Thursday, 17 April 2014

Looking back to your preliminary task, how do you feel you have learnt in progression from it to the final product?

Without a doubt the most successful area of our task was in editing. In our group, we were fortunate enough to have someone who was familiar with Final Cut Pro thus was about to shoot the sequence with an eye for the final editing. Without the editing the shots what we had filmed were a series of still shots or very little movement, the Bad TV effect gave significantly more movement than what we had shot. I also feel the intensity of the background music created tension in the piece, enhancing the title sequence all together.

Another thing that could be considered to have gone well was the pre-production planning. We had some initial idea changes but that shows advances in our ideas. Our research into killers and their backgrounds and how they’re portrayed in the media and film led us to being able to accurately create a character than could be deemed to be successful in our film.

The least successful part of our task could be considered to be the actual filming. We shot for far longer than we had first set out too, due to the hiccups we experienced when beginning to edit. The first camera we used was a poor decision on my part because the auto-focus was an apparent error as we couldn’t control what we wanted to focus therefore needing to re-shoot more than once with a different camera. Also as mentioned above, the idea changed a few times which led to confusion within the group but I feel this wasn’t too much of a down fall for the final piece.

Finally, I have learnt that pre-production and well thought out planning are handy in filming. Having the correct camera and knowing what you want to film saves a lot of time and means you can do the editing sooner to make your sequence look as good as you anticipate.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

During the process of creating our title sequence, we learnt a lot about the importance of knowing how to use the equipment we had hired out properly. We were also able to use film and TV information website IMDB to look at various actors which could be used for the film and what goes into making a piece of professional film (what needs to be included in the pre-production etc).

In the production of the sequence we used two cameras. We started with a Canon Powershot SX170 Compact Digital Camera and did pick up shots and final shots with a Canon EOS 1100D 12MP DSLR. We started with the Powershot because it shot in 720p and seemed suitable for what we needed. It was all good only it takes AA batteries and only has autofocus. 12 batteries later and a dozen blurry shots we gave up on day one of filming. When shooting again we borrowed a Canon DSLR and this was far easier and more successful for shooting with. It focused on the areas we wanted and the battery lasted far longer, which was beneficial. The manual focus meant we could get some extremely close up with a shallow depth of field.

The first day of filming had challenges to it, a) because of the camera used, b) because of the lighting. On the camera screen, the lighting we used looked fine but on the iMac was nowhere near ideal. We had only used a key light rather than a fill light and key light. We re-shot these shots with a brighter light and better camera and they come out fine.

In editing we used Final Cut Pro, which had everything we needed. Many of our shots were stills and in editing we split the screen and put on the Bad TV effect, which gave it a jittery and static look. For the shots that we had first filmed, we used colour correction software to lighten up some shots because the first day of shooting was too dark. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

How did you attract/address your audience?

In our media product, a 2-minute title sequence to our film ‘Post Mortem’, we wanted to appeal to a certain target audience. To do this we had to make sure key features of the horror/thriller genre were met. Our primary audience is men aged 15 – 30 and through research we found that they were the highest proportion of people to consume a film of this type. Our secondary audience is women also of this age bracket, especially age 15 -19. Once knowing the target audience we had to use different things that would keep the interest of your viewers.

When planning the sequence and thinking of those who could star in the film, we looked for what is popular today in TV and film. TV shows such as Doctor Who, Dexter and Sherlock are incredibly popular at the moment especially with the 15 – 19 female age bracket, and having Arthur Darvill – ex Doctor Who star – star in it could attract this audience. Furthermore, we have Matthew McConaughey as our main star to attract the fans of Dallas Buyers Club, Magic Mike and The Wolf Of Wall Street, all of who fit into the remaining target audience bracket.

I asked 15 people on the social networking site Tumblr who had a username that had something to do with Doctor Who whether they would go to see Arthur Darvill in a film. I received 10 responses, 8 said they probably would as they would like to see him act as someone else and the others didn't like him as Rory anyway.

Feedback from our audience has been incredibly positive. Many said they enjoyed it thoroughly and felt the sequence was clever and well made, in intriguing the audience into the rest of the film. The only negative feedback we received was that it is “possibly too derivative of Se7en”, which is completely understood and we did take a huge amount of inspiration from that title sequence.

Our work could be improved through doing what come up in some of the original planning sessions, which was to have more cuts to key pieces of the film – like the strangling – which would split the sequence up more and forebode what could happen in the film.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

On the whole, I feel our title sequence didn’t particularly represent any wide ranging social groups; it focuses on one person, a murderer. In reality killers come few and far between but in film and TV, serial killers and murderers are a common theme and have been for some years, with shows like Midsummer Murders, Dexter and Poirot. We tried to use this current interest in the genre to our advantage.

Those in society that are murderers are often portrayed as psychotic, which generally they are. We had to use this generic representation of killers in our title sequence to make it familiar to viewers. We did this by in editing using the Bad TV effect which made it look like static from a TV. This effect could be said to work in turn to the scattered and chaotic mind of a killer.

Traditionally, film and TV that focuses on a serial killer rarely reveals them early in the film let alone in the title sequence. We didn’t reveal his full identity though, keeping to dark, close up shots of the killer. This cinematography used keeps the secrecy of the killer, to not give anything away from them.

Monday, 24 March 2014

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our group’s title sequence followed the general conventions of a thriller/suspense film – being in a dark and eerie setting, usually a shed/lab or back alley area. We wanted to establish recognisable image that would be familiar with our audience. Through research into the genre we found that many of the title sequences’ story had something to do with the outcome of the film plot.

We looked into a number of title sequences to get a feel for what we wanted ours to look like. Our main inspiration was Se7en. Se7en is a simple title sequence, yet effective in creating anticipation for the film. 

Our film narrative is based on a very clever mass murderer who leaves subtle clues and riddles for the police to pick up on. The film is more focused on the chase from the police rather than the murderer. This is contrary to out title sequence, which focuses on the killers lair, where he plans and looks back on previous killings. We did this in the title sequence as it saves time in the film, as the a little background on the killer has been shown.

Many of our camera shots were very close up, burring out the surroundings or only having a key light focusing on one area that blacked out the background, which puts focus on the object in frame. We used the occasional canted angle to just vary the shots that we used, as most of the movement was added in editing. We didn’t have any panning or moving shots because of how close up and detailed the still shots were. In editing we used the Bad TV effect to create movement, rather than just having still images.

The background sound we used was in the genre of ‘industrial’ or ‘industrial metal’, which is a heavy and intense sound. We used this as it build up suspense and horror in the title sequence. The as the music moved on, it gradually got heavier and more haunting until the light went out and the music dulled down again.

The mise-en-scene of the title sequence was very dark, small and cramped. It was based in a shed therefore we needed to convey the size. We used many close up shots; this meant the viewer feels closer to the killer and what is happening as they can see every little detail of his workbench and his hands in some shots. As there are no panning shots the audience can only see from what’s burred out behind the main object, this could be said to create suspense.

Our typography is a scratchy front, which looks like someone has written the words and then back gone over them a few times. This could be said to be the killer’s handwriting, as it looks very erratic. Furthermore, it fits very stereotypically into the suspense/thriller genre.

Finally, our title sequence doesn’t necessarily challenge the conventions of traditional media in this genre, rather fits perfectly into it. We wanted it to be clear as to what the film would be about and we feel we have achieved that.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Title Sequence Feedback

On Wednesday we previewed our title sequence to the class. These are the feedback sheets.

The main feedback was that some of the shots were too long and that it was closely related the the Se7en title sequence. Liam has since re-edited the sequence and cut down shots.