Thursday, 24 March 2011

Class feedback.

Positive:
-The non diegetic sound of the reports are very good
-Effects are amazing really well done and adds to the feel that is being created by the voiceover, mysterious and unknown
-Really good effects at the start and i love how you did the titles it goes well with the sequence
-The music was dramatic and had a good pace to it. I liked the idea of using voice overs of different people it made it confusing in a good way but linked it so well.
-Voice over added sense of reality to the opening.
-I liked the overlapping of different scenes to distort the overall appearance, it is good at drawing in the audiences attention in order to find out what happens next. the narrative  voice of the news woman is affective and creates tension.
- i liked the sound effects of the news report they were effective.
- good music, good location i like the effects throughout the clip and good use of the public
-voice overs fit in well with the music
- really nice distorting effects
- effective makeup
- i loved the effect during the titles
- you've done a really good job of making her appear
- the location are really good
- the voice over sounds really good giving a news report feel and the way it was all in black and white gave a really nice feel.
- Good use of non diagetic sound
- Good editing has been used
- The shots used worked well, especially the shot at the front entrance.


Improvement:
- the sound drags on and is repetitive also it gets to a point where there are too many effects.
- there is too much diagetic sound as well as the non diagetic sound of the news report
- not a great use of different camera shots
-the different shots layered were a little bit too much maybe use less shots to layer.
- the disorientated/ blurred effect was effective but i felt it dragged on a bit
- it wasn't specific to what the story line was perhaps an improvement would be a clearer story line however it gets the audience thinking which is good.
- better makeup?
- narrative is unclear
- music is repetitive
- music goes on for too long it would be better if there was some ambient sound.
- i didn't like the soundtrack as it got really repetitive quickly
- Doesn't give a clear understanding of what is going on.
- Voiceover is too quiet
- It is not too clear who are the main character(s) that are introduced, which is what an opening sequence is meant to do.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Screen Pane

Here is our screen pane, 9 images to demonstrate our thriller opening:

Screen Pane

From Left to right - Top  row first:
1. Lighting - Here is a good example of how we used all natural lighting around dusk, to convey the mysterious atmosphere.
2. Props - A close up of our key prop, the umbrella, which is significant to our missing person although it is unexplained why. She holds this throughout even though it is not raining and it is always marks the place where she was spotted.
3.  Locations - A clear establishing shot which captures the sign "Grand Arcade" tells the audience where we are, as well as letting them recognize it is set in Cambridge. There is an equivalent sign in each establishing shot.
4. Camerawork 1 - A long shot of our protagonist sat on a bench, it is also slightly out of focus due to the overlapping. Putting her in this ordinary situation and observing her, highlights the extraordinary circumstances.
5. Costume - A profile full body shot of our protagonist in all black helps her to blend in to the dark mise en scene and the mysteriousness, a dress; leggings; gloves and trainers. This helps to reinforce her age and vulnerability, playing off stereotypical images of women. the make up along with the costume is dark showing bruising and again in keeping with the sinister atmosphere.
6. Camerawork 2 - Contrasting, a close up of our protagonist holding the umbrella inside. Zooming in on her allows us to begin to see her bruises etc on her expressionless face.
7. Titles - Over this long shot of just the umbrella, you can see how we added our titles and with what font: Rough typewriter - creating a newspaper article effect - in keeping with the theme of our voice over. They flicker and fade in and out, mirroring our protagonist.
8. Thriller conventions 1 - A close up of our protagonist with other passers by fading in and out around her; suggests the theme of identity, as we know nothing about her, but people continue to walk by without paying any attention. She is unnoticed amongst the crowd.
9. Thriller conventions 2 - Being shown some bruising on her face, hints at the crime that is at the centre of our narrative. We also begin to see our protagonist experiencing some form of peril.

Thriller Final

Here is our completed thriller opening sequence:



Here is a screen grab of how our project looked in Final Cut. This gives some indication of the process we went through to create our thriller opening: 

Picture 1

Friday, 11 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Filming

We filmed over two nights. The first time we filmed the costume and makeup weren't put on, so the footage didn't look as good as the standards we set ourself in the planning stage. although the footage itself was of good quality and we finished all the filming in one night, we decided to use the other night we had to film again with all of the costume and makeup.
when filming we didn't have much trouble with people in the public disrupting the filming although in some clips some people are looking directly at the camera. if we had time to film this again and use people we knew so that this would not happen and it would look more realistic.
Filming outside around Cambridge was very cold and so we were glad of the tripod to hold the shots steady, however we had to make a couple of attempts at the end pan, as this was very difficult to get smooth. The one used in our rough cut and final opening sequence was the best out of 3.
In all, our filming was pretty quick to do as we had planned well. It only took us an hour and a half out of lessons the second time round; and 20 minutes or so within a lesson to film.  Also our shots were not too complex to shoot and as it is a repetitive sequence,  once we had done it once we knew what we were doing.
Thanks to the preliminary task, we already knew how to use the new HD camera's and this allowed us to get straight on with filming, making efficient use of our time.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Analysis of "Inception"

Rather than analysing an opening sequence, which I could not find, I analysed a trailer for "Inception" as this had more characteristics of an opening sequence than many "first scenes" I watched. 
Here is the trailer: 


Sound
Throughout this trailer there is a constant non-diagetic soundtrack, which gradually increases in intensity and only pauses briefly for moments of silence to emphasise key lines, often humorous.
The use of dialogue varies between diagetic conversations and non-diagetic voiceovers; both are used to explain key aspects of the narrative to the audience without giving too much away. They also introduce you to the voices of the main characters.
The music is mainly strings and drums based, giving a sense of tension and increasing urgency as it progresses. The constant tremolo of the violin helps to evoke a sense of nervousness amongst the viewer.
It starts off relatively quiet, yet with a constant crescendo throughout; not only this but more layers are added - such as synths – giving a busier/ more hectic texture.
The timing of the soundtrack is done very cleverly. For example every time a title is introduced, it is coupled with a resonant boom of a drum; this helps to imply a sense of danger, almost as a warning.
Also there are diagetic sound effects used appropriately such as gun shots, explosions and collapsing buildings, which add to the narrative and reinforce the genre. However they also challenge some thriller conventions, as it could begin to look like an action/ adventure film, yet when put with the narrative are unmistakably a thriller.



Mise-en-scene
All titles within this trailer are grey with a heavy stone/ metallic look, appearing in a blank black frame: 
 This begins to introduce the overall mise-en-scene of the film; cold, dangerous and tense.









This is then reinforced by the props we see and the way they are used: cars in chases, many guns, gadgets, briefcases being locked, papers and files and private jets. 









All are used to imply a business like organisation, with a twist; also highlighting the illegalities and therefore the threatening side to this “work force”.



The costume is in keeping with the business atmosphere as we can also see in the final image above. Most people are in suits and for those who are not, it is done intentionally to show that they are not part of the organised crime. For example the first female we see, casually dressed, is blissfully unaware of what she is about to be introduced to: 


There is a huge variation in lighting. From the natural outside lighting; 
– to the very dim artificial lighting; 

Both different styles help to play with the idea of reality and perception, having both elements of the naturalistic and the imposed dream world. To go with this, there is also a variety in the colour design. However mostly blacks, greys and neutral colours are used for the representation of the business world; 


The body language of most characters, especially Leonardo Dicaprio's role, have very strong yet professional and closed off body language; again showing the formality of their “business”.
 Here we can also see he is regarding this other character with suspicion and the slight hint of his hand, almost up as a physical barrier.
We also see lots of threatening and hostile body language: 
– clearly giving him a position of authority and a suggestion of a troubled nature.

The many different locations within this trailer are again used to play with the idea of reality and perception. They mainly suggest an affluent area within a city, implying wealth and businesses – a cover for organised crime. However often in these ordinary locations, there is an extraordinary element, usually unnatural, causing the audience to feel disorientated. 
Here we can see the side of the city is beginning to fold in on itself as characters observe and do not seem too phased, whilst this is disorientating for the audience.
In these two images, we are shown an everyday city, used to cover this organised crime /\ and      \/




Now in these two images we begin to see more of the crime side, with very unusual goings on.








Despite this main setting, there are also two completely locations. Firstly the mysterious beach, which we are never really introduced to. 












Secondly the snow covered location. Isolated and clearly very important, it hosts a key fight scene. The fact that it is desolate, reinforces the hostile nature of the crime they commit and its threatening purpose. 

Camerawork
This trailer uses a range of camerawork to introduce both characters and the narrative.
Lots of canted angles are used to distort the audience's perception: 











Many close ups to give reaction shots, show intimacy or highlight a significant prop: 













Long establishing shots, show us each new location: 














Both low and high angles are used also. This is done for a similar effect as point of view shots: 


Here there is a barrier between the camera and the shot itself, creating a barrier between the audience and the action: 

Also at times we get hints at handheld camerawork, but only very subtly. This helps to keep the audience at the heart of the action when the director wants them to be.

Framing has been done cleverly, so that in most shots, it is clear which character is in a position of authority: 

Here we can just see that the guy in shot is physically lower down than Leonardo Dicaprio, and so lower in the hierarchy, probably answering to Leonardo's character. 
As well as the shots themselves, the camera movement plays a massive part in creating an atmosphere. There are many fast paced zooms, pans and tracking shots – again keeping us at the centre of the action and allowing us to begin to relate to characters as we follow them.

Editing
As this is a trailer as opposed to an opening sequence, the editing is slightly more complex.
It is not in a continuity style because it cuts between different key parts of the film in order to introduce the narrative. It could be referred as similar to montage editing, as the audience only gets little snippets of information at a time, yet it is not quite as disorientating as a montage sequence.
The cuts themselves are very fast paced, in keeping with the rushed urgency of the genre.
Also the occasional use of fade to and from black helps to introduced a new location or piece of action. However it is mainly cuts which are used.
This trailer has been edited to allow moments of contrasting humor. For example interrupting a low key scene or certain line, with shots of high intensity action, to then go back to end the line/ scene often adds a sense of dramatic irony, making it comic.
Also, dramatic pauses – which often made room for titles – had this same effect.

The soundtrack and titles in particular have been edited very specifically, with effective timing to help build tension.
Also the music mirrors the intensity of what we are seeing. Lots of action is accompanied by lots of loud overpowering music; whereas individual comic lines, are accompanied by silence for emphasis. Afterwards it then builds immediately back up to remind the audience of the genre.

This editing has been done cleverly so as to inform the audience of what they are letting themselves in for, without spoiling the plot.


Friday, 18 February 2011

Test sound track

Using garageband, I started to piece together some ideas as what our soundtrack may  be like. The use of heavy rain was vital, due to our key prop being an umbrella. There are quite heavy drums the whole way through, giving a sense of urgency. It then mainly uses synths for an eerie, sinister effect.
Over the top are some voices from a youtube video of a missing person's report, this is to give some sense of the narrative for the audience.
I think this soundtrack is effective for our desired effect, however it is only 50 seconds long and for our opening sequence we would have to extend this.
Obviously there are also many more options we could have used when creating our soundtrack and we haven't attempted our own voiceovers yet.

To upload this, I then put it over our test title's to get some idea of how this would work and added a final picture, which could possibly be part of a promotional poster; however at the top of this picture is a company name, had i noticed earlier, i would of cut this out. Finally I added the title of the film.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Test Titles

Using Final Cut, we played around with some effects we could put on different titles and used the titles we will probably use in our thriller opening. We used fade ins/ outs, as well as Blur effects. Ideally this would be timed to the soundtrack.
Here are our sample titles:


Here is a screen grab of the process of making the above sequence happen.

Picture 1

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

production companies

Many production companies produce thrillers and as our film would be a supernatural thriller we looked into companies that produce films like 'the sixth sense'.

Picture 3

spyglass entertainment produced 'the sixth sense' as well as 'the invisible' these are both supernatural thrillers that match the sub genres of our film. our films main character is a child that has gone missing, her appearance suggests she is a ghost. both 'the sixth sense' and 'the invisible' have a child as a main focus one who communicates with spirits and the other that is in limbo after being killed. this shows that although Spyglass entertainment does not just focus on thrillers as it has also produced comedies and animated films this production company would be perfect to produce our film as many films are thrillers as well as having the sub genre as supernatural.

Picture 5

Picture 4

Target Audience

For our thriller we need to think about who it is suitable to try and appeal to and how we are going to do this.
With the sinister implications of our film and the possibility of showing violence and abuse, this is definitely for an older audience. However as the main character is a college student, it would probably appeal to older students as well. Therefore our target age range would probably be 16 - 30 years old mainly. It would not be considered a feel good family film, but also not one to be watched alone.

There would not be much (if any) explicit graphic violence or scenes of sexual horror and so hopefully would not put off anxious or squeamish viewers. It is the suspense and mystery, along with implications that will hopefully make "Lost and Found" into a successful thriller.
The fact that it is set in locations which the audience would be familiar with everyday; and that the plot for some people is a reality, will stir up a sense of connection with the main character; and so being drawn more into the storyline and caught up in the thriller. Because of this, the people most likely to particularly relate within the film are students, commuters, parents and people who live in big cities.

We aim to appeal to these audiences by using locations well recognised within Cambridge, but that are easily transferable to other big cities; such as the train station, the grand arcade shopping centre, Parkers piece and Long Road Sixth Form. Also the sound we intend to use, voice overs from missing person's bulletin's on "youtube", will hopefully evoke an emotional response within the audience as they may remember certain cases, but it will also then include the emotional appeal which most bulletins include, making it more believable and suitable for the desired audience.  

Classification.

As a group we have decided that the classification of out thriller "lost and found" will be a 15, here are the guidelines for a 15:


Discrimination-The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.

Drugs-Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.

Horror-Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.

Imitable behaviour-Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised

Language-There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest  terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.

Nudity-Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.

Sex-Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely  to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.

Theme-No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.

Violence-Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.

We have decided on a 15 as our target audience is 16-30. There will be violence but it will not show massive amounts of pain or injury. There will be sexual abuse but it will only be implied in the film and not actually shown.

filming Roles

this is a list of jobs available in the film industry. we looked into just a couple of these before deciding what titles we would use on our film.

Picture 2
Eve will be under the title of camera work. Maura will be director as she is also acting and Ruth will be Production sound.
We also watched some thriller opening sequences, for some research into how and what titles appear.




These two opening credits are quite different, yet use appropriate movement and effects to create the right atmosphere. 
Having taken some ideas from this, we could have our titles ghosting in and out as our girl appears and disappears. 

Test Footage

We took some test shots mainly so we could try out the editing technique of ghosting or duplication that we wanted to achieve in our thriller; also to practice the zoom and panning which the character appears in and out of. By editing our shots together we were able to see where we would use the techniques learnt.

However the test shots also allowed us to think about framing and lighting as well. The day we filmed on was very bright, which was not really the effect we wanted. So when it came to editing, we played around with the filters to give a slightly darker, creepier effect. Framing Maura in the centre of the shot was always important to make her the focus, except for the end shot where she is slightly off centre; but this allows us to slightly follow her gaze.
Duplicating the footage disorientated the audience and looked effective, however we were still playing around the amount of times we duplicated, which looked most effective yet allowed us to see clearly what was going on.
Given more time we would also like to add more transitions to make the footage flow better.

We used the sound from our sonic mood board, as we liked the effect his created.

Here is out test footage:


Friday, 11 February 2011

Font Research

As further planning for our thriller, we started thinking about out titles and what sort of font we would want to write these in. We went to "DaFont.com" and looked through the gothic fonts, choosing our favourites.
We then downloaded them to our folder.

Here are a few screen grabs of a few of our favourite fonts:

Picture 15

Picture 10

Picture 11

Picture 3

Friday, 4 February 2011

Evaluating Children's Film

Learning from our previous project, means we will hopefully improve our thriller opening, as we will know what ideas to avoid and what worked well.
In our opening sequence our transitions worked really well in-keeping with the genre and making the editing more interesting. It created a contrast between continuity editing and montage editing, but also was significant in implicating that time had passed.
Also I think our montage sequence worked quite effectively in demonstrating the bullying the main character suffered. The speed of the shots was disorientating for the viewer, yet clear that the protagonist was in danger.
Thirdly our use of props to create our location on the green screen was clear and relevant to the bright and cheerful mise-en-scene. Lego also made the animation process quicker, as we did not have to spend time drawing our characters etc.
I think these 3 aspects, were amongst the strongest qualities of our children's opening sequence.

However for our thriller there are several things we would like to improve upon.
Firstly and probably most importantly, the use of sound. In our children's film, there was no dialogue but a constant non-diagetic soundtrack, which whilst appropriate did not give the audience enough of an idea as to the story line, leaving the narrative unclear. In our thriller, we aim to use an appropriate non-diagetic soundtrack to help create the right atmosphere, but also either record, or import from youtube a voiceover, to act as a news bulletin explaining about the missing person; therefore informing the audience of the narrative.
Also we would like to improve on the continuity/ smoothness of our filming.
With animation this was difficult only using stills, however for the thriller opening we hope to edit together a much smoother piece of film without juddering, especially as we will be digitally filming in HD.
Finally the titles within our children's sequence, whilst informative and again appropriate; they were not very professional in terms of terminology and how they came in. Hopefully the titles we use for the thriller will clearly show who has worked on the project and in what respect. Also when, where and how they come in would be planned more effectively, keeping up with the narrative.
Looking back at the children's opening sequence, it is already clear that we have learnt many more techniques since then, that will help to produce our thriller in a more effective way.    

Call Sheet

As we were missing a key member from our group we did not feel it was fair to organise times and dates without her. Also we did not want to decide her role for her.
This is why on our call sheet some information is followed by a (?), indicating "to be confirmed".
If Maura is not happy with the suggested role, we will reallocate within the group.
However we aim to do most filming during lessons and then book cameras for two overnights.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Sonic Moodboard

To give an idea of the atmosphere for our film, here is our sonic mood board:

why thrillers thrive

  • to see life reflected on the screen
  • the life we dont experience ourselves
  • the same life but with a difference
  • civilization has screened and sheltered us so we dont expereince sufficient thriller firsthand
  • we partiscipate ourselves in the film we dont just spectate like in the theartre
  • we transform into the emotions on the screen and at the moment of impact we shdder as if we were them
  • our security is undemind as our feeling for public serurity are lost
  • the cinemara can give the spectator an subconcious assurance of absolute safety
  • characters win the audiences sympathy this enables a sense of great danger where there isnt any
  • the more excited the better

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Summary of Key Points - Why "Thrillers" Thrive.

In this article it is clear to state that we, the audience, go to the cinema to experience second hand "thrills" whilst still feeling detached and secure; things we are unlikely to experience ourselves, yet cause emotional disturbances.

It is part of our nature, that we need these artificial "shake-ups" (which cinema best provides) in order to avoid growing sluggish, but at the same time still keeps us sheltered, as our civilisation has done from experiencing them firsthand, as this is neither feasible or desirable.
Keeping a clear barrier of the performance between the audience and the story, means it can be impersonal and so we still feel safe.
However in order for thrillers to still be effective, we have to feel some connection to the characters consciousness and so vicariously receive our thrills. Although spectating, we also participate. Our imagination allows us to project ourselves into the experience, with the help of the filming:
  point of view shots;
  everyday themes and issues;
  dramatic irony;
  being able to relate to a character and often being involved in their thought processes.

Whilst this is effective, no harm is done as our subconscious is assured we are absolutely safe and it does not undermine the public's feeling of security; yet it still manages to surprise his imagination into often playing tricks on him.

Another way in which cinema allows us to experience "thrills" is not where we seem to participate, but when a character which has won the audience sympathies is involved in danger or peril. It does this so well as it can create the impression of great danger without there being any actual risks.
This can be done by many special effects, selective editing and filming, the subtext and stunts; yet we are led to believe the camera does not lie.
Audiences thrive on thrills and therefore the cinema and director thrive. It is this cycle which makes thrillers so popular; the more wholehearted, exciting and authentic the better!

However "horror" films are not as successful; purely because they aim to supply the desired emotional jolt, exploit sadism, perversion, bestiality and deformity.
This does not bode well, as the public, generally speaking, is healthy-minded and acknowledges that films of such nature are vicious, dangerous and morally wrong; especially as they intended to attract a neurotic section of the public and abuse their power in creating unnatural excitement.
Although some produces of "horrible" films have recognised this and made attempts to tone it down to make it more socially acceptable, by doing so they are unwillingly admitting its basic fallacy.
As the public does not like being deceived horrors will not thrive.

Sound - Test shots

Whilst trying to decide on sound, we will try out recording our own voices doing news bulletins and alike, then putting several filters or effects to make them more authentic. This would be played as a soundtrack over our footage, to make it clear that the girl who keeps appearing is missing.

However if this does not work as we would like, we will take the audio from several youtube bulletins and then in Garageband cut and split each one. This will hopefully make it more realistic and the different voices will be disorientating whilst making it sound like different news reports.
Cutting the audio will allow us to make sure no actual names are mentioned and the reporters speak more generally of a missing person.
This would also act as a non-diagetic soundtrack over our footage, but this time with more of a montage effect.

Here is one example of a clip we could edit from youtube:

Planning - shots

Here are some practice shots for our filming. However we could only take shots from within the college, as the rest of our filming is done off site. Also in the 2 shots of the girl, she is not holding the umbrella, as she would during the actual footage.
As these are only practice shots, we have not bothered with any make-up or costume yet, these are just so we can see whether or not the location works.







Planning

Here are pictures of our storyboard:



Here are the pictures of our shot list:







Here is the picture of our risk assessment: