Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Escalate: Final Movie Opening

Evaluation: Question 6

Media Evaluation
Question 6: What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of constructing this product?
In order to film our thriller opening we used a Canon XHAI camera.This camera is specifically designed to film short films like what we were required to do. When we were being taught how to use the camera the most important thing we were told to do was ensure that when we pressed the record button wait a few seconds before we start the scene or else the beginning of the footage may be cut off. If we did this we would know it had happened until it came to post production where it is too late to fix this error. Therefore, every time we filmed a new shot we used the clapper board and called ‘action’ after the camera had refocused. Another piece of equipment that we use was a tripod that to hold the camera when filming scenes that required steady camera movements. When using the tripod we were taught to check the spirit level every time we moved or adjusted the camera or else our shots would be slightly distorted or at various different angles. Another thing we learnt was that it is important to hold the camera every time we move it connected to the tripod. This is because there is always a risk that it could fall and break which would delay our movie.
The software that we used to edit is called Adobe Premier. When we got all out footage back the first thing we had to do was separate the shots, order them and get rid of the ones we don’t need for the opening. While doing this I learnt how to cut and extend shots so they portrayed continuity editing and match on action. If I didn’t learn how to do this our film would look unprofessional and the audience would find it hard to understand the movie as the action wouldn’t be natural. Once the shots had been ordered and skilfully cut with transitions in place to fit within the two minute limit we then decided to add filters to give the film a more authentic look and feel by creating a curve in the red RGB filter. Once the filter has been rendered (which is done so the film can be previewed smoothly) we imported the soundtrack that we chose and modified some of the shots to suit the build up towards the end of the soundtrack. I did this so the action on screen would also be depicted trough sound and would help to engage the audience. From this I learn how important sound can be in conveying the tone of the action to the audience.

Some of the other editing and filming techniques we used include transitions such as fades. We used this to smoothly transition between shots that didn’t look professional with just a normal cut. We also used it to create a smoother pace within the movie to give that thriller element. We learnt how to effectively use the rule of thirds to frame our shots so they looked professional.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Evaluation: Question 7

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

Looking back on my productions I felt that I have learnt a lot in the progression from the preliminary task (prelim task) to the main task. For example in preproduction one of the first steps involved creating a storyboard that displayed the narrative in terms of the different camera shots that were to be used. However, during the prelim task when my group drew the storyboards we didn’t design or draw the images properly so when it came to the production stages we were all confused as to what shot we really wanted because the drawing didn’t reflect the camera angles in our written storyboard. Therefore when it came to drawing a storyboard for our main task I made sure to bear in mind that it is supposed to be an accurate representation of the camera shots and angles that we need to film. This allowed us to be able to accurately distinguish between similar shots and film according to our storyboards as opposed to improvising and creating non-existent shots.

During preproduction for the prelim task also decided to create a photographic storyboard in a similar location to our actual location of the camera angles and shots that we drew. This was done so that we get a collective idea as a group of what we want our scene to look like because we would each interpret the storyboard in a slightly different way. Once we took the photos we realised that some of them were taken from the wrong angles and they were not in concordance with our storyboard drawings. Therefore, when the time came to create a photographic storyboard for our main task we used the knowledge, experience and lessons that we learnt from doing the first one to ensure we capture as much detail as possible in each shot. Similar to the storyboard drawings this enabled us to have a united vision on what the shots taken during production will look like.

For our prelim task we didn’t conduct a pitch because it wasn’t needed as the brief specified the narrative for the scene. However, it would have been beneficial to conduct a pitch to find out what our audience would like to see in terms of which camera angels and shots would work best together to depict the story in the scene. This why in our main task we conducted a pitch because we had more freedom with the narrative in our opening and we knew it would be important to find out what our audience would more  likely want to see. Therefore we brainstormed about six different movie openings, presented them to the class who then voted on the idea that they though would be more successful and that was the idea that we chose to film.

During production one of the areas in which I encountered a problem was with the timing. This was because during our prelim task we found it very hard to try and finish filming before the deadline. This was probably due to poor planning and not following our shooting schedule.
Therefore from this I learnt that it is important to stick to the shooting schedule as this will save time both during production and editing as I we would save time looking through unorganised footage. So from this I decided it was best to stick to the shooting schedule as it means that we spent less time redoing the same shots in an unorganised manner and inevitably saved time filming, we even managed to finish early.

For our prelim task we were given a location so we didn't have to spend much time looking for locations that suited our scene we just had to make it work. However for our main task we had more freedom as we have to choose our own locations based in the narrative of our opening. We had a slight problem as our film was to be set in a young boys room however no one in my group had a room that was similar to what we pictured. Therefore we settled on one of our group members houses and decided to bring lots of different props to dress the location as close to our idea as possible.  From out prelim task I learnt how to manipulate our location to allow it to help get across the narrative of our scene and I used this skill to my advantage during the main task.
Another problem that I encountered when filming for the prelim task was the way our cut away shots were filmed. During pre-production we decided to film our cut away shots from a variety of angles but when we came to filming we didn’t vary the angles as much as we hoped to so when it came to post production we were forced to work with what we’ve got. However when it came to filming cut away shots for our main task I learnt from our mistake and decided to film from a variety of angles. This benefited us later as we could then use them in a combination to also depict continuity editing and match on action in post-production.

For our prelim task during editing we obtained some feedback from our creative and technical directors. For example one of the pieces of feedback was to do with our camera angles and the way we frames the shots. He talked about the fact that there was too much head space in one of our over the shoulder shots so next time I made sure to bear this in mind during the main tasks and this helped me to make a better thriller opening. Another way in which we used feedback was during the pitch that we conducted in class for the main task as we asked our classmates to help us decide on a narrative which they think would the most entertaining.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Evaluation: Question 5

Media Evaluation
Question 5: How did you attract/address your audience?
As the audience watches our film opening we expect them to incorporate their prior knowledge of the genre into their viewing experience. This includes knowledge of the typical type of narratives and themes incorporated into thrillers such as child possession and espionage. They would also know about the typical props, lighting and soundtracks hat would be used such as low key lighting, dynamic soundtracks and props including blood and gory objects. In order to target an audience while keeping in mind what they expect and know about thrillers we incorporated the things that they would expect to see in a thriller so they are clear on the genre of from the very moment the film starts to play.

To attract our target audience we have chosen to base our opening on themes that are typical of a thriller movie. These themes include Human consciousness which is where the characters mind is a battle ground for narrative conflict to gain a new level of understanding and perception of their world and personality. Character identity is another theme that allows the audience to identify the characters personality through their personal journey and the most common theme is death and the fascination with death which is presented widely throughout the opening. The point of expressing these themes is to attract our target audience that watch films to escape from reality as these themes are not encountered during everyday life and this is because they may be interested in similar films such as Insidious and Sinister which present similar themes.

(For Textual Analysis see Evaluation: Question 1)

Evaluation: Question 3

Media Evaluation

Question 3:What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
Film Distribution is the process after producing a film, which entails selling the film to its target audience, and getting the film as much income profit from audiences as possible. At the start of the process, the studio producing the film would make a licensing agreement with a distribution company. The distribution company would then decide on the amount of copies/prints the movie should have. They would then negotiate deals with several theatre representatives, to try and get their film shown. If this all goes to plan the theatres will lease the film under a lease agreement, and the copies will then be sent to the theatre a few days before the films theatrical release (which the Distribution Company also decides on). The fate of the film then lies in the hands of the audience as the film is released into theatres for a specified number of weeks.
There is a big difference between Major Big-budget distribution companies and Independent distribution companies. The main difference is the budget the films are given for distribution. Therefore big-budget films from major companies such as the avengers or the fast and furious can reach out to consumers with big budget TV-spot trailers and A-list star appeal. However since our film is an independent film we won’t have the resources for these opportunities, this does not mean there are not ways to distribute our film effectively.
Using “The Blair witch project” Distributed by Aristan Entertainment as an example of how we would like to distribute our film. “The Blair Witch project” was shown at the Sundance film festival in 1999, at the festival flyers were given out, asking if anyone had any information on the whereabouts of the “missing” students, which referred to the students in the film. This created massive buzz and appeal for the film as the distributors gave the illusion that the film was based on true events, making the film seem more authentic. As a result of this we would strongly consider having Aristan Entertainment as our Distribution Company as we find their distribution style innovative and effective.

Another Distribution company we would consider would be Hammer Films, as they specialise in making movies from our the horror/thriller genre e.g. The Curse of Frankenstein, The Woman in Black, Wake Wood, Let Me In. It is also an independent distribution company, which means they would fit more closely with our films budget.