Thursday, 29 April 2010

Evaluation Questions

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



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




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




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



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5. How did your attract/address your audience?



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




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

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Audience Feedback




To find out some other opinions of our film opening to help with our evaluation and contrast to our biased opinions, we decided to show students in our media class our work. A large majority of the feedback was positive, which pleased us. The main points we picked up on were the students noticed the thriller conventions we tried to reflect in our film, such as the lurking point of veiw shot, which the students said builds tension and makes them want to find out more. The students enjoyed our use of sound, which was interesting as we felt we had taken a risk using a more original sound over the montage, compared to the usual fast paced percussive music which may have been used to build tension. The students picked up on the volume and tone of the sound become louder and deeper as the plot builds tension and they enjoyed this. They agreed that the fast pace of the montage and close-up shots also builds suspence, as well as flowing well as a visual peice. Some students however commented that they would have preferred to have seen the faces of the police detectives during the first scene. This made us think about whether we made the right decision to film the lower parts of their bodies. After a discussion within our group we decided that we are glad we filmed it this way, as we wanted to create Anonymity (obviously) and also not focus on the characters too much in the opening, so not all information is given away in the first two minutes of the film.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Anonymity Final Production Piece

PLEASE WATCH!!

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Pleave leave some feedback to help with out evaluation

Friday, 16 April 2010

Finished!

Using Final Cut today was much more tricky than usual. We decided that we didn't want to change the end shots of our opening, and there was no correct to have a black screen with "directed by.." on. So we decided that we should have the text over the last shot for one second. We knew we had to import the shot to final cut and apply the text over that instead of a black screen but we didn't know much after that, so we seeked the help of an iMac genius. It literally took all lesson and we finally worked it out a meer ten minutes before the end of the lesson! Very pleased with the results though!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

And More Titles


After taking Nanettes advice for adding more titles, we added in the names of our two actors, using Final Cut again so we could use our chosen font. After watching the opening we today decided that we needed many more. We checked back in our research and realised that we needed titles of
-sound, who made it or where did we get it from
-costumes and make-up
-"written by"
- we also realised that the last title of a film opening is always the director

This annoyed us somewhat, as we were happy with the flow of our film and thought that more titles may clutter the montage. We were also very happy with our ending, with the film name title just before the last shot. We therefore had to re-think the placement of all titles.

Although we previously discussed that we didn't want to split mine, jenna, and lewis' names into select roles in the titles as we had all worked equally in editting, filming and planning, we decided that for the aesthetic of the film this needed to be done. We randomly picked the roles, also adding in other names for other film crew titles.
We did not however manage to add in "directed by Lewis Ridings", the last title, in time. Tomorrow is the deadline, so we will add this in tomorrows lesson. We are happy with the rest of the opening.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Audio Footage

Today we gathered two drama students who are used to talking confidently and seriously and recorded them reading the dialogue for our opening. We used the same dialogue that i thought of during storyboarding as it was appropriate and would be the right kind of length. Also during research we found that less dialogue in a thriller opening is more exciting anyway, so we didn't want to waffle on with irrelevant information. We dragged the dialogue onto the correct shots, the timing worked really well and the shots flow well. As Lewis is currently ill, we will have to wait until he gets back to see what he thinks of the dialogue, but as the deadline is nearing we decided to carry on without him, but we are pleased with the quality of the dialogue and the sound is clear.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Teacher Feedback

Today we showed Anonymity to Nanette, our media teacher as it is nearly finished.
Her points were:
- there needs to be more titles
- some of the transitions between shots are messy
- some lovely shots

Fro this, we have drawn the conclusion that we need the actors names (Joe Revill and Matt Price-Williams) during the montage. We also need to re-watch the opening several times very closely listing the shots that are maybe too long or need cutting differently. We are pleased with the "lovely shots" comment as we think that we have thought through a lot of our shots well, particularly the montage shots, using extreme close-ups and panning.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Last Session Before Easter

During this session we decided to clear up the transition between shots and try to make the opening flow a little better. Firstly we re-arranged the montage clips, changed the length of some of them and added music over this section. I also experimented with effects on the montage clips, changing the contrast, exposure and colours. We didn't want the shots to look too horror movie or sci-fi so we kept the colours true to life, only exaggerated slightly more. We are pleased with the montage now and it definately flows much better now.

We also decided the the opening shots at the door location should be in black and white, rather than an evening effect, as in our research we decided that the whole group would like to experiment with mixing black and white with colour. We also think that as this scene is different from the rest of the opening, and could be seen as a flashback, the black and white is definately appropriate.

After Easter, we would like some teacher feedback. We also need to record audio footage to put over the door scene.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Final Cut

In todays session the group experimented with the programme Final Cut! We wanted to create different title fonts to the apple iMovie selected fonts. This was very successful. After looking at several informative websites and getting a feel for the programme we worked out how to make a black screen, choose one of the Final Cut fonts, and export the clip back to iMovie. We were pleased with the title fonts. We also needed a font for the film title, as we could not film a typewriter typing it due to a broken typewriter! We decided that the font needed to still look like a typewriter, due to this element in the montage, and we found a font that was suitable. The fonts still weren't as good as the fonts we found in research but as we cannot put these fonts onto our opening, we will have to settle with this. We also found a transition for the fonts to come onto the screen one by one. We instantly thought that this could look like a typewriter if we matched a clicking sound with the letters appearing. After searching on freesound.com we found an appropriate sound and dragged the sound under the clip in the correct place. We were very pleased with this when we watched it back!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Title Fonts

After a quick chat with the media teachers, we have found out that the mac that we have been using actually has the programme Final Cut installed. We are very interested in using this programme to enhance our editting and there is also a possibility that we can find better fonts on this programme to import onto our opening. We are very pleased.

Editting Session Three

Today we had a double lesson to cut the latest footage. We selected each clip and decided on the appropriate time for each shot. We want the montage to be fast paced and lots of images flashing up so the shots are very short. We put the montage shots into the order of the storyboard adding the extra shots we filmed on location. We watched the montage and all decided bits of it didn't flow at all, but it was the end of the lesson and we decided to start with this next session.

We also attempted to add titles to our opening today. We want to add four short black screens towards the beginning, before the montage. One for "produced and directed by" and then one for each of our names. We would also like the put the title of the film on a black screen before Shot No.23. We worked out how to do this, but when selecting fonts from the apple mac, we realised that out of the limited selection of fonts available, there was nothing that suited our film. We are really disappointed that we cannot use the fonts we have found during research and that we may have to use a simple font that non of us like. This is a problem that we need to address.

During storyboarding we decided that we would like to have a non diegetic breathing sound during Shot No.23 to add atmosphere. During this session we looked on freesound and found two breathing sounds. We put them both in turn over this shot on made a group decision on one. We still don't think this one is perfect because it doesn't sound particularly masculine but as we cannot find anything else we may have to address this at a later date, to avoid time being wasted.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Filming Session Three

Today we managed to film the last few shots of our opening, slightly behind schedule due to illness and not being able to book a camera out, the short delay hasn't effected anything.

Shots we filmed today:
Shot No.7 - the back of the villains head
Shot No.11 - the frantic rummaging of photographs
Shot No.12 - the villains hands tapping on a table
Shot No.13 - blade cutting a picture
Shot No.19 - slamming a police badge down on the table

For these shots we realised we didnt need the exact location of the basement, and that we could do it in a darkened room at school. We thought we would experiment filming there and if it was unconvincing we could rerecord at the correct location at a later date. Shooting went well. We darkened the classroom and used a cool lamp shining on the table from the side, acting as a table lamp.
Shot No.7 was difficult as we didnt want to include the rest of the room in the shot. We achieved this by shining the light on the desk in front of the villain, creating a black silhouette of the figure, with darkness around. We shot this a few times and will select one during editting.
Shot No. 11 we did this shot a few times from different angles and used different actions. One shot which was a particular favourite in the group was a shot where Lewis, our actor, rummaged through the photos picking out just one and looking at it closely. When we were filming this shot we also filming a few more shots that we thought we could put into the montage, such as the ripping of pictures and the ripped up peices of photograph being dropped and landing on the table. This extra material will make the montage longer and more varied.
Shot No.12 we shot this a few times also, one of the shots was an extreme close up, so close that it is difficult to tell what is tapping on the table. We were inspired by the extreme close-ups in the montage of the film Se7en and we wanted to create the uneasy feeling before working out what the object actually is.
Shot No. 13 was at first difficult because we couldn't remove the blade from a pencil sharpener as it was too tight! We asked several people. Instead I went to design and borrowed a pen knife, which we decided would work just as well. We took this shot from several angles also, including close-ups and zooming in and out.
Shot No. 19 we decided that this shot needed the sound of the metal badge hitting the table, in our other shots the ambient noise would be muted in editting. Therefore we had to ask for silence in the room. We took this shot once and after watching it we were very pleased with it, so didn't shoot again.

We are now confident that all filming is finished and we can begin to add sound and titles to our opening, after editting todays footage.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Our Production Logo

As a group we decided on Impact Productions as we decided the name didn't really matter but it had to be something memorable. We decided upon a black and white image as we didnt want the image to suggest a horror approach as our film doesn't really reflect this. We wanted the image to not suggest anything, other than a classy approach. Lewis designed this using Corel PhotoPaint and we are very pleased with it.

Ideas for production company names

A few ideas for names we have had for our production company:

- Chiller Productions
-Through the magnifying glass Productions
-Anon. Cast Production Company
-Descicate Film Production
-Le Thriller Noir Theatre Company
-Penultimate Choice Productions
-Triversity Films
-The media 3 Entertainment
-Ridonely Productions
-Impact Productions

We will use the Corel Photopaint and Draw programmes to create a professional looking title with an appropriate font. We are interested in using the faded typwriter font I have found previously on urbanfonts.com. Ideas for images among the group are roses, old cinema lights or old cameras.

Production Company Logos

In every film opening, there is always a screen at the beginning with the production company logo across. We would like to production company logo to put at the beginning of our film. Before creating this I will analyse a few existing logos.

Very very simple. Usually the "i" is a light which actually moves around during the shot and ends up inbetween the "p" and "x". In the logo shown there is a wall e where the "r" should be, this isn't usually there. I like the simplicity of the text and the light as a letter. This logo really fits in with the animation theme of the company, however we would like our logo to be more thriller based.

The font on here is very square and bold, it does not really suggest any genre of film, and the font is quite outdated. The little boy sitting on the moon is the logo and this suggests fairytales and a childish theme. We obviously do not want to take this approach in our logo. The background is animated and colourful, unlike normal titles, which are a black screen with logo. I quite like the picture in the background as goes against many other production logos, however our picture would be very different.


This production logo is very typical, with a black screen. It is very simple and then the square white font shows up well on the bacground. The simple circle logo is quite boring but memorable because it is so simple. We would either go down the simple black screen route with one image and the font, or a simple font on a picture background.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Editing Session Two

During a single lesson today, the group imported last nights filming onto the computer.
We decided to shorten the montage shots to the appropriate lengths, deleting the unwanted shots. We could not put them into correct shot order yet as we have not yet finished recording the montage. I was really pleased with the outcome of the varied shots so far. We decided to use the sound of the typewriter during black screens.

Lewis had decided to book out a camera and shoot the canal location shots, no.s 14, 15, 16 and 17. We imported these to the computer and watched them, everyone was very pleased with these shots as they were what the group as a whole wanted. We played around with shots and created cuts mid shot to give the movement a CCTV camera effect, like a delay. This didnt take long and the group were pleased with the outcome. We removed all sound from these shots, apart from the splash shot at the end.

When we put all of these shots in the correct order (obviously some shots are still missing however) we decided the beginning few shots lacked continuity to the dark montage shots as we had filmed in daylight rather than the evening. We contemplated refilming these shots, but due to deadlines we experimented with an evening effect on the mac. We were actually pleasantly surprised with this effect and it does look realistic, so we decided to keep it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Filming Part Two

Today, Jenna and I filmed some of the montage shots at the basement style location.
The shots which we filmed were:
Shot No.10 - close-up of fingers tapping on a typewriter
Shot No. 18 - water running into sink
Shot No.21 - typewriter medium shot
Shot No. 23 - pictures on the wall

We also decided to film other shots at the location to put into the montage. These were a saw hanging on the wall, dark sky and trees, footsteps in the darkness and a match being lit.
These were purely experimental and may or may not be used, we will decide during editing. In the match shot, we lit the match in a doorway to outside, so little damage could be done to possessions, and made sure the camera was zoomed in rather than close to the match to avoid damage to the camera or cameraperson. The match was lit at arms length.

When we arrived at our location, we realised that the overhead light was no longer working, so we experimented with torches and candlelight to create low lighting. We were especially pleased with the shot of the tap running in candlelight as the flame flickered and created an uneasy light, with shadows. We took shot no.23 multiple times to experiment with zooming into the pictures and the speed of moving the camera across the pictures. Shot no.s 10 and 21 were difficult as the typewriter did not work, so we decided to use these as short montage shots, rather than a means of showing the film title. We will experiment with this in editing.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Editing Session One

A double lesson today gave us time to edit the shots filmed yesterday.

We chose to use two lurking shots, one from the behind the trees which was filmed without a tripod so is jaunty. We wanted this style as it is a point of view shot. We also chose to use a shot from behind a wall, which peeks around a corner at the same door. We decided to film this shot on location as it made a change from the shots through the trees. It also looks as though the person watching the door is more desperate, and may have watched on several occasions.
The tracking shots of the actors were shot quickly, as we had already experimented with these shots during planning. We shot each shot twice.

During editing we realised the shots were quite long, so we had to shorten them slightly, however we wanted these shots to be the longest shots of the opening, to create contrast between this section and the montage. We removed all sound from the clips as there was muffled conversation in the background. We would like to add an ambient style non-diegetic sound over this section, perhaps a wind sound.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Filming Part One

The plan for filming today:

Shot No.2 - lurking behind trees, no tripod with zoom on nearby door.
Shot No.3 - Closer shot of same door, still lurking and no tripod
Shot No.4 - Door opening, low angle shot from right next to door, as experimented previously
Shot No.5 - Tracking shot of footsteps to allow dialogue, which will be recorded during editing.

Our plan was to record in the evening, as the storyline of two detectives leaving work would have required evening light. However, actors pulled out of after school filming at the last minute, so as we had booked the camera out we decided to record in the a free period in the afternoon, deciding we could add possible effects the shots to give an evening light, or re-record at a later date if this filming was not right.

As the actors didn't have correct clothes on, we had to get creative. We asked an actor to take part purely based on his shoes, as we thought he looked mature! And another already agreed actor had a trench style coat which was fine. If the recording would have gone to plan in the evening, the actors would have had correct costumes. In hindsight we perhaps shouldn't have rushed into filming as the costumes, location and light were not perfect, however we are on a strict shooting schedule so took the chance.

All shooting went well and we mostly stuck the storyboard. The filming was finished quickly today.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Film Titles

In order to know what relevant titles to use in our opening i have researched the titles in another thriller "casino royale"
-Production Company logo
-Written by
-starring
-Associate Producer
-Production Executive
-Camera Operator
-Script Supervisor
-Assistant Producer
-Sound
-make-up
-hairdresser
-Wardrobe
-assistant director
-casting
-stunt co-ordinator
-special effects
-title designer
-costume designer
-editor
-director of photography
-production designer
-music
-executive producer
-screenplay
-producer
-director

These are in order. Our opening wont need all of these but it is important we have enough and use the correct titles.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Green Screen

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Because of the lack of first location, we wanted to experiment with the green screen to make up a location of our own. Unfortunately the green screen did not work completely how we expected. We don't think that the effect works well at all. However, we did quite like the idea of adding an image of handwritten words or blood splatters over shots in the montage. We will experiment further.

Experimenting with shots

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Shot No.5 of our movie opening is a close up of the two colleagues leaving work whilst talking. We wanted to experiment with different angles and sides to see which worked best, to cut down the actual recording time. We also wanted to see if this shot worked well. I think the third clip works the best, the low angle shot from behind the colleagues. We will definately use this idea for shot no.5 as some of the shots from side on were not as interesting.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Typography


I really like this one because it is a typewriter style but also looks really scratchy, which is two looks we want to achieve in our titles. It is very simple and also very legible.


I like this but I think it looks very generic typewriter style and has most likely been used for titles in other films. Also, i think the letters are too rounded, which give a less scary feeling.


I like this becuase the letters are at different heights and they look quite childish. The ink splatters also add a frantic feel.


I think this lettering is good because it is very scratchy. It does not fit in with the typewriter theme but i don't think that this matters too much. Also, it is very legible.


This font isn't scratchy, or in a typewriter style, but i think it is quite appropriate and i do quite like it. The only problem i see is that the lines are very thin which may effect legibilty.


I like the way this looks as though it may have been written in paint or even blood, however I don't think that fits with the style of our film, so i'm not sure about this one. I also don't like the italics, but i do like the handwritten style.


I really like the handwritten style of this but i think it is definately too fancy and completely moving away from the typewriter theme so I don't think it is necessarily right for our titles.


I quite like this becuase of it's illegibility and its very handwritten style, but i'm not sure whether that would put a veiwer off, if it was difficult to read the titles.

I will have to consult the group.

Props

Props that we have:
- an old sink
- a typewriter
- photographs for the wall
- a suit bag
- a trench coat

Props that we need
- a police badge (currently waiting for it to be dispatched from ebay)
- broken picture frame
- a blade

Shooting Schedule

As a group we have decided to shoot on the days:
Monday 8th March
Wednesday 10th March
Monday 15th March
as we have decided it should take this long to film. All of our filming will be done in the evening as this is when the opening of Anonimity is set. This should go to plan unless, our actors cannot make these days, the weather is bad, or we cannot book a video camera.

We have two out of three locations.
The montage location:

A disused outhouse in my house so there is always access, nothing can be damaged and pictures can be stuck on the wall.

The canal location is sorted. I have not seen it but a member in the group has a relative who's garden backs onto a canal. He may shoot this himself.

The location for the colleagues leaving the police station is still unknown as we do not want an area full of pedestrians. We are considering using our school in the evening for this scene.

Any lessons at school or sessions after school will be used for editting, as all our filming is to be done in the evening.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Storyboard

Shot No.1 - Black Screen
We wish to open on a black screen as many films analysed in research use this and we liked this technique. The production company, which we may design ourselves, will be on this screen. This will fade out. Non-diegetic music - the sound of wind as the next shot is outside in the evening. This shot will fade out.

Shot No.2


Point of Veiw shot. We want to give a lurky, suspicious feeling, because the main character is always under the noses of the police. The lighting will be quite dark as it is evening, but we don't mind this. Not all will be visible due to shadows, we quite like this as it gives an uneasy feeling. The picture is obviously taken in the day though. There will be no dialogue in this, however the non-diegetic sound of wind will carry on in this shot. Due to last about five seconds.

Shot No.3


Point of veiw shot. Probably from the same place as before, only zoomed in on something, possibly a window or door, as if through the eyes of a stalker. Slightly louder non-diegetic sound now.

Shot No.4


This shot will mainly show just a door, it will not be a point of veiw shot any longer. The wind sound will be much quieter now, possibly only diegetic sound present now. This shot will be very short, just a few seconds, to establish the building in focus, which is actually a police station, the part where detectives work. Towards the end of the shot, two characters (colleagues of the main character) exit the building mid conversation, which is quiet and not necessarily supposed to be heard that well. This photograph is taken straight on, however it would be nice to experiment with a low angle shot.

Shot No.5


A low angle close up of the walking feet of the colleagues exiting the building. This shot is mainly so that dialogue can be heard. This is the only dialogue in the opening, as audience research revealed little dialogue creates more tension. This shot will be longer than shot 4 and will pan in the direction of the footsteps. Possibly about 5 seconds.
Dialogue, something along the lines of:
Colleague 1: i just don't know what to think anymore.
Colleague 2: never had a case like it.
Colleague 1: he's just always one step ahead.

Shot No.6 - Black Screen
Titles of directors. Lasting about three seconds. The group has ideas for typography, preferably typewriter style. To fade in and out quickly.

Shot No.7


Over the shoulder shot. We hope to use a dark, basement-like room for the setting. We want the lighting to show the figure and the figure only, as the walls of the room will be revealed later in the opening, also to create a feeling of unease. This shot will very short, and the sound of loud breathing will possibly be played over this shot, and the quiet again for the next shot, another black screen. The man will be wearing a jacket and possibly a hat.

Shot No.8 - Black screen
We want actors names on this screen, but i think it would be more effective if this screen had no titles, as this would be unexpected. I think other titles should be revealed in the montage. This will be around 3 seconds long, with no sound. The silence will be unnerving compared to the heavy breathing previously.

BEGINNING OF THE MONTAGE
The montage will be set in our decided location, a disused barn/stable room, which will be shot to look like an underground basement, unknown to anyone else. The room will be very dark with just one light shining on the object in the shot. We have not decided whether or not to have this section in black and white, or maybe just the canal shots. We will experiment with this when editting.

Shot No.9


In the film, the floor will be old dusty cobbles and the picture will be in a more old fashioned frame. The glass covering the picture will be smashed to look like a fight had occured or a moment of anger from the main character. This shot will last one to two seconds. At the beginning of this shot, non-diegetic music will start. The audience researched shows that orchestral music is more popular in thrillers, however the group will have to agree to this and we will find the appropriate music. Also, at the beginning of this shot, a short broken glass noise will sound.

Shot No.10


We want to use a close up of an object making a loud sound in this shot, an unexpected noise. The extreme close-up will make the veiwer uneasy and maybe not realise what is in the shot straight away. We thought about using a typewriter, who's buttons are being frantically pressed. We also thought about a close-up of a match being struck in the dark, however there are safety issues with this. This shot will be one second long, possibly less.

Shot No.11


A medium close-up of the main character rummaging through newspapers and photos on the floor. Some of the photos are drawn on or torn, to show desperation or plotting. Again, this shot will last only a second and the noise of the rummaging will sound alongside the non-diegetic music.

Shot No.12


A close-up of the main characters hand tapping on the table. The table will not be blue, it will be wooden. We hope to show franticness, by having typing on the typewriter, to rumaging on the floor, to back to sitting at the desk. The main character has clearly run out of ideas in this shot, or is plotting. The light will be very dark, with one light shining about the hand, as if it is coming from a table lamp. This shot will last two to three seconds.

Shot No.13


A close-up of a blade cutting through a picture, to show hatred. This shot will be very short, one to two seconds long. Really, we would like to have a blade, possibly out of a pencil sharpener, as it would look weirder, and a few short scrathes will be as long as this shot will be. We were inspired by the film Se7en for this shot, however we will not be cutting flesh! Again, the same desk lighting as before.

NON DIEGETIC MUSIC STOPS

Shot No.14


A long shot of a canal, not a brook which i used for this picture, as i had no access to the actual location. The lighting will be ambient, and the location will be shot in the evening. We want ambient sound also, like the sound of wind of distant traffic. This shot will last two to three seconds. This shot is to establish the new location.

Shot No.15


A medium long shot of the land next to the canal, from the other side of the canal, possibly through trees as a point of view shot, depending on the location which i haven't seen yet. A man will enter this shot, wearing a long coat and hat. He will be dragging what looks like a body bag. We would like this shot to look cut quickly through as if on cctv camera tape. This shot will last three to four seconds long.

Shot No.16


A slightly closer shot of the man dragging the body. Same info as before, only the shot will be shorter, one to two seconds long. Only ambient sound in these shots.

Shot No.17


This is a close-up of the canal water, zoomed in. During this shot, a rock will be thrown into the canal, but not in veiw of the shot. This is so we don't cause any unneccessary confusion or distress to the public, who may think the body bag is real or see it in the canal in the future. Also, we like the idea of the ripples that will shoot across our shot. The rock thrown in the canal will cause the splashing sound. This shot will be three to four seconds long.

MONTAGE COMMENCES.

Shot No. 18


A medium close-up overhead shot of a sink with running water. We want to add food colouring to the sink to look as though someone has washed blood off their hands. This shot will last one second long and will be in the montage location of the basement style room. The music starts again in this shot and we want the sound of the running water to be loud, to make the veiwers jump.

Shot No.19


The main character takes off his police badge and slams it on the table. Badge is not used in the photo as it has been bought on ebay and hasn't arrived yet. This shot will last one second only, and will track the movement of the arm taking off the badge, which may reveal the main characters face or some of it for the first time. This will be a medium close-up and the light will come from one side of the person onto the body.

Shot No.20


A close up of the main character sliding the photograph out of the broken frame. This will be a shot from the side. This will last one second or less. All the shots now are very short to create tension. The light will come from the direction of the camera and the camera will be static. The sound of the paper and glass moving will play alongside the non-diegetic music.

Shot No. 21


This is a medium close-up from in front of the typewriter. This shot may have to be from a higher angle as hands are going to be typing on the typewriter and the person typing may get in the way of the camera. The person will slowly type out "Anomity" followed by a fullstop which will be right at the end of this shot, almost cut off. There will be a sound bridge of ambient sound to the next shot. The sound of the typewriter key pressing "." will be where the non-diegetic music ends. This shot will last as long as the word takes to type, probably three or four seconds long. The light will come from above the typewriter, to show the letters typed.

Shot No.22 - Black screen

This shot will be silent apart from maybe an echo of the typewriter key from the previous shot. Two to three seconds, the sound of a torch being switched on will sound. This shot will last around four seconds. There will be no titles.

Shot No.23


This shot be very dark at the beginning. We will achieve this by turning off all lights. The torch will flick on and the these photographs on the wall will be illuminated. The torch will move slowly across the pictures and will fade out at the end. The shot will last around four seconds. The only lighting in this shot will come from the torch shining in the direction of the camera in front of the pictures. In the film there will be more pictures and i will print them off on gloss paper to make them look more realistic. I would also like newspaper cuttings and headlines among these images and for some of the images to be circled or scribbled out. The only sound in this clip will be heavy breathing, which we may record, or download from freesound.com.

Movie Title Research

This week, our group has transformed from a quartet to a trio, due to one member leaving college. We move on. However, in making a list of names we drew to a halt. Although all three of us have similar ideas in mind, and we all came up with similar kinds of names, agreeing that each others are appropriate, in the narrowing down of ideas process we reached a disagreement. I personally thought it was good for the group to experience this. So, in order to agree on the name of the film, we decided to ask the people, the audience.

So, Anonimity or Anon. ?


video


a clear favourite.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Audience Research

To find out what kind of things the audience of 15 - 24 year olds wanted in a thriller i created a survey and asked a few people.

The questions i asked were...
1. If a thriller was advertised, what elements would attract you to watch it?
a) a believable storyline?
b) a big cast and complex storyline?
c) paranormal characters and storyline?

2. What kind of music do you prefer in a thriller?
a) modern electronically created music?
b) orchestral music?
c) don't mind?

3. Do you prefer lots of dialogue in a film opening or little dialogue?
a) little because it makes me want to find out more?
b) lots because i like to know what's going on?
c) depends what kind of thriller it is?

4. Which are your favourite kind of thrillers?
a) action?
b) police/crime?
c) sci-fi/paranormal?
d) gangster?

5. As a young audience, would black and white filming put you off a film?
a) yes, why?
b) no


Results.
- Believable storylines are more important
- Orchestral music, which surprised me with this audience, thinking they would opt for modern electronically created music, such as percussive sounds or layered sounds and voices.
- little dialogue, i agree with this, i think dialogue would spoil an intense opening. I don't think it creates a thriller feel, such as LA Confidential. Little dialogue leaves the viewer wanting to know more.
- action thriller, police/crime a close second
- black and white is acceptable, but a popular answer for a was that the audience find it boring. Something that could be changed if we decided to use black and white, by fast paced editing and themes which would appeal to this audience, such as violence or drugs.
- Paranormal themes collected just a few results, which surprised me due to the large amount paranormal thriller releases recently (The Daybreakers, Paranormal Activity) but it seems the old fashion believable storyline still reigns supreme. I found these results very interesting, some surprising, which is good because it will help us make the right decisions when we make our film opening. I am glad we haven't started planning to make a paranormal based film!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Planning - main character

This is a basic sketch of our main character, obviously the actor we get will be younger than the age of the character in the film, but we will try to make him look old by the clothes he wears. He is a stereotypical detective, we will try to find his costume in charity shops or any other clothes we can get our hands on.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mind Map

A mind map of ideas that the group came up with based on the conventions of a thriller. We will refer back to these when planning our storyboard and during filming.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

L.A Confidential

L.A Confidential is a film based on neo-noir novel by James Ellroy in 1990. The film was released in 1997 and is about police corruption and Hollywood celebrity in 1950's Los Angeles. I chose to research this film and it's opening as the group has discussed that we would like to set the film in the past, possibly the 1970's.


The title sequence of this film is different from other thrillers i have seen. The majority of the titles consists of a montage of images a clips of 1950's Hollywood. Some of the clips are in black and white and clearly original clips taken from the 50's which have been bought for the film, and some are acted scenes of violence or pretend newspaper headlines. The narrator begins to talk over this montage, he talks of Hollywood becuase paradise, saying "come to LA", there's cheap lande, happy American families, beaches and sun. "Life is good in LA, parade on Earth, that's what you think anyway." We feel the sarcasm in his voice. He then talks on organised crime, murders, drugs and prostition. "Mickey C" is mentioned as the villain, typical of thrillers, the audeince think they know the villain from the start giving them a false sense of security. We find out the Mickey C was recently killed, the narrator says "it's only a matter of time befor someone fills Mickey C's boots." Following the montage is a low angle shot of a man typing on a typewriter in a Hollywood house. He finishes typing and pulls the paper out, we realise he is the narrator and has been writing an article for the magazine "Hush Hush", a glamourous magazine. In this opening the scene is set, characters are introduce and the audience feel they know what 50's Hollywood life is like. I personally felt comfortable after watching this, i expected murder and drugs in the rest of the film and i really had a sense of the period and setting of the film.

The montage is editted in a fast pace and there is 50's happy, cheesy music in the background. Between clips of celebrities in the montage, there is the sound of a camera snapping, as if each clip had been a photo that had just been taken. This adds to the feel of the celebrities, we feel like paparrazzi. The titles are across the screen during the montage. The font is square and yellow, with a small black shadow behind. The titles are always in the same place, in the middle towards the bottom of the screen. The yellow text shows up well against the shots behind. The LA Confidential logo is very square and slanted, in red. The font looks old fashioned because of its plain, square quality.

LA Confidential does not thrill in it's opening sequence necessarily, the viewer is expecting to be thrilled by the gangster storyline the opening hints at. I like the montage of clips used in the opening sequence and the style of the filming, but i don't think that it would attract a younger audience as i think they could be quite bored, i think there is too much talking. However i was inspired by the mix of black and white filming, which doesn't effect the flow of the film. I like the idea of using black and white for flashback scenes.

Initial Planning

We have decided to have one main character in our opening, and discussed this character as a group.

Ideas:

- A middle aged man, with a wife and children, hinted at through photographs in the opening sequence.

- He has worked for the Police Force for twenty years and has a very high up status, such as detective. He knows the ins and outs of catching a criminal, and how a criminal would normally act. Also, his knowledge of a detectives work makes him a perfect candidate for a criminal who can get away with anything.

- He is very clever and highly respected in the police force, making him an unlikely suspect to other officers.

- The first shot shows men coming out of the police station, discussing a recent murder or abduction. The main character should be present in this scene, to use the hallmark that the killer is right under the polices nose, often used in other thrillers.

- This scene is followed by the main character in his office, with no dialogue, which is then followed by a montage.

- The montage will include shots of photographs with scribbled out faces, inspired by The Ring, close ups of objects related to planning crimes and a basement or secret room with photographs on the wall.

- We would like to set the film in the 1970's, which goes against the thriller convention as not many thrillers are set in the past, we will portray this through props and the characters way of life.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko is a 1988 cult film, directed by Richard Kelly.
The film opens with the titles of the production and distribution company logos, with the sound of thunder and rain behind. A landscape fades in, it is the view from a hill at what feels like very early morning. Loud birds and an early morning nature sound is in the background, supposedly ambient sound but it is obviously non-diegetic. This shot is long and tracks sideways as if being held by a moving person. This shot continues until it stops on one particular point, the camera moves forward and we see a teenage boy lying in the road with a bicycle to the side as if he has fallen off. The long camera shot does not make the audience tense for what comes next, but it is much more slow and thoughtful and really establishes the setting. As the camera reaches the boy, he appears to wake up and stand, light slow paced piano music starts. The camera is behind the boy as he stretches and looks across the mountain, then turns and laughs to himself, very confusing for a first time viewer. At the end of this shot a large title in white calligraphic font appears across the top of the shot, followed by the screen fading to white. The sound of the birds is very loud in this scene, as if it is heard louder by the boy because he has just awoken and is probably fairly bewildered. This is reminiscent of the often incorrect sound levels of a dream. The sound in itself is quite creepy.
Following the white screen, fairly upbeat 80's music begins and the camera tracks the boy riding his bike down the mountain, he looks happy. The boy is captured from a few angles, each shot tracking his movement, emphasis on the boy showing he is an important character. He rides through his neighbourhood, which establishes the setting, a shot tracks past a house with his family in the garden relaxing and tidying leaves. The boy enters the kitchen and opens the fridge, bearing the handwritten sign "where is Donnie?" suggesting he has not been home but the family don't really care, possibly because they are used to it. The music stops and the next shot is the family round the dinner table with lots of dialogue.
There were very few credits in the opening title, no mention of any actors and just four or five names of the film crew. The selection of shots of the boy riding home had no dialogue, in fact there wasn't any dialogue in the whole opening, but the music playing in the background of the before mentioned section shows the passing of time and also creates quite an uneasy feeling of happiness, uneasy because of the odd happenings. I really like the film, but I don't think the opening is a brilliant example of a thriller, not for a young target audience anyway. This is a cult film for it's bizarre storyline and characters, not for it's thriller qualities. Although I like the idea of creating a more thoughtful piece which creates a thrill in different ways. I also like the idea of using little dialogue in the opening, as it does create a lot of unanswered questions, which makes the viewer likely to be intrigued by the rest of the film. I also like the use of families in a thriller storyline because it can pull at the heart strings as the relationships between people is much stronger and therefore can be tense. Also, I think an audience can relate to a character in the film because everyone has family. From the trailer it is not clear that the storyline includes paranormal themes, but I do not want to include this element in my work as I think it would be very difficult to create and to pull off.

Se7en Titles

This is the se7en lettering that we are inspired by. I like the childlike font and the scratchy effect which suggests a person clawing their way out of a deadly situation. I also like the white on black, like a blackboard. The titles are placed at odd levels of the black screen, some in the top right, some just below the middle, i quite like this as it makes the audience look in a different place each time rather than being predictable.

Initial Ideas


A brief meeting today with the group brought our ideas together for how we would like the film opening to go, just to make sure we were on the same wavelength.
We came up for some ideas:
- We agreed that we would like our film to be Certificate 15, to appeal to the age group with the highest number of cinema goers, 16-24. This means that the film should be fast paced and exciting, to keep the young audience from boredom.
- We decided that young actors that we take on should be given fairly easy roles, as they are not experienced and may not take the genre seriously. Also, inexperienced actors and their dialogue can sometimes sounds weak.
- We are interested in using flashbacks, inspired by Double Indemnity, only we want ours to be short and without narration.
- We are also interested in using some or all black and white filming, also inspired by Double Indemnity, because we really like the idea of low key lighting creating mysterious shadows and a sense of thrill. We are considering using black and white for just flashbacks, but we are tempted to for the whole film.
- We want the titles to be on both a black background and on the film itself, and we are interesting in using either ransom note style lettering or the scratchy lettering used in Se7en.
- We would like to play around when editing with the pace of shots and using fast forward.
- We want the beginning to be an establishing shot of the setting and introduction of main character, creating mystery by not showing his face and hinting at elements of his life. This will be followed by a montage of shots that together suggest at planning a conspiracy or murder, we would like the setting to be a basement.



Monday, 1 February 2010

Thrillers in general

In order to find out about the genre of thrillers as a whole, I watched The Usual Suspects, a mainstream thriller from 1995 directed by Bryan Singer. Singer describes this film as " Double Indemnity meets Rashomon" as the hints throughout the film can only be realised on second veiw, after the full storyline has been revealed.



Elements of a Thriller:

- there is often a twist in the storyline, often near the end, to keep the audience engaged

- the police are usually involved, the storyline often involves some kind of fingers up to the police force

- there is always criminal activity

- the final moments of the film are often when the rest of the film becomes clear

- the identity of the villian is often known from the beggining of the film, but it is only clear at the end what they have done

- there is always themes of death, however the deaths aren't dwelled on like in horror movies, the deaths are cold blooded and not to gory. The storyline is more important than the deaths

- The criminal activity is often on a large scale, and quite impossible to happen in real life, such as conspiracies and overthrowing of the law

- the killer or villain is always right under the polices noses, which creates excitement

- The villain is always very clever, there are always lies in the storyline, which the audience believe until the end

- the storyline often plays on stereotypes, for instance in the Usual Suspects the disabled character is treated as weak and stupid until the end when it is revealed that he is the clever villain

- there are often flashbacks, the audience has to concentrate to keep up



There are different types of thrillers such as Film Noir, neo-noir, psychological, political, spy, action, crime and conspiracy thrillers.



All of this information will help me when deciding what kind of thriller to base my opening on and what elements i will use in my storyline.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Film Noir


"to put their toe in the cold water of fear to see what it's like" - Hitchcock on the way a thriller encourages the audience.



Perhaps the beginning of the thriller genre in film form is through Film Noir, black and white films from 1938-1955 which have dark storylines twinned with low key lighting. The low key lighting might hide true feelings or intentions and the dark world of one or a few characters. They often involve a beautiful married woman, but who wishes to leave thier husband or are promiscuious, with loose morals. The storyline is often narrated and told retrospectively and there is always a twist or unexpected element. It is this element that makes these films thrillers. They are very unlike thrillers of today, with slow pace editting and very different music and style. Thrillers of today often include fast paced music and editting to keep the audience on thier toes, film noir uses low lighting and build up of characters to thrill the audience.



I have watched the opening of Double Indemnity to get a feel for film noir and ultimately decide whether i will use elements of this type of thriller in my opening.



The opening shot is a man walking with crutches towards the camera, the man is out of focus and the camera zooms in slowly. During this shot, dramatic music plays. It is brass music which is very typical of the period of time and also very typical of Film Noir. Titles are shown in white square capital letters, with black shadows. These letters show up well against the shot in the background as they are bright white. The fact that the letters are so big and intrusive create an imposing effect to the veiwer already. This shot is followed by an establishing shot of the setting, an overveiw of a city tracking one car. This is followed by shots of the car from different shots, the car is moving fast and driving recklessly, the music is still playing. The audience gets the impression of a car chase. The car stops and a man gets out, the camera tracks him from behind and we do not see his face, this is typical and keeps the veiwer in suspense, as there is an uneasy feeling of not knowing him. The man limps and has one arm out of the sleeve of his coat, with a bloody shoulder, a bulletwound? He is a very broad shouldered man, not a man you would expect to be victim, therefore we assume he is guilty of something. The next scene is an establishing shot of an office, from a high angle. The office is empty as it is clearly evening and we wonder why the man is arriving at the office so late. The music turns to a slower paced peice and the lighting is very low key inside the office. The man sits at his seat. He has his head in his hands, this is the first time we see the mans face at a medium close up. He lights a cigarette using one hand. He then continues to do a few things with just one hand. Many things are uncertain at this point, his rush to get to the office, his quietness, his disability to use both arms. A close up shows the sweat dripping from his head. He picks up the phone and talks very arrogantly into the phone, he is very confident and bigheadedly confesses to killing someone. During this conversation we find out that he is married with children. His confidence suggests he doesn't care if he is found guilty, which is shocking to the audience as he is a father. However, the way he acts when on the phone shows he does care and is nervous or scared. The confession is also a surprise, creating the thrill element. Film Noir uses very different ways to create this element. Compared to modern day thrillers I found this film quite boring as it is slow paced and the filming doesnt interest me. If i was going to use elements of film noir in my work I would use the low key lighting and black and white film. I think this in itself creates a thrilling element as the dark shadows creates an uneasy feeling as there is an element of the unknown in the darkness. I think it would be difficult to recreate all the elements of film noir as the settings and props would be difficult to find as well as the music, however elements of the editting used in a modern way could be quite interesting.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Main Task - Recieving The Brief

I have recieved the brief for my a level task:
to produce the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.

I immediately thought of what genre of film to focus on. My media teacher is discussing the style of thrillers with us, an area which i am interested in myself too although do not know much about. I do not know if my final idea for my film would be but thrillers is a good start in deciding.

I have started research into thrillers by watching a few openings to some.

Se7en
Directed by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The establishing shot is a long shot of a bedroom, with the curtains closed. It is obviously nighttime and the low key lighting comes only from a bedside table. This is next to Freeman sitting up in bed reading. This scene shows him from a few angles, eventually zooming slowly in on him. He reaches over a starts a metronome ticking. The camera cuts between the metronome clicking and freeman sitting in bed, zooming in in both shots. The significance of this short opening introduces the main character, and the ticking of the metronome may signify time ticking away, or a possible fast paced editting of the film. The metronome certainly links to the next part of the opening, a montage of editting relative to the time of the metronome.
The next section begins with a shot of an open book from above, we don't know what the book is about as the shot is out of focus, this creates some suspence and questioning of what the film is about also, and it's relevence to the storyline. This is followed by a montage of shots that make the veiwer uncomfortable or uneasy. This inlcudes razor blades, a typewriter, film being cut, photographs of a dead persons head with stitches in, something being written. These shots are also either out of focus or closeups which makes it difficult to tell what the shot is of immediately. This montage of shots give me the impression that someone is planning something in great detail, i think it is giving clues or links to things that happen later on in the film. During these shots are the titles, which are a plain black screen held for a few seconds with names in a white scribbly blackboard font, almost child-like. This links with the handwriting and planning of the shots, and the scratchiness reminds me of someone trying to get out of somewhere, the way a prisoner would sctratch on a wall. This montage of shots, although making the veiwer uneasy, also makes them want to carry on watching to see what the person is planning and what significance the montage has to the rest of the film. A good opening should make the veiwer want to carry on watching and this is acheived.