Thursday, December 18, 2008

Final Cut

Here is our final cut for our thriller project.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Evaluation - Planning

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
  • title - development
  • how 'Se7en' and 'Negative' helped my group
  • abstract and narrative filming - differences between, why changed, etc
  • photography and town scenes and idea
  • looking at the theme of 'Gender' withint thillers - how we changed the stereotype, how does it still apply to a thriller conventionally
  • As we worked through our group’s photography and town theme, my group decided to change and take a more narrative, rather than abstract approach, without giving to much of the plot away. Therefore allowing us to film scenes, rather than random images as done in an abstract, to make it easier for us to get our thriller idea across, still without giving to much of the plot away so questions could be raised during the narrative to confuse the viewer, which is a typical thriller convention.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

  • Teenagers (-both genders are equally vulnerable – boys taken first – but then girl left to defend herself. –drunks – vodka bottles and being loud – makes them even more vulnerable to attack -anti-social behaviour from teenagers - steroetyped underage drinking - therefore believeable?)
  • Gender (Men – more powerful – killer is a man.)

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

  • to show generic conventions of a thriller film (list generic conventions – in red book)
  • to show how stereotypical themes such as ‘gender’ can be challenged (female vulnerability)

Who would be the audience for your media product?

  • people aged between 15 – 30 years of age (teens featured in sequence – more depicted on teenagers lives and understanding – drinking, vulnerability of strangers)
  • Both have one word titles about the films. For example, ‘Se7en’ represents the seven deadly sins within the Bible, which ultimately causes the killer to choose his victims. However, even though we gained inspiration for our idea from ‘Se7en’ I do not think that the content has turned out the same as we changed from abstract to more narrative.

How did you attract/address your audience?

  • By using scary but upbeat music to attract a youthful audience
  • relation to photography – very popular hobby amongst youth culture today – fashionable
  • opening sequence feature teenagers – can relate to characters lives which makes it more scary for the viewer (it could happen to them sense of thought) – going out drinking at night with mates
  • ‘Development’ was aimed at young adults of 15 – 25 years of age.

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

  • garage band – music
  • final cut express – editing video footage
  • day for night plug in – used the colour filter to give the appearance of night (or at least dusk)
  • Never used an apple Mac before – easy to use
  • list different frame shots I have learnt (and used in the sequence)
  • to use the tripod for steady, close-up shots – as used in my close up shots of killers hands and camera - gives professional effect
  • I have learnt to use the tripod for steady, close-up shots, (such as what I used when obtaining close-up shots of the camera flash). This gives a professional effect to the footage.

Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

  • to make sure you have a steady, solid plan that can easily work before starting
  • need to be careful of outside conditions before deciding to film – brightness outside when filming night scene (colour filter wouldn’t work as well – difficulties, yet were pleased with end effect (clear film as filmed in bright conditions, yet gives impression of dusk still)
  • make sure everyone has a clear idea of what they are doing within each scene (filming, acting, editing, etc) – I helped our team by creating a structured plan of who was doing what for both the ‘Town’ and ‘Photography’ scenes.
  • Before starting our thriller project we had to create a preliminary task which I enjoyed, as it made us comfortable with the equipment and with the different camera shots we could use and was simply fun to create.
    We created an animatic before beginning the project to make sure we had a steady plan that could easily work, before starting. Our animatic was questioned about the amount of plot given away, so we shortened the amount of narrative storyline in our project so questions could still be raised.
  • During the planning we updated our blog with all of the information we found out as well as notes to help us. I created a task structure on the blog for the group for people to follow and stick to, however, this was altered throughout the project because of people’s absences.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Evaluation Notes & Planning

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

- Boys instead of girls
- Convention of suspense
- Develops the equilibrium making it more subtly broken.

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?

- Props, vodka - binging - younger generation.
- Mise-en-scene, choice of clothing etc
-Location - modern but dull etc

3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

- One apealing to the older teenage generation for example - twisted pictures etc.

4. Who would be the audience for your media product?

- Older teens between 14 - 20. people who enjoy thrillers etc.

5. How did you attract/address your audience?

- relating to them via choices of characters and also choices of mise-en-scene and even the sound as it is a modern-sounding soundtrack.

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

- Filters (night) - hard to make work.
- Cameras - how to make shot look good.
- Tripods
- Software - so much you can do with it.

7. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

- work as team
- produce better products
- linking micro elements together
- control of editing and camerawork
- planning
- more interesting story line etc
- how to create desired effects.


Dark room - Problems

When filming our thriller in the dark room we came to a few problems. The first of these occurred before we even started. The photographic paper that we planned to use to print the picture on to was too thick to be put through a printer so we could not get our picture for the dark room. We decided just to use a blank bit of paper for our developing just to show the process.
Our second problem was that we left it very late to film our last part of the film. so we had to re-edit the whole film after we had finished filming. The soundtrack was not long enough, due to this issue we decided to put some more non diagetic sound over the top but not to edit the actual soundtrack.
Once we got into the dark room we needed to do an over the shoulder shot of the photo being developed. This turned out to be more complicated than first thought. The tripod did not extend high enough to come over the shoulder of Ed. So we had to hand film which turned out to be shaky but not to bad as it looked like a view shot from the person developing the photo.
The final problem that we encountered was the gloves. They weren't quite big enough for Ed's hands and so in the clip of him putting on a glove it looks like a struggle to get the glove on. However this does not look to bad as it is blurred and looks like the developer is in a hurry to get on with his job.


Thriller Mise-en-scene

The costumes in our scene are very naturalistic, they are just normal clothes that a teenager out and about would wear.
The two props that we used are the camera and the vodka bottles. We used the vodka to represent age and social groups. Controversial issues such as under aged drinking can be seen here as the three teenagers drink and become more vulnerable.
The camera brings the idea of paranoia to the film. The idea of being watched is associated with the camera. This is exaggerated at the end of the opening with the close up on the camera. Then comes the flash as the photo is taken.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Evaluation notes

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
• The music is a generic convention because it is a simple looped composition.
• We have used two male characters and one female which have challenged the vulnerability in other thrillers of the female characters.
• We have used a night filter which has increased tension in the scene.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
• This opening creates a negative stereotype for young adults binge drinking.
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
• -
4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
• I think young adults to elderly.
• I think it would target young adults mostly.
5. How did you attract/address your audience?
• We attract young adults by using that age group as the victims and I think the older generation would be interested how they would react in desperate times of measure.
6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?
• I have learnt different effects that can be given and that we used e.g. night filter & earthquake effect.
7. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
• I have learnt that changing shots can be more effective.
• The use of different shots and how they can be used.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Thriller Rough Cut

This is our thriller rough cut. We have used a night filter to make it look more like night and achieve a better mise-en-scene however we chose to film in daylight for better quality causing it to look more like dusk than night. During this project, a few problems occurred with filming due to the dark rooms being closed when we wished to film and having to re-do arrangements more than once.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Teacher Feedback

Your blog is looking very good.
Some images to illustrate your ideas for the props and costumes would improve your blog further. One of the aims of the blog is to communicate the mise en scene and imagery helps to do that.
Also include some clips to illustrate ideas and influences for the music and titles also.

Keep up the good work.


Opening Titiles Research

We have chosen the popular film Pulp Fiction to analyse the opening titles because we feel that the titles are effective that they use.
It has parts of the opening credits ontop of the footage and part on a black background. i think this would work well with a fade in our opening sequence. We are going to use plain text to make it look simple and not fancy text which may make it give the wrong impression to the audience.
The main film name is in bright colour and the rest of the credits are in plain white. i think we will do the same with ours and put the main name in colour. We may also use Adobe after effects to create some more interesting titles.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Editing Programmes we shall use

  • garage band - music
  • final cut express - editing video footage
  • day for night plug in - use the colour and saturation filters, etc


Thriller Conventions

Ideas for Our Thriller Opening Sequence

  • create a sense of suspense / tension / paranoia: this can be created through close up shots (for example, on a door handle / facial features), music reflecting mind of character (often creepy and chilling, making the viewer uncomfortable), lighting reflecting mood of character and to create scary mise-en-scene (usually red or dim light)
  • good guy / bad guy character structure (however sometimes this is not so clear)
  • visual and narrative hints - motifs
  • plot: a journey to figure something out (solve a mystery / a twist in the narrative)
  • the equilibrium of the film is quickly broken near the beginning of the film to be restored, generally, at the end.
  • chase scenes
  • create some king of enigma around a certain situation or character
  • the narrative can be based around the protagonists flaw so he/she is held back in some way (sometimes resulting as their fatal flaw)
  • music: a non-digetic soundtrack which is eerie to create scary atmosphere
  • short title (often one word) indicating flaw / something to do with film narrative (for example: 'saw' 'vertigo')
  • the main characters identity is questioned (good guy? bad guy?)
  • flashbacks


Friday, December 5, 2008

Possible Titles for the thriller opening sequence

  • Development
  • Developer
  • Photograph
  • Depth of field
  • Obsessed
  • Obsession
  • Digital Night

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Animatic Feedback

Our original idea used 3 teenage girls as they would be more vulnerable to the killer. It then followed each of the girls on their way home as they separate off from each other to show that they are alone. As each girl was shown to separate off from the group the image would flick from that scene and the killer placing a photo of that character dead to suggest her murder. The ending would then show a photo of all three of the girls with the two dead ones being crossed off.

Feedback from the class and teacher suggested that in our original idea we showed to much of the plot therefore not leaving a lot to the imagination, so the viewer would not be asking questions about what is going to happen as the narrative would be quite straight forward.

After this we decided to change our narrative. we thought that we would change the stereotypical idea of three teenage girls being in danger, to one girl and two boys. We did this to go against the traditional generic convention of female vulnerability in a thriller by the two males being the ones who are killed, leaving just the female who is now vulnerable by herself, even though she is the only one to have survived so far. This helps raise questions, example, Why is only the female left?

We then cut out a lot of the town narrative to focus more on the killer's planning and the the single photo being taken and developed, rather than explaining to the audience how the teenagers separate off and are killed. This raise more questions, therefore creating more suspense.



When the teenagers are walking along at night they need to look like they have just been to town but are walking around the back alleys rather than the center of town. This will be filmed in daylight so the film looks better but then a night filter shall be added later. - Cambridge Leisure Park

When the killer is developing the photo and planning. This can be filmed in lesson time as it is dark already in the room with just the dim white light and bright red light as wanted. - Long Road traditional photography room (development dark room)


Groups Tasks

Decide Storyline / Setting / Title:

Town Scene:

Charmaine Christie: Teenager 1 - isn't killed
Stephen Dickens: Teenager 2 - killed
Connor Murphy: Teenager 3 - killed
Edward Neely: Killer taking photograph

Camera Work:
Charmaine Christie: Photo close up shot
Edward Neely: Whole of Town scene

Connor Murphy and Edward Neely

Connor Murphy

Photography Scene:

Edward Neely: Killer in photography room

Camera Work:
Connor Murphy and Stephen Dickens

Charmaine Christie

Charmaine Christie


Props and Costumes

Town Scene:
We are using naturalistic clothing of teenagers to keep the sequence realistic, the girl shall also have a handbag to help suggest they have been out.

Vodka bottles will be used to indicate that the teenagers are intoxicated, thus making them seem more vulnerable to attack.

A camera will be used to link the teenagers and the killer, (it shall belong to a teenage boy who gives it to the killer to take a photo, then the killer shall have it later on in the photography scene).

Photography Scene:
The character developing the photo will be dressed in dark clothing to make him appear sinister.

Photographs and paper will be used to show the development of the photo.
Photography enlarger shall be used to project red light onto to the photograph to create a sinister atmosphere.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Thriller Animatic Sequence

Here is our animatic sequence showing a rough outline of the scenes we are going to shoot. Each storyboard still is in place of each scene. We have added in some transitions to show how our final video will switch from scene to scene. Our draught soundtrack has been added to the Antimatic sequence to give a feel of how our thriller opening will build suspense and work.

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Animatic drawing research

An animatic drawing is basically a prototype for a film, it is to see if the sequences look good and work together this is used in every single animation film e.g. shrek. Our animatic drawing for our AS thriller course work is focusing on photography, how we aim to do this is to use photos to tell part of the story which is used in a lot of successful thriller movies. The music we are conducting using garage band has to suit the drawings and we have to make sure that it works as a production. We have researched thriller music extensively and have watched opening sequences from such films as face off and Matrix and by closely analysing them and by taken notes on the techniques they use we can adapt them. We are going to make our animatic drawing using final cut which is a good program and we have used it before so we are familiar with the possible techniques. I think that doing a animatic drawing is good and bad. It is good because you can take advantage of using the music to get the full feel of suspense in needed places but by the same token it is bad because you cant use the same techniques because it might not work, the most you can o is get rough feel of how you would like it to turn out.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Soundtrack Research - Matrix Soundtrack Analysis

I found the opening matrix sequence (above) which is close to how our thriller opening is going to be. It starts with creepy high pitched sounds for quite a long time as the key characters are introduced. This also helps the viewer to hear the non-diagetic sounds and dialogue. The strange sounds continue before introducing some texture and some trumpets as the chase begins. The trumpets are played together to purposefully cause dissonance which shows the situation is not how it should be and the equilibrium is broken, just as the agent starts to run. When she stops the music calms down and as she starts to sprint the music builds back up, mirroring the agents actions. This helps the viewer understand more as there is more than just the visuals explaining the sequence. The music gets faster when she is closest to danger, for example when the lorry is about to hit her the music gets faster and louder and as she picks up the phone and leaves the matrix, the music cuts. The music switches from loud to quiet throughout the sequence and the music stops in some parts which also shows that the situation is unstable. Also included are transition sounds as the scenes are changed. This makes an un-naturalistic feel which is related to the virtual matrix and also shows the viewer that the time is different in the next scene.


Soundtrack Research

We researched our soundtracks by looking at thriller soundtracks on youtube such as the saw soundtrack and final destanation and seeing what made them good, we then thought of some ideas and which soundtracks we liked and compiled our soundtrack to have similar features. When researching the soundtracks we considered what would go well with our video and modeled it around our storyboard and visual ideas also. As more research we looked at clips which in movies helped build the suspense and added similar clips to our soundtrack to achieve the same effect.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Starting Ideas For Thriller Opening

Our main idea for our thriller is photography. The idea originally came from the student thriller opening "negative" but the theme is used in may other thrillers such as "momento". The idea of using photography is a more psychological approach to the thriller genre. The opening sequence will start off set in a dark room with the camera focusing on a picture of one dead women. The scene will then flashback to the three women walking down a street in Cambridge. The camera will then follow the three women down the street for a few seconds. The camera would then change to a view of the front of them as they laugh and stumble down the road. After this shot the location will change back to the the dark room. The next photo will be on a table, it is a picture of the three women together, and a hand will come from the side to put crosses through two of the women's faces. There will be one girl left without a cross, which starts to ask questions. The location again switches back to the three women as they split up. one walks in one direction and the other two leave in the other.

The lighting will be low or coloured red (for example in the dark room) to effect the viewer via the mise-en-scene. Also the editing pace will be slow until the events in the opening start to un-fold. We have chosen the setting to be Cambridge and the surrounding villages to make a more natural environment which will make our clip more natural and the viewer will find more to relate to and will raise complex questions.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Generic conventions in "face off" opening sequence

Face off has alot of generic conventions that a thriller should have. The very first that is noticed is the idea of paranoia. When the scene is first set there is a man and his son being watched over through a gun sight. The next is more complicated as although there is nothing the father can do to prevent his son from dying it is him that is to blame for his death. The non-diegetic sound in the opening sequence mirrors the characters feelings wich is also another convention. In the opening there is a very clear good guy bad guy theme but as past viewers will know the film twists and turns so that none of this remains clear. The final convention is the idea of equilibrium. The equilibrium is completely shattered in the first opening minutes of the film after the child dies. Bringing in the start of revenge.




Negative is a succesful thriller opening. The first generic convention which was introduced to me as a viewer, was the looped spine chilling sountrack played throughhout the three minutes of film. The second give away of this films genre was the creepy waviness of the text as it came into focus on the screen which was infront of intresting abstract images. The first acting sequence in the opening is the breif shot of a boy looking around then walking off which is well used, because you start asking questions which is what a thriller is.A thriller is a book or film which is designed to keep the reader or viewer on edge with suspenseful and sensational action. Thrillers are enjoyed by many people because of the suspense in the film and the complex plots. In negative the most affective shots are close ups and point of veiw shots. The first close up shot is looking at a series of pictures which introduces the possiblity of a stalker in action. The thing i enjoy about thrillers is how many times you change your mind about what the twist will be, alos i find that you have to whatch some films through twice to see how the twist at the end impacts the whole thing.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conventions of a Thriller Opening - Se7en

  • The opening title sequence of Se7en creates an enigma around the unknown character, immediately raising questions for the audience: 'Who is this character?' 'What is he creating and why?' This mystery intern creates suspense for the viewer.
  • The character is shown to be putting a lot of time, effort and detail into what he is planning and uses unsettling images of people. This scares the viewer by making them feeling uncomfortable as they remain to wonder why he is doing this and raises a further question of 'What is he planning?'
  • As well as the images, the non-digetic soundtrack is eerie creating dramatic effect by reinforcing the tension for the viewer and by using uncomfortable scratchy and creaking sounds, reflects the unstable mind of the character.
  • To work alongside the music, the text is scribbled and scratchy and flickers throughout, once again reinforcing the unstable mind of the character, as if written by him.
    Flashes of images and photos throughout the opening sequence raise question and the quick changes between them create confusion for the viewer.
  • The sequence is edited to change from back and white, colour and red to make the sequence appear threatening and sinister.
    Close ups of the character's hands make the viewer focus on what he is doing and creates suspense as his face and rest of body is not shown.
  • Although the opening sequence does not reveal the plot, the title indicates what the plot is about, 'Se7en' as in 'Seven deadly sins'.
  • The lighing is dark ending in flashes of light. This works alongside the text and music, creating a dramtic effect on the viewer by creating an uncomfortble and scary situation for the viewer. Indicates something evil is going to happen as darkness is associated with evil.
  • There appears to be no breaking of the equilibrium, but you could argue that this is because the film already begins unsettled.
    The use of these attributes indicates to the viewer that the character is bad and is planning something evil, as everything used within the sequence is unsettling and uncomfortable for the viewer.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Generic Conventions in Face Off Opening Sequence

Generic Conventions In the Opening Sequence

  • Music and Visuals create suspense - The music is happy, but slow. The visuals have a slight sepia tone/old film effect showing creating an eerie feel for the viewer, it also suggests that the clip is in the past which we soon find out when it says "Six Years Later". Also the dramatic diagetic sounds creates more of an impact on the viewer.
  • There is an close up of the gun which creates suspense as the cover is pulled off it, later there is an extreme close up of the bullet leaving the gun, this is also in slow motion which makes an impact again on the viewer and builds the tension before the bullet actually hits the man with the child.
  • It then goes into an establishing shot to show the bad guy silhuetted after seeing the good guy with his son in the previous shot.
  • The breaking of the equilibrium is broken by the man being shot by the bad guy.
  • Suspense created by revealing of plot - Viewer wants to see what happens next.
  • No enigma or protagonist flaw revealed in the opening sequence.