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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Introduction to camera

Before we were allowed to begin any kind of filming we were introduced to the camera that we'll be working with to produce our final piece and also the practice excercise we'll be doing. we were shown how to turn on and turn off the camera. However, there were a few basic rules that we had to follow ; such as :
  • Making sure the lense isnt covered whilst filming ; otherwise nothing will be seen
  • Not to expose the camera to water/rain
  • Make sure the battery and Memory cards are inserted correctly
  • When filming on the tripod make sure the camera is situated properly as it will fall off if it isnt
  • Make sure the legs of the tripod are stable and are done up well
  • Instead of using the zoom button that is on the camera ....we should use the handheld method to get a close up as the image will be less shakey
  • If there is a lot of dialogue going on then we should use the microphone that comes with the camera ; if there isnt much dialogue then we should just use the camera itself as there is a built in microphone

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Lurpak Sequence

In Class we watched a Lurpak advert which contained very interesting shots and angles in which it has been filmed in to make things look more dominant. Out of 10 I'd personally give this advert a 10 as everything happens to be so right! ....When it first begins the dim lighting adds a Gloomy & scary kind of sense to the atmosphere. The low angle, when the camera goes through a path between a jar (i think) and other things lined up in the kitchen is very effective. It makes the things in the kitchen look dominant and adds onto the dim lighting and the soundtrack playing. The soundtrack gives us a sense that the most greatest thing is being accomplished.
There are various amounts of close ups which allow us to see the detail on particular objects that play an important role in the Advert. When the camera zooms into the mans eyes whilst looking into fridge, this is a very effective close up as it shows how he's glooming into the fridge to decide on what he wants. The finger tapping close up adds onto the close up of his eye....this shows that he's impatient and cant decide on what to choose. The way in which the egg has been cracked into the bowl and splattered everywhere is very amusing and then its being battered and we're able to see this because of the extreme close up. The close up of the Lurpak butter allows the viewers to see what the whole advert is about. The use of slow motion throughout the advert gives a dramatic sense and allows the viewers to focus on the way that the omelet is being made. From the advert Ive learnt a lot about the use of close ups and slow motion & what effect it can have on the viewers. This inspires me to add some of these aspects into my groups thriller. 

Match Cut Exercise - Jelly Bean 'Animatic' Storyboard

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Font Analysis

"Fonts convey an emotion without actually having to say the words." - Neville Brody

Last week we studied the different kind of fonts that exist, as it will be an important aspect to think about for the thriller opening we will be creating. All fonts can be divided into two simple subtypes: 'serif' and 'sans serif' fonts...

Fonts like the examples on the right contain little 'tails' on the ends of its letters. These details are called 'serifs', so they can be classed as serif fonts. They are normally used to give an old-fashioned and formal feel, or at least in comparison to the fonts below. Serif fonts are commonly used for blocks of texts - it is said that the serifs help guide the reader along the page, thus improving readability.

Example of a serif
The examples to the left are knows as sans-serif fonts (from the French word 'sans', meaning 'without'). They tend to be used to suggest a more contemporary and approachable appearance, and are considered informal. Despite the generally accepted idea that serifs improve ease of reading, sans-serif fonts are also considered acceptable for bodies of text. However, sans-serif fonts are still typically used more for headers and titles.

Next we looked at film poster examples for the kind of message these two different types of fonts can convey...

Both of these posters use different styles of font effectively to convey different moods for their audiences effectively. It wouldn't be appropriate in either case if a colourful quirky font was chosen at random. When creating the titles for our thriller opening we will have to carefully choose an appropriate font as something as seemingly little as using the wrong kind of font could ruin the whole scene and mood that we'd be trying to create.

(Images made by myself)


Intertextuality is a term used to define the borrowing of aspects from films. Many films that seem to be original have borrowed alot from previous films. sections are taken out of different films and being put together. Some of the things that are borrowed could be camera angles, costumes (mise en scene), methods of editing and alot more.

The student film succubus borrrows alot of aspects from the famous shower scence in the film PSYCHO, this is intertextuality.
This is one of many ways in which intertextuality is used ....

This is a clip from the film psycho, the camera focuses on the water and it looks as if it has a strong effect. It focuses on the shower

Here is a clip from the student film succubus, as you can see intertextuality is used. the camera focuses on the the strength of the water and the shower.

The structure of opening sequences

Ive already posted something on title sequences, however i forgot to mention what you actually call them and some of the main things they contain.
Discrete Title Sequence:
A discrete title sequence contains features that are not linked to the film what so ever. Many of the shots are close ups of the lead character and the title sequence contains stylized editing. The soundtrack is the only sound you can hear and there are no digetic sounds included. This is why its discrete!.....Examples of this would be seven and the step father. 

A Narrative Opening with the Titles running throughout:
A narrative opening introduces to us the setting/location first as they feel this is the most important thing ....different to a discrete title which has nothing to do with the film ...the narrative title sequence has something to do with the film. Panic room is a great example of this as we are shown all the buildings and we get sense that its in the city. The opening sequence of  panic room is really interesting as the names of the cast, directors etc are all made to look as if its part of the building.

Titles over a blank screen:
In this kind of opening sequence no images are shown and the casts, producers, directors are shown over a blank screen. I don't think theres anything interesting about these kind of title sequences and the only thing so cool about them is probably how the letters of the title names have been placed and situated onto the title sequence. E.g. Dead Calm 

Stylized Editing:
Stylized editing is when there are mainly two different screens that allow viewers to the main character(s) in two different angles. Its somehow a narrative opening ....the titles are also shown

Analysis Of Thriller Title Sequences

In class, we studied a variety of thriller films, focusing on their title sequences.The three main ways that a title sequence could look like is either a plain background, still image or moving images. It could be difficult to identify whether a film is a horror, romance, thriller etc only by just looking at a title sequence with a plain background. However the background isnt the main focus in title sequences that are set out like this. Its the way the lettering is placed, the fonts used and the colours that are used which allows it to look like the title sequence of a thriller film. An example of a thriller that is set out like this could be DEAD CALM.
 When its a still image then the audience have to interpret it in their own way. The moving image title sequences gives us a little hint of what the film will be about and who the main characters are.

Plain Background

Still Image

I analysed the title sequence of Marathon Man. The things that are included within the title sequence and their timings are:
  • Production company...0:06
  • Intro... 0:17
  • Producers... 0:21
  • Main Producer... 0:22
  • Acts... 0:47
  • Title of the film... 1:00
  • Co Starring ... 1:25
  • Music Composed/conducted by... 1:31
  • Edited by... 1:32
  • Production designer... 1:37
  • Associate Producer... 1:38
  • Director of Photography... 1:42

Friday, 21 January 2011

Rules for Equipment - Tripod

Tripods are another piece of equipment that the media department provide. These are useful for taking steady shots, they do a much better job of filming steadily than humans do (as they do not live), also if the camera was set to a slow shutter speed then the slightest movement can disturb an image – making it blurry. Using a tripod creates better framing and focus, especially when the zoom on the camera is being used.

There also happened to be rules for the tripod (YAY):
1.    To achieve a straight shot, the legs of the tripod must be fully extended, or if on an unlevel ground, use the spirit level attached onto the tripod to see whether it stands level or not.
-       Make sure the legs are locked into place to avoid the sudden unlevel-ness of the tripod. Unsecure legs could put both you and the camera at risk!
2.    Pick up your tripod if you want to move it.
-       DO NOT drag it! This will result to loose hinges! -__-
3.    Never leave it out in the rain unless it is protected with a waterproof cover or and umbrella. Rain can make the tripods rust (N)

Rules for Equipment - Camera

Having researched more about the genre thriller and looked into examples of thriller movies we were ready to get up and running with some experimental filming. During a Wednesday’s lesson with Bernard, we had the media technician to come into out class to teach us the basic rules of handling the media equipment. The JVC GY-HM100 is the smallest professional format video camera available to our department, we had the privilege to use such equipment to create our thrillers (well, thank YOU mediaaaaaa.) Having a slick and compact gadget like the JVC GY-HM100 made it idealistic to use, where as bigger sized camera would be impractical especially for tight spaced environments where its operation could be an unsafe situation.

The media technician started off with a few jokes to wake the class up before he mentioned a list of rules that must be obeyed when having access to the cameras, doing this made filming safer and practical (oh and also ‘fun’ – says the technician)
1.     Be sure that the camera is always in a safe place, this could either be in it’s bag or in your hand.
1.     it must never be left on the floor unattended or on a surface that could damage the camera. You must treat it with full care and respect.
2.     The SD card must be slotted into the camera the right way.
2.     If it won’t go in then take the hint that you could be inserting it the wrong way, DO NOT force! This will result to damaging both the camera and sd card.
3.      The viewfinder and lens must always be cleaned with a soft piece of material (cleaning cloth)
3.     You must avoid touching them anyway to prevent fingerprints being left on.
4.     Return ALL equipment back to the media technician room when you have finished using them, or if your time slot ended.
-       Do not rely on someone who is not in your group to bring it back.
5.     Make sure you turn off the camera whenever you are not using it.
- Do not leave it on for a long amount of time if you are not using it. Preserve the battery (you may find it a lot easier to not have to keep charging the camera if you follow that rule)

Response to 'Watching' Documentary

Today we watched the BBC2 documentary 'Watching: Beginnings', which explored the notion of film openings. Thomas Sutcliffe explained the need for films 'to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible'. What he means by this is that whilst some films may go straight into an exciting opening to thrill the audience, an opening that builds up the audience to want to continue watching is better. This 'instant arousal' is risky, as suggested by director Jean Jacques Beineix, as you'll have to 'answer the questions', which you may never be able to achieve. If a film peaks in the opening, then the rest of the film will have the audience waiting for something that will never happen, which will just lead to disappointment.

"...a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little"

Why? If the audience knows too little, then they won't have any interest in the film; but if the audience are fed the information slowly, building up the tension of finding out how the plot will unfold, then they will be eager to carry on watching.

Critic Stanley Kauffmann described what was once called 'the classic opening' - 'a film began with an establishing shot of New York City ... then the camera went up a building ... then it went in the window, then it went past the receptionist desk to the private office and there sat Cary Grant'. What he means by this is the fact that once film openings would always tell its audience where the film was taking place, the occupation of the character, etc. where everything was what was expected.

The title sequence by Kyle Cooper for the film Se7en is one that is well-known; it is unsettling but exciting, and so effective because it wakes everyone up and feels like it is part of the film. Another opening is that of Orson Welles' A Touch of Evil. Welles originally wanted no titles or score over the opening, but Universal Studios disagreed. Needless to say, Welles wasn't pleased (to the point of his writing a 58-page memo to the head of production); he wanted to plunge the viewer straight into the plot, without unnecessary distractions.

A favourite trick of film noir, as observed in the 1995 film 'Casino', is to begin a film with the ending. The result is a film comprising of flashback(s) leading up to the events shown at the start. Arguably, it is an effective technique; if done right the viewer will be left wanting to know what happened in the lead-up to that scene.

"'s also a quality many great beginnings share, they feel like a destination as much as a departure point, looking ahead to what is to come"

The opening to The Shining is full of suspense, and is a prime example of how you can take a seemingly ordinary opening and turn it on its head. 'On first sight the beginning ... is merely picturesque, the easy uplift of a helicopter shot; but on a second viewing, you can see that the screen is full of omens'. Through the striking scenery the camera sinisterly follows the car from above, 'like a predator', and we notice that the only other cars are driving in the opposite direction. It's clear that they're heading for disaster. Kubrick wanted 'to establish an ominous mood during Jack's first drive up to the hotel - the vast isolation and eerie splendor of high mountains, and the narrow, winding roads which would become impassable after heavy snow'. It is these subtle clues and foreboding mood that creates an unnerving opening to an equally unnerving film.

Thriller theme & a good thriller film ...

Thriller movies usually have the common theme of dark, mysterious and frightening - A good thriller showcases intense excitement: building up suspense, tension and anticipation of things to come.
Put emphasis on the pacing of the movie during editing & simple cuts can simply be spliced together for scenes that evoke the feeling of suspicion. Also sound, music and silence to evoke the needed emotions in every scene. Creatively infusing these elements in accordance to the visuals shown on the screen creates the needed thrilling mood and atmosphere for a thriller movie.

Digital technology - what affects can do

Digital technology has greatly influenced the way protagonists and antagonists have a go at each other in any action flick. It enabled filmmakers to create stunts that otherwise are impossible to do if not with the use of digital graphics. Superheroes and villains come to life and the action and suspense genre has never been the same. Movie entertainment is indeed very satisfying through the development and advancement of the action and suspense genre.

The Psychology of Movement

The study of movement psychology found that ‘movement’ is
controlled by deeper emotions. This means that ‘attitude and
emotion can change movement’ as well as ‘movement can change
emotion and attitude.’

Introduction to Cameras

We were first introduced to the camera equipment on the 13th of January, where we were taught the basics such as: turning the camera on, changing the battery and memory cards, focusing the lens, and using other parts of the interface. In this lesson our group was given the task of filming a game of cards in a thrilling way. We briefly brainstormed in the form of a storyboard, and the next day we put our ideas into action. Before filming we were informed about the safety rules while using the camera equipment. Luckily for our first practice film, we did not have to worry about these rules too much as we filmed entirely in a single room in the college.

Do not...
- Film in any dangerous locations
- Commit any felonies while filming (for example trespassing)
- Let the equipment be exposed to water (as this will cause damage).

During filming we learnt the importance of pre-production i.e. planning and storyboarding. Our storyboard wasn't very thorough, and we hadn't decided on what shots to film beyond the beginning. Since we had an idea of how we wanted the film to start (straight into the 'action' of the card game) we filmed those shots and then had to improvise a little. Despite the slight lack of planning, we managed to include three out of the four required shots (ECU, POV and OTS shots) from the brief.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Title Sequence Analysis - Timeline.

From this class exercise i have had a batter understanding for the order and the where abouts of titles in the opening sequence. Hopefully this will be useful for our future thriller title sequence!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


This video was made using iMovie, the one media programme i CAN use :')

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Intertextuality in Film

Intertextuality in a film is the referencing of visual content with that of another film. Simply, it is responding to something that's been done, by 'borrowing' it. This can be observed in in the example of Psycho (1960) - to be precise, the well-known shower scene - that has influenced many a film, including The Stepfather (2009). Like Psycho, many of Hitchcock's films have been influential due to their landmark nature in the history of modern film.

We saw intertextuality in action through the films Fatal Attraction (1987), The Stepfather (2009) and What Lies Beneath (2000), as well as the student thriller opening Succubus (courtesy of Hurtwood House School).

Immediately we recognise the obvious references to Psycho: use of knife in all examples but What Lies Beneath, the bathroom setting of all but Fatal Attraction, etc. The most interesting I found was the pull of the shower curtain in The Stepfather, especially since in this film the victim is the antagonist. In the student film Succubus, the inter-cutting of the brutal stabbing motions also paid tribute to Psycho. In neither of the scenes do we see the blade make contact with the victim, yet the choice of fast-paced shots combined with startling sound effects portray the violence in a much more realistic and shocking way than if the scene was filmed explicitly. It is this 'borrowing' that is used to great effect to create a standout scene in what otherwise is an unexciting thriller opening.

The Stepfather
Fatal Attraction

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thriller Sub Genres

A sub genre is a type of film that lies under one huge genre; however it has links to other genre's e.g HORROR
This is a list of some of the sub genres that lie under the huge THRILLER genre:

Conspiracy Thriller

Crime Thriller  ( Guns - Knives- Gangsters )

Disaster Thriller

Erotic Thriller

Legal Thriller

Mystery Thriller

Political Thriller   ( out in the open-  corrupted government  )

Psychological Thriller

Rape and Revenge Thriller

Religious Thriller

Supernatural Thriller   (  Technology & aliens  )

Techno Thriller

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Analysis of Title Sequences

On Friday we studied title sequences of thrillers and what they comprise of. I specifically looked at the titles for What Lies Beneath (2000), and immediately noticed that they were different to that of conventional films. Besides the production/distribution companies and film title, not much else is shown in the titles, as we are almost immediately plunged into the film.

Click to enlarge
The first twenty seconds comprise of the familiar ident of 20th Century Fox, who are the international distribution company for this film. The ident of the studio who released this film, ImageMovers, takes up another fifteen seconds. Further in at 0:52 we get the faded wipe of the first titles of the film: 'TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX and DREAMWORKS PICTURES Present', in a white serif font, against the murky moving background. At 1:07, in the same style: 'An IMAGEMOVERS Production'. Finally, at 1:16, in much larger lettering complete with a rippling water effect, the film title.

However, to compare we have the titles of The Stepfather (2009), which we were shown in the lesson. Like WLB, it first features the ident for its distribution company (Screen Gems), but then goes straight into the film introduction, with the titles rolling over the image (in comparison to WLB which was against a backdrop that could have easily been static). The distribution company is written again, along with the production companies, followed by the film title, actor names, and then the rest of the main crew. The latter information is what was missing from WLB, which could have been done for any number of reasons, probably either because it could distract from the film's introduction, or the actors (Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer) are well-known enough to not need their names plastered across the opening.

Other differences include the length of some of the title features: the distribution company ident of WLB is almost double that of TS. The film title is also shown in a different style: the size is much smaller with a sans-serif typeface and is not centered; but like WLB, it is in capitals. The title is black, like the rest of the titles in the film.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Thriller Sub-genres

The thriller genre is a diverse one, consisting of many sub-genres; however, they all set out to provide excitement, tension and suspense. The main sub-genres are psychological, crime and mystery thrillers, the latter of which branching off the crime genre. Many thrillers crossover with other genres, and thus there is an abundance in sub-genres for thrillers. Here are some other examples:

    Varied examples of different thrillers
    • Acquired identity
    • Action thriller
    • Alien threat
    • Good vs. Evil
    • Innocent on the run
    • Murderous passions
    • Political thriller
    • Supernatural thriller
    • Technology out of control
    • The beast as threat

      The type of thrillers that inspire me the most are psychological thrillers, as some of my favourite films fall under this genre. What appeals the most to me about these films is probably the recurring themes that run through them, e.g. the concepts of reality, the mind, perceptions, etc. and how these are coupled with thrilling plots. I suppose I also find appeal in the fact that a lot of psychological thrillers border on horror, which is a genre I also enjoy.

      My favourite psychological thrillers include: the 2001 'cult classic' Donnie Darko, which has been a firm favourite of mine for a few years now; The Butterfly Effect starring Ashton Kutcher, which spawned two god-awful sequels; Gin Gwai (The Eye), a hit Asian horror crossover, which you may know from the 2008 remake starring Jessica Alba; and live-action Japanese film Death Note, which can also be classed as a crossover of genres including psychological thriller, supernatural, and mystery.

      A couple of recent psychological thrillers I've seen are The Box (directed by Richard Kelly, best known for Donnie Darko) and Oscar-tipped Black Swan, both of which I found slightly disappointing, although I thought they had very promising premises. Other thrillers I've enjoyed include Panic Room which is one that I've liked for a long while, and more recently, the gripping Buried, set entirely in a wooden coffin.

      What lies beneath - techniques

      The most notable difference in the movie was the silence. I'd guess that about 50% of the movie was completely silent except for breathing, footsteps, creaking doors... wonderful. Seems that lately the powers-that-be just have to fit every second of the soundtrack into the movie (seems they should since now-a-days there's commercials for the soundtrack separate from the movie in many cases) in order to boost the spooky level... it rarely works. The silence in the movie just added to that tension in your shoulders and made you slowly edge up on your seat.

      Thursday, 6 January 2011

      The way the 'Killers' does it.

      Out of the four possible clips watched in class, Killers as an action comedy, shows a great way of creating suspense using the usual technical elements of film, one especially being the use of Sound.

      From 0 to 20 seconds of the clip the non-diegetic sound of background music is very upbeat and enjoyable, to the environment in the scene and to the audience behind the screen too. It creates a positive mood to the romantic dinner Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl are having, Heigl's laugh at 10 seconds is a key to this scene too, it lets us know that nothing is going wrong and the two are purely having a good far anyway. This is a perfect start to creating a dramatic change.
      The music begins to quiet at 16 seconds into the clip, at this moment the audience does not suspect anything only that more dialogue would be entering the scene any second now. HOWEVER the audience later realises there is only no dialogue coming from Kutcher as he is miles away, instead starring at some guy who looks like he came out of the 'Men in Black' set (Mise en scene). At this moment (19 seconds) the atmosphere changes, the audience start to become curious to who this guy is, and the mystery begins to create the suspense. 

      The suspense continues throughout the rest of the clip, we unravel information as the clip plays on. When Kutcher sees this all in black guy (which i had a feeling was his dad) not only does the character get distracted but the audience too, we no longer accompany Heigl to the upbeat dinner she seems to be having  as we are too busy thinking..."who the hell is that creep?" And so we join Kutcher to a small quest to find out. At 35 seconds 'men in black' guy leaves a book on the bench and the suspense begins to build, the audience wants Kutcher to GET THAT BOOK!...and so he does, at 43 seconds he excuses himself to go to the 'restroom,' Heigl on the other hand, has no idea what is going on as she is too distracted by the food. Kutcher gets to the book at 50 seconds and new information is revealed to him and to us. We know that the book was left there on purpose as the camera focus' out to the 'men in black' guy at 53 seconds, who was watching to make sure Kutcher got what he left. The camera focus' back to Kutcher and the book as he finds a note saying "cemetery 4pm - H" (your in big trouble now Kutcher, cheating on 'men in black' guy with Miss Eat-A-Lot).

      The scene changes at 1:02 revealing to us, this man alone with Kutcher. We know that our answers will be answered very soon. We find out that Kutcher knows this guy, and Heigl is put at danger if Kutcher is with her (oh no, this makes the relationship a tad complicated). The suspense disappears as the audience gets their questions sl-iiiiiightly answered. For me the answer was a bit of an anti climax, 'men in black' guy should've said "Spencer, your mum was buried in this cemetery and i was given to do a voice over in the WHSmith advert. Now give me my french book back!"

      ...just kidding. The sudden change of mood and atmosphere at 19 seconds was really effective which is why i think the suspense worked. I may take the 'sudden change' into consideration for my group thriller opening sequence.

      Wednesday, 5 January 2011

      Analysing Thriller Clips for Genres

      On Friday’s lesson, we continued to do more research on thriller-based films, we watched and analysed the opening sequences of 4 different thrillers – all categorized into different sub-genres. Doing this helped create a clearer understanding to how suspense can be created using the 4 technical elements of film.
      The first opening sequence we watched was ‘Momento,’ which is a psychological thriller, as a class we discussed why we labelled the film as psychological, and all agreed to it has we believed the slow pace and shots of each prop individually created questions so early in the film. The use of close up shots on each prop, like the glasses and the bullet made it clear that they had a significant use in the scene, the questions we ask, is why they are there?
      The opening is introduced firstly with music, sound is the first thing our brains detect and so we concentrate on how the sound can give away what type of film is being watched (if the audience didn’t know the genre for Momento). The slow, quiet entrance of violin strings gradually increases in volume, which also brings along the increase in tension, the consistent sound of string instruments like the violin, bass and cello keeps the tension flowing – just like the strings themselves.  Just as we’ve realised that the scene is actually playing backgrounds (I realised when the photograph was being but back into the Polaroid), the strings quieten down and faded into a deep and mute gloomy sound (this happening just as the camera flashes) whilst this sound is being played, the objects slowly reveal some answers (the blood was a give away that someone was dead). The mute music was broken by the sound of the gunshot and scream – this representing the sudden end of suspense.
      The titles are slightly spaced out (the gaps can represent the slow pace of the film, but that’s just me over analysing now!) The titles are static, but also transition, fade out, is added.


      ‘He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’ is a whole different concept to ‘Momento,’ judging by the title and the involvement of ‘Love’ in it, the sub-genre is most likely to be a murderous passion. The opening begins with slow camera shots of roses, in different shades of pink/red, this also gives away the ‘Romance’ label to the film as pink/red roses symbolise love. (As a further independent analysis) the sub-genre, murderous passion can be represented by the thorns on the roses, as the flower is beautiful but the thorn is ‘deadly’ (in a way, being pricked!). This gives away a hint that something is not right with the woman in the film – she can be juxtaposed as the rose.
      The music is very upbeat, it has a summery feel to it and goes well with the mise en scene – the flower shop and brightly lit setting. In my opinion, I feel this creates suspense, as obviously something is not right with all the positivity, which again creates questions like, is she up to something bad?
      The titles are quite ‘groovy’ looking (such an ancient word); they transition across the screen, from one side to another. This gives a playful and quirky feeling, the feeling of spring/summer.

      DEJA VU

      ‘Déjà Vu’ was hard to sub-genre(ise) at first, the music and what was going on made it confusing and hard to tell…until the very end we knew it was an action thriller. The film opens with a slow motion shot of a busy crowd (as audiences), the atmosphere seems live although the slow motion in dialogue (the cheering and laughing) makes the audience (us) feel a bit uneasy instead. Shots included longs shots and longer shots but zoomed in so it looks like a close up (you could tell its zoomed though…well, I can tell anyway). The music adds to the feeling of uneasiness – contemporary music, the use of the piano makes it dramatic however whilst the piano is playing you can just about hear some sci-fi music (like a UFO is about to land on earth) this merging together with the piano is quite disturbing, tension begins to build. Only a few seconds in and a beat is added to the contemporary sci-fi music to bring it to an upbeat level (however not as upbeat to bop our heads and booggy to). For some reason when the beat came in I felt that something dodgy was about to happen, it was mysterious. The drums could symbolise the heart beating, increasing the tension more. The opening of the film has a variety of settings, a lot is happening in this clip although it is slowed down, it is strange that sad music is being played when the people are happy. This binary opposites - of sad and happy creates suspicion, we think something is not right, at this point there is a lot of tension as we want to know if something bad is going to happen (especially as it would be happening soo early in the film).
      The titles are quite jittery in a type-writing font (courier), they transition from either side of the screen in a swooping effect.


      There is definitely A LOT more going on in ‘Enemy of the State’ the opening is very fast pace its almost hard to keep up with it. I would sub-genre this film to be political due to the mise en scene of police cars, cctv cameras and fires around the suburbs. (I honestly cant keep up with this opening! :S erm…) The film opens with bird’s eye view shot of the roads (mainly) and buildings. Some shots include panning (and swirling around – Eastenders style). The music is quite upbeat in the beginning to fit into the car chasing and crime, (again it is not upbeat enough to be boogying down to). Half way the music dramatically changes to string instruments then suddenly changes back to drums…then changes back to strings…then both.  This could be purposely done (to annoy us) to get the audience understanding that many things are happening at the same time. The dramatic string instruments are to create sympathy (sort of) and the drum/beats to show the side of the criminals (the beat fits in with the running). The title is greek inspired, the transition flash in is used and the titles remain static on the screen until it flashes out again.

      Suspence. How is it created?

      I used iMovie to create this video blog. I hope i wasnt too annoying :S

      Monday, 3 January 2011

      What Lies Beneath - How is suspense created?

      In class one of the clips we studied was from the film What Lies Beneath (see bottom of post). In this particular scene suspense is created primarily through sound. Slow string instruments run in the background throughout, steadily increasing in volume, combined with subtle ringing sounds. The use of this type of soundtrack is what makes the audience instinctively unsettled, because they know something will inevitably happen.

      Not amused.
      This anticipation of course reaches its climax with the employment of the ‘scare chord’ technique, that is, the sudden jumpy sound that is a common occurrence in horror films. The abrupt sound, coupled with the camera moving to the reflection of the ghastly face in the bath tub, perhaps raises even more momentary anticipation as the scene cuts away from Pfeiffer screaming, leaving the audience wanting to know what is next. Suspense is also created through the camerawork and mise-en-scène. The beginning starts with Pfeiffer walking up the stairs and then coming to a standstill. Her body language, together with the start of the atmospheric music track and slow low-level tracking across the corridor creates an uneasy feeling for the audience. The darkly lit domestic setting is also powerful in it suggesting that this could happen in anyone’s home, playing on the audience’s own fear.

      Never before have taps been this scary.
      As we gradually enter the bathroom, the camera cuts to and fro from Pfeiffer's perspective to medium close ups of herself. This alone almost makes us expect something to suddenly jump out at us, but in the creepy haze of the bathroom we see that the camera is deliberately concentrating on the bath tub, finalized by an emphasizing over-the-shoulder shot of the tub. A low angle shot of Pfeiffer further creates suspense, as she elaborately raises the sleeve of her robe and pulls the plug. Despite the low angle shot usually being used to symbolize power and dominance, everything else about the scene suggests otherwise; we know that in actual fact she is vulnerable, as if something sinister is looking up at her (or it might just be that sinister looking tap in the foreground).

      The combination of sound and camera is what, for the most part, creates the eerie and suspenseful mood of this scene. It provides atmosphere and anticipation, ultimately hooking the audience in.