During the early stages of my media course I completed a preliminary and continuity task. As I was completely new to the concept of filmmaking and editing, these tasks were set out to teach the importance of and get us to practise the 180 degree rule, match on action and shot reverse shot when we were filming. In the preliminary task much of my footage is out of focus which produces a blurry image which isn’t aesthetically pleasing, from this task I learnt the importance of proper focusing in creating atmosphere and relaying the narrative convincingly. This task provided good practise in continuity editing but I soon learnt when filming my opening that to create an engaging and interesting film, many of the shots used for continuity sake were not needed in the piece.
Since this task I have developed my media skills in more depth by rearranging footage into non-chronological order in Adobe premiere and using techniques like parallel editing to convey narrative. This can be seen clearly in my opening in scenes with the the protagonist and the thugs. I have been able to use these more advanced techniques to improve the way in which my story is put across to the audience and make it less boring to watch. It also causes the audience to think more proactively about what they are watching. I have branched out since my beginning tasks in terms of post production in outlets such as sound and titles. In my preliminary task I used only dialogue and non diegetic music to add extra effect to my scene. The music I chose was not very fitting for the piece and was mainly chosen due to personal taste. I have now learnt how to fit music that is more appropriate to the piece of film to build tension and create a better atmosphere.
We were assigned a Mundane task where we filmed a boring routine from many different camera angles to make it look more interesting. This was when I began to experiment with different camera angles and their effects. As can be seen in my first 2 filming tasks, there are very few camera angles featured and the camera seems to remain on one plane throughout with out any motion. In comparison to my final opening the difference in camera movement is large. Also, in my film opening I have used a lot more freehand camera movement and gimbal shots as opposed to using a tripod such as in the early stages – I have found that a free held camera provides a lot more creative flexibility however I still have seen the need for the use of the tripod when a steady panning shot is required. Aside from camera skills and increased capabilities in editing and post production programs like premiere and after effects I have learnt how to direct which is a crucial skill in order to produce any piece of film.
As a media student, I have developed my skills since the beginning of the course in every field and this in turn has improved the quality of my products up to a point now that I feel they are of a high level of quality.
I have become much more versed in editing software such as Adobe Premiere. Adobe Premiere is an editing program which allows editing to be done in a non linear fashion which saves time and allows for changes in creative thinking as one is able to go back and alter any clip at any time. Learning how to use this program throughout the year has meant I am confident at constructing and editing a media product to a high level.
I also used adobe after effects for adding titles and for further animation in my drafts; During the title production I did a draft for the opening of 4 existing films: Perfume, Lord of the ring, serenity and mission impossible which showed me the basics of the software and gave me foundations which i was then able to build upon when doing my actual title sequence. I created the titles to suit each genre of the films and added changes in opacity to animate the title and make it look more professional. I did this by adding keyframes and changing the opacity of the title at the beginning, middle and end of the duration of the title. I used a youtube tutorial to create my ident and altered it slightly to suit my genre more – After effects was a useful program for me to learn to use efficiently and I now feel that after carrying out these exercises that my skills in this program have definitely developed as I can now easily navigate the program which I wasn’t previously able to do at the start of the course.
I used a DSLR camera for the majority of filming along with a go pro and gimbal. The DSLR was the first camera I utilised when I began the course in both my Preliminary, Mundane task. The camera was a good choice as it provided high quality footage and taught me how to control aspects of film like the aperture and ISO when filming in manual shooting mode. My advancement in my capabilities of using the camera can be seen by contrasting my preliminary task to my film opening; in my preliminary task much of the scene is out of focus compared to the nearly constant clear footage in my opening. This was achieved through playing around and practising adjusting the aperture to let in more light to make the scenes brighter and more cinematic. The go pro and gimbal were excellent devices to provide smooth tracking footage and giving a false illusion of a high budget, however the go pro didn’t provide a very good depth of field so I limited my usage of the go pro because of this. After my initial challenge with the shaky footage in one of my first drafts I used a tripod to film the remains of my shots and re film some of the ones I wasn’t happy with – this helped to make my film look professional and for the content to come across well on screen.
In recording my work I have used websites such as; WordPress to create my blog to document all of my work in chronological order, Survey monkey to create target audience surveys and Prezi to analyse the results. I have documented my filming on video sharing websites such as Vimeo and Youtube and used Twitter to advertise my survey to my peer group. WordPress was an especially useful medium for me to use as I could upload work in all formats to the site such as videos, hyperlinks, Screen grabs and images. I was able to embed my videos I had uploaded to Vimeo into my blog which made it easier for my teachers to access and improved the overall presentation. My target audience survey was done on survey monkey to make it easier for more people to do my survey as I could give them a link which would take them directly to the page. My knowledge of technologies from producing my opening has been greatly enhanced and I would be confident on editing programs and using a camera to film a high quality piece of media text and then be able to document it on the internet in the future.
I have decided to make the target audience for my film typical to that of most psychological thrillers so that more people will be attracted to watch my film firstly because of its genre. I will be aiming my product at a young adult audience from the ages of 15-25. I think that this is the best way to make my film a success as this is the prime age for any consumer of films, especially thriller and action. My film will appeal to men and women alike but perhaps particularly to woman as the main character is female which is atypical of a thirller type genre.
To make my film content applicable and interesting to viewers I made a survey using survey monkey to question my target audience on what they would like to see in an opening; this was good as I was able to receive first hand feedback and this helped to make my ideas more concise. It also gave me good ideas on who to cast in my film and where to film the bulk of the scenes.
The results I got back suggested I use a mixture of adult male/female along with a younger actor. For locations; the woods or a cityscape ruled the results with a prison or school also suggested.
I advertised my survey on Twitter to make it more accessible to more people in the desired age bracket and to further my results. I then used the website Prezi to analyse my results and this was useful in visually pulling ideas and concepts together to give an even clearer image of what i wanted to do in the opening.
After researching the descriptions behind different age ratings on films, I decided to give mine a 12 rating as I wanted to make the audience as broad as possible but not disturb any younger members of the public with the content. Also the majority of psychological thrillers I have seen have tended to have been within the 12/15 rating.
nordisk film title from Niamh O’Hare on Vimeo.
During my initial research I looked at film companies and their indents. I did this to establish the different roles of film companies and distribution companies. I also thought that to would be important to look at the genres of films they made and their budgets as my film opening would be regarded as a low-budget product therefore film companies such as universal would not distribute my product as their film budgets usually exceed millions of dollars.
I decided create an ident that would represent a psychological thriller to immediately establish genre. I looked at idents such as Icon and Nordisk Films; these idents were bold and easy to read and involved movement which I thought was good in setting the pace for the film that followed. On the whole the idents were quite generic and didn’t give away the genre of the film unlike idents I saw from companies ted Pictures who clearly demonstrate the genre of horror. This is most likely due to the considerably smaller budget for companies like this who will solely produce films of 1 genre whereas other bigger firms can branch out slightly in films they chose to produce.
Preferably I would use Independent film company to produce my film. Independent is a fully integrated content creation and distribution company specialising in film and television. Based in London and led by CEO Luc Roeg and Managing Director Andrew Orr, Independent has a team of highly motivated and experienced professionals with expertise in project development, production, structured finance, distribution, sales and marketing. Over the past decade Independent has built a reputation within the industry for creating and distributing innovative and original content. Working with leading talent from around the world combined with a deep understanding of the marketplace, Independent has the ability to create and add value to the content it produces and distributes.
HOW DOES YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT PRESENT PARTICULAR SOCIAL GORUPS?
From the early stages of planning, through the use of a survey, i was able to see that the usual social groups presented in psychological thrillers were adult men and adolescent males.
I decided to cast adolescent males and females in my own film opening as I had easy access to that social group and the use of male adolescent as the antagonistic characters adhered to the conventions of a typical thriller. However I feel as though my decision t cast a female as the main character slightly challenged the stereotype whilst still meeting audience expectations.
I cast Jess as the actress to play the mentally ill girl due to her ability to adapt a frantic demeanour and willingness to participate. To show the characters unpolished nature I requested that Jess wore old clothes and style her hair in a tangled and messy way. I used close-up shots to portray her confusion and the use of video effects to further enhance her disorientation.
I cast Harry, Laurie and Ella as the thugs in my film due to their youthful appearance and good acting skills, they are supposed to represent the typical 21st century teenager, so I showed this by making their costumes part of the on-trend fashion by having them wear puffa jackets, beanies and baseball hats. I also wanted to portray the thugs as slightly lower class and so with the use of props such as the gun, baseball bat and cigarette I created a slightly lower social status along with creating a sense of danger to the characters.
In this shot, from my film opening, the antagonists are displayed, the use of dark clothing gives them a more dangerous demeanour along with the use of weapons as props.
In this shot from my film opening, the protagonist is displayed with her eyes closed, this gives her a sense of vulnerability and also the use of sunlight on her face implies a sense of innocence.
EVALUATION QUESTION ONE
FORMS AND CONVENTIONS
I believe that my media product uses and develops the forms and conventions of a psychological thriller, through research of current films I discovered these conventions and have used them throughout my film opening through the use of location, props, sound, font, camera, editing and overall theme.
In my film opening i have used the location of a wood, i believe that this adheres to the conventions of a psychological thriller as shown in my research of other films such as Donnie Darko. Here is a side by side of a scene from Donnie Darko and my film opening, both using the location of a wood.
In my film opening i have used props such as a gun and a baseball bat, i think that these specifically comply with the thriller aspect of my film, these props are used by the antagonist characters to represent a sense of violence common in thriller films.
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In my film opening i have used simplistic fonts for my credits and film title, this is a common feature of a psychological feature as seen in the psychological thriller film X Machina
In my film opening i have used tense and dramatic music atypical of a psychological thriller to create tension for the audience, the tense music appears in my film opening when the audience are first introduced to the antagonists conveying a sense of danger.
CAMERA and EDITING
Additionally i used quick camera movements and sequences in my opening which is also a feature of a psychological thriller to again create tension for the audience. I also frequently cut to black screens in my opening to add a sense of mystery. Furthermore I have also used the concept of flash forwards which are also commonly used in psychological thrillers.
Psychological thrillers usually deal with themes such a perception: a persons interpretation of the world around them, and i believe that my film opening deals with this themes as we see the main character trying to interpret her surroundings.
For my final draft I added two extra effects: the panting and the buzzing sounds.
Final Draft from Niamh O’Hare on Vimeo.