Monday, 14 March 2011

I...I don't wanna

It's time to say goodbye - enjoy reading the blog (if possible)

regret not being able to elaborate on my 'The Next Step' posts, but oh well - there's always the next blog

Omar 'sushi2300' P.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Evaluation 1 - 'In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?'

Above is a  9 frame sequence from the opening sequence of the thriller movie me and my group shot. 

The frames above will be used as examples for the conventions that will be talked about. The conventions I want to bring to attention are;
- Title + Text
- Camera movement and angles
- Camera shots/framing
- Mise-en-scene
- Editing

 Title and Text
Our opening had one of our characters 'playing' with a red liquid representing blood. With this we wanted to add red to our title to symbolise that there will be blood in the movie. The title is in the middle putting all attention on it (there's nothing much else in the frame anyway). Most thriller films (Terminator 2, The Departed) have their titles on black backgrounds or something similar. It is usually acompanied by some non-diegetic sound to set the scene. Our title is done in a simialr manner where music plays when the title is there although instead of a black there is a misty red background. Adding more red means there will be some more blood in some way in the movie, the mist adds a sense of mystery and accompanies the unseen person in the sequence as you don't see who it is (some enigma code is added).
The text (both titles and credits) used also suits a thriller movie. The font type used in 'cracked.' The text is cracked in a few places which could mean the movie or a character is also 'cracked,' he's not sane or there's something wrong with personality of th character. It could also be a glimpse of the type of genre used.

Camera Movement + Angles
We moved the camera in a few shots to follow the character as seen in this frame. We tracked the character's feet as he walked along. We also used it to follow the character up the stairs, as seen in frame 2. We also panned the camera up in one scene when the character was buttoning up the white coat (seen on frame 5).

We experimented with the high angle shot seen in frame 8. Usually this means a weakness of a character although here instead of the weakness of one character compared to another we wanted to use this high angle shot to show that that our character does have some weakness, the control he has over his 'hobby.' We didn't use any zoom elements in any of our scenes since with all the movies i've seen i havn't seen many cases in which a zoom is used. Mainly cuts/quick cuts are used when the camera wants to go closer.

Camera shots
From what i've seen the most common type of shots used in thrillers are close-ups, especially in the beginning of a movie (as seen on Se7en and Kill Bill). Another type of shot commonly used are long/establishing shots to show the audience the setting and to show where the action will be taking place. Our sequnce lacked establishing shots but mainly focused on medium close-ups (mainly of the lower body), extreme close-ups and a few close-up shots. We have examples of some mid-close ups above such as in frame 6, 8 and 9, where you see the body and hands of the character. We have an extreme close-up in frame 5 where the camera is looking at the breast pocket of the white coat our character is wearing. There is a close-up shot in frame 7 on the flasks the character is handling. This shot focuses more on what the character is doing with the objects he has available to him instead of the actual character himself.

                                                                                                        Mise-en-scene and Character Intro
The main focus on this was the lighting which wasn't too bright (although in some scenes i had to edit the brightness as there was too much natural light). Most, or probably all, thriller films focus on the lighting being dim, dark, gloomy or any other similar lighting, especially if it's a psychological thriller. Lighting is used to set a tone and atmosphere to a scene and the lighting we used was dark and gloomy. We wanted to show that it wasn't a happy movie and that it might not end in a happy ending as the first character we are introduced with is obviously not good. We are also shown in frame 6 the tools he has at his disposal. Very precise tools such as scissors, scalpels, tweezers - our character seems like he is dangerous and he doesn't like to make a mess. This could suggest he is intelligent. The location shown looks like a normal building which goes into a lab like room, not the scariest places in the world but it could suggest that the character, who is walking around the building, is very familiar with the place. We use this setting since we wanted to give off the feeling that the character is somewhere he is comfortable in and is why we we wanted to use something which looked more normal than scary.

Our editing mainly consists of cuts from one place to another following our character to where he is going and to what he doing. Many thrillers use quick jump cuts as many things are usually happening at once and the jump cuts fill in to audience what is happening. we didn't use any jump cuts since we focused on the simple idea of following one character doing what he is doing, we wanted to show the audience he is doing something but wanted them to ask the question 'what?' - since there aren't so many things going on at once we didn;t need to speed up any of the cuts and used a steady pace when going from one camera shot to the next. We got this idea not from a movie but from the openings of american drama television shows, the two main ones  'Dexter' and 'Six Feet Under.'

This opening doesn't include credits but the main focus is the shots and how it cuts from one to the other.

Evaluation 2 - 'How does your media product represent particular social groups?'

We have the female gender being shown as the weaker sex in our sequence. We didn't focus much on the character itself for too long as she wasn't the main factor in the sequence. Although if seen in this frame one can see that she's a young female probably in her late teens or early 20's - we've shown her as being tied up and a victim of a male villain.

Our main idea was to focus on the male character and what he was doing. We didn't show much of the male character but we wanted character type similar to Christian Bale's character in 'American Psycho' who was a successful business man wanting to fit in with urges to murder. Like in 'American Psycho' there is a male character who is dominant to the female gender (as seen on the right) just like in our sequence. Since we didn't give a lot of information on our male character we can't say much about ethnicity but our main idea was to show a normal everyday male who can't control his urges to murder, like the character in 'American Psycho.' 

Evaluation 3 - 'What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?'

'Psyche' is a more of an independent film which would be based in the United Kingdom. The first idea is that it could be directly sent to DVD instead of going on screens, although taking the movie and showing it in film festivals (eg. Sundance) could be a goos first step to see how well it does. We can them decide what the best decision would be for the movie.

The UK film council has been distributing and funding movies for 10 years including films such as Kidulthood and Bafta and Oscar winning 'The King's Speech.' Although a comapny like Paramount Pictures may be more reliable, since they have been around for nearly 100 years, the UK film council would be a better choice as they are situated in the UK and distribute non-mainstream movies to the audience as seen in previous movies.

Evaluation 4 - 'Who would be the audience for your media product?'

Our project is a psychological crime thriller with elements of blood, although we didn't want to put too much in as it would just be seen as a horror rather than a thriller, like the 'Saw' franchise. Our main inspirations were movies such as 'Se7en' and television openings from 'Dexter' and 'Six Feet Under'- this was for our film opening idea. We got a character idea from the movie 'American Psycho' and wanted to do something similar. Both 'Se7en' and 'American Psycho' are classed as 18 where most of the audience for it were males aged 18 and above;
Above is a demograpgh breakdown that displays viewers ratings on the movie Se7en. Most males and females above 18 rated highly, the younger generation and those above 45 rated lower. There is also many more men who rated meaning more men watched the film.

We did not want to be restricted to just 18 and older so we wanted something similar along the lines of those 2 movies but not as gruesome so that it could only be watched by 18+. By getting information from our questionairres from many school mates (aged 15-18) we figured out how to tone it down so that the movie would appeal to 15 year olds as well as 18 and above (18-26).

The target audience of our product is between 15-25 years old, older teens to mid twenties. By looking at movies such as Se7en and American Psycho we decided that our movie would fit that audience range the most due to the type of genre it is and the content that is displayed on scene. Our product also shows blood meaning there would probably be a bit of action in there as well as a male character being the dominant gender. Many movies with similar genres show males as the dominant. This means that our movie would also target males more than females.

Evaluation 5 - 'How did you attract/address your audience?' 

This video answers the above question and is about the project that i was part of. Unfortunately i cannot upload the video on my blog at the time although it will be uploaded asap.

Evaluation 6 - 'What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?'

There are many different programmes and applications form websites that we used to make our media products. Some new to us while others we found familiar, there were those that took time to get used to where a few we got the hang of straight away.

The first new product, at least to me, was the use of a Mac conmputer. Personally I had never used one before and it took a little time to get used to. But it is because of this that we were able to use some of the programmes needed to make our media product as some applications only work on a Mac computer.

We also had access to a sony HD camcorder which was where we filmed all our scenes and takes. There weren't many problems with the use of the camera and it didn't take too long for us to get used to using it. The addition of a dolly helped with a couple of shots. 

The first application we used was blogger which we needed a google account for. It allowed us to make a blog so we can record all our work on the number of different blogs we have. As it is accessable via the internet a browser was also required, i personally used Safari. 

Safari was the main browser that i used to do most of my work and research. I also used mozilla firfox many times but not as often as safari which i used both at school and at home.

We were then introduced to the non-linear editing software Final Cut Express. This is where most of our video editing happpened. All the cuts twe shot with the camera were put on the Mac and then put in Final Cut Express so that we could get the best takes and fit them in the scene to make a flowing sequence called our thriller opening sequence.
- The interface of the Final Cut Express application

We also used the Adobe After Effects application available to us, more specifically Adobe After Effects CS4. In here we did some of the video editing and added a few effects, well the only thing we changed of the video was the brightness and contrast. We mainly used this application to create and work with the text and integrate it with the video.

Garageband is another useful application we used which is only for the Mac. We used this and the enormous number of loops it provided us to create our soundtrack for our opening sequence. It had a wide range of sounds from a great number of instruments as well as other more 'wacky' sounds.

The ever so popular youtube allows you to upload your own videos as well as watch what other people have done. This site was one of the most useful in terms of research into other thriller film openings and allowed us to embed those videos to show exactly which ones we did research.

What work would be complete without the use of Google. Probably the most important factor for our research it allowed us to find many different sites, including art of the title, IMBD and more, for our research.