Our Film Opening

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Evaluation Q1: Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What role(s) did you take? What were your best bits and why?

What I enjoyed:

Overall, the main workshop day was hugely enjoyable and also a great learning experience. Below is a time-lapse of the main workshop day so you can get an idea of the kind of set design and lighting equipment we were working with:



video

I enjoyed:
-Helping with the set design and equipment set up
-Cable bashing
-Acting to camera, particularly shots that required a range of emotion
-Learning about the media industry through the professionals that were on set

An example of me acting to the camera

An example of me helping with setting up equipment

My roles:

-Acting as the character of cool kid 1
-Acting in place of other cool kid shots
-Set designer, particularly the moving in and out of props
-Cable bashing
-Using the clapper board

An example of me cable bashing

An example of me acting as cool kid 1. I am on the left and cool kid 1 on the right.


Best bits:

For me the best bits were acting in the group shots as it was much more of a team effort, but also talking to all the professionals such as our director and really getting a feel for the industry.


An example of a group shot

Monday, 17 July 2017

Evaluation Q2: What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5?

Task 1: Complete an audition video:



This being the first audition video I have ever done made it a very good learning experience. It taught me the importance of learning the lyrics beforehand as otherwise it is really obvious by your lip syncing and where you look that you have not done so.

I feel that doing it with someone was very helpful as it allowed me to feel confident and really go for it, not to mention I did not have to waste time pressing record and framing all of my shots and vice versa for my partner. Additionally, having a partner also sped up the editing process.

From an editing standpoint, the audition video prepared me for the main video in the sense that for such a short media product it was very time consuming as you have to match the lip sync and there are also frequent cuts. However, it provided an opportunity to determine the best ways in which to match the lip sync, for example comparing the sound waves in Adobe Premiere.

Task 2: Learn and practice your performance:

Our performance director was hugely helpful in teaching me how to effectively show emotion and also in feeling comfortable around everyone so as to just go for it and not worry what others think. In order to get myself and everyone else comfortable enough for this we all met frequently in the lead up to the main shoot for practice sessions.

Task 3: Help to plan and organise your costume:

In terms of my own costume I brought in my own shoes and jeans which were then signed off by our teacher and costume designer. My white polo shirt was kindly lent to me from our technician.


Me in costume

I also brought in some other pieces of costume for other actors to wear, for example Laith who acted as Jamie wore my jacket, and Tom who acted as cool kid 3 wore my plain black hoodie.

This costume task taught me the importance of analysing the model character for their identity and how the costume connotes that identity. For example, my character of cool kid 1 was portrayed in the music video as a cool, popular character with a good sense of style and so it was important to make sure my costume had the same connotations, so as to improve the quality of our remake.

Task 5: Complete the remake edit:

Editing the Cool Kids remake introduced me to a different style of editing than what I am used to as music videos do not follow the rules of continuity. However, by the end of the edit I felt a lot more confident in this style of editing and also my editing skills in general. I completed the edit with Laith and we both contributed equally to this edit, sharing many roles in the process.

Me editing

In the edit I:
-Named shots, making it easier to find in the editing itself
-Cut the shots and put them in the right place in the timeline
-Edited some shots to play in reverse
-Edited some shots to play in slow-motion
-Graded shots
-Matched the lip-sync to the music

In conclusion, I have learnt lots of new skills from these prelim tasks, particularly music video exclusive skills and I have also consolidated other skills such as grading which I had picked up from previous media edits.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Evaluation Q3: Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

I am more than pleased with our final edit and this is partly due to the variety of good shots we had our disposal.


Our final edit

What works really well:
-The lip sync matches the music throughout
-All cuts are perfectly timed with the original
-Our set design and background are very similar to the original
-The majority of shots match to the original
-Our grading was effective in achieving the desired look

Comparison of set designs; our remake is on the left and the original on the right
The primary grading tool we used to create a look similar to the original video was ProcAmp, a feature within the editing software of Adobe Premiere.

ProcAmp - the primary grading tool we used


Below is a side by side comparison of a shot before and after the grading process, notice how it compares with the original shot which can be seen in the bottom right.

Ungraded (left) vs graded (right)


What I would change:
-I would get all the shots we needed as in some situations we did not have the required shot and had to use a different shot to fill the gap. This can be seen below:
See how the main shot differs from the original in the bottom right
-I would also consider using more lighting, perhaps from behind the character as in some situations we could not replicate the look of the original video due to there being a lack of shadows. This can be seen below:
Notice the lack of shadows in the main shot when compared to the original in the bottom right

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Evaluation Q4: How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

Pre-Production:

Having spoken to the supervisors of this music video project I believe we should approach pre-production the next music video with the following:
-A clear understanding and familiarity with the chosen song and music video
-A clear understanding of the genre, styling, character and set design choices
-Costume and make up lists
-A clear understanding of the choreography, and to have well rehearsed the choreography before the shoot day

The costume and make up list

Main shoot:

This prelim task has taught me the importance of having a good team where everyone knows their role as this is essential to ensuring the shoot runs smoothly. For example, having an assistant director to organise everything behind the camera and runners to carry out tasks efficiently greatly improved the quality, performance and overall experience of the main shoot day. Additionally, I learnt the importance of the studio lighting in creating the desired effect and improving the quality of our shots.

From the prelim I will do the following in the main shoot:
-Frequent use of studio lighting
-Establish a team within which everyone has a clear role
-Lip syncing throughout
-Dancing as it was fun to choreograph and also raised the quality of our final product

Post-Production:

From the prelim, I have learnt the conventional styles of editing a music video and will have to include them in the edit for the next music video.They are listed below:
-Mini montage sections
-Discontinuous editing
-Solo shots of the lead singer
-Frequent cuts


An example of montage editing

In conclusion, my prelim experience will certainly impact my decisions in every stage of next term's music video coursework, however I will continue to act efficiently at a high standard as I have in all previous media projects.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

This blog is now closed

I have now completed my AS Media coursework and with that comes the closing of this blog. No further posts will be made. Please feel free to look around my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Evaluation Post 1: In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our film is called 'Disturbances' and is of the horror, thriller genre. We tried to conform to these genre conventions as best as we could though we slightly challenged some aspects of the genre.

Our Film Plot:
Our film opening uses, develops and challenges forms and conventions of real media products through the genre, narrative, character roles and editing techniques. We used various real life films as reference such as 'The Blair Witch Project', 'Quarantine' and 'Contagion'.

Our film entails a story of a group of teenagers investigating the mysterious disappearances occurring in a local forest in a North London suburb, and how as the film progresses the group gets smaller and smaller until one girl survives thus also enforcing the 'final girl' theme.

Form:
Our opening sequence definitely followed the typical format that similar opening sequences conformed to, and this was done well as having talked to peers and members of our target audience they felt our characters were well portrayed and they all wanted to see more.

Our two main inspirations for titles were The Shining and Se7en - both films of a similar genre. Sinister influenced our title order, The Shining gave us the idea of super-imposing the titles over the shot in order to build up a suspenseful atmosphere and Se7en inspired our contrast of white titles against a dark shot. 


Comparison of title order

Comparison of super-imposed titles

Comparison of the title contrast

We included dialogue but only from the middle of our sequence onwards, this was so we could effectively build up tension and a sense of mystery from the very start. We never had more than one character in a single shot so shot/reverse/shot was not a viable option, however we did this to show the danger in each shot and this was done to good effect. The main dialogue was our news reporter introducing the crime in the forest, an idea that was inspired from a similar style news broadcast in Quarantine and similar setting in The Blair Witch.



Genre Conventions for Horror/Thriller Films:

The following is a prezi which not only details the genre conventions for horror/thriller films but also shows where and how we followed and challenged these conventions.




Narrative Structure:

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Style:
We styled our film opening with genre conventions in mind as we wanted the final product to be as connoting of our intended genre as possible.

1) Grading
Grading in Disturbances (our film opening)

Grading in Se7en ( reference film)

Our grading is similar to that of Se7en. It is very low-lit with high contrast and low saturation to connote a dark, mysterious atmosphere as is conventional of our genre.

2) Sound
We took inspiration for our soundtrack from The Shining which uses a similar, spooky, classical soundtrack, and edited it so that it would build up in volume and tempo at points of action or at key moments in the film opening such as when the camera falls and breaks or when the antagonist says "it's done".

The Shining inspired our film soundtrack

We took inspiration for our dialogue in the news report from Quarantine as it also featured a news report and was of a similar genre.

The Quarantine inspired the dialogue for our news reporter

In conclusion, our film opening follows many conventions of the genre and challenges very few. This is good as the audience will easily identify it as a horror/thriller and therefore engage much more effectively with our film. With all this in mind it is safe to conclude our film opening is very similar to real media film products.

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

The film opening itself has a strong focus on the representation of young men within the age group of 16-24. This is because the film opening is largely focused on our antagonist who is of this gender and age group. We chose to represent this particular social group as powerful and in control as not only is it convention, we also felt it would empower men and therefore increase male appeal - particularly amongst the 16-24 age group. We created these representations through costume, acting and camera.

A large reason why we chose this social group to primarily represent in our film opening is due to convention. From my research it was clear that males are very strongly represented in the film industry, and therefore it would be conventional to have a male lead thus allowing audiences to identify with and engage with our film more easily.

The strong male representation in the film industry
There were 3 main ways by which we represented our character as powerful and in control:

1) Costume:
As you can see in this picture our antagonist is simply wearing a hoodie and tracksuit bottoms. First of all, this makes him instantly identifiable to the audience as being a part of the 16-24 age bracket as this type of clothing is very common amongst this age group. In this way our character becomes more relatable which increases appeal and better engages the audience.

We made sure that our antagonist took his hood off. This makes him seem more comfortable within this situation, and that way he appears more confident of his own safety as he's not trying to hide himself. This shows him to be in control of the situation as clearly there is no immediate risk to him.

Building on the previous point, the fact that he's wearing tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie shows how comfortable he is, as these clothes are associated with lazing around, and therefore once again shows him to be in control.



2) Acting:

Throughout our film opening our antagonist doesn't seem to walk with much urgency, rather he walks at quite a normal, comfortable pace. This shows there is no danger to him currently as he is in control of the situation.

Additionally, when the antagonist is sitting, he sits in a comfortable and laid-back manner. Normally, in such a tense situation you would expect him to be on the edge of his seat, and so this shows his power and how he's in control.


3) Camera:
Throughout the film opening the camera seemingly follows our antagonist. Through the continuity editing we have also placed the audience in the action in the beginning. Therefore, it creates the illusion that the audience are following the antagonist through the house, this means the antagonist sees and knows everything before the audience thus putting him in a position of power.


Sherlock:

Both Sherlock and our film opening share similar antagonists. Moriarty in Sherlock is often seen to be in power and in control of the situation.

Moriarty from Sherlock
As you can see in this shot, despite being held at gunpoint by Sherlock, Moriarty stays calm instead of panicking as you would expect. In this situation, you would expect the power dynamic to be in Sherlock's favour, yet from Moriarty's mood and expression it almost seems as if he still has the power and is in control. This is the behaviour of a well constructed antagonist and so we were inspired by it when making our character choices.

Additionally, we used the news team as a means of representing the 20-30 age group as working, young professionals. This is obvious as they play arguably the biggest roles in a news team which is news anchor and news reporter and so this would require a very high level of professionalism. We also had the roles played by both gender and used two people of different ethnicities as we felt this accurately reflected the social make-up of London and so it was the sort of diversity the audience would have expected.



As you can see our characters are clearly portrayed as young professionals and display ethnic diversity.

This news reporter from Quarantine was a big influence for having a female news reporter.