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?
Looking back to when I shot the preliminary task with my group, I feel like I’ve realized some important techniques and ways to avoid mistakes which have benefited my final piece of coursework very well:
In this part of our preliminary exercise, we attempted to do a tracking shot which followed the Eden from walking up to the stairs, all the way to the door where we’d begin the match-on-action shot. However, on our actual preliminary video, it’s obvious that there is a jolt in the movement which ruins the professional and clean movement effect. Now that we’ve had more experience and practice with the cameras, we’ve gone on to realize that to get a cleaner and less jolted tracking shot, we have to only move the handle of the tripod and be sure not to touch any of the legs tripod – it also helps if the legs on the tripod are all even so that it doesn’t move while the handles being moved around.
Another example of where tracking didn’t quite work for us in our preliminary exercise was when we attempted to track the passing of the envelope from Eden to Cristina. The problem came about when we noticed that the action was happening to fast for the camera to track as well as make it look like a clean transition, however if we slowed down the action, it looked unreal and false which took away from the overall effect. An alternative way to shoot this part of the task could have been to film the action over three or four different shots.
The 180 degree rule: The 180 degree rule is a rule which we learnt in class and that we then later applied to our work on both our preliminary and title sequence. It’s a rule that allows the action to be filmed from a natural and coherent angle by keeping on either the left or the right side of the imaginary line between each of the actors in the scene/shot. This way, it is easier for the audience to establish where the actors are looking, standing and moving to in a certain location and prevents the filming and editing from looking unnatural or unprofessional.
Match on action: Match on Action is a part of continuity editing that helps the finished product look realistic and smooth. An example of match on action would be when somebody in a film or television program opens a door and walks through it. The first shot would be perhaps a close up of the persons hand pushing the door, this would then cut to the other wide of the door where we see it opening from an in-room perspective, (the door would be opening from the point in where the hand finished pushing in the previous shot), we’d then see the actor walk through and the door close. The editor of the film/television show would then piece the footage together to make one smooth, flowing sequence that looked as though the person had just simply walked through the door without stopping to cut from one shot to the next.
Shot/Reverse Shot: Shot/Reverse shots are used to show the connection between what an actor is looking at. For instance if an actor was reading a letter, then there may firstly be a shot where the camera is facing up towards them to capture an initial reaction shot, then it may cut to an over the shoulder shot so that the audience can see the letter for themselves and then it may cut back to the actors face to get another reaction.
EQUIPMENT AND PROGRAMS USED DURING THE FILMING PROCESS
In what product does your media products use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products (i.e. of film openings)
The Tripod and Camera: During the filming of our title sequence, I got the opportunity to use the camera and tripod a lot to film certain parts that I wasn’t going to feature in, I also had benefits with these pieces of equipment because I also handled them in our Preliminary exercise. While using the camera I learned:
How to white balance: White balancing is a function on the SD Digital Camera that we used which allowed us to film in different locations while making the lighting look consistent and natural throughout the whole of the title sequence. To white balance you simply select the white balance logo on the camera, hold something white up to the lens and then press the ‘select’ or ‘ok’ button and the camera will automatically white balance itself. Below is the symbol of ‘White Balance’ which appeared on the camera that we were using:
- When shooting, all legs should be fully extended with the clips on them done up – they should also be equal lengths and the front leg should point to the subject that you’re shooting.
- When fixing the camera onto the plate which then goes onto the camera, it should be made sure that it’s screwed onto the plate while sitting down or on a table, to avoid dropping and breaking the camera.
The lighting board wasn’t an essential piece of equipment for us to use when we were first set the task of filming our own Thriller openings but it played a big role when we decided on the plot and created the overall effect on the finished product. In our opening sequence, we had a lot of shots where the atmosphere was dark and intense and even a part where the lighting changed from its usual low-key form to red. I was able to get some use of the lighting board in the drama studio while the rest of my group filmed some of the scenes that required lighting change or specific lighting in them.
YouTube is a free online website which allows people from anywhere in the world to upload videos for free and share them with whoever they want. This site benefited us greatly when uploading both our preliminary exercise and title sequence because it allowed us to upload things such as logos and final cuts to later then link and reference to on our blog when we needed to.
Link to the site YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com
CC Mixter is another free website online, which allows users to download copyright free soundtracks for nothing. We used this website to get the soundtrack for our preliminary and thriller opening sequence, however for our opening sequence we used the program ‘Final Cut Express’ to layer the track and make it sound slightly different from the initial download.
Link to the CCMixter site: http://www.ccMixter.org
Like ccMixter, SoundDogs is another copyright free website which allows its users to download sounds for nothing. However, rather than full length soundtracks, SoundDogs offered sound effects which we didn’t use in our preliminary but experimented and made the most of in our title sequence, we used the sound of a bleeping phone, banging against a locked door and we even experimented with the sound of a breaking neck – although it didn’t make the final cut.
Link to the SoundDogs wesbite: http://www.sounddogs.com
Final Cut Express was a program we used on the Apple Mac computers which allowed us to import the footage we’d shot from our filming sessions, drag it on to the viewer and then cut and select the pieces we wanted – once we got the piece of footage that we wanted to go into the final cut, we’d drag it onto the timeline along with the rest of needed footage and then render it. We were then able to watch and playback our footage in the viewer to see if it all fit together nice and fluently or not. This software also enabled us to drag things such as titles and soundtracks onto our title sequence by layering tracks.
LiveType was another software that we used on the mac during the process of making our title sequence. LiveType was very much like Final Cut Express with it’s timeline which allowed users to drag their work onto it and then preview it to see how it looked, however it was more for text rather than soundtrack or video. We used LiveType to create our Eclipse Productions logo – first of all we simply typed the text we wanted into the text box and it then appeared on the main screen in a standard Arial font. Once this was done we then had the option of changing the colour, size and style of the font as well as the animation. After we’d perfected and agreed on how we wanted our logo to look, we added a picture to the background of an eclipse and then imported it into Final Cut Express to go at the beginning of our work.
Fictitious audience demographic for ‘Blood Ribbons’?
Target Audience for Blood Ribbons: In an earlier post, I identified the target demographic for ‘Blood Ribbons’ to be mainly female from the ages of about 15-18.
Media this audience consumes:
Websites: Websites that my films target demographic may consume are those such as Twitter and YouTube, since these are good sources to find out the latest gossip, watch new music videos and film trailers as well as stay in touch with friends and people they know. Since this is the case, a good way of advertising ‘Blood Ribbons’ through websites would be to set up a Twitter page which gives the latest news and updates about the production and filming process of the film as well as videos which give a look behind the scenes – not only will it raise awareness about the film but it’s likely to make the target audience feel a part of the process and anticipate the films release. Advertising on YouTube could be done in two ways – the first could be to upload a trailer to the producers of the film channel and advertise it by links on various websites such as Facebook and Twitter which is what almost every film does or we could pay Vevo (A company that works alongside YouTube) to put an automatic advert at the beginning of popular music videos and other uploads, giving the viewer no other choice but to sit through them which is likely to notify them about the film if they don’t know already.
Magazines: Since the demographic for my film ‘Blood Ribbons’ is ages 15-18, it’s likely that the types of magazines they’ll read are those such as Look, Closer, More and other gossip/fashion magazines that are available to them on the high street and in local news agents. If we were to advertise our film in magazines such as this, we could either advertise on a featured spread which is what a lot of films do – this way while our target demographic are flicking through the magazine they can come across our films poster and possibly read it. The only issue with this would be that magazines release weekly/monthly so our advert would only be available for a limited time only. However, an alternative could be that we pay one of the magazines columnists to mention our film and the progress each issue which will keep advertisement at a constant.
Radio Stations: Radio Stations that my target demographic probably listen to are stations such as Capital FM and Radio 1 since the music they play is quite mainstream and very chart and listener orientated, as well as having a lot of pop culture music they also discuss very to-date issues and events that’re happening within Britain including award ceremonies, film premieres and charity events. It’d be good to advertise a film like ours on a radio station by a call in from one of the lead actors/actresses to tell the presenters and listeners about the film or even have coverage of the films premiere on them stations if possible. This way listeners can begin to become familiar with what the films about and share opinions – making them more actively involved and to feel a part of the films production.
TV Shows: I think TV shows that my target demographic will be interested in are the ones’ that give an inside look to the lifestyle of Hollywood, for example, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Ice Loves Coco and The Dance Scene – since our films about dance it’d be relevant to advertise or show the ‘Blood Ribbons’ trailer in between breaks for The Dance Scene. Since it’s assumed only dance fans would be watching a reality show about dance it would be sensible to advertise a dance film during the commercial breaks since all viewers have a mutual interest.
Favorite Films: I think the audience for my film would be mainstream films that’re advertised through TV, Magazines, Internet and other sources of media. A film in particular that I think my target audience would like is Black Swan. Not only does this film meet the interests of Girls which are 15-18, which is quite a broad category, it also has the same theme as that of my film ‘Blood Ribbons’ which is dance. Since Black Swan and Blood Ribbons are so alike in creativity and context, the industrial and distribution side to Black Swan could be a good platform to base that of Blood Ribbons and also the advertisement which Black Swan had may be relevant to our film also.
Where do they go out/shop?: Places that my demographic probably visit are quite social, considering their young age. This covers things such as cinema, restaurants with their friends like Nandos’ and T.G.I Fridays, concerts and shopping centres. Therefore I think they’d be found in places such as Westfield’s in Straford, which has lots of shops, a cinema, a food court and is easy to get to. Another place I think they’d be found is the O2 Arena which has a suitable location for concerts and shows as well as a cinema and a long street of restaurants which vary in food styles. It’d be good to advertise in places like this with billboards and on leaflets that people may collect after visiting these places. For instance, in the O2 there are always advertisements in the stadium on screen before concerts and in Westfields there are plenty of billboards and televisions that’re advertising different things from the opening till closing hour.
Going back to the reference to ‘Black Swan’, I understand that if we were to compare our imaginary film ‘Blood Ribbons’ to it then the public (including our target audience) will have high expectations for it and will want to know why they should go and see it, I’ve identified that sometimes, a soundtrack plays a big part in the popularity of a film. For example:
THE LAST SONG
The Last Song, which was originally a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, is a recent and successful film that has hit cinema screens in previous years and while the plot-line was what was expected from a classic Nicholas Sparks novel. However the soundtrack which featured bands such as One Republic and Allstar Weekend was dominated by the lead actress of the film and singer in her own right, Miley Cyrus. The year before the film was released, Miley Cyrus went on her ‘Wonder World’ World tour and sang the most memorable song ‘When I Look At You’ on the movies soundtrack. This of course raised awareness in Miley’s fan base about the song and more importantly, the film which then encouraged them to go and see it. A film that carried out a similar advertising through soundtrack method was ‘Dream Girls’, starring Beyonce Knowles and her song ‘Listen’.
How did I attract my audience?
I attracted my audience by staying in the genre of a psychological thriller by keeping the traditional conflict between the antagonist and their emotional complications – in this case feel guilty about bullying Taylor into suicide. This fulfills the audiences expectations of what they want from this genre of film.
The name of my production company is “The Eclipse Productions”, we named our company this as it’s simple yet very memorable and isn’t too long which would cause problems when making a logo or putting our stamp on any of the work that we create. Our logo mimics the idea of ‘Eclipse’ very closely as there’s a picture of a real life eclipse in the background of the frame and our animated text which appears in a wiped, flash is white and shiny, giving it a very supernatural feel.We made our logo on a software called LiveType which allowed us to experiment with animating text. The role of a film producer is to have responsibility over and project a film to relevant people while having the voice and vision behind the film. They also finance a film, especially in the pre-production stage.
This is a screen-shot of our production company logo.
- Black Swan – Directed by Darren Aronofsky and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, since both our film ‘Blood Ribbons’ and the film ‘Black Swan’ have a similar ballet theme to them the two target audiences would be very similar in the sense that the films are both mainstream cinema and was released on an international level. Of course this would require the right funding and support to release a film as a big as this.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and convetions of real media products? (i.e. of film openings)
The title of the film
The title of our thriller film Blood Ribbons, is in the center of the frame. The font of the title is red and the animation is similar to someone writing Blood Ribbons. The title Blood Ribbons is at the end of our thriller opening as we wanted to keep the audience in suspense, also we thought the title and the scene where Jessica is hanging are similar so we thought the title would look better during this scene at the end instead of at the beginning. The timing of the title is typical of an opening sequence as its shown at the end of the film.
The location of our thriller opening is in a dark drama room. We used the same location through out the whole film, however this was not a bad thing as the dark room creates a better atmosphere for our film. Also it makes our opening of our film more scary as everything happens in the same room and other people are unaware of what’s happening in this room. The location of our film was black as we had, black walls, black curtains, black flooring and dark lighting. This helped make it clear to the audience that the atmosphere is scary and eerie, as the connotation of black is death and mystery. The setting is not typical for an opening of a thriller because usually the opening of a thriller had more than one location.
Costume and props
The main costumes we had was Jessica’s outfit, which consists of a black vest top, black leggins and pink ballet shoes. We decided to have Jessica’s outside black as the connotation for death and mystery. We then decided to have pink ballet shoes as this would stand out in Jessica’s outfit. Our main piece of costume is the ballet shoes as they are significant in our film because they explain most of the storyline and they make it clear to the audience what the film was about. We only had a few props, trainers, a phone and a bag, we used the phone so Jessica could receive the text and we used the bag and trainers to make the film higher in verisimilitude and also to set a more realistic atmosphere. The costume Jessica and Taylor wore were not typical for an opening sequence of a film as most ballets wear white, to show purity and elegance.
Camera work and editing
Throughout our the thriller opening of our film Blood Ribbons we used lots of cross dissolves and fades to move of scene to the next. This made the film flow better and made the film higher in verisimilitude. To show the difference between the time of Jessica and Taylor we used a de-saturate effect to make it clearer to the audience that Taylor’s scene’s is set in the past. We also added light ray effect to make Taylor’s scenes more spooky and mysterious. Towards the end of our film we built the pace of the film quicker to create a tense and suspense atmosphere for the audience. The pacing of our thriller opening is typical for an opening sequence of a thriller as the pace gets faster towards the end of the thriller opening.
Title font and style
We decided to use a red font with the animation of similar to someone writing Blood Ribbons as the title of our film, because the colour red is connotation for danger and death, also we though the animation of the title is eerie so we though this title would be perfect as it reflects the storyline and atmosphere of the film. The font and style of the title is different and this is what made our title of our film unique compared to other opening sequences.
Story and how the opening sets it up
We began our thriller opening with a long shot of Taylor being dead laying down on the floor. We though this was a good way on opening our film as it grabbed the audiences attention immediately as they were un clear of what was happening in the scene. Also we opening sets the story up by making the audience left in the dark as they do not understand why Taylors dead, however throughout the film we make it clear why Taylor is dead, also the voice over makes it clear to the audience what has happened in the story. Our opening was not typical as usually the person who dies is shown at the end and not the beginning like in our film.
Genre and how the opening suggests it
By opening our thriller film with Taylor dead on the floor and a spooky soundtrack in the background we instantly made it clear to the audience that the genre of the film was a thriller because at the beginning of the film the audience was left in suspense and tense atmosphere. The lighting at the beginning is bright which makes the audience focus on Taylor. We had a voice over at the opening of our film to make it clear to the audience what has happened in the story, also the voice over suggests Blood Ribbons is a thriller as it explains how Taylor has been announced dead. The opening of our thriller was not typical as their is a voice over and the opening begins with Taylor dead.
How characters are introduced
We introduced Taylor by showing a long shot of her dead on the floor with a bottle of pills in her hand. We introduced Taylor in this way as we wanted to show the audience that Taylor may have been depressed or sad due to a bottle of pills in her hand, this may lead the audience to believe she has committed suicide. Whereas Jessica the protagonist is introduced in our film by talking with her friend. We introduced Jessica this way as we wanted to make it clear that Jessica is happy. To make the introduction of the characters better we had a voice over to help explain the storyline and that Taylor is dead. The opening of our thriller was different as we had a voice over to explain the storyline however the voice over did not give to much information away so it still kept the audience in suspense.
By using Final Cut Express the main special effect we had was when Jessica spun around while dancing and it then turned into Taylor spinning around and dancing. We though this special effect was useful as is made the scene follow better. On Final Cut express we merged the characters as we wanted the verisimilitude to be high instead of the scene jumping and being unrealistic. We though this special effect helped the audience understand the difference between Taylor and Jessica as we added an effect (un saturate) to make it clear to the audience that Taylor’s dancing is set in the past. The special effect was not typical as other opening thriller films do not merge two characters, like Blood Ribbons with Jessica and Taylor.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Here is the bully (Jessica) in our film Blood Ribbons and she is an archetype because there are not many female bullies in films, they are stereotypically boys. Usually in a chick flick there may be a girl who intimidates other girls but even they it’s not to the extend of bullying. Whereas the character in The black swan is slowing losing her mind throughout the film, she is not a bully. They are both the protagonists of both films as they have the most screen time.
The similarities of both the Black swan and Jessica is that they are both ballet dancers. Another similarity between the two characters is that they both have brown hair. They are also both the protagonists of the films. Finally another similarity both characters have is that they both die at the end of both films.
A difference between the two characters with costume is that Jessica wears black clothes whereas the Black swan wears white clothes. Another difference both characters have is that the Black swan wears make up while she dances, whereas Jessica in Blood Ribbons does not wear any makeup. Also Jessica wears pink ballet shoes whereas the Black swan wears white ballet shoes. Another difference between the two characters are their costumes, Jessica wears a black vest top and a black cardigon and black leggins whereas the Black swan wears a white corset with white leggins and a white tutu.