. It appears on the screen with a zoom effect to symbolise its importance to the thriller. The use of capital letters for the title makes it bold in order to capture the audiences attention, which was my intention.  The word 'Leverage' means the power to influence a person or situation which fits in very well with my narrative as the drug dealers boss is overpowering him and the stalker has power over the kidnap situation. My titles comply with a successful film opening and often the title of a film will give the audience an idea as to the narrative of the film without revealing the plot.
Frame 8: Editing
The editing of my thriller took the longest because of all the special effects and titles I had to add to my original footage. I used a dream effect by changing the lighting with 'light rays' in order to show a transformation from reality into the child dreaming. I think this effect was successful and I liked it because it added to the narrative where the boy is oblivious to what is going on around him.
Frame 9: The characters relationship

I tried to show the close relationship between the father and his son to help the audience to empathise with them and understand that the dad doesn't want actually want to be involved with drug deals however, he needs money to support his family. To convey this I showed their relationship with the dream like effect in order to represent them being in their own little world, safe from the bad people in the world. This is the only time they appear happy is when they are together.