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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Evaluation - Question 6- Audience Feedback

 
We asked some of our class mates to write a basic review on what they thought about our thriller opening ....Above are a few of the words that came up....Things they liked and things that they wanted us to add on. The Word that came up the most was SOUND.....quite weird actually as we didn't expect this, If anything I thought it was our Mise en scene that was the Best. We didn't spend ages on making the sound track as we focused on the kind of shots we were taking the most. Also alot of people commented on how they liked the way we edited the 'Flickering' kind of light into our thriller. The lighting was commented on a lot aswell as it added onto the tension. The sound of the typing keyboard was liked a lot by our class mates.....I liked this a lot aswell

Here are Some of the written responses:

EVALUATION - Question 6

Audience feedback and comment
Our thriller opening was shown to our class, who were then asked to write down short points on their thoughts. Below are the results of the questions they were asked, depicted in 'word cloud' form (generated by a nifty little website called Wordle):

How did the opening make you feel? What words would you use to describe the opening?

The most common word we got back was confused, which is exactly what we didn't want. We had hoped that we were able to make it clear what was happening with the online chat in our film, however, the first feedback we've received suggests otherwise. Nonetheless, a few did express understanding in what was going on (maybe some didn't pay attention enough!) The other most common words included mysterious and eerie, which we definitely wanted to convey through the mise-en-scène. Quite a few people also conveyed a wanting to watch on which makes me think that maybe our opening might be more successful than I first thought, as a thriller opening should set out to arouse the audience's curiosity.

What did you enjoy about the opening (and specifically what aspects of film language)?

Somewhat surprisingly, the sound was commented on positively the most. I didn't really expect that because, although I loved what we did with it, we didn't exactly spend an overly substantial amount of time working on it. If anything it goes to show how powerful sound can be in creating a tense and thrilling atmosphere. A few commented on the variety of our shots being pretty limited, which I actually wholly agree with as we did not film everything we intended to. However, there was praise for what we did have, with the close-up and over the shoulder shots being mentioned frequently.


Here is a selection from the actual written responses we received:

 Here is a selection from the additional feedback we received via Facebook:



 On the 5th of April we had the chance to see all the AS Media groups' thriller openings on the big screen, including our own. We went to The Screen on the Green in Islington, Angel and it was a great experience seeing everyone's efforts. Below you can see (well, hear) the questionable audience reaction to Facade...

video

(NB: The titles look cut-off as I was seated right at the front, so the bottom of the screen was slightly obscured; in reality the titles just made it into the frame. I've also only posted the end of the opening as the audience were silent throughout, hopefully because they were concentrating on figuring out what was happening!)

All things considered, I think it's clear that our thriller opening could have been improved. Due to time constraints we used a limited amount of shots and the finished product was short compared to all the other openings we saw at the cinema. I think this is the reason why there wasn't an immediate reaction after our thriller opening was finished. As the feedback from the written responses and Facebook suggest, quite a few people were left wanting more. However, this could be a positive since thriller openings should tease the audience of what's to come and get them interested by grabbing their attention.

EVALUATION - Question 4 and 5

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? How will you attract/address your audience?
Our media product will be distributed mainly on the internet, via social networking sites such as Facebook (which could be used advantageously like a tie-in as we use Facebook in our thriller), and video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube is a great medium to spread the word as everyone is familiar with it and is the most popular of video-sharing sites. Many student films such as ours are uploaded to YouTube, for example the following:


This is Memories by Radoslaw Sienski, a short student film that has been nominated for and won quite a few short film awards. At time of writing (6th April 2011) it has accumulated 41,123 YouTube hits since its date of upload in January 2010. It was first embedded on Facebook a few days after first being uploaded, so its first views would have probably originated from people sharing the video online with friends. This is similar to our thriller which we will be sharing online hoping to gain a wider audience.

By uploading our thriller opening to YouTube, we could see similar statistics to this example for our own video, which can gives us an idea of what audience we are reaching. For this example, we can see that the short film Memories is most popular with males aged 45-54, which I think is probably because they can identify somewhat with the character in the film. However, these audience statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt as not all YouTube users input their real date of birth for their account. Furthermore, users are able to watch videos on YouTube without an account, so data cannot be collected for all users. We can also see that this short film has reached global viewers which is another reason why YouTube is a great medium.

Facade...
...uploaded to YouTube
...uploaded to Vimeo
...embedded in Blogger
...shared via Facebook
By using social networking and video sharing sites, we will be able to reach our target audience, which is teenagers and young adults that use the internet regularly and have social networking integrated into their everyday lives. It can be a very succesful way of advertising new media products such as our thriller opening because of this ability to instantly connect to people all over the world.

EVALUATION - Question 3

Who would be the audience for your media product?
Below I have created a visual representation of a typical target audience member for our thriller. I feel our thriller wouldn't necessarily appeal to a specific gender, however I have chosen a female audience member as our thriller's main character, as well as her 'victim', are female, and so they could identify more with the story.
Contents of handbag: iPod, Blackberry phone, Amazon Kindle e-reader, notepad, pen, used cinema tickets

Caitlin, a tech-savvy 19-year-old studying Psychology at University. Loves watching psychological thrillers, silly horror flicks, and the occasional guilty pleasure rom-com. Regularly goes to the cinema with friends and spends a lot of time with her nose in a good read. An avid user of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Works part-time at a local coffee shop.

EVALUATION - Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Compared to typical thrillers such as The Stepfather, ours is unconventional in the fact that the antagonist is female – usually we see men taking the 'stalker' role, for example in the psychological thriller Sleeping with the Enemy (1991). However, there are quite a few thrillers that have gone against 'the norm' of having crazy male psychopaths, such as Single White Female (1992). We represent the main character of Facade as a disturbed schoolgirl through the various images on her bedroom wall, and never show her face in the opening, creating a sense of mystery and unease. Despite her troubled persona, she is otherwise depicted as a normal teenager through her study books on her desk and the use of the social network Facebook. Her use of the internet to 'stalk' her victim is pretty unconventional – but believable – as thrillers of this nature usually depict 'real-life' stalking.  Finally, the female secondary character, though only shown through her profile photo, plays into the typical naive 'victim' role as we can assume that she is completely unaware of the antagonist's true identity and motives.

EVALUATION - Question 1

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our main inspiration for Facade was the 2009 film The Stepfather. We aimed to break (and in some cases re-create) the conventions created in its opening. Below I have taken still frames of various shots from both openings to analyze and compare.

The Stepfather uses a minimalistic sans-serif all-caps title in black, which is displayed over the shot. For our thriller we used an almost completely stylistically-opposite title: it is separate and shown on a black screen in a white serif font. It is also all lower case. In comparison to The Stepfather, it is very unconventional. In addition, it makes the sudden visual contrast of the Facebook chat that suddenly appears right after more interesting.

The Stepfather's narrative begins with an exterior establishing shot. In contrast, we opted to plunge straight into interior shots of the character's bedroom. In addition, our shot is similar in composition to the second frame above from The Stepfather – we can see both characters from behind in the middle of their actions. In The Stepfather, the whole house expresses naturalistic lighting. This works in a deceptive manner to portray a homely domestic setting that contributes to making the reveal of the murdered family shocking. In Facade the lighting is warm but quite dark, with the source of light being an everyday lamp (which later contrasts with the white glare of the screen). This works in a similar fashion to The Stepfather to make the reveal of the mood board more surprising.

Everything isn't what it seems in the opening of The Stepfather, as it is soon revealed... We further set out to replicate this with the Facebook chat scene, where it becomes evident that our character is impersonating someone of the opposite sex online.

In The Stepfather, the camera pans to the left revealing various utensils. In Facade we used tilting, which conveys a similar style of movement, to show our key prop (the mood board) and allow us to follow with cuts to various close-up shots. We also incorporated a jump cut with a transition applied in between the two shots to create more pace.

We used level close-up shots of the keyboard , whilst titles ran over the narrative, both of which The Stepfather utilized too. We can also see that the camera concentrates on the main characters' hands in both shots, which draws attention to their actions (in The Stepfather: the character using hair dye and changing in his appearance; in Facade: the character typing on the keyboard).

Friday, 25 March 2011

'Facade' - Final Cut

video

Our intertextual reference

Recently I blogged about our inspirations for our thriller .... Okay, so now that we have actually finished our final cut ....and we didn't get enough time to use intertextual referencing from other films that we had planned to use E.g the scrap book scene from the 'Lovely Bones' ......so the only intertextual referencing we used was the mood board from Gossip Girls season 4 episode 1. I think we pulled it of realllyy well ....Our moodboard is actually one of my favourite props

Gossip Girls Mood board
Close up of our mood board .....Great intertextual referencing right?

Finishing touches to our thriller

We began with having so many ideas for the kind of text we should use for our thrillers title......this is REAAALLY important ....it must match the genre. We cant have a title that looks all flowery and happy for a thriller ....that just doesnt make sense! We worked hard on trying to find one that matches. We didn't want it to look all Gory and dramatic as our thriller doesn't contain any blood or anything its just the bloody kind of images that we have .....we then went back and decided to use Nicks 1st idea or I think it's different but similar. We then added on all the other titles ...like executive producer....starring....edited by etc
here are a few pictures of are finishing touches .....

Creating the Sound - Screen Grabs


Using Soundtrack pro, and having no experience in using the programme, I still managed to put together quickly a sinister soundtrack that went well with the disturbing atmosphere of the room.
Here are some screen grabs of finding some tracks provided by the programme and editing them together.
 For the second layer of music added, I copied and pasted it a couple of times so that 
it basically repeated in a loop.

By Charlene Gomez.

Editing our thriller

In todays lesson Me (wala), Nick and Charlene were editing the final parts to our thriller. We added the titles using live type and we're still working on adding sound. we used the CANDI ident and added it onto our thriller as we're not allowed to use any other due to copyright reasons. We were told that our titles must be inside the green box otherwise it'll get cut off when its been shown on a screen.
we got a few screengrabs on what we've decided to make our titles look like ....or what mistakes we made that we then adjusted.


Editing in Progress


We thought about this style of writing for our title
however it looked like too much of a horror film and our aim
wasnt to make it look like a horror as its a THRILLER! we
decide to go with Nicks original plan of having the serif font.

 
This one went wrong so we had to adjust it
so it doesnt go over the frame
Correct one :)

Film Clips We've Never Used In Our Thriller

...in other words. Our deleted scenes. In a video!

video

For me, i thought it was a shame not to have some of these shots in our Thriller, especially as our Thriller is already short lasting 1 minute 25 seconds, it was actually necessary to have some of these shots in. Some of our shots, the close ups of the stationary and extreme close up of my mouth in particular were actually good enough to add onto our thriller. Our thriller would made a lot more sense as well. However we did not manage to because of the amount of time we had...or didn't have. Plus Nick said a majority of the shots were not to a good enough standard to be added to a time taken thriller we already half made.

The effect we want it to have

Before we started filming and editing .....or did anything practical towards our final cut....as a group we talked about some of the effects that we'd want our thriller to have on the audience. As we knew what we want our thriller to be about and we had a clear image of all the things that could take place.....we didn't want to give away too much as we'll be squashing a lot of info in the space of 2mins. Instead we wanted them to feel SUSPENSE! and the build up of something happening....right from the beginning we thought of the GREAT mood board.....this is what we want to use to create that tension and the dim lighting goes well with it.  The digetic sound that we have been planning to use ; the tapping of the keyboard.....creates some sort of mysterious feeling......We also didn't want them to know too little as they'll have no interest in our thriller and perhaps it'll be confusing in they knew too little its better if you have a fair proportion of the kind of info you give them . Better to be in the middle I think......we'll just have to wait and see how the audience in the cinema react! cant wait! :)

Difficulties we faced - filming/editing

As we all know that editing and filming aren't one of the easiest things. Like when you're filming you've got to have an eye for all the right angles you can film in; and how it'll make sense to the audience. E.g if somebody is meant to be getting bullied then it wont make sense if you filmed from a low angle as they will look dominant and superior. Anyways enough about that ....I already did a blog on shot types.
Well yeah we faced A LOT of problems with filming. As one of our IMPORTANT group member Charlene was away for quiet a while due to her being really ill. This lead on to her having to skip lessons for check ups and all that ....we cant really force her to come in when she's ill ....It doesn't make sense as she wont be in the right mood for being an Actress! :) We also couldn't change the actress because our star actress Charlene was also bringing in most of our props that were Crucial for our filming. So we pretty much would have screwed up without her (Credits to Charlene).
With editing we didn't face much problems .... However, Nick was probably the only person who fully understood how to use final cut pro, Live type and sound track pro.....how does he do it all....picked them up so quick ...genius or what?! So we did kind of rely on him to do most of the editing. As we was already behind with filming and our schedule didnt always go to plan. Nick had to come in to the editing suit to EDIT! ...Thanks Nick  :) ........Apart from the problems we faced....as a group we got along well, co-operated with eachother and produced the final cut Finally!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thriller Opening: The Title

Last week myself and Charlene briefly brainstormed film title ideas as we had not thought of any yet. Eventually we ended up looking at synonyms for different words that we felt conveyed the context and feel of our film. Facade (or Façade) is one we were quite enthusiastic about and at this point seems most likely to be title, but we will have to discuss it tomorrow. However, this has already spawned some inspiration in my mind. I think it would be really interesting if we started the film with a definition of 'façade' – set against a black background and in a white serif font – like so:


I believe it would make the audience unsettled at what's to come as the definition is suggestive and will hopefully get the viewer's imagination going. 'Façade' could be repeated at the end in bigger lettering to make it clear that this is the film title (we will see how it looks tomorrow). It also goes very well with what is happening in our film opening, that is, our main character is impersonating someone of the opposite gender online.

Below is a font I picked out that I think would be great to use, but really, I think any serif font would look great. Or we could always opt for a more modern approach as digital technology plays a key role in our opening. Again, this has to be discussed tomorrow and ideally should have already been decided upon but there you go.

AB Majik by Amit Botre

sound track pro

Along with the editing process ....there's another programme which allows you to add sound to your film. Sound is one of the most important things in a film, I feel as if it brings everything together as by using one sound you can elaborate on whats happening. E.g when theres an explosion taking place the audience wouldn't know this unless the sound is there for them to hear. To import your film onto soundtrack pro you just drag it and place it to the left hand side of the browser. Once its there you're able to play around with all the different kinds of sounds they have. sound track pro has a search that enables you to type in the kind of sound track your looking for ...E.g Animal sounds. Sometimes the sound are a little bit too loud and sound unrealistic you're able to lower the sound level of each track....there should be a button at the bottom of the screen for this. when you're happy with everything and you've selected all the sound you want....you go to sub mix and select stereo so you wont have a lot of different tracks. Then just go to file export----name and save......and thats just highlights on how to use sound track pro.

Live type

we were first introduced to live type when we did our 1st preliminary film. However, I still wasn't sure on how to use it properly so the media technicians came in a second time to explain to us how to use it step by step. to import your film from final cut pro onto live type you'll have to click on 'save for live type' and once you've saved it you can just click on the live type icon and get on with the editing. Live type is a programme on the apple macs that allows you to add text, effects etc to your film. Its a very important programme, one which we had to proper understand how to use as without any knowledge on how to use it we cant successfully complete our thriller. Live type is a really great programme that takes alot of time to get used to. It allows you to add all sorts of funky texts to match whatever genre film your doing. For example you may want one letter to be bigger than the rest of the lettering to do this you'll have to select it and it will enlarge. you're able to select either live fonts (fonts that live type have created) or fonts (which are the normal fonts we use on Microsoft word or anywhere. Live type also lets you add many effects and transitions.

Example of somethings we did on live type for our 2nd preliminary film. Its not the best as we were running out of time ...but here it is anyways ....
Name of our preliminary film 

Thriller Opening: Editing

Since my last blog post we've been very busy with editing. On Thursday last week I spent the majority of the afternoon editing the shots we had for the rough cut that was due the next day. Charlene accompanied me and helped whilst she worked on the scrapbook prop that we wanted to incorporate. The next day's lesson was spent editing further. We planned to film the remainder of the shots we wanted on Monday but this fell through and I ended up being the only one that turned up. Yesterday's lesson was spent trying to finalize the shots we do have into a decent opening, as well as making sure all the keyboard tapping sounds were in sync and such as the Facebook chat scene now plays a major role in the opening (as we do not have the scrapbook scene filmed and Charlene was absent yet again). We also quite majorly cut down a lot of our shots to make our opening significantly shorter but in thus doing so making it move along faster. Tomorrow we shall work on the titles and sound to complete the final editing.

Myself editing in yesterday's lesson, taken by Wala