Q7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Towards the beginning of my media course I completed a preliminary task. This task was to film someone opening a door, crossing a room and exchanging a few lines of dialogue. I did this task in order to understand basic rules such as; shot reverse shot, the 180 degree rule and match on action, as I was completely new to film making. Looking back at my preliminary task I now particularly understand the importance of editing, sound and a variation of camera angles.
In my preliminary task I did use a variation of camera angles, however they were not utilised to present meaning, such as using a low angle to connote a sense of power. I have developed this understanding by using a large variation of camera angles in my final product such as long shots, high angle shots and close ups. My preliminary task also provided good practice in continuity editing, which I also developed through my continuity task, shoes task and mundane task. Due to multiple practices in continuity editing I was able to apply this when using parallel editing in the chase scene of my final film opening, which significantly contributed to the creation of suspense and made it more engaging.
Since my preliminary task I have developed skills in terms of post production such as sound, titles and colouration. In my preliminary task the volume of dialogue was too quiet and had infrequent volumes, while the music was irrelevant, and was not chosen to contribute to the dramatic mood. In my final film opening I used fairly calm music which steadily escalated in order to build tension, and I included diegetic sound to create a more immersive atmosphere for the audience. I developed my understanding of the conventions of film titles through adding titles to opening sequences for films such as Mission Impossible, where I learnt that action and thriller films often use bold, geometric fonts, which I applied to my own film opening. Through this task I also learnt how to make the titles fade in and out by changing the opacity in Adobe After Effects. I later made a timeline of titles for the film Memento in order to understand the general layout and order of titles which helped in the planning of my own title sequence. Before editing my final film opening, I had not previously used colour correction, except from changing my mundane task to black and white. I found that colour correction significantly alters the mis en scene, allowing me to create a darker atmosphere, conforming to the conventions of the thriller genre.
My mundane task and shoes task were carried out in order to make boring, everyday tasks appear interesting through the use of multiple camera angles. It is evident that in these tasks I used a larger range of camera angles, however they still lacked camera movement. I therefore later practiced using a Go Pro Gimbal to film someone running which I later used in my final product as it created a more interesting, immersive feeling for the audience. I have evidently developed many skills throughout the duration of the course in multiple fields which has significantly improved the quality of my products.
Q6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
Throughout the duration of the course I developed my skills in using editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, and I am now confident in using this program to produce a media product to a high level. I have now learnt to fully utilise the programme by not only using it to cut and arrange footage, but also by using colour correction and stabilising footage.
I have also used Adobe After Effects to apply title to my final product. I practiced using this program by applying titles to three existing film openings, through which I also learnt how to change the opacity of the titles to make them fade in and out, allowing me to conform the the conventions of a tile sequence.I later used After Effects to create my ident along with the guidance of a Video co pilot tutorial. Through creating this ident I learnt a lot about the different features the program has to offer which has made me more confident in using the program. I also learnt how to use Adobe Photoshop which was useful in creating the storyboard of my final film opening. Using photoshop enabled me to prepare for filming my final product in a more professional way than just drawing it.
For the majority of the filming tasks I carried out such as the preliminary task and the shoes task, I used a DSLR camera on a tripod. This camera gave me sufficient control over the footage I filmed as I was able to control the aperture and IOS. However, at the beginning of the course I did not utilise the aperture feature, yet through practice I was able to display the use of this in my final product by changing the depth of field mid shot. I later experimented with a GoPro Gimbal which stabilises footage, this proved useful when filming the chase scene in my final product. Despite allowing me to produce smooth tracking footage, The GoPro did not produce great quality footage as it appears quite grainy, therefore I did not use this to film the entirety of my film opening. I also used a macro lens on an iPhone to film the close ups of leaves for my final thriller opening.
I have used the website WordPress to create an a blog on which I have documented all my work in chronological order. WordPress was a was a very useful medium for me to use to easily upload my work in multiple forms such as images, videos, hyperlinks and text. I also used Viemo to upload my videos, from which I could embed on my blog. I used Survey Monkey to create my target audience survey and Prezi to then analyse the results. Survey monkey was very easy to use as I was able to share the link to the survey with people, making it more accessible, and therefore allowing me to gain more results. 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.
Q3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
Throughout my research I looked at different film companies and their idents, in order to understand the roles of film companies in terms of production and distribution. Furthermore, I looked at the genre of films these companies made and their budgets.
I found that generally idents are quite generic as they do not allude to specific film genres, however some production companies such as Blumhouse clearly use their ident to set the scene for the genre, which in this case is horror. Some companies may use a genre specific idents due to smaller budgets, while those with larger budgets such as Universal can branch out to multiple genres. Therefore, alike low budget companies, I have created my ident to allude to the genre of my film which is a thriller. I did this through creating a mysterious effect of misty ice, presenting a theme of uncertainty which is prominent in all thriller films.
I would preferably use Universal Studios to distribute my film due to their large budgets and as they have had previous success in producing films such as Psycho and The Bourne Ultimatum, both of which have similar target audiences to my own film. Or Twentieth Century Fox due to their recent success in distributing films such as Gone Girl and The Revanant.
I would try to avoid getting an independent film company to distribute my film as they have less resources for marketing this is due to smaller budgets, and they have less resources for distribution and may not be able to be distribute my film to mainstream media channels. However, as I am an unknown director, large, successful film companies are unlikely to distribute my film, therefore independent film companies would currently be the best option. In this case I could use websites such as Kickstarter to help cover the coats of equipment such as cameras and lighting before approaching an independent film company in order to speed up the production process. In order to bring further awareness to my film I could submit it to film festivals such as the LA Thriller Film Festival, or advertise my product through Youtube or Vimeo.
Film distribution companies are in charge of the release of films into the public domain. The help of a distribution company would significantly increase the success of my film as they would be able to provide much needed advertising such as providing trailers; due to me being an unknown director. The viewings would also be increased as they would be able to make my film available through multiple mediums such as DVD, Netflix and iTunes, as well as an cinemas.
Q1. In what ways does your media use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
I believe that my final media product both conforms and develops the conventions of real media products as it displays the stereotypical mis en scene associated with the thriller genre. Firstly, the title of my thriller film opening ‘Malevolent’ is defined as having or showing a wish to do evil to others; simply connoting the evil nature of the antagonist in my thriller opening. This conforms to the convention of thriller film titles such as Psycho, Split, and Enemy which are all short, solitary words alluding the key themes of the film or can be used to describe a character within the film. Additionally, I believe that my choice of font, which was DIN Alternate also conforms to the conventions of the thriller genre. I used this font as I found that bold, geometric fonts are very typical of the thriller genre, and the use of a simple font also prevents distraction from the narrative.
I had noticed that the majority of thrillers are either located in busy cities, or sparse, rural areas. However I realised that the majority of those set in cities had a key theme of crime which is not prominent in my own thriller narrative. I therefore chose to locate my film opening on some sand dunes and in a woodland area in order to conform to the convention that narratives surrounding kidnappings are set in rural locations in order to create a sense of isolation and mystery.
One way in which I challenged the conventions of the thriller genre is through casting a sixteen year old girl to portray an antagonist. Most thriller films are dominated my male adults, particularly as the antagonists, therefore, in order to create a sense of mystery and confusion as to the relationship between the two characters I cast Ellen; a sixteen year old female. Although this may not be typical of the majority of thriller films, my choice of casting can be compared to the film Hanna, where the central character is a young girl who at first appears innocent, yet it is later revealed she is a trained assassin, which is the type of character I hoped to be portrayed. However I also cast Shona, who is also a sixteen year old female to play the protagonist, which conforms to the conventions of thriller films as young females are often portrayed as weak, victimised characters such as Anne Slinger in Texas Killing Fields and The Split.
I believe that the editing of my final products conforms to the conventions of the thriller genre in numerous ways. I used short, sharp edits and parallel editing throughout the chase scene, as done in the majority of chase scene in films; in order to build suspense and anticipation, while displaying the bigger picture. Lastly I used colour correction in order to create a darker, grittier look expected from this genre, which I did this by decreasing the exposure, increasing the contrast and decreasing the shadows.