In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our opening title sequence is a mystery thriller. In our sequence we used and challenged different conventions of real media products. We managed to use many stereotypical features for the thriller genre but we also adapted them to make it unique. This sense of being unique is good for the audience because it will keep them intrigued at all times.
At first we had a period of time to do research on the genre we are using for our title sequence. In our case it was the Thriller genre. I did 10 textual analysis’ on thriller films opening title sequences and also 10 film reviews. This allowed me to understand the genre in a large amount of detail and also allowed me to take inspiration from the movies and sequences and implement certain aspects in our own. I also analysed other genres such as sci-fi to add an element on originality. The main things I looked at were:
- Mise en scene
These points include things such as how long shots are held for, what kind of music is used to create suspense or to give an eerie feeling and how diegetic and non-diegetic sound is used to engage the audience and make them feel uncomfortable etc.
If we were to apply our sequence to Todorovs theory of equilibrium, disruption, recognition and and equilibrium our title sequence would fit into the stage of recognition. This is good because it supports our intent of keeping the sequence ambiguous and still leaves a lot more to be discovered in the film. However because the ending of the title sequence is a climatic it is obvious it is near to end. But this is not the very end of the film so it suggests to the reader that there is still the reparation stage and also the new equilibrium is yet to be found. In the actual film most of it will be the build up leading to the recognition stage where the opening title sequence is based. From then it will lead on to the reparation stage and then finally onto the new equilibrium.
Having the film start with a scene near the end of the film follows convention for films in general because other films such as Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Momento, Casino and many more have followed this trend as they all begin with the ending.
The film that we got our inspiration from was called “No Country For Old Men”. In particular the hotel scene.
The main aspects of this scene that we liked were the colour correction, the lack of non diegetic sound to create suspense and the mise en scene which also created suspense. The editing in this hotel scene was also an inspiration. The shots are held for a reasonably long amount of time. We thought this was good because it added an element of the unknown. During this scene we see the protagonist turn of the lamp he has beside him. we used this type of action in our sequence as well when our actor Lauren turns off the light.
However this was not the only inspiration we used for our title sequence. For the sound we were inspired by the music and voice over from the gone girl opening.
In this sequence the use of non diegetic sound is effective. There is both a voice over and eerie background noise. This combination made the scene seem very intriguing to me and the others in my group as well. After watching the gone girl opening as a group we decided that this type of sound is what we would be using for one of our drafts. In the voice over the male character uses a sinister tone in collaboration with some discomforting dialogue to create a creepy vibe to the scene. If this scene was without sound and the voice over the audience would believe it to be normal and no one would suspect it to be a thriller genre. This is why we thought it would be a good idea to use this sound technique as a draft.
In addition to this, the movie “LUCY” gave inspiration for us to use a female lead.
This film was a good one to use for an inspiration because i have already done a film review on it. In this film the character of Lucy was shown to be weak in the beginning of the film and towards the end of the film she is shown to be the strongest being alive.
Here is a link to the blog post i made on the movie:
For our opening title sequence we decided to use a female as our actor. We did this to challenge the normal conventions of a thriller films. we used a girl called Lauren
We decided to have her in particularly because of her skill in drama. She did drama GCSE last year and got an A* and this year she is taking it as an A level. We thought that these achievements of hers are precisely what we needed to make our opening sequence as good as it could be. Overall we are really happy with her performance in the piece because she showed true emotion and that allowed the sequence to click together extremely well. The make up and costume that Lauren was wearing was also effective in our sequence. She had old cloths on with rips in to signify that she has been on the run for a while and that she didn’t have any time to rest or sort herself out because she was on he run 24-7. The make up that she had on was meant to represent bruises and cuts on her face. This make up was effective because it shows she has been ruffed up over the time of her being hunted. Although this makeup was good it was not very convincing in bright lighting. This is why we made most of the sequence in darker lighting. Some of the other groups products used brighter lighting and it made their make up look very unrealistic because it showed all of the details of the make up. The colours we used were dark purple for the bruises and a dark red for the cuts. The make up was done by Tash Ward (the D.O.P) and Gaby Gordon (the director), although they are not professionals they still did a good job.
The text that was used for the first title “Immerse Cinematics” is called “LATO LIGHT” I made this intro and thought that this font was very suitable for the opening title sequence. Although it doesn’t follow the normal conventions of real media products it still worked because it was an intro for the company “Immerse Cinemaics”. This is an example of what the font looks like in the sequence.
I got this font idea from when i used to do montage making a while ago. I used to use it in text because it looked cool and it was a sharp font. When i first used it I wasn’t sure if it looked right because it was a “transformers” like font but i asked around and everyone i asked thought that it was an appropriate because it was an intro for the conpany rather than an intro for the sequence. But in the text i added a glitch effect. This glitch effect was inspired by the text from the well known thriller film “Se7en”. I Made this glitch effect manually in after effects. It took time but i think that it was worth it. When we asked the class about what they thought of the text effect they all said they liked it. In the sequence a lot of text was used throughout for the credits.The actual font that the editor used for the rest of the sequence was called Avenir Heavy. I saw other groups fonts that they were using that followed the conventions of normal thriller products and I believe it makes it look more like the Horror genre. Here is an example of what the text looked like over the footage.
The lighting of our sequence was very important and we had to adjust it an awful amount during the filming process. At first we filmed in the dark because we thought it would be a lot easier to edit but we was completely wrong. When we started editing the sequence it became apparent that the footage was in terrible quality. The picture was grainy and all the shots looked out of focus At first we thought that it was down to the camera that we were using, but we then noticed that it was the lighting. This caused us to do a re shoot and fix the lighting. In order to fix it we decided to film in with the light on. Before using colour correction this is what the clips lighting looked like:
It turns out this method was extremely effective as it allowed us to get good quality footage whilst also having the shots in the dark to keep the convention of the thriller genre. With the colour correction applied this is how it looks:
So by adding a colour correction we managed to create a dark scene out of a light one whilst still keeping the quality of the footage.
In the mise en scene we implemented a gun, we did this to counter the normal convention of a male wielding a gun. I think this was effective because it showed that although Lauren looked scared she still had the capability to protect herself. This was good because it allows the reader to stay intrigued as it is not like a stereotypical thriller.
The opening shot in our title sequence is a tracking shot of Lauren doing up the locks on the door. We used this shot because it establishes that she is locking herself in a room and it allows the audience to foreshadow what is to come. Also in this shot there nothing going on in the background. We did this so that the audience is able to focus on the non diegetic sound. Personally I think this was a necessary precaution to ensure that the voice over was understood. In addition to this we made sure that in the vast majority of the shots Lauren was in the center. We did this to emphasise that she is the main character in the sequence. Throughout the second segment of the sequence we constantly used closeups and extreme close ups of Lauren’s face . We did this so that the audience would be able to see into Lauren’s head and be able to understand what she is going through. That is why we got Lauren to use scared facial expressions. We used the voice over in the closeup segments of the sequence to emphasise that it was Lauren who was talking.
Not only did we use closeups of Lauren but we also used closeups for the other props and objects in the mise en scene. These things include the door, the lock on the door and the gun. We used close ups on these shots to emphasise their importance in the scene. We used close ups of the door because it was the only way into the room and we made it so the shadows of the antagonists feet could be seen from the other side of the door. This shot was effective because it built up suspense and made it obvious that the climax would have something to do with that door. We used a close up of Lauren picking up the gun to emphasise that she does have something to protect herself and to show that she is not helpless in the situation. This challenges the normal convention of a thriller movie as normally the female character is shown to be weak and fragile. We made this entire sequence around the actor Lauren in order to establish that the movie is all about her and no other characters are of greater significance in the main story.
By us using mostly central shot and not using low or high angle we managed to create a neutral feel to the protagonist as she was not shown to be weak with high angles looking over her, non was she shown to be powerful with high angles looking up at her. Overall I think the way we used the camera was effective in portraying the protagonist as we wanted.
When Lauren looks out the window and sees the hunter standing under the street light it was made it so the cuts start to get faster. This was done to emphasis that the scene was getting more intense. as the hunter got closer. Also we matched up these fast cuts to the voice over. In the voice over Lauren is now saying her final goodbyes to “Thomas” saying things like “I don’t know if i will be alive by the time you read this” and “Goodbye Thomas”. Matching these up is effective because it shows that the climax of the sequence is approaching. In my research I noticed that the build up normally starts off slow and then builds up to the climax at the end. We followed the convention of normal thriller movies as we also used this format.
One problem that we did face when we were editing was the time. The minimum time that the project was allowed to be was 2 minutes. At first when we finished it was around 1:45 but we managed to get it over the required time at 2:20. We did this by adding longer black screen time at the beginning and at the end and also implementing a few shots of Lauren writing the letter. Initially we thought that adding the additional blackness after certain parts in the sequence would make it look odd and badly edited but it actually added more suspense to the sequence.
I truly believe that this was the key component that made our piece what is was. Although there was a lot of debate among the group as to whether the sound we were using was right or not we managed to create a perfect combination. In the end we used a mix of low key eerie background music and an emotional voice over. But initially we thought that we should follow how the “No country For Old Men” scene went with no music or no voice over at the beginning. This is how it looked in the draft.
This was the first draft of the re shoot so many things were incomplete such as the credits, sound and effects etc.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
With our media product we did not want to casually follow conventions when we were making our title sequence. During the research stage I focused on what type of person is the main character. This caused us the notice the role dominance that white males hold. We were open as to what race we used but we had to think about the gender, age and ability. Our aim was to have someone who would be able to act and be able to take part in the action that was occurring in the sequence so we would be able to have a disabled person but only mildly. In addition to this we had to find someone who we knew as it would be hard to find someone who had these skill sets that we didn’t know. Also knowing them would be helpful because it would make it easier to film. The first shoot was done with a male and the second was done with a female. I don’t think this had any real effect on our idea. As we decided to use a female lead we decided to break convention are portray her as a hero rather than being weak. Although we do present her as being a strong character there are also elements of the sequence which present her as being weak. For example when she writes the letter to “Thomas”. This part of the sequence represents to the audience that woman rely on others or they rely on men to do the job that they couldn’t. But because we made it so the letter was up for multiple interpretation it did not make her appear as weak. This made it so the audience was able to see the characteristics we intended for Lauren.
The protagonist has the most screen time as we intended for her facial expressions to be one of the main features. But we also wanted the audience to focus on the door as it is Lauren’s focus. The majority of the shots that we used are shots between the protagonist and the door because that is what we wanted the audience to focus on.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
If we was to go ahead and make a complete film. Our product would be published on the Film 4. On film 4’s about page it states “Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, whether new or established.” The end sentence of this leads me to believe that this would be the perfect route for us an our product to take if we were to go into the film industry. The fact that they give new filmmakers a chance to be on their channel is amazing for us as we are first time film makers. If this were to happen they would have to make a script and invest to make it a high budget film.This would increase our audience due to the amount of money invested into advertisement and merchandise.
In addition to this the film producer may wish to distribute our product because of its originality. I have never seen a movie with the same idea as ours other than our inspiration of “no country for old men”. Also they may wish to distribute our product because of the knowledgeable use of thriller film conventions. Also because of our hybrid use of following conventions and breaking them. We will attract more people because they will acknowledge that we have followed and broken rules so it will give the audience a sense of familiarity and also contrast.
I looked up how other films got distributed and for this research i think that the best company to distribute our product would be Universal pictures. Universal pictures distributed the film “Lucy” the one we got our female lead role inspiration from. In addition to this another company would be 20th Century Fox. This is because they produced the film “Gone Girl”. This film is the one that gave us the inspiration for the voice over. I really liked these films so i think that it would be a good choice.
Another company that could distribute my product is fox searchlight pictures. They distributed the film “Black Swan”.I believe this would be a good idea because of the success they have had in the film industry. Also because of the similarity of the films they have distributed to ours.
Below is the poster for the film “Black Swan” and there is the key aspects of it annotated.
This film poster shares some of the same characteristics as ours. For example:
In our poster we used black and white to show the contrast of good and evil. We also put the main image of Lauren holding the gun in the center of the frame. We did this to show that this frame would be of importance in the film. This is similar the black swan poster because they put the main character in the center of the picture. In our poster we used a white background so that the black image of protagonist holding the gun stood out. The black colouring of the gun links to the fact that the film is a thriller.
In addition to this I think that we may use companies such as Youtube and Netflix to advertise our product. I think this because we have already used youtube to advertise the preview for the movie. Youtube is also a great platform to use to advertise our product because you can add search filters to it before you upload the videos. These things include age restrictions, Tags (to help filter peoples searches to find our product), Descriptions and titles. Also using Netflix to promote our product would be effective because of its popularity. Promoting our product on a site with the publicity that Netflix has would impact our product immensely. This is because it would greatly increase the amount of people who watch it. This could cause our publicity to raise and could lead to us getting greater funding so we could make more movies.
What would be the audience for our media product?
This seems like the necessary age boundary if we was to make a full movie out of it. This is because of the gun violence and possible swearing for verisimilitude. We also think that this age is appropriate for this film because the people who are in it are just above this age. This allows the audience to understand and identify more about the characters. If the audience is able to relate to the characters there is a chance it could trigger emotions such as empathy towards the protagonist or fear among the audience. This could cause them to be intrigued and want to watch the entire film. When we were in the research stage we found that most target audiences for thriller films are aged 15 and above. So we thought that we should aim to have the target audience of peopled aged 15-40. As the thriller genre is based around scares and intense, riveting scenes, we thought that thriller movies shouldn’t be watched by people under the age of 11. From the overall look of our product there is no real specific target audience so we thought that 15-40 was a necessary age boundary.
For the gender there is no real specification. Thriller movies are not like action or romance which is almost exclusively only aimed at one gender. It generally encompasses all. With violence (Hunting), men would be naturally attracted to it more than woman. However subconsciously humans are drawn to their own gender therefore woman would be drawn after seeing a female character. Also the antagonist in the opening title sequence is unknown as to what gender they are which could attract both genders as their is no definite answer at that point.
In our title sequence there was no real race controversy so there is no real attraction to any particular race. This would be good for us if we made it into a film because it means that we would be able to attract a broader audience meaning more people would watch it. However this may not be as popular as some films that have controversial topics in them that would attract a larger audience because of the controversy.
How did you attract and address your audience?
Before Josie started to create the final edit I made a preview for the sequence. This attracted our audience because they got a base idea of what it was going to be about. This preview didn’t contain any of the key features that our final edit did such as the voice over or the colour correction. I did this to make it ambiguous before the actual release of the sequence. As I was the producer I thought that I should help out in the promotion of the final sequence so I think this was a good thing to do. I think this worked quite well because it made it so the audience knew what kind of footage to expect but we surprised them with the additional effects and voice over. In the preview there is a gun involved, this was effective because it allows the audience to make a link between the poster for the movie and the preview. Having this gun in the trailer could have attracted a larger male audience because stereo typically men tend to be intrigued with any film with guns in it.
In addition to this we made a poster for the film. We did this so that the audience could look at it and try to predict and think about what the movie entices.
We made the poster black and white because we tried to reflect the bluntness of her life or death situation. In addition to this we made the gun the black colour because it represents evil, death and fear. We thought this was relevant because it shows that the gun and the hunting is the evil in the scene and the white background represents the innocence of the protagonist.
Also we did not show her face on purpose. We did this so that we did not give anything away about the film/opening title sequence. I think this was effective because it gave nothing away to the audience, this meant that they were intrigued to watch the preview.
In conclusion I think that the evidence I provided shows that we used multiple techniques in order to attract and address our audience well. We did this by considering the camera, editing, sound and mise en scene created a meaning to our product. This made it so the audience was always focused and wanting to watch all of the action.
Audience survey and results: Quantitive analysis
This survey was the one we took before we started to create out product. We asked questions about what they thought of our idea. Our first question was if they found the use of shadows effective when creating an atmosphere. The results are shown below:
This was helpful to us because our inspiration for the shadows was from the film “no country for old men” and seeing that 97% of people who voted found shadows effective was good to hear because it followed our idea. I was happy with the amount of people who voted swell 44 people was a good amount to show a clear result.
Our next question was “which type of dialogue do you prefer?” This question was one of the most important ones because it was the most effective feature of the whole sequence.
The results of this showed that more people wanted dialogue from the characters in the scene than a voice over or no dialogue at all. When we took this survey we were unsure ourselves as to what kind of audio we wanted to use so this was very helpful. We made a no dialogue draft and it wasn’t as good as the one with the voice over. Due to the plot of our sequence it was extremely difficult to implement dialogue from the characters in the scene as it was a solo role. We could have added dialogue if we introduced the hunter but we wanted to keep it ambiguous for the actual film.
The following question was about whether the audience would want a male main character or a female main character. This question was vital to us because we wanted to challenge the normal convention of a thriller film.
The results of the survey showed that 80% of people did not mind what gender the main character was. But from the male to female votes, the male won. This gave us the idea to challenge convention and use a female character for the lead role. This was effective because it allowed us to mix up the normal conventions of a thriller. This was good in our piece because it made it so the audience were surprised and added contrast as it was a female wielding a gun in the mist en scene.
The next question was whether the audience thought that having dark lighting was more effective in thriller films than bright lighting.
This was a question that influenced our decision quite a lot. we didn’t know what kind of lighting to use because we didn’t know if we wanted to challenge convention or not but in the survey 100% of the 20 people who voted thought that dark lighting was better in thriller films than bright lighting. This encouraged us to use the darker lighting. I think this was the correct decision
The next question was what is your age. This was effective because it allowed us to get a target audience.
In the results its showed that 75% of the 200 that voted were in the age band of 14-16. This gave us the initiative to put the age boundary 15 because it is in the middle of the two. Realistically it would be better if we had more results but we did not publish it on Facebook or any other social media so we didn’t get an efficient amount of results. However these results did match our expectations of the age band.
Final Screening Feedback
We spoke to our class after the final screening and asked some questions. Here are the questions we asked
Do you prefer the sequence with or without sound?
Our previous draft didn’t have any sound so we asked the class whether they thought it was better with or without sound. The whole class thought it was more effective with sound.
Do you think the music was effective?
The whole class thought the music was effective. This is good as we added it after getting feedback from them before which suggested we should ass music.
Do you think the lighting was good?/better than before?
When asked the first part of the question, Only around half of the class thought the lighting was good however mostly all thought it was better than before. This was good as it was out main thing that we wanted to improve from the previous draft
Is the voice-over effective?
Similar to the music, we added this after feedback suggested it would improve the title sequence. The majority of the class thought that the voice over was effective.
Does the title sequence make you want to watch the whole film?
The majority of the class would like to watch on. This shows that we were successful with the idea we wanted to carry out.
After the initial feedback from the class after the screening I asked multiple individuals from my family and other friends of mine.
43 year old female- “Its actually quite good i think i would watch the whole thing if i had the option!”
30 year old male- ” I really like the suspense created with the music and voice over”
15 year old male- ” I like it but I’m not sure about the dark yellow colour correction”
20 year old female “I love the fact that a female was used as the main character! Its so different from normal thriller films, i want to watch the whole thing”
From this feedback I was really pleased with the amount of positive comments about our piece. The best comment for me was the one saying she liked the fact we used a female as the main character. This made me happy because it shows that our risk of challenging convention was effective.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
From the experience of making this task I did no learn anything about the programs used (AE, PP and PS) because I already have a very good understanding of all the technologies used. This is because I use after effects and premier pro regularly to create personal projects that I upload to my YouTube channel. Although I was not the editor I watched what Josie did and I think she learned a lot through the experience. We did not have to pay for the use of Premier pro because Josie already had it installed on her laptop. In our continuity task our D.O.P had some experience with using a camera before because she made short montages of her trips to certain countries. This was good because she was able to explain to the group how she was doing things with the camera. As I had no experience with using a camera like that in my life it was a good to find out some things about it for future reference. The camera that we used was Josie’s Nikon D3200 camera.The quality of it was good as it was able to be rendered in 1080p. This made it so the cinematography of the footage was amazing (the lighting and the CC contributed to the quality but the camera was the main factor.) In our continuity task we got given the improvement of using a tripod to make the footage less shaky. So in the main task we bought a tripod in attempts to improve the stability of the footage. By doing this we made the footage seem smoother and more professional. Using premier pro allowed us to implement things such as the colour correction and the titles. In addition to this I did learn a lot about the creation and use of blogs. When creating this project we all used blogs as a source to publish our findings (WordPress). For example in the research stage we posted all the film reviews and textual analysis’ to our blog accounts. This experience of using blogs was vey helpful for me because it made me realise that i could publish things to the internet whilst including things such as videos, screenshots and pictures. Before this experience of making our product I had no idea about how to create a blog of my own . This experience has helped me because now when I need to publish my research publicly to the internet I now have a reliable source that I know how to use to do so.
Also I learned about lighting and how it can be adapted to create better film. In the filming process we used multiple different lighting to get the best footage possible. We tried using lighting at all sorts of angles in order to get the best one. We tried creating moonlight through shining a high power touch through the window, we tried shining iPhone lights in different directions of the room to create a dark and mysterious feel to the footage. From this experience I have learned of different ways to create moods and colour to film by using different kinds of lighting. This will be effective in the future for when i do similar projects to this.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Since we made the preliminary task I feel like I have made a huge improvement to my personal skill in film making. Initially I felt like I was beginning to struggle with all the technical terms and understanding what they meant. But as time went on I started to understand and gradually got better and better at understanding everything. Before the preliminary task I personally thought that it would be easy to create both the preliminary and the main task because I did not take into consideration of the the technical aspects of film making like Camera, Editing, Sound and mise en scene. But once I discovered there was much more to it than just recording a story line I asked other members of my group to educate me on these technical features. Luckily in my group they all had a pretty good knowledge of what was required of us in the preliminary task so our group work was better than I expected. But, for this task i did not have much influence on the idea because i felt as if I was not one to talk seeing as I had the least knowledge in the group. I think this affected our preliminary task because the idea that we had was not good and had little detail to it or any complex ideas involved. But this task was to test our understanding of continuity rather than our ability to come up with a cool idea. The sound that we used for this task was bad because of multiple factors. Firstly the actor we used was one of our peers’ little sister. This was bad for us because she did not fully understand the task in which we were meant to do. When she was acting she had her keys and her phone in her pockets with made it so that you could hear them rattling and banging together in the sound of the clips. This made the audio bad and made it sound unprofessional. This also affected the mise en scene because the audience constantly saw her grabbing her pocket trying to prevent her keys from making a noise. The second problem that we encountered was that we could not find a sound track that fitted our footage. This was a problem because it meant that Josie had to make her own soundtrack to put over the footage. This soundtrack that was made didn’t fit our footage in my opinion. So we knew this was something that needed to be improved for the final task. I find it truly amazing how you can convert a series of regular short clips into a sequence of shots which have the ability to intrigue the audience for long periods of time. After completing this task we became a lot more knowledgeable of the technical aspects of film. Personally I think that the task as a whole was successful because we got to learn a lot more about film than we did before hand, however I think that the finished task was not up to standard with what I wanted it to be.
During this process we learned how to make an efficient shot. The story board that we created for our continuity task was brief and didn’t explain anything very well Our story board that we created for our main task made sure that we didn’t forget anything that we decided on in the filming stage.In addition to this having a detailed story board allowed me us to exploit various camera angles that we were unaware of in the continuity task.. At first we were debating whether to make an animatic but we decided not to do so because we thought that it was not necessary. As our title sequence didn’t have any diegetic sound we had to record the voice over separately. To do this we used an iPhone. At first we wasn’t sure whether it would come out in good quality because we thought it may pick up background noise but it was actually really successful. we were going to attempt to use a studio mic but as the sound from the iPhone came out well we did not think it was necessary. At the time of making the continuity task we had not done any research into the genre or our task. This changed later on before we did our main task. For this research we did 10 textual analysis’ of the opening title sequences of thriller films and 10 film reviews of the thriller genre. Doing this research has helped me to understand the traits and conventions of the thriller genre. This research experience has allowed me to be able to use these traits and conventions in my own media product (Camera, Editing, Lighting, Mise en scene, and sound).
If we were to improve anything about our final product we would add in black bars to create a 25% screen reduction. This would make it so the footage would be made wide screen. This was our intention from the start but we did not implement it in the end. Also if we were to do this again we would make the colour correction more realistic to a real life situation rather than a strong yellow tint.
Overall im pleased with the way our group has developed throughout the stages of creating our final task. Although there was multiple problems with our product we have still managed to overcome them and learn from them in order to improve it as a whole.