Monday, 16 May 2011


I'm thought I should inform you that due to Blogger undergoing maintenance a few days ago, some of my blog posts have been erased with half of the information going missing in some. My evaluation questions are not complete as there are pieces of information missing due to this maintenance, although I had completed them all and uploaded them onto my blog.

However, Blogger has stated that they have backed up everybody's blogs and lost posts will be recovered in due course, so please bare with me as I try to get this issue resolved. I will inform you of when my posts have been recovered as they were published.

Thank you for your co-operation.


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 7

Looking back at your preliminary task (the continuity editing task), what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?

As stated within the specification, we had to produce a continuity edit piece for our preliminary task. The criteria stated that we need to include a shot-reverse-shot, the 180 degree rule and match on action. We developed a scenario for our task which was that a student had to go and collect her iPod off her teacher after listening to in during lesson time and breaking the school rules. We chose this as it is a relatively simple concept and thus less time-consuming to make. It is important to note that although we filmed together, we edited each task individually. We did this before we created our opening sequence as a way of gaining a better understanding about the use of camera angles, shots and movements.

Continuity Edit Piece:

The first shot above shows Sarah in our preliminary task, whilst the shot underneath shows Megi in our opening sequence. I've used these two shots as they show how we had to use a pan in order to show all of the action that was occurring. For the preliminary task, the use of the pan was to inform the audience that Sarah was approaching the door of a classroom of which she was going to enter. For the opening sequence, the pan was used to show Megi and the basement environment that she was surrounded by to reinforce how she had been kidnapped. 

However our methods of filming for each task were different. For the preliminary task, we used a tripod in order to create a smooth pan which flowed for the audience. For the opening sequence, we had to attach the tripod to a moving stool which acted as a dolly because the shot was very wide and we had to ensure that we got all of the props in the shot to create authenticity of the location for the audience.

These two shots show how we had to film in two different locations in order to create the continuity. The first shot shows Sarah opening the door, whilst the door underneath shows Sarah entering the classroom. We had to film the first shot in the corridor of the West Block floor and Sarah needed to ensure that she remained in the same posture and position to create continuity for when she opened the door. For the second shot we had to film in the classroom by positioning the camera on the tripod behind the table that Megi is sitting on to ensure that we filmed Sarah as she entered the classroom and kept Megi in the shot to show how she was waiting for her. These are the two main shots that need to be efficiently combined in post-production to ensure that they created a sense of continuity.

These two shots show the conversation that Megi, as the teacher, and Sarah as the student have. This shows how we have used the over-the-shoulder shot to show the characters point of view whilst they interact and thus create a shot-reverse-shot. We had to film this conversation twice to ensure we got the perspective of each character. This meant that we had to create a short script for Sarah and Megi to learn in order for their to be coherence and consistency. When we filmed behind Megi's shoulder to show Sarah giving her response, we had to ensure that she was positioned higher on her chair to show how she is a teacher asserting her authority, whilst he student Sarah is smaller in size to enforce how she is vulnerable, although she in the story is in the wrong. In post-production it was hard to create this continuity flow because I had to expand the clips into their frames so that I could precisely cut off bits that were not required, which took a few attempts to ensure that it look continuous.

Opening Sequence:

This shows a close-up of the left side of Megi's face. It is one of the first shots to be shown in the sequence and serves as a device to keep the audience engaged and intrigued because Megi has bruises on her face and gaffa tape on her mouth. For the audience this suggests that she has been kidnapped and abused and therefore they would be inclined to watch the rest of the sequence in hope that it reveals how and why she got in this situation. The use of lighting in this shot reinforces this because it acts as spotlight as if somebody is going to interrogate, or already has because of her condition and state.

This is a mid shot of Megi. We used this shot because it shows Megi's uniform and her adjusting her tie which suggests that she is a school girl and ultimately this flashback portrays how Megi was getting ready for a normal school day and then suffers a horrific ordeal. The use of black and white also help to convey this as a flashback. 

This is a long shot of Megi walking to school whilst talking on the phone. You can  see her full school uniform which reinforces how she is a innocent school girl who is just making her normal journey to school. We had to record Megi on the other side of the road to ensure we got a long shot of her and included all of her in the frame.

This is another close-up of Megi's face which has purposely been used to show the fear in Megi's eyes. The gaffa tape is fully on display here where depicts how Megi has been taped in order to prevent her from calling for help. The blood on Megi's neck also shows how she has been physically abused and harmed which portrays her torture. 

This is another long shot of Megi approaching her school reception which shows she has arrived at her destination. We deliberately used this shot because it shows how Megi managed to arrive at school, but it opens up suspense for the audience as they question how she has now got into the current kidnapped situation that she is in and suffered this traumatizing ordeal.

This is a high angle shot of Megi and is one of my favourite shots used throughout the sequence. This is because it creates an atmosphere for the audience, where tension is heightened because is is as if somebody is spying on her and she is being watched. To get this shot we had to stand on a chair. Similarly, we used a high-angle shot when we recorded Sarah's hand opening the door in the preliminary task because it adds emphasis which shows our progression because we have now used this shot accordingly to our genre of Thriller.

This is a high-angle shot of Megi's legs and the legs of her abuser approaching her. In this context we have used this shot focusing on the bottom half of Megi rather than the top, to create fear and suspense for the audience because they can sense that something is wrong as these big feet approach her. This also makes the abuser appear scary and domineering over her. 

From the process of making our preliminary task to our opening sequence I have learnt a lot of new skills. Firstly I learnt how creating a pan to show an environment and its surroundings is vital in order for the audience to perceive the narrative. Through showing the mise-en-scene it is essential because it gives clues to the audience and thus creates interpretations. I also learnt that positioning the camera has to be done very sharply and smoothly in order to define the shot e.g. the high angle shot in the preliminary task informs the continuity editing and creates an effect for the audience. The positioning of the camera to show a shot-reverse-shot is also important because you have to adjust the camera on an angle where you can see person one in the shot, whilst you can still see person two interacting with them. Therefore you have to ensure that you are showing the perspective of person one correctly with the right angle.

Equipment wise, I learnt how the use of a tripod creates a smooth flow and definition for the audience. This creates authenticity and gives a sense of professionalism for the audience. I also learnt that although we didn't have the professional required equipment, we could still stick tape the tripod to the moving stool which acted like a dolly and henceforth allowed us to create a smooth pan of Megi in the 'basement'.

I was already familiar with Adobe Premiere where we constructed our music video (as we did A2 before AS due to certain circumstances) and therefore didn't find it hard familiarizing myself with this software for constructing our opening sequence. We were able to align the clips in their playing order and create effects such as changing some clips to black and white using the monochrome tool to show the flashback. However, I did learn how to insert titles and they can take up time by aligning them so that all of the titles stay consistent throughout.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 6

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

I am fairly familiar with all of the equipment displayed in my collage above as I used the majority of them when creating my music video for A2.
Youtube was useful because our film was uploaded onto there as a way of gaining feedback. Our film was also uploaded onto Vimeo too which served the same purpose, as people could access them both and provide feedback which is essential. I was also able to research into existing opening sequences of other thriller/horror movies such as Saw 3, Panic Room and House of Wax where I could analyse them in order to understand their conventions and apply them onto my own sequence.

The Apple Mac had the software Adobe Premiere installed on it which allowed us to create our film sequence. I've already used Adobe Premiere for when we created our music video, so therefore I was already familiar with most of its features. However, I learnt that inputting titles is very time-consuming as you have to align them in the right position and ensure that they are all of the same size for each title. This was a feature that I wasn't already familiar with on Premiere. I also learnt how to change clips to black and white using the 'monochrome' tool as it enabled me adjust the gradient to show how the clip was a flashback.  

Blogger acted as a diary where I recorded all aspects of planning, reseach, pre-production, post-production and construction. This was beneficial as I could refer back to it if necessary and use it to present my researcha nd findings.

The HD Video Camera (Panasonic SD700) enabled us to record our film sequence to a high quality and allowed us to efficiently convey our narrative by using a variety of shots to show Lucy and how she'd been abused and tortured for the audience. It's lens was especially useful because we could zoom in during certain aspects of the scenes in order to portray Lucy's torture e.g. we did a close-up of Lucy's cuts and bruises adn also were able to film a high angle shot of Lucy to make it seem as though she was being spied on.

My Sony DSC -W50 camera was particulalry useful because I used to take behind-the-scenes pictures of when we shot the actual sequence.
We also used a tripod the camera which we taped to a moving  platform which acted like a dolly. I've learnt that by doing this it enabled us to record a smooth pan showing Lucy and the basement she is trapped in. This creates a flow for the audience and isn't as shaky, unless this is what you're going for.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 5

How did you attract/address your audience?

Youtube added a new feature for video creators called annotations. Video Annotations are a new way for you to add interactive commentary to your videos. They can be used  to add background information about the video, create stories with multiple possibilities and inform the audience of other aspects through annotations. You can literally write about about anything you want in the annotation which shows how viewers can see things whilst the video is playing. Here is a tutorial I found from Youtube explaining this:

Our film will consist of annotations relating to aspects such as genre conventions, use of music, similarities with other film. One annotation might expand upon the conventions we've used for the audience, whereas another might talk about the use of music and how it conforms to our genre. Also, we could post some information in the annotation about existing films which are similar to our own. This would be particularly useful if we were to create a pitch of our initial ideas and proposed treatments for the audience. However, for our final edited version of our film, we wouldn't want to include too many annotations because we wouldn't want them to overpower our sequence. 

Our film was uploaded onto Youtube as a way of gaining feedback to see whether the target audience liked it and whether we included all of the elements to conform to our Thriller genre. There is an option for viewers to press either 'Like' or 'Dislike' which shows us whether they found it of interest or not. They can also post comments too, to provide feedback.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 4

Who would be the audience for your media product?

I think that the target audience for our film would be teens from 16/18+. This is because people within this age range often watch these type of films with their family or peers because they enjoy the rush of adrenalin and exhilaration. It is a popular trend amongst this age range because friends like to go out and socialize by watching things such as this so that they can inform each other via a word-of-mouth buzz.

Here is a profile for a typical teenager within the age range I have stated who I think would watch our film:

Name: James
Age: 18
Occupation: A Level Student
Future Plans: Wants to go to university and study Animation

I believe that the image above portrays a boy who would watch our film. This is because he appears to be of the same age group as our target audience. His posture is quite bold as he is standing with a firm stance with his arms folded which suggests that he is not afraid to watch our film, which is a psychological thriller, a sub-genre of the Thriller genre. 

He likes horror/thriller movies because he gets an adrenalin rush. From my research, I identifed that the majority of Thriller iconography and conventions consists of blood, knives, fast-paced action, shadows, confined spaces and dark, isolated locations. Therefore I think he would watch our film because all of the above would appeal to him. Stereotypically, boys often like to show off that they can watch and handle films that are extremely gory and intensifying which shows how they want to maintain their reputation and 'strong' image. Our film also contains several scenes of torture and pain inflicted by the disturbed abuser as his way of gaining revenge and retribution, thus it shows how James would be more inclined to watch our film. 

He is currently studying Media Studies, Drama and Product Design for his A-levels. These allow him to be creative and express his emotions freely. By watching our film it will allow James to broaden his perspective on the Thriller genre to gain new, innovative ideas and confidence for his projects.

He likes to listen to soft rock and indie music. A few of his favourite bands are The Script, Green Day, Kings of Leon and Razorlight.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 3

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

A production company is a company that is responsible for the physical production of new media, radio, film, arts or a television programme. They may also be directly responsible for the raising or funding of the production. A production company can be either big in scale, or small. Often, if they are big they can afford to sell their products to a film studio which can distribute the film.

A film distributor can be either a company for an individual. The distributor is responsible for releasing films to the public, which can be either theatrically or for home viewing i.e. DVD, television, download, video on demand etc. 

The distribution of a film is the process in which a movie is made available and accessible for the audience to watch at their pleasure. The first stage of film distribution is by standard release, which is where the film is first released into theatres and then released onto DVD after a period of 16 and a half weeks. If the film proves to be huge success, this is often done earlier. 

A film can also be distributed via simultaneous release where it gets released over a range of media platforms and this is a representation of the growing impact of technological convergence. There are often two sides to simultaneous release however, because although it fulfills the needs of the consumers, as these distribution efforts are often regarded as experimental they do not receive a huge amount in profit/investment or promotion.

There is also a straight-to-video release where the film goes straight to video without being released in theatres first. As a result of increasing DVD sales, straight-to-video releases have achieved higher success and have recently become a profitable market. 

I believe that FilmFour would be interested in distributing our film because they specialize in independent and British films and also develop and co-finance film productions. As they have backed a large number of UK films, I think they would be interested in our film because we are presenting original ideas which are innovative and creative and targeting a wide audience. FilmFour have also produced Slumdog Millionaire which was a very successful film and took in £1,827,457 in its opening weekend with 324 screens. This gives me an initial idea of what our film could achieve if FilmFour chose to distribute it.

Although FilmFour are not necessarily a big conglomerate, I still believe that they would distribute our film effectively because they were rebranded as FilmFour to coincide with the launch of digital TV which shows how they are developing as a company and emerging along with the growth of technological convergence. 

I also think that Fox Searchlight pictures would be interested in distributing our film because they specialize in independent and British films.  They are also the world's 3rd largest conglomerate and are owned by News Corporation. This serves to convey how they are of a large scale and because of this they can afford to produce far more prints of our film rather than smaller companies. They can do this because they know it will be worth it in regards to box office returns.


Optimum Releasing are another company that may be interested in distributing our film because they are one of the most prominent distributors in the UK. They are owned by Vivendi, which is a French international media conglomerate. Optimum Releasing release over 200 films a year which shows how they are large in scale.

I think that the UK Film Council could fund our film by providing us with funds for things such as script development and film production. If not we could always consider the lottery film fund as an alternative as there are three funds offering around £17 million per year for the production and development of films. It will act as a catalyst to fund our film.

I think that a film that is institutionally similar to ours would be 'Slumdog Millionaire' by Danny Boyle. This is because it was produced by FilmFour who developed and co-financed it with not a very high budget. Warner Brothers joined with Fox Searchlight to share distribution of the film, but initially doubted the commercial aspects and thought it would go straight to DVD without a US theatrical release. The outcome proved this wrong as Slumdog Millionaire took in £1, 827, 457 in the UK with a showing on 324 screens during its opening weekend.

The names that appear in the credits first are the names of the cast. This is because they are of more importance and are the device which engage the audience, who feel inclined to watch the film because they can identify with the actors/actresses and would be anticipating to see them in a new role. The credits that follow are often of the crew involved in the process of the film because they are of less importance. This is similar to our sequence because we show the company who present and produce the film followed by the cast names and then the other titles such as 'sound by', 'casting by' and 'costumer designer'.

Overall,  I think that Fox Searchlight would distribute our film because they specialize in independent and British films. Our narrative is also complex, but innovative which shows how our creativity can win over the audience and therefore Fox Searchlight would be attracted to this new prospect that we are offering them.

Evaluation - Question 2

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

Our opening sequence predominantly represents the stereotypes of gender. This is represented through our two key characters, where we have Megi a girl who plays the victim, whilst her abuser is a male. This represents the stereotypes of gender because females are often portrayed as weak, inferior and vulnerable compared to men.  Megi, who plays Lucy in our sequence, represents a typical vulnerable school girl. She has been kidnapped by her male abuser (although we don't reveal this until the end of the sequence) and the fact that she has been physically abused shows how the male had control and dominance over her, to which she could not prevent. Her bruises and cuts portray this. The use of mise-en-scene in the flashback also illustrate how Megi is a normal school girl, as shown through her uniform, whose innocence falls victim to her abuser. A contrast is also created as males are usually stereotyped as wearing a blazer, tie and trousers but in this context we are challenging the stereotype as Megi wears this type of uniform.

Her abuser is also dressed in black trousers with black shoes. Black is a colour that has connotations of darkness, evil and sinisterness so therefore it reveals a lot about his character for the audience and we can assume that he has harmful intentions. His dominance over Megi shows how he asserts his authority of a male, as males are usually stereotyped to be strong, controlling and superior to women.

Our characters conform to Levi-Strauss's theory of binary opposition, as we have Megi who is good, whilst we have the abuser who is bad showing how they represent opposites in personality and intentions.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 1

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

This is the 9 frame grid that I made for our opening sequence as well as for the existing Thrillers. I will talk through the shots I've used and how they conform to the Thriller genre and typify existing opening sequences by comparing the two grids. 

Retribution (Our Film):

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: 

1) Shot 1 in my 9 frame grid shows the title of our film. I believe that the font style used uses conventions of existing opening sequences, because when I conducted my research into the typical styles of font used in Thriller films, I concluded that the majority of them are often big, bold and vibrant. Our title is effective because it contains all of these elements. It is all in capitals which makes it appear big and bold and is also in the colour red. We deliberately chose this colour because from my research I identified that Thriller films often have red to connote blood and death to represent the iconography of the genre; two elements which are the two main themes incorporated into our opening sequence. From my research, I also identified that the majority of font styles used in Thriller films never flow, as they are broken up which indicate a sense of danger and suspense that something isn't right. Therefore our title creates suspense and heightens tension for the audience, which are typical conventions of the Thriller genre.

Similarly, the title in shot 6 for Sweeney Todd is aso in red to which is used a consistent theme throughout the whole of its opening sequence. This represents blood and therefore reinforces the iconography of the Thriller genre. However, a contrast is created because the font style is rather smooth and flows whereas ours is broken up to show the genre. Thrillers are often equally occupied by a font style that can be both scary by visually being broken up, or smooth by being big and bold. Both create a sense of uneasiness as a broken up title shows a connection with danger and therefore creates fear within the audience as they anticipate what is going to happen next, which is a convention of the Thriller genre. Big, bold font also creates a sense of uneasiness as it asserts authority and suggests something sinister and dominant, consequently inducing fear within the audience and thus conforms to the Thriller genre. 

Both of these shots show how our title is similar to and both challenges the title of Sweeny Todd.

2) Shot 2 in my 9 frame grid shows the use of setting/location that we used. We filmed the basement scene in the Drama Room of our school and adjusted the props available to us in order to make the setting appear dark and neglected to create a basement atmosphere and authenticity for the audience. From the shot you can see the use of mise-en-scene and how Megi is surrounded by props. There is some sort of basin placed behind Megi, a wooden basket placed next to her on the left, a big black box at the back of the room, a lamp to create a spotlight on her followed by a curtain backdrop to create the darkness. This is to show how a basement doesn't necessarily have any fancy props as it is a place that you wouldn't usually live in and thus it serves to convey how Megi has deliberately been taken to this place because she has been kidnapped. This shot is typical of existing opening sequences because a generic convention of the Thriller genre is the use of a dark, isolated setting to portray the vulnerability of the character and to show their journey and therefore our use of setting and mise-en-scene exemplifies this.

The 1st shot in the Sweeney Todd 9 frame grid shows a city, which is a piece of Thriller iconography because cities are often used in contemporary Thriller films as a way of bringing the drama closer to home for the audience as a way of creating fear. Shot 2 in the frame also shows a single chair featured within a spotlight which suggests how it is going to be used for some sort of intention as if it were an interrogation. In our sequence, this is a similar convention we have used because Megi is tied to a chair whilst only having a spotlight on her, as created by the lamp prop that we used. The Sweeney Todd sequence also shows an antique/vintage painting of a silhouette of a woman's head and shoulder in shot 3 which makes the audience assume that the time period is from a very long time ago. This is further reinforced by the lion's head in shot 4 which ultimately, combined with the vintage painting,  suggest that this location belongs to somebody who is of upper-class in society and maintains a high status. Shot 5 however, shows some sort of mechanism which suggests that the occupier is involved with the engineering and technical side of things. Shot 7 shows a mincer, shot 8 shows a drain whilst shot 9 shows some sort of bath/basin. These majority of these shots create ambiguity as the reader is left to question whether this location is a house of some sort. They are left to question this because an important fact to note is fact that each shot within the 9 frame grid has an element of blood in it. There is blood falling all over the place which ultimately serves its purpose by informing the audience that their is association with death, blood and gore; three elements which have occurred within this location. Therefore it makes the reader question whether this a house of some sort where this sort of sinister, ruthlessness supposedly takes place. Similarly, in our sequence we have included close-ups of Megi's arm to show the cuts and blood that have been caused as a result of the abuse she has endured and have therefore kept to the typical convention of blood within the Thriller genre.

Six Feet Under:

3) Shot 3 in my 9 frame grid shows the use of costume and props, from a high-angle shot of Megi. As you can see, Megi is wearing a blouse which suggests that it is part of her school uniform as represented through the flashbacks. However, her blouse is slightly unbuttoned which indicates that she has been assaulted. There is also a basin behind her with a rope in, which shows how her kidnapper and abuser had intentions and may have repeated this procedure many times before. Megi also has gaffa tape on her mouth to show how her abuser is trying to prevent her from shouting out and calling for help. You can briefly see Megi's arm in the shot, which is tied up by rope to prevent her from breaking free and escaping from her abuser. 

The use of mise-en-scene in the 9 frame grid for the film Six Feet Under is very efficient because as you can see, in shot 3 you can see a pair of feet with a tag on which suggests that the body is in a mortuary and thus you automatically know that the film has aspects of death in. Shot 4 also shows a hospital with a long shot of a male silhouette with a close-up of what appears to be a hospital trolley for performing medical procedures. Shot 5 shows the head of a female and the feet in shot 3 could possibly belong to this woman, which shows different parts of her body throughout the sequence, but through cuts to break up the shot.

4) Shot 4 shows the use of camera as we have recorded a close-up of Megi's upper body and arms. The purpose of this shot was to illustrate how she has been physically assaulted at the hands of her abuser. The use of black chalk to create the bruises and the use of red ink water paints to create blood/cuts reinforce this as they show how the extent to which she has been harmed. Blood is a general convention of the Thriller genre. 

Similarly, shot 6 in the 'Six Feet Under' 9 frame grid shows the close-up of a hand. From the close-up I believe that the hand belongs to a middle-aged male. In the sequence he is holding a post of a coffin which shows how the film is based around death.

5) Shot 5 within our 'Retribution'