Q7 – Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
During the early stages of my media course I completed a preliminary and continuity task. As I was completely new to the concept of filmmaking and editing, these tasks were set out to teach the importance of and get us to practise the 180 degree rule, match on action and shot reverse shot when we were filming. In the preliminary task much of my footage is out of focus which produces a blurry image which isn’t aesthetically pleasing, from this task I learnt the importance of proper focusing in creating atmosphere and relaying the narrative convincingly. This task provided good practise in continuity editing but I soon learnt when filming my opening that to create an engaging and interesting film, many of the shots used for continuity sake were not needed in the piece.
Since this task I have developed my media skills in more depth by rearranging footage into non-chronological order in Adobe premiere and using techniques like parallel editing to convey narrative. This can be seen clearly in my opening in scenes with the father and daughter. I have been able to use these more advanced techniques to improve the way in which my story is put across to the audience and make it less boring to watch. It also causes the audience to think more proactively about what they are watching. I have branched out since my beginning tasks in terms of post production in outlets such as sound and titles. In my preliminary task I used only dialogue and non diegetic music to add extra effect to my scene. The music I chose was not very fitting for the piece and was mainly chosen to emphasise the comedic streak of the video. I have now learnt how to fit music that is more appropriate to the piece of film to build tension and create a better atmosphere. In my film opening I used a piece of instrumental music from a Sci Fi film; Interstellar, which built good tension in my opening.
Since the early stages my confidence in programs like After effects has increased significantly; as my final film opening required titles to fit in within the conventions I first practised adding titles to a scene of American Psycho. I chose this film because of the similar genre so that the fonts I experimented with could be altered slightly and used in my opening. Also my effect used in my opening stemmed from tampering with opacity in this task. Previous to this, I had created a title timeline of a film’s titles. This was extremely helpful to me when planning my sequence of titles. I used the timeline as a template and ordered it in a very similar way.
We were assigned a Mundane task where we filmed a boring routine from many different camera angles to make it look more interesting. This was when I began to experiment with different camera angles and their effects. As can be seen in my first 2 filming tasks, there are very few camera angles featured and the camera seems to remain on one plane throughout with out any motion. In comparison to my final opening the difference in camera movement is large. Also, in my film opening I have used a lot more freehand camera movement and gimbal shots as opposed to using a tripod such as in the early stages – I have found that a free held camera provides a lot more creative flexibility however I still have seen the need for the use of the tripod when a steady panning shot is required. Aside from camera skills and increased capabilities in editing and post production programs like premiere and after effects I have learnt how to direct which is a crucial skill in order to produce any piece of film.
As a media student, I have developed my skills since the beginning of the course in every field and this in turn has improved the quality of my products up to a point now that I feel they are of a high level of quality.
I have become much more versed in editing software such as Adobe Premiere. Adobe Premiere is an editing program which allows editing to be done in a non linear fashion which saves time and allows for changes in creative thinking as one is able to go back and alter any clip at any time. Learning how to use this program throughout the year has meant I am confident at constructing and editing a media product to a high level.
I also used adobe after effects for adding titles and for further animation in my drafts; During the title production I did a draft for the opening of American psycho which showed me the basics of the software and gave me foundations which i was then able to build upon when doing my actual title sequence. I created my title initially quite basically and then decided to add changes in opacity to animate the title and ma ke it look more like a title from a thriller. I did this by adding keyframes and changing the opacity of the title at random intervals to give a ghostly effect. I also used after effects in my first drafts to superimpose footage I put together for a news report onto a TV. For this I had to use masks to track the footage and make the report move along with the camera as it was not held steady. Because of the shot instability I decided to cut this scene out from my opening. I used a youtube tutorial to create my ident and altered it slightly to suit my genre more – After effects was a useful program for me to learn to use efficiently and I now feel that after carrying out these exercises that my skills in this program have definitely developed as I can now easily navigate the program which I wasn’t previously able to do at the start of the course.
I also used the sound program audacity for recording the voice over for the news report featured in my opening. Here, I was able to alter the pitch and speed of the recording making the voice sound more generic.
I used a DSLR camera for the majority of filming along with a go pro and gimbal. The DSLR was the first camera I utilised when I began the course in both my Preliminary, Mundane task. The camera was a good choice as it provided high quality footage and taught me how to control aspects of film like the aperture and ISO when filming in manual shooting mode. My advancement in my capabilities of using the camera can be seen by contrasting my preliminary task to my film opening; in my preliminary task much of the scene is out of focus compared to the nearly constant clear footage in my opening. This was achieved through playing around and practising adjusting the aperture to let in more light to make the scenes brighter and more cinematic. The go pro and gimbal were excellent devices to provide smooth tracking footage and giving a false illusion of a high budget, however the go pro didn’t provide a very good depth of field so I limited my usage of the go pro because of this. After my initial challenge with the shaky footage in one of my first drafts I used a tripod to film the remains of my shots and re film some of the ones I wasn’t happy with – this helped to make my film look professional and for the content to come across well on screen.
In recording my work I have used websites such as; WordPress to create my blog to document all of my work in chronological order, Survey monkey to create target audience surveys and Prezi to analyse the results. I have documented my filming on video sharing websites such as Vimeo and Youtube and used Facebook to advertise my survey to my peer group. WordPress was an especially useful medium for me to use as I could upload work in all formats to the site such as videos, hyperlinks, Screen grabs and images. I was able to embed my videos I had uploaded to Vimeo into my blog which made it easier for my teachers to access and improved the overall presentation. My target audience survey was done on survey monkey to make it easier for more people to do my survey as I could give them a link which would take them directly to the page. My knowledge of technologies from producing my opening has been greatly enhanced and I would be confident on editing programs and using a camera to film a high quality piece of media text and then be able to document it on the internet in the future.
Please click on the image to view my Prezi
4) WHO WOULD BE THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT?
I have decided to make the target audience for my film typical to that of most thrillers so that more people will be attracted to watch my film firstly because of its genre. I will be aiming my product at a young adult audience from the ages of 15-25. I think that this is the best way to make my film a success as this is the prime age for any consumer of films, especially thriller and action. My film will appeal to men and women alike but the action that would feature later on in the film would appeal more I believe to the males. To make my film content applicable and interesting to viewers I made a survey using survey monkey to question my target audience who had a previous interest in thriller films on what they would like to see in an opening; this was good as I was able to receive first hand feedback and this helped to make my ideas more concise. It also gave me good ideas on who to cast in my film and where to film the bulk of the scenes.
The results I got back suggested I use a mixture of adult male/female along with a younger actor. For locations; the woods or a cityscape ruled the results with a prison or school also suggested.
I advertised my survey on Facebook to make it more accessible to more people in the desired age bracket and to further my results. I then used the website Prezi to analyse my results and this was useful in visually pulling ideas and concepts together to give an even clearer image of what i wanted to do in the opening.
After researching the descriptions behind different age ratings on films, I decided to give mine a 12 rating as I wanted to make the audience as broad as possible but not disturb any younger members of the public with the content. Also the majority of thrillers I have seen have tended to have been within the 12/15 rating. In my target audience survey that I filmed, I surveyed Michael who is a large thriller film enthusiast and also studies media and so knew the conventions I should cover in my film. Michael, like many students enjoys watching films that cause suspense and tension with a strong plot line and so was an ideal target audience member to survey.
I think that I have a strong indication of the target audience for my media product through the surveying and after asking a few older family members I was given the impression that they were less interested in the topics brought up in these films as they found some storylines could become too complex and far-fetched.
3) WHAT KIND OF MEDIA INSTITUTION MIGHT DISTRIBUTE YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT AND WHY?
During my initial research I looked at film companies and their idents. I did this to establish the different roles of film companies such as production companies and distribution companies. I also thought it would be important to look at the genres of films they made and their budgets. I decided create an ident that would represent a thriller to immediately establish genre. I looked at idents such as Icon and Nordisk Films; these idents were bold and easy to read and involved movement which I thought was good in setting the pace for the film that followed. On the whole the idents were quite generic and didn’t give away the genre of the film unlike idents I saw from companies ted Pictures who clearly demonstrate the genre of horror. This is most likely due to the considerably smaller budget for companies like this who will solely produce films of 1 genre whereas other bigger firms can branch out slightly in films they chose to produce. Preferably I would use Universal studios to produce my film.
Universal studios is a film production company which has produced films such as the Bourne Ultimatum and Gladiator which appeal to the same target audience as my film. It’s large scale and high level of influence makes it the type of film production company I think would be ideally most suited to distributing my film. Because my target audience is young adult most will be interested in watching a film with extensive action scenes and good quality costume, props and CGI. These would only be achieved with a production company with a high budget and extensive expertise in their field. To cater for the needs of the special effects I would ideally enlist the help of a company such as Luma Pictures involved in films such as True Grit to create gripping and realistic CGI. I don’t think that an Independent film company would be my first choice to produce and distribute my film as often they produce films outside of the major film studio system and then sell them on in post production and I feel that I would need to have a good supply of high quality equipment which some of these companies may not have access to. This being said, my film would be coming from an unknown director and may struggle to get noticed by major companies – I would document my film at film festivals like the LA thriller film fest to generate as much interest as possible. Once produced and distributed my film hopefully would generate a fair amount of revenue at the box office and rival other large scale thriller films. If I decided to go down the independent company route I would first use a crowd funding website such as Kick-starter to help fund some of the production costs of the film. The money used from Kickstarter would be used to fund costs of my film such as camera equipment, camera lenses and quality costumes.
I would use a film distribution company such as Warner Brothers or Columbia pictures as they have previous success on financing thriller films such as American Psycho and Casino Royale. Film distribution companies are in charge of the release of films into the public domain. I think that the commission of a distribution company is crucial for my film as again, as I am an unknown director there would be much more of a need for good quality advertising such as providing trailers and posters of my film to generate interest before its release. It would also boost my films viewings as they would make it available to the public through more mediums such as DVD, pay per view or by online download. I would choose to release my film on in major cinemas and later to release it on DVD to generate more money to pay back initial costs and to pay to the production company from ticket sales at the box office. I would then also post exerts of it on a universal broadcasting video website such as Vimeo or Youtube and feature a link which would direct people to purchase a copy of the film if they enjoyed what they had seen. I would use the film distributer Lionsgate Entertainment who have distributed films such as the Hunger Games franchise and Warrior.