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

Here is my preliminary task again;

Looking at my preliminary task, I can see that there was not much structure to it, and the editing was done quickly so it does not properly flow in some areas. However in it we did start with a good establishing shot that allowed us to show the audience the surroundings and set the scene for them. This is something i then tried to input withing my opening sequence as an establishing shot allows the audience to understand the relationship between any characters if there are multiple in the scene, and also what will follow on from the scene. To compare between the first establishing shot of the preliminary task and then a screenshot from my actual finished opening sequence. We can see that both shots allow the audience to see where the scene is set. My preliminary task is set at school and Emily is entering a classroom. Whereas in my opening sequence, we see the setting is a car park with a lift. However this shot is more focused and is slightly more zoomed in and closer to the actor as if the camera is following them. Also you can see that the camera placement is different, as in the preliminary task the camera was just a phone that would of been held chest height, whereas the camera in the opening sequence was held at eye level to almost give a point of view of the filmer. emilyharris unnamed

Another transition that is similar in my preliminary task to my opening sequence, is where the actor in one opens a door with their hand, and then in other the actor presses a lift button with their fingers. This shows in my preliminary task that the actor is going into the classroom and uses the handle to open the door. In my opening sequence, the actor presses the lift button with his fingers, symbolising that he will soon enter the lift. However it is clear to see that in my preliminary task, that the match on action was poorly framed and had nothing added to it to make it look better. emilyharris1 Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 13.15.48   Here is a video commentary of myself taking about weaknesses in my preliminary task that helped me make my opening sequence better;

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Evaluation Question 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?

To answer this question my group and I decided to do an audio commentary explaining all the different things we learnt about technologies during the process of making our media products. These range from:

  • Final cut pro (to edit)

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  • Free websites (like storyboard that)

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  • Nikon D3200 (camera used to film)

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  • Youtube tutorials

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  • Adobe Flash/Photoshop (film ident)

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  • Launch pad/Garage band (sound track)

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Evaluation Question 5: How did you attract/address your audience?

Looking at popular films that have similar elements to our opening sequence e.g. Lock out, Kidulthood etc it was clear that by using swearing and adult themes, teenagers are more interested as there are certain things that they cannot do that they wish they could.

Our target audience are also at the age where things like sex, drugs and violence excite them and so therefore by including things like that in an opening sequence/film, you will get the audiences attention.

By doing a survey, we were able to see what genre was suited to what age group, and which was most popular out of the 30 people we asked.

Here are the questions we asked:

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As our target audience are teenagers we decided only to ask 11-19 year olds as this covers the whole age range. Here are our results:

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After looking at the film classification and the topics/aspects that are associated with the ’15’ age classification, we decided to look at what the 15 year olds and older we interested in, and these were horror, comedy and action. From this we then decided that we would make an action film, as it was abit different to what others in our class were doing and allowed us to incorporate the adult themes of a ’15’ film into it effectively.

Once we finished our opening sequence, we decided to get some feedback from a range of people from friends and teachers both that took and knew about media and those that did not.

Here is a video of the feed back i collected:

The feedback is both positive and negative which gives us good pointers as to what we were successful in our opening sequence and also what needed to be improved, and i can say that my group and i agree with the statements made about how sometimes the footage can get confusing between the chase scene and trying to establish characters.

Evaluation Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product?

Our target audience are older teenagers for the ages of 16-19. As our opening sequence uses ideas of drug abuse and adult themes along with swearing we have decided to give our sequence a film classification of 15. We decided this as when researching into the British Board of Film Classification we learnt that our film would most likely not be suitable from anyone under the age of 15.

From the official BBFC website- http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/15 ;

“What does the 15 symbol mean?”

No-one under 15 is allowed to see a 15 film at the cinema or buy/rent a 15 rated video. 15 rated works are not suitable for children under 15 years of age.

Are there any limits on what sort of theme a work can have at 15?

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

What might I see in a 15 rated film or video?

Any of the following:

  •   strong violence
  •  frequent strong language (e.g. ‘f***’).
  •   portrayals of sexual activity
  •   strong verbal references to sex
  •   sexual nudity
  •   brief scenes of sexual violence or verbal references to sexual violence
  •   discriminatory language or behaviour
  •   drug taking

I believe that this age classification is correct to the genre of our opening sequence, and would follow it throughout the rest of the film should we ever continue it. By using urban mature themes combined with violence, we have envisaged that the target audience that would watch our opening sequence would look like any average teenager above the age of 15.

Why would they watch our opening sequence and want to watch on?

We devised our opening sequence around the adult themes of drug taking and violence, which are things that happen in the world around us, and that sometimes is what is associated to the misunderstood youths of today, and this is done by using George as an icon to represent that. Therefore by enticing them with action and fast paced footage they are going to want to see more. Do the bag guys catch up with him? Is he actually doing drugs? Is he on his own?… are all questions people will ask themselves after watching our opening sequence.

Also the grunge music that is used in our opening sequence will appeal to my groups generation is that is what tends to come out at the moment in the charts and what you hear being played at parties etc.

Evaluation Question 3: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

When it comes to real media products, there are important steps taken to make a film get the numbers in the box office and this is all down to ‘Film Distribution’. Depending on the sort of film and who make it on what scale will determine what independent distribution company will be willing to buy the film and distribute it.

As my group has made an independent low budget film, that is far less extravagant then a hollywood film, there are only a few media institutions that distribute independent films. A few of these are Film 4, Vertigo Films and DNA Films. Media Distribution is a process that allows a film to be distributed and this is done through a distributing.

Here is a slideshare i made all about film distribution in the UK;

In our opening sequence, my group and I decided to make our own ident with its own logo to go with it, and this would be for our own distribution company that would essentially distribute our film for us. Coming up with a name for the ident was not too hard, as we wanted to keep it simple and short, so by putting the first letters of the boys names together in age order we got ‘VGI’ we then just added ‘Media’ on the end to make it sound legitimate.

Making the ident was a little more difficult as we could not decide on how to do it whether to draw it, or just make a gif. At first we made an ident on Adobe After Effects CS6 with lots of vibrant colours hat swirled around and then just the words in black writing . However after we changed our whole idea last minute we also decided to change the ident to something more simple yet effective.

We looked all the different well known distribution companies for inspiration;

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giphydream giphyfox

We then all decided to make gif that is short with our ‘VGI Media’ in it. We make it on adobe flash with a free template then went on a free gif making website and then we exported it as a file to be added into our opening sequence.

Evaluation Question 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our opening sequence will feature five boys aged 17-19 that will play different roles of boys from different social groups. In the sequence The main character George plays a drug dealer/taker that is about 18. This is done through certain clothes that are high street fashion etc, as that is what teens tend to wear. The three coloured boys in the chase are around the same age as George however they are in a different social group so in order to make that clear they are wearing more casual clothes like track-suits and hats to make them more dangerous looking. By making all of our actors wear separate clothing their characteristics are not in any way similar allowing them to be seen as different social groups.

Here is George, he plays the main character. We used him as the main character, as he has quite a young face for his age and that is what we want in order for the audience to understand that he is 18, taking illegal drugs and wanted by some dangerous people.

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We did not put make up on him as this would not look natural, however we made him wear clothes that are stereotypical to his age and his social class (middle). In the opening sequence it becomes clear that George is the protagonist and wants to be out of harms way. We targeted our audience by using George as the protagonist to reflect the audience and make them believe in adult situations and that sometimes, people are still young before they get dragged into trouble.

Here is Isaac, he plays the man watching the CCTV. We used him for this character, as he is a tall older more mature looking teenager that when dressed appropriately looks older then he actually is.

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We also added no cosmetics to his face, however we set the scene by making him wear business attire and this allowed him to seem of high importance and of a higher social class compared to the other characters in the media product. Once we see that Isaac is watching George on CCTV, we start to wonder if he is after him, allowing the audience to see him as the antagonist in the piece. We targeted our audience through the office space and adult themes that drugs are real, and if they were to do it they could find themselves in this situation.

I do not have any pictures of our extras in our media, however we picked them specifically for our piece to set a stereotype that people tend to have about ethnic minorities being the ones to be involved in crime and violence. By having them chase George, and seem to be talking on the phone to Isaac, it allows the audience to think that the extras are of lower social class as they run around doing someone else’s dirty work. We targeted our audience through these actors to reflect on the multi-cultural world we live in.

Evaluation Question 1: In what ways does your media production,use,develop or challenge form and conventions of real media products?

For our opening sequence we spent a great amount of time(probably more than we should of) planing and making sure our visual style is right. This is because a key part of a film is the visual style, and before anything can be filmed it is essential that the setting, characters, costume, genre and narrative are right as that is what makes a good film. All good directors have their own individual style and after doing so research I found an article written about 7 modern directors that have distinctive visual style, this means that it is important; http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/7-modern-directors-and-their-distinctive-visual-styles.html/?a=viewall

Every film in the history of films has a setting. It can be anywhere from a school to a chocolate factory, but obviously the setting will change to be appropriate to the genre.For our setting, we used the facilities around us and as the genre of our film is urban/indie, what a better place to film then the streets of Peterborough to set the scene. As our film is set in the modern day, we have made sure that our setting allows the audience to understand that and by showing things like the lift and CCTV shows technology which is also an indicator.

Real media products have a title sequence, but depending on the producers of film, means the titles will always look different. The titles are there to inform the audience of the important people of the film, for example; whom the film stars, the director, the make-up artists etc. There are several different ways to present titles withing a film and here are three different examples;

The film ‘The Breakfast Club(1985)’ has a title sequence that is completely separate to the film:

The film ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(2011)’ has a title sequence with its own short film which is related to the film but separate:

The film ‘Toy Story(1995)’ has the titles over the footage of the actual film:

For our Media product, my group and I decided it was best if we incorporate the titles into our footage by adding in the titles to show throughout they opening sequence just like in the ‘Toy Story’ title sequence.

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In order to show that our media product uses conventions of real media products, I have found come comparison shots to show similarities to popular films.

Here is a shot from ‘Captain America’ to compare with a shot from our opening sequence. In these specific shots, both the main characters are running away from the antagonist. In both shots, you see a lot of the setting and also in the background the reason they are running away.

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Here is a shot from ‘The Hunger Games’ to compare with a shot from our opening sequence. In these specific shots, both the characters are watching over the protagonist, showing that they are superior. In both shots, you see the victim they are watching over, and only the back of the character to show a point of view.

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The narrative of our film is about an 18 year old boy caught up on drugs, that eventually ends up with him getting into trouble. The sorts of films that also use a narrative like this are ones like ‘Kidulthood’,’Get Rich or Die Tryin’,’City of God’ and ‘Juice’. Our characters represent youngsters that are on the drugs scene, that could potentially be part of gangs and violence. When putting young adults in real life scary situations, the audience will feel compelled to not want to get into that sort of trouble, and as our target audience are around the same age as the main character, hopefully it will give them a feeling that keeps them away from giving into peer pressure etc.

Audience Feedback

Here is a video of feedback i have collected from some audience members that have watched our opening sequence. Some of the people are media students and some are not so there is a range of opinions from people with media studies knowledge and with just a love for films.

Adding Titles

We have been using plain titles on final cut pro to just put over the top of our opening sequence footage to combine the titles with the opening sequence.

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We positioned them on the walls and on the lifts to make them look asif they should be there, almost like graffiti or writing on the wall.

Then we had to decided on the final title for our opening sequence to show the name of our opening sequence ‘BLACKOUT’. We flicked through the different titles available on final cut pro when we came across the ‘KnockOut’ filter and it fit perfectly with our theme.

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Rough Cut of the final ‘BLACKOUT’ opening sequence

Here is a rough cut of our final piece;

The reason this piece of film is the rough cut, is because it does not have any backing music to set the scene, or any voice overs in the places appropriate. It also needs one final shot added onto the end of George running into the camera to set our cliff hanger. Once we have done this, all that is left to do is ad the titles and we will be well and truly finished and i could not be happier 🙂

 

Genre Change

Due to the discarding of the interrogation scene we have decided that a ‘psychological thriller’ does not really go with the urban setting and characters, so we have made our genre ‘action’ to fit in with the violence themes of our opening sequence idea and what we have filmed so far. The action genre usually follows a protagonist fighting their corner with a antagonist or in our opening sequence case, a group of antagonists.

Changes due to Feedback

After getting feedback from our teachers and fellow pupils,, we have decided that we should not include the interrogation scene in our opening sequence ‘BLACKOUT’ as it is not a scene we feel we need in the sequence to make it the best it can be.

The idea for the interrogation scene did not make sense when in the opening sequence whilst we were editing, as throughout the sequence George is the main character and we are not introduced to Viv at any point. Therefore by having him being interrogated in the opening sequence the whole story line narrative to to the film is confused.

We have decided as a unity to finish ‘BLACKOUT’ as a cliff hanger with George running into the camera which is followed by a blackout. This will leave the audience in suspense and intrigued as to what will happen next…

 

Music/Backing Track

For our opening sequence, we wanted to make a backing track that was original and unique to us as a group rather than just using a sound track that has already been heard, released or has a copyright to it.

We went about this several ways…

The first was researching into free music downloading sites that had sound effects, and sound tracks of all different kinds that ranged depending on how you refined your search. However this method came to a dead end when the websites we were using would not actually let you save the sound track.

We then went on to discover an app that George had on his iPad called ‘Launch Pad’. This app had different types of beats and tunes that you just tapped to make it start to com together. This was a really fun and easy way to make music, and you could also record what you made within the app rather than having to do it separately.

Here is the lay out of ‘Launch Pad’ with all the different sounds;

launch pad

Even though this app made making music easy, it still was not quite right for us and what we were looking for when it came to making the perfect sound track for ‘Blackout’.

So being the clever media students that we are, we used our brains and decided to use the free resources we were given at school and use the Macs which had ‘Garage Band’ installed on them. We then decided that would listen to a few sounds and see what they looked like together, and then Viv would put the final thing together as he also has ‘Garage Band’ on his mac at home so that way it could be finished in a day.

Here is a video of our final music sound track;

New Film Ident

My group and I decided that we should update our Ident. This is due to it coming out as an image when we try to export it and add it into our opening sequence.

So for the new film Ident we decided to make it as a gif on Adobe Flash CS6. We chose a simple design with the ‘VGI Media’ logo in the middle that fades in. The Ident is only 3 seconds long, but less is more and it looks professional.

Here is is;

I personally like our new film Ident as it is simple and does not have lots going on in it, allowing the audience to see clearly who the distributors of the film are.

 

Tripod Improvisation

We still had a few things to film,and on the day that we decided to film, unfortunately there were no tripods available for us to use from the media department, so while in the office, someone came up with the great idea of using a wheelie chair.

Just like this one;

office chair

By Viv sitting on the wheelie chair and then placing the camera flat on the desk, we were able to create a panning shot that stayed at one level all without a tripod.

Issues

Filming in front of a window or lift is hard, as you can see the filmers shadows and reflections. When filming George walking into the lift, it is hard to disguise the movements of the camera man.

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Here you can see the reflection of Viv in the lift, which even when blurred and edited is still visible. So we have decided we will put a title on there to distract the audience and attempt to hide it.

Editing Update

Due to us being very busy and using all our lesson time to edit together our opening sequence, we have been slacking on the blogging front. So as an update i can inform that we have filmed most of the clips for the opening sequence, and with the ones we do have we have edited together. We have also been watching tutorials on how to do motion tracking and then incorporating them into our piece in final cut pro.

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These videos were really helpful and helped us learn how to position our titles effectively in our media opening sequence.

Filters and editing

As some of the footage was filmed during the day, the scenes are quite light so we added a filter to the whole of the opening sequence footage and then colour matched them to make them look the same.

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The filter we used was called ‘Luma Keyer’ and it looks really effective.

We also added an effect to the scene when george is in the lift to make it look like he had been taking drugs and that they had kicked in making him ‘trip out’.

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This is called distort and the type of distortion used was called ‘FourCorner’.

I like the way that the effect moves with the camera, making it look like George is looking around and his vision is blurred.

Start of Editing

We have filmed most of our shots now, so we decided we would not waste time and started editing together what we have so far. The shot below shows us adding in transitions in order to help our opening sequence flow.

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This shot was not done at first, but when we pieced together the what we had, we realized that they did not flow properly, so we had to go back to our location with a list of different transitions and shots that we knew would fit in certain places.

 Our next problem was colour matching. Some of our rushes were darker than others, so we had to use the colour match function on final cut pro on this specific shot.

colour match

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Using this tool enabled us to have a flowing piece of work that looks like it is filmed all at the same time in the same lighting. This helped to learn that we can have a little more lenience when it comes to filming, and not everything has to be perfect as we can use the resources we have to improve our work.

Interrogation Scene

This is the scene of our opening sequence that is based on the interrogation scene of the opening sequence in the film ‘Lockout’. We love this film as it sort of follows our story line, and if we had the time, money and equipment, we would make a whole film just like it.

To start with, we had to get a few props in order to have any sort of realism within the scene. Before leaving school to go to queensgate carpark, we gathered multiple items from the site team (THANK YOU SITE TEAM)

Our first and second items were some parcel tape and a piece of pipe, these were used to put over Viv’s mouth to be used as a weapon.

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The third item we got was a massive plank of wood to also be used as a weapon to hit Viv with to cause less damage to his body then the pipe. (Nicely modeled by Isaac there)

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The fourth and also the biggest item we borrowed from the site team was an old red chair which was used by Isaac to tie Viv to it, just like the scene from Lockout. I also brought with me from home a piece of rope which was used to tie Vivs hands together behind the chair. (George actually doing something productive)

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The last prop we borrowed is the tripod from the media department in order to get some good smooth shots without having lots of movement from where we do not have steady hands etc.

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 We then started filming with Isaac and Viv as the actors and myself and George as the camera crew. We devised what shots we would do before we filmed a section to make sure we got everything done for this scene and saved the battery on the camera.

In order to capture the impact of the wood hitting Viv, we broke pieces of the wood off, and then stuck them back on with the parcel tape so that when it hit Viv, pieces would fly off to make it look as though it was done with a lot of force.

What went well;

  • We managed to get all the shots we needed effectively in a short amount of time
  • We made the shots look realistic
  • Working as a team to get it done

What could of been improved;

  • The time of day we did it as the background is light. (however this can be changed during the editing process)
  • Put up a sign to make sure that people understand we are filming for our media coursework, as someone reported us to the police for keeping someone tied up and then we had a visit paid to us by the police…

Risk Assessment for the Interrogation Scene

Hazard Who may be affected How to prevent Risk Assessment
·         Breaking the Wood ·         Passing members of the public

·         Actors and camera crew

·         Breaking the wood away from anyone’s eyes and faces

·         Picking up the remaining pieces of wood to make sure no one stands on them etc.

·         Medium
·         Using the steel pipe ·         Members of the public

·         Actors and camera crew

·         Making sure the pipe does not get into the wrong hands by hiding the pipe in a bag when not being used for filming. ·         High
·         Weather conditions ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Making sure that we all have appropriate clothing on for the weather that day. ·         Medium
·         Vehicles ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Be aware of our surroundings.

·         Move out of the way of any incoming vehicles.

·         High

Filming Equipment

Nikon D3200 Camera

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To film our opening sequence we are using this amazing piece of technology which has Expeed 3 processing engine, 24.2 million pixel sensor and Full HD Video for all your film making needs. This camera is light weight and easy to use by even myself that is alien to any sort of expensive technology. The Nikon D3200 allows you to take high quality images and videos with its high resolution.

SLR Camera Tripod

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In order to film some of the shots in our opening sequence, we used an SLR Camera Tripod. This allowed us to get shots with a still camera in order to show a differentiation between the running scenes and how they are fast paced and shakey compared to the scenes of George in the lift.

Start of filming

So after practicing filming some ideas at school, and completing a risk assessment we were finally ready to start filming. Our first location was the Multi-story car park in peterborough where our extra’s were waiting and ready to film.

The first scene we filmed was George coming from the top floor, walking down the stairs, and then calling the lift. Here is that shot;

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Risk Assessment for the start of filming

Hazard Who may be affected How to prevent Risk Assessment
·         Getting hurt by either falling down the stairs or tripping up the stairs ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Make sure to place feet fully on each step and to use the hand rail provided. ·         High
·         Getting stuck in the lift ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Making sure that no one goes in the lift on their own.

·         Everyone has a mobile phone on them so they can call for help should it happen.

·         Medium
·         Weather conditions ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Making sure that we all have appropriate clothing on for the weather that day. ·         Medium
·         Vehicles ·         Actors and camera crew ·         Be aware of our surroundings.

·         Move out of the way of any incoming vehicles.

·         High
·         Falling or hurting yourself while climbing in the car park ·         Actors ·         Be aware that the construction is stable before getting on it.

·         Footwear with grips.

·         High

Rushes tryout

In lesson, we have been working on some ideas and put them to the camera to test whether our ideas would work and be successful.

To start with, we worked on the idea of the punch that would be used to introduce the titles in the opening sequence. This was done on my iphone 6 and we used the slow motion effect to capture the impact of the hit.

here it is;

This sequence was edited together through final cut pro on the mac books at school. As a group we chose the videos we wanted to be in the rush sequence and then used different effects to set the scene and make it believable.

What went well;

  • we were able to do a shot that showed the surroundings which is what we are wanting to do to show viv kidnapped
  • slow motion shots that would work with the titles coming just like the opening sequence of ‘LockOut’
  • work as a team to put the rushes we filmed together in a creative way

To improve;

  • use a better camera
  • take the sound out and add it in post production
  • use more techniques e.g. 180 degree rule or match on action

Final Idea-BLACKOUT

As I am now working in a group, we have decided on our final idea.
It is a psyco-thriller with Viv playing the main character.

Our opening sequence is based on the opening sequence of ‘Lockout’ a film released in 2012, directed by James Mather and Stephen Saint Leger.

Here it is;

We were inspired by this opening sequence, as the interrogation if perfect for our idea of a abduction, and the way in which the titles are embedded into every punch to the face is a clever way to add them in discretely.

A break down of our story line;

Scene 1:

  • George has come from meeting Viv on the top floor of the queensgate car park for his drugs
  • He gets in the lift,his eyes blurry because he is tripping
  • He is seen on the lift CCTV
  • Exits the lift

Scene 2:

  • George goes to exit the car park
  • Three Black characters find him,one is on the phone
  • “He’s here”…Who is he on the phone to?
  • Meanwhile we see Isaac in the office on his computer
  • We see the surroundings
  • He is watching CCTV footage of George
  • George turns and runs
  • They chase after him up several flights of stairs
  • One manages to catch up with him in the actual car park area

Scene 3:

  • Back to chasing
  • Van pulls up and Isaac gets out
  • He beats one of the boys and pulls out a gun on the rest
  • They flee in fear
  • George is put in the van

Scene 4:

  • Interrogation of Viv

Here is a storyboard to break down some of the scenes for our opening sequence, we used a 3×3 grid to make the story board, and we did this for free on www.storyboardthat.com. This website allows you to use little people figures and back grounds to create your story. However as it was a free site, you could only do so much without paying, so as we needed more boxes (which we were not allowed) we had to create 3×3 board and then a 3×1 board,to then just continue them one after the other.Here they are;

SLOW-MO

So today in our media lesson, we were allowed to go out and start practicing filming some shots and testing out different angles and affects to then use in our final piece.

On my iPhone 6, we shot several different takes of sequences in slow motion. The videos were punches to the face and to show the impact we made some of them close ups to focus on the hand reaching the face, then the face rippling to show the force and hardness of the punch.

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We also tried some high angle shots where we recorded a practice for one of our scenes in our opening sequence. By standing on a table,we were able to see clearly that the victim was tied to a chair and blind folded.

The high angle allows us to capture the full body and some of the surroundings to help the audience determine what sort of situation the victim is in. Also the high angle shot represents that the villeins are higher in power than the victim,showing the audience how helpless the victim truly is.

Foley Sound

This is a technique used by most directors and movie producers all around the world to make the sound of the film 100% better.

I was first introduced to foley sound by dexter fletcher at a film seminar held to help us students that are looking to create a good opening sequence, an edge and skill over others. He explained that it is added in sound to a sequence that microphones do not always pick up on when filming. This can mean the difference between a clear sound affect of a pin dropping to make the video more realistic.

Here is a foley artist called Caoimhe Doyle that was nominated for an Emmy award for her work, demonstrating how she makes the sound affects and how important they actually are to a film ;

I find this video so helpful explaining what foley is, and actually understand how much it is used in films…from lips kissings, to the sound of a bone breaking.

Christmas Inspiration

Over these past two weeks, i have probably watched every Christmas film that you would associate with Christmas…along with several others that i feel have truly inspired me to really get creative with this opening sequence!

I have been thinking, and in my opening sequence, i definitely want to include foley sound, slow motion affects, and maybe even a green screen, to be honest the possibilities are endless.

Camera Shots

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Long Shot-This shot shows a figure from head to toe in order to show the details in a scene that you do not want to be missed. This shot allows the background to be shown and it usually follows an extreme long shot.

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Mid Shot- This shot is used to show the upper part of the persons body, usually from the hips upwards. It is important that this shot shows the persons arms are in the shot to help show what the person in the shot is doing. This shot allows the facial expressions of the person to be seen without it being a close-up.

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Bird’s-eye view/High Angle Shot- This shot is taken above the figure from a distance, this allows the audience to feel as though they are looking down on the character in a shot. As the picture is not taken directly above the figure, it could also be a high angle shot, this is to add a more natural feel to the shot, to make it look like a character is just looking down on something.

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Low Angle Shot-This shot is used to make the figure in the shot look taller and bigger then they truly are. This allows the character to seem in control and over powering. It is the opposite to a high angle shot, to make the audience feel as though they are looking up at the character.

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Close-Up- This shot is used to limit the frame of the shot to a certain view, usually a characters face. The background is unfocused and looks blurred so your attention is drawn to the shot. This shot allows facial expressions to be empathized.

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Extreme Close-Up- This shot is used to focus on details that are not usually seen from an average distance. The background of the shot is not seen so that attention is focused plainly on the thing that is zoomed in.

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Over the Shoulder Shot- This shot is done behind a character who is looking at another character. This shot allows the audience to feel as though they are looking at something through someone else’s eyes/point of view. This usually occurs during a conversation, to alternate between the characters to help follow the conversation.

Model Release Form

Even though the main character in our opening sequence is George, we still had to get him to sign a model release form, as well as getting our three extra characters to sign to make sure that they were aware that they were going to be filmed, and then this was going to be uploaded to Youtube as well as our blogs for our teachers, fellow pupils and most importantly the examiner.

Here are the signed forms from our extras Baba,Blake,Alex and Isaac;

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IMG_2335 IMG_2354[1]

And here is the model release form for our Main Actor George;

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Film Ident

A Film Ident is a short clip of moving images or video sequence used before films to identify who the film distributor is. However the Ident is not strictly for films, it is also used on every television channel to identify which one you are watching throughout the duration of the ad breaks etc.

After doing some research and watching a some what significant amount of idents, i picked my favorite which is the classic ‘PIXAR’ ident that brings me back to my childhood when watching monsters inc.

I love this ident, as it is not minutes long, it does not have some over dramatic music playing in the back ground like you do with the ‘Lionsgate’ ident, it is just simple and entertaining!

After a lot of thought, and searching the internet, i came across multiple websites that allow you to make your own logo, which you could then potentially turn into an ident. The best one i came across without all the annoying adverts was a website named ‘Graphic Springs’ that allows you to pick from thousands of different templates in various categories t create your logo.

I picked the ‘Entertainment & The Arts’ section as it as the only category that seemed relevant to what i was looking for. Here are some of the things it offers;

graphicsprings

I trialed a few of them, but nothing struck me and made me want it as an ident,however i had another issue on my hands…WHAT WAS I GOING TO CALL MY FILM IDENT?

Still after writing down various different ident name ideas, I still was not taking to any of them so I decided to do what any teenage girl would do…I asked my Mum, as there is no other person who’s opinion matters more(unless its stupid of course) and she instantly just came out with ‘Eye Dent Pictures’ which i thought was fantastic, and as we spoke about it more, we said that I should draw an eye, with a dent kind of like a sparkle, and then, to add something to like it back to me, to eye’s colour should be blue.

As i am now in a group, the final Ident our group are going to use is ‘VGI media’. The background is dark with a fire effect running through it to reflect on our theme of our opening sequence which is a psychological-thriller, that is quite a dark style genre. The Ident was created Adobe After Effects CS6, and ‘VGI’ stands for Viv, George and Isaac, and even through i am a new edition to the group we are going to leave it as we think it is quite catchy and snappy.

ident

Film Distribution in the UK

In lesson, we learnt all about film distribution and what it involves. We were shown a flow chart to outline the process of film distribution and what it involves.

Here is one just like what we have been shown in lesson;

flow-chart

A Distributor plays a very important part of the film making process, as it handles the release of a film, and then markets it, making it available for viewing by an audience at home through DVD and Video format, or at the cinema etc. It also involves putting the film out in media to market the film even more and build up publicity about it, making the film known to promote the film so target audiences get excited to see the film upon its release date.

My Ideas

Idea 1;

Setting; An old Tudor mansion called ‘Burghley House’ in Stamford, however i will not be filming inside the house, its more the grounds and the outside of the house itself that i am more interested in. It is a beautiful house, with lots of detail, with well looked after surroundings, however when the grounds are empty, and the daylight starts to fade, a certain terror starts to set in, and the house looks eerie and as though it holds a thousand and more ghostly stories.

Burghouse_overview_house

Story Line; The house was originally built by the Tudors but many years later, a very rich man named ‘Dr Alfred Willard’ took it over. He claimed to treat people of things that in the early 1900s were seen as morally wrong to the public eye. For example, homosexuality. He would have them pay money to see him and ‘stay’ in the house to get better, however they were then treated as patients in an asylum(which is technically what it is). The patients are only allowed to bring with them a single suitcase of luggage, with their most sacred belongings, however they are never actually allowed them, and only recently when the house was bought by ‘Mrs Burghley’ were the suitcases discovered.

The film will pretend that Burghley house is abandoned, and it is referred to as ‘The Willard Asylum’ that is only visited for ghost tours and children looking for a scare on Halloween, as it was rumored that if in the pitch black, you look through a window, you can see certain treatments being performed on patients in the Asylum and how much they suffered.

Characters; (are still yet to be decided)I will ask a few members of the drama club, or those that take a level drama to film a few short clips in the auditorium, with a flashing light to resemble the flashes of electricity being emitted when someone gets treated by electroshock therapy.

Props;

  • I will need cardboard to make the electroshock therapy probes.
  • Make up to make the characters look ghost like,old and fragile.
  • Clothing, like robes that are meant to be white but are not, and instead are dirty and unsanitary.
  • Good outside spotting lamps or lights to allow my camera to actually capture some good shots rather than some dark fuzzy sequence.

Research;

  • There is actually a famous asylum in New York, called ‘The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane’ and was open from the 1800s to 1995.
  • As i learnt all about the Asylum in GCSE Drama, i decided i would apply what i knew about the asylum and the story of the suitcase project, to this idea to create the background of it.

Idea 2;

Setting; At night in a forest or wood in either Stamford or my local area. I could use a public walk way near to my house that actually has lots of greenery, which would be prefect for the fighting scene.

Story Line; The passage way that leads to a darkened field, is very secluded due to the activities going on. There is a slave club that goes on in the field, where normal people off the street are captured to be slaves,that are then bid on by rich people to chose which ones they want to fight until the death. Once they are captured,they are stripped of their clothes and put in gym clothes, as they get the bids if they have a good body, and that can been seen through this,then  they are chained up outside were they can see their opponents that they will be fighting. They are kept strong by the food they are given, however this club is all about survival.

Characters; Once again i will ask either my friends or members of the drama club to be in this, however i will focus on one specific character to try and show their journey and how they survive.

  • Props;
  • Chains or rope to tie the actors up with
  • gym clothes as that is what they fight in
  • fake money
  • an attachable microphone
  • lighting

What do you think makes a good film?

I decided to ask the people around me what to them made a good film in order for myself to come up with ideas and eventually an opening sequence that satisfies those needs.

I made a short video of the responses i was given;

From this i can see that people care a lot about how the film makes them feel and whether or not they can relate to the story line or not.

This has been a great way for me to see what sort of things i should take into consideration when thinking about ideas for my opening sequence.

BFI media conference

Okay so, yesterday (12/11/2014) my fellow media students and i visited London to attend a media seminar at the BFI to give us an in site on how to make our media course work better and what sort of things we should include on our blogs, and in our final opening sequence piece.

After lunch, and after all the excitement as i spotted Pixie Lott grabbing a coffee in Starbucks, we were introduced to our guest star of the conference, who was indeed Dexter Fletcher.

 

Dexter Fletcher was born January 31st 1966, in North London where he started his career as an actor, and now has been in multiple films and TV shows including the amazing Bugsy Malone, Stardust, Kick-Ass, Hotel Babylon,Misfits and the most well known, Press Gang. Here is Dexter in one of his first films, the classic Bugsy Malone;

I think Dexter Being there, and explaining to us how he got to where he is today was really interesting,and engaging. However, he told us about how he directs films and that his first film ‘Wild Bill’ was a low budget film that was inspired by western films as you can see by the titles here;

wild bill

The film ‘Wild Bill’ was a narrative by Fletcher based on his personal life, and how he was thrown into adulthood from an early age because he was a child actor that had a lot of responsibilities. Fletcher told us what skills you need to learn in order to create a successful film with virtually no money. The first point he made to us was “THE ACTOR”. It has become clear, that without a known actor in a film, the less companies tat will fund you, and then the lower ratings you receive at the box office. The established actor in ‘Wild Bill’ was Will Poulter whom started his career in ‘Son of Rambow’.

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We also got to see a clip from another of Dexter’s films which was ‘Sunshine on Leith(2013)’ which is based on stage show by the same name. The film is sort of like a comical musical with added drama as it is about two soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Dexter told us that he liked the contrast between the two genres of the films and that in order to make a good film you have to communicate with the audience. In this film he did this through the singing, as the characters actually sang in ‘Sunshine on Leith’ before they even spoke.

Overall the BFI conference was an amazing experience..not because we had a day out in London, but because we got a chance as pupil to learn what we needed to do to wow our examiners and reach our full potential as media students.

Camera and Editing

To film my opening sequence, i will be using my own camera which is a Nikon Coolpix S8000, and looks like this;

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I love this camera, as the zoom and image quality is fantastic beings as it is such a small camera and does not have a massive lens. The flash works very well and over all i am happy to be using it. However the microphone is small and sometimes i accidentally cover it with my fingers when filming, so when filming the opening sequence, i will use a microphone that my school has, that is on a rod that will capture dialogue and sound effects more clearly.

To edit certain scenes if not all my opening sequence, i will use the Apple Macs at my school that have Final Cut Pro on them and i find that it is a really easy software to use, that is effective at the same time.

 

In the mean time, on my laptop at home, i downloaded a movie editing software called ‘Movavi Video Editing’ that was a free but only gave you a seven day trial. However i do not rate it highly as it makes your computer very slow, has a very complicated layout, and only allows you to do a certain amount on it without adverts popping up. Also, when you save something you have edited, the final piece has a water mark of the software, so i could not use it to edit my opening sequence as the water mark would ruin it.

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Art of the Title

The website ‘Art of the Title’ allows you to watch just videos of title sequences of films. This is a great way to learn about the different films and television shows of different genre’s from romance to action as it allows you to filter your search’s. It also allows you to research into different film makers,designers and studios and their work for example, Kyle Copper of whom is a major film maker and one to watch.

After spending hours watching various different title sequences, i found the title sequence of one my favorite films ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

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Title Sequences

title sequence is at the start of a film or television programme, that tells the viewers/audience who the characters and people playing them are, who produced the sequence, and help to set the scene for the audience, as if the genre of the film/TV programme is horror, you are not going to have the title sequence full of pretty butterflies in a meadow full of flowers and jolly upbeat music, as the audience will get confused as to what they are watching. According to the source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_sequence a title sequence is “A title sequence is the method by which films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound. It usually follows but should not be confused with the opening credits, which are generally nothing more than a series of superimposed text.” With regards to title sequences, I could talk about so many as everything I have ever watched includes a title sequence, but I have picked a handful of my favorites to talk about.

American Horror Story(AHS) Series;

I picked the AHS stories, because I have been a fan of the show for a long time, and even though I have watched each series about three times, each title sequence just draws me in and makes me remember why I love it so much. Each title sequence varies every new series as the series story line changes and some new characters are added. The distinctive theme song is called ‘Score’ by James L Levine and is truly spine chilling when mixed with the creepy images of the title sequence. Here is my favorite series title sequence, series 3 ‘Coven’

Creepy right?…the title sequences are always so powerful as they give you an in site as to what all of the series is about due to the images it has in it, however it does not have the actual main characters in it which i think makes it really distinctive, that and its quirkiness due to the creative director being Kyle Cooper.

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Kyle Cooper is responsible for many brilliantly weird and wonderful title sequences from American Horror Story and the Walking Dead, to the incredible Se7en, and after watching the title sequence of Se7en, i watched the first part to a two part interview on title design with Kyle Cooper and it gives you all the details as to how he constructed some of his best title sequences, the process it goes through, the things he loved about them and the things he hated about them. Here it is;

Se7en

This title sequence is very similar to those of Kyle Cooper, as he sticks to what he knows and uses certain aspects of other title sequences to set the scene.

The titles are not directly added into the film, and so the titles sequence is different to the actual film and the titles have their own sort of short film that links into the film as we can establish from the title sequence that the film is about a serial killer which is what Cooper wanted.

Preliminary Task

We were asked to film a preliminary task to give us a feel for filming out opening sequence. The task had to abide by the 180 degree rule, match on action and include an over the shoulder shot in order to be successful. Here’s what they mean:

The 180 Degree Rule;

According to the source “http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/filmglossary/web/terms/180-degree_rule.html” the 180 degree rule is where the keeps on one side of the action through filming/shooting and editing. The camera has to stay on one side of the action, almost like there is an imaginary line of 180 degrees that the camera is not allowed to pass. This orientates the audience allowing them to view each character all the time. It also makes the sequence a lot clearer as the character stays on one side of the action at any given time, so the audience cannot get confused as to where the camera is. The rule also makes it easier for the director as the sequence can be edited as the filming is smooth.

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Match on Action;

This source is from “http://www.slideshare.net/joe940/match-on-action-180-rule-shot-reverse-shot”

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Over the Shoulder Shot;

According to the source “http://www.mediacollege.com/video/shots/over-shoulder.html” an over the shoulder shot is where the frame of the shot is behind the character who is interacting with someone else, and you can usually see one third of the characters back. This helps the audience to see the positioning of each character and can see the point of view of the character with their back to the camera. This allows the director to edit cuts during the conversation to switch the positioning of the characters in the sequence.

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Here is our Preliminary Task;

Evaluation and Feedback;

Our preliminary task was to just film someone walking into a room and exchanging dialogue with someone else using the various techniques i listed above. The task is very basic, set at school in a classroom with no back ground music or any other sound apart from the content in the task. We filmed the task on an iphone 5C, which goes to show as the picture is clear, however the dialogue is not exactly as loud as it could have been had we used another microphone device or even recorded the dialogue first then edited it into the piece later on. The task was edited on an Apple Mac using Final Cut Pro. I think we managed to used all of the techniques needed to make this a preliminary task, however they could have been shown more clearly had the piece been longer.

Opening Sequences

To start with, we were asked to watch several opening sequences of our choice to help us get a feel for what they are all about and to inspire us for when it was our turn to “get creative”.

Natural Born Killers;

  • The first opening sequence I studied was the film ‘Natural Born Killers’ written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone. In the sequence, we are introduced to a remote country diner set in what looks like a desert. The film is set in America, we can tell this by the accents of the characters, the background music, jukebox in the diner and the diner itself. Also to me the ‘key lime pie’ is something I would associate as American.

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  • In the shot, we see our two main characters Mickey and Mallory Knox in the diner with the stereotypical waitress Mabel (costume slightly revealing, seems dumb). We see that everything is going fine until the Rednecks turn up.
  • As Mallory is portrayed as a young free spirit that grabs the male attention, one of the Rednecks take a shining to her. A minute later and a whole lot of inappropriate dancing to awful music, the scene starts to get interesting.
  • We are introduced to some unexpected violence as Mallory starts beating her admirer. Due to the sexist comment coming from the other Redneck, referring to Mallory as “PUSSY”, it becomes obvious that Mickey and Mallory are an item, and that they terrorize people together.
  • In total, five characters are killed in the opening sequence, with one remaining that the Knox’s left to tell the world who committed such an awful crime, that they considered to be a buzz.

This film is classed as a ‘super genre film’,as throughout, there are a mixture of genres explored, which are;

  • Crime action-the violence/fighting
  • Romance-Mickey and Mallory show us their undying love for each other
  • Thriller-the Knox’s killing spree
  • Dark comedy-the fact that the Knox’s find it funny killing people

Mise en scene, is used to set the scene and characters for the audience(the audience for this film are 18+).

  • The cleavage on the waitress is showing from her tight top, and later on in the scene, her skirt becomes visible to the audience, and we see that it only just covers her bottom. This is done to attract attention from men that come into the diner and make her more of a seductive character.

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  • Mallory’s choice of costume is very revealing, even though she has full length trousers on, they sit low on her hips to insinuate she is sexual. Her long hair to me is perceived almost in a ‘hippie’ style, meaning peace and free will, but we soon see she’s not so much about the peace.  She also wears a bikini top/bralet, to reveal her assets to other men, maybe to get attention that will then cause a reaction out of Mickey.

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  • The newspaper is a prop used in the opening sequence, the title reads “Mickey and Mallory kiss six teens during slumber party” and obviously we read that title subconsciously, without knowing that the man actually reading the newspaper is a partner in the killings.

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  • The tattoo on Mallory’s stomach just above the trousers, is of a scorpion, this is significant as at the start of the sequence a scorpion is in the road and is run over and squashed, this shows the audience that Mallory is inevitably going to die at some point in the film.

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This whole scene involves some edited features…

  • Whilst the camera follows Mallory to the Jukebox, a man appears and we watch his eyes follow Mallory, the image is the faded into Mallory dancing. This represents to the audience that the man is going to be killed by one of the Knox’s.

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  • Also when offended, at quick glance we can see Mickey covered in blood, this shows the audience that mickey has obviously murdered someone. This gives the audience hints as to what type of person he is before we actually get to the killing part of the sequence.

nbk screenshot 3

  • The sequence switches from colour to black and white throughout, I think this is to show that the black and white shots, are the perspective of the characters, so the audience can distinguish between the characters point of view and the actual scene itself. for example, when Mabel the waitress is serving Mickey she enters black and white and becomes seductive. This is to show hoe Mickey views Mabel and probably most women.
  • The sequence overall is fast paced to keep up with the action of the killings and how quick the killings actually happened.

In the sequence, a range of camera shots are shown;

  • Over the shoulder shot
  • A close-up of Mickey is used of him smiling when he looks at Mallory dancing, this is to show his affection towards his partner and that he is proud of her.
  • A mid-shot is used to show Mallory’s whole body when she is dancing, this is to show how appealing she is to the male audience members, and show what little clothing she has on while she dances provocatively.
  • Off-killer shots are used to disorient the audience.
  • Point of view shots are used to show the audience some of the sequence through the character’s perspective so the audience can almost experience it for themselves. For example when Mickey spots the redneck outside, we see the redneck’s reaction through Mickey’s eyes.
  • The camera movement is significant in the sequence as the camera moves almost from side to side to give it the feel that the film was shot almost by someone in the scene just by a little hand-held camera, it also confuses the audience slightly.

Monsters;

  • The film ‘Monsters’ written and directed by Gareth Edwards. In the sequence we are placed in the setting of Mexico. We know this because it is captioned at the start of the sequence and when one of the main characters names Andrew tries to speak to someone for directions, the reply was in Mexican/Spanish.

Untitled

  • With helicopters, guns and literal “Monsters” just in the opening sequence, we know that this film as a whole is going to be action packed.

This film has a series of genres (hybrid film);

  • action due to the battle with the monsters
  • sci-fi the fact that the film involves monsters
  • Romance the couple stereotypically fall in love
  • Road movie the journey the two characters take

Mise en scene and editing;

  • At the beginning of the sequence, a series of captions are edited in to provide information to the audience, as if the sequence just went straight into the bit with the army men fighting the monster, the audience would be confused. It also helps set the scene for the audience as the place and situation is all given to us via the captions.
  • The monsters are placed into the film through Computer Generated Imagery(CGI) which allows the monsters to be added in without actually having to spend a lot of money on props and costumes of monsters. CGI is a cheap way of making really good effects in a film, and Gareth Edwards used this as the film only had $15,000 as a budget to make the film.

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  • One of the main characters, and the only one we are actually introduced to in the sequence is Andrew. His character is very good-looking which was purposely done to give the female audience that may have seen the film a little bit of eye candy. His dirty rough cut facial hair, muscles and tight tops (purposely done to show his physique) make him sexy, and give him that sort of mysterious personality.

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  • The set of destroyed buildings is also the work of CGI as it is a quick and easy way to have a specific set without building one.

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Camera shots;

  • We see hand-held camera work in this sequence, especially in the fight sequence with the monsters, this gives the audience an in site into the sequence and allows them to feel a sense of fear and panic as they see the event through the characters point of view.

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  • Close-ups are used several times to show various different things that the camera wants you to focus on when watching the sequence, for example, at first there is a close up of the soldiers to draw attention to their facial expressions and how they seem happy, to show that the monster attack was a surprise. The tv in the hospital is also shown by a close-up to allow the audience to see what is being reported on the attack we just witnessed.
  • The monster attack is shown through a point of view, as the audience are under the impression that the filming of the attack was done by a hand-held camera
  • Point of view is also shown, by an over the shoulder shot which allows the audience to see what the soldiers see which almost places the audience at the action.

Iron Sky;

  • The film ‘Iron Sky’ was directed by Timo Vuorensola, and written by Johanna Sinisalo.
  • The film itself was co-financed by members of the public that were film enthusiasts. They could solicit money via the ‘Wreck-a-movie’ website. This also meant people could give their ideas and maybe they would get put into the film. Producers saw that this was a cheaper was to get the film done, as they could just ask people through the internet to be extras in a scene if they could get to a certain setting, which meant they were volunteering so didn’t have to be paid, the reward would be would that they were in a film.
  • In the sequence we are introduced to two main characters one a white male, and one a black male. These two men are on an intergalactic space mission when they come across a Nazi space programme that has been secretly hidden on the dark side of the moon for many years.
  • The setting is in space, we know this due to the spaceship accompanied by two spacemen, wearing spacesuits. We can also tell this by the dialogue used,

This film only has one genre which is Sci-Fi. This is because of the space landscape and moon-base.

Mise en scene;

  • Here, it is obvious that the scene is happening in space, due to the setting of the CGI edited in moon, and galaxy around them.
  • The fact that the space men are in different coloured space suits confuses the audience until we hear them talk, then we realise that the character wearing the black suit is in fact black America, and the one in the white suit is in fact white American.

This video is the trailer for the film, and just from this you can see the sheer skill that was used to make this film, and believe it or not it was a low budget film.

Who am i?

Hello there!

My name is Emma, and this is my blog for my AS Media coursework. I have never studied media at school, and as i am an external student at Arthur Mellows, i am glad that the choice to get creative is there.

I have always been a huge fan of films,television programmes,and since i have been old enough, social media. Although i have watched a lot of films and researched into the ones that i really enjoy, i never fully understood all of the hard work that goes into them, and how they are produced before taking Media Studies as an A level (which might i add, i am thoroughly enjoying).

I created this blog to show you my journey of AS Media and how i hopefully progress through the year as you eventually see my final piece of coursework.

I am your typical seventeen year old girl, that loves to shop, slap on make up, gossip, eat junk food then complain that ive gained weight, boys, party, sleep, and then occasionally do some school work…

SO HERE I AM……i feel as though i should maybe label myself as a poser:)

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ps, notice how my hair changes colour…