Evaluation question 4 – How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

9 May

Throughout this year Katie and I have used a large selection of media technologies to construct, research and enhance all three of ours and my production texts and infact this a level course probably wouldn’t exist if the use of these weren’t available. I’ve used Technologies ranging from digital cameras and tripods, to the use of highly advanced editing software like I movie HD on apple Mac machines . These technologies allowed me and my partner to easily research our chosen genre of horror to allow us to write a well informed narrative and to hone are skills as film makers and to develop and utilise new techniques of filming to allow us to create an overall professional production accompanied by two ancillary texts

To get inspiration for our story line I used the Macs to view video trailers on You tube to get a better understanding of the layout of a conventional horror film and what made them work I.e the build up of anxiety through the use or lack of use of music and field of view, and also camera techniques this gave me the idea of using two types of cameras to film our movie. The first of which being my Nikon D5000 Digital camera to record the “rostrum” camera or the outsiders prospective of the film in high quality resolution and to contrast this with the use of a lesser quality handheld Sony digital camera with the use of an Infrared function utilising a infrared light and sensor to record in night vision. We would use this to film key scenes from the characters prospective thus enhancing the feeling of anxiety to the viewer the use of these along with a tripod allowed us to create very diverse selection of camera shots and angles including our 360 degree panning shot around out main character Katie in the final scenes which was very well received in our audience feedback. One of the main benefits from media technologies we used where the use of the apple Mac computers which have a wide variety of programmes that are not present on windows machines , programmes such as Photoshop cs4, imove hd, garageband ,indesign and itunes . The main programme that we used however was I movie HD , we used this programme because of the ease and speed of the importing and editing process and also because where using a very large variety of formats to shoot our film from SD cards in The Digital SLR to the firewire facilities on the night vision and the schools hand held Sony cameras this programme automatically detects the input of a video device and then we selected the clips to import and I movie sectioned them into scenes for easy of editing . Once on the programme we where able to select sections of the clips and drag and drop them onto a timeline with allowed us to independently adjust sound levels both on the clip itself and in the background music that we inserted to play under these clips . We decided to use royalty free music from a website called http://www.incomputech.com which houses a selection of royalty free tracks that where able to download to itunes and then directly import them into the timeline through the import media function on imovie HD. Another way in which imovie helped in the construction of our movie is in the editing techniques imovie has a very easy to use system where by selection of a clip is done with two click and then a virtual preview menu appear which shows a small scale view of the clip in the standard form of each effect , for example in using a edge define effect or as one we used ,Night effect to create an uneasy tone to an image we had to film at dusk rather than at night where Katie is trying to evade the “thing” chasing her from the house. We also used the “replace audio “ function in one clip where by we had the visual take we needed but there was a mistake in the audio , the programme allowed me to simply highlight the audio for the clip and using control and right click to select “copy audio only” and then I highlighted the audio on the offending clip and using the same “ control – right click” selected “ replace audio “ which directly replaced it , and then I was able to split the audio clip to allow it to fit perfectly into the scene. Another very useful function was the use of being able to alter the speed of the clips using the “edit clip “ menu and selecting “ convert for speed editing” the programme converted the clip to a format where the speed of the clip could be speedup or slowed down up too 400 times original seed which allowed me to give the “thing “ chasing Katie in the end of the film a perceived supernatural ability to run very quickly over ruff ground by speeding up a clip of my holding the camera on top of a tripod high in the air up by 24 times .

Another technology that was useful to us was the use of basic programmes to enhance our poster and a wide variety of internet resources to bring a unique feel to them. whereby I used a website called dafont to select a variety of fonts in the horror style and acquire a preview of this online, I then used the print screen function on the Macs which consisted of “ control- function -3” to take a screen shot and paste this into “preview” so I could select just the text I wanted and to copy that into Photoshop to use as the title for our poster .

Media technologies such as the use of programmes like “word” and “pages” where very useful in the research stage of our production the form of allowing us to quickly design and distribute a questionnaire to help us decide what our traget audience would like to see in a horror film aimed at them. Also in the evaluation stages where we needed to quantify and display our audience feedback from polls and questionnaires in a quantative and easy to understand form, for both the people participating and us deciphering the information which led to us going back to imovie to edit imperfects that where suggested could be better until we got our final product

Another technology which I implemented In the making our my poster and double page article was the use of special lens called a fisheye lens, this lens enhances the central part of the image and distorts the background giving a great sence of depth of field , instead of attaching this in the usual fashion I decided to hold it in front of a standard 18-55mm lens on my dslr to allow for room to add text in the editing stage of the poster as we wanted to use one single image which from our research we though would look most professional this effect was very useful and allowed us to use less editing saving time .

I think the most useful technology was the use of internet resources , especially you tube allowed me to learn how to use the programmes that we had at our disposal to the best of my ability and also to research other media texts for inspiration and to see how they filmed things and if we could recreate them also I used this website WordPress.com to upload all of my research and production piece along with my two ancillary texts and photos from photo shoots for these it also allowed me to post polls to see what people thought of the images and also to show my final uploaded film that was uploaded to you tube for public viewing and to gain audience feedback
Overall I am very pleased with the three media products I have created with my partner Katie and I have learnt many new techniques and skills to allow us to achieve the desired effect or outcome that we wanted from our genre of film to captivate inspire and shock our audience.

Evaluation question 3 – what have you learned from your audience feedback?

8 May

Too asses the success of my short film Katie And I Created a questionnaire the results of which where very positive. We included questions on narrative, Technical aspects such as camera work , editing and any particular strengths and or weaknesses they found with the film . Along with these quantative results , whilst showing our film to our target audience of young adults from 18-35 I was able to visibly observe the audiences reactions to the film , as our film has a horror genre if the audience where genuinely scared by the film especially the scene where Sean has gone missing and Katie and Sam are walking around with only torchlight for vision and there is no backing music just the eerie silence, the entire audience fell completely silent and all background chit chat stopped memorised by the sense of anxiety waiting for something to happen, also during the final scene when Katie is tackled to the floor , almost all of our audience jumped in the seats and in our questionnaire this was named as one oh the highlights consistently , this showed me that in the first scene using the handheld camera technique we achieved in putting the audience in the film feeling the same thing that the actors where portraying and this was reflected in both or initial feedback and in the questionnaires later on another positive point that arose from the results where the positive remarks regarding our story line and location, we received comments such as “ amazing story “ and “ loved the scary corridors , really added to the tone well” however there where a minority of comments where people didn’t initially get the story line at the beginning of the film these where reflected in such comments as “ storyline was unclear at the start but loved the last few scenes, well done guys “ we also learned from our feedback that we had made a minor continuity error just as the final scene began and also that some of the scenes where too dark. Another fault they identified was that the end credits where not very easy to read and suggested a font change. So Katie and I used the image editing software on I movie hd to brighten up the scene slightly and also changed the type face to a more bold and less thin and streaky text , we wanted to re-film the final scene but unfortunately where short of time. The big positive point from out film was during that final scene where Katie stops between two trees and I shot a 360 degree camera shot around her in almost all out responses they commented on this looking very “professional” and that it looked like a clip from a blockbuster horror film..

Our poster got some very good feedback also mainly that the photography was very fitting to our genre and that the setup of the shot was very good, also that the font and title for out film tied in with the image exceptionally well which we where very pleased with as it took us a long time to choose the font and we didn’t decide on the title until just after filming . my double page spread got more negative feedback that positive in the form that it didn’t look that professional and had two much writing in big chunks , I took this advice onboard and changed it as you can see in my stage by stage posting of it previously and I think it turned out looking quite good after breaking up the text and spreading everything out and jostling it around

I think that overall my genre was very well portrayed in all three of my texts and was very well received and I have taken onboard all the advice from the audience feed back and have adjusted appropriately all the issues that I could given the time constraints and I am very pleased with the three products Katie and I have produced.

Evaluation question 2 – how effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

28 Mar

Overall I am very happy with the outcome of both my main product, my film “Relentless” and the two ancillary products my poster and article . We wanted to implement a feel of consistency in our film and poster by using a set colour selection in red, black and white as these colour worked well with our genre of horror/thriller. Red because it signifies danger and blood and is quite a sinful colour along with red being associated with love and passion which could appeal to a female audience. Black being the colour of uncertainty/unknown and fear, especially when used to contrast a bright red as a background colour for example as it has an uneasy tone and orer of mystery surrounding what could lie in the depths of a deep black . We used white to highlight important information in our poster for example. Which I continued in my article to make my text stand out on the page from the dark alluring background giving it a sense of depth and contrast the dark background. Blacks , whites and reds are also the main features in many real horror/ thriller style media products For example in the original Jaws poster and the exorsist

We used these such posters as inspiration for the colour and layout of our poster to allow it to look as professional as possible. We used a similar layout with one main dark image with the main characters in a dark narrow corridor ,with Katie being the focal point in a red jumper with a very uneasy expression on her face we then combined this with a a small amount of simple Red text in the form of a title, catch line, credits and review comment. Finlay the release date and production institutions being in white to contrast the black and make them pop off the page .

Another reason why I think that the three products combined are effective is the continuity of font style and the backround photos for both our film and my poster ad the location continuity of our film .through out all three pieces. We chose the font “Eccentric Std” because it connotes our genre being uneasy to read just like our film leaves you feeling uneasy at times. I wanted to continue using this font in my double page article however the font in the smaller sizes isn’t very clear or easy to read so I chose “ cornier new” as it has a similar look , continuing the continuity through out the three products and it also fits the genre well yet it is much more clear.
Finaly the photography we used through out our products works very well. All three compliment each other in that the poster reflects the genre very well with the photo that I took on the last day of filming to ensure there where no continuity errors . To do the majority of the filming I and photography for my poster and article I used my Nikon D5000 DSLR camera . This allowed me with a few techniques like the use of fish eye and using the manual focus to get some very eye catching and professional high quality looking images that have been top of our audience feed backs positive aspects list. The images I used in both my article and poster compliment the camera work in the film with odd angles and the use of dark spaces with one or two dim sources of light to create the horror like tone to the camera shots. One of my particular favourites is the scene when Sean goes to look for his relentless can with a slow panning shot that slides down at an angle to show the area where the can was which we lit with a small touch in an otherwise dark environment , we then coupled this with the background noise of same and Katie refilling a clip for there film that Sean had previously spoiled by walking into shot as it was being filmed. Because of the sound quality of a D-SLR not being that good I asked Katie and Sam to go through the scene again in the room next to wear I was filming to get the effect that they where at the other end of the corridor with a muffled tone to it but so that the audience could still make out what was being said.

Overall I think that the combination of camera work, colour, photography, font and continuity in my three products where very effective in reproducing and imitating a real horror film and its ancillaries I think this was due to careful research that we carried out before and during and through inspiration we took from other media texts.

Evaluation Question 1 – In what way does your film use, develop or challenge the forms and conventions of real media products ?

27 Mar

To create my short film I used media products such as my DSLR camera, apple Macs, I-movie HD and adobe Photoshop software’s to edit and help create my final piece. Along with a poster to accompany this and also a double page article for a magazine.
Using this software I was able to create and manipulate my film to help both conform to and challenge the popular conventions of a typical horror movie. However we also had to keep these conventions in mind when filming each sequence of the film incorporating camera shot angles or styles , dialog, lighting, sound both diegetic and non-diegetic and acting to suit this genre to give us the best chance of creating a product that resembles a real horror film as closely as possible .

One convention for a horror film is the use of dark spaces and low lighting conditions to create tension and fear, we incorporated this into our film quite a lot by setting the majority of the film at night time and combining that with the use of our location , a 16 century period stately home that appeared derelict in parts, we successfully created a eerie tone and spooky atmosphere to the relevant parts of our film. This was especially effective in the scene where Katie and Sam have heard Sean be attacked by something and has disappeared with no response to them calling. And so explore some of the upper regions of the house, where Sean had previously been. We chose to use a completely unlit section of the house where there is no electricity so we could ad to the uneasy atmosphere by having a camera shot of the light switches not working . Another way in which we conformed to this sort of convention in this scene is where Katie and Sam use a dim touch light to explore a few rooms looking for Sean. This is used in real media products such as in “Quarantine (2008)” to give a limited view of the dark environment which results in increased anxiety which was the effect we needed in the build up too the moment Sam gets dragged away. Further more we used this effect in the photo I took for our poster to accompany the film. We set up the photo in one of the corridors of the house and turned the lights off. We then got two torches with different colour outputs and held them slightly out of shot so that all three characters Katie , Sean and Sam where all lit differently ( getting progressively darker ) showing there relevance in the film Katie being bright at the front Sam next being slightly more faded into the background and Sean only just visible as he get “killed first” we then enhances this effect but holding a fish eye lens in front of my standard camera lens so we could openly adjust the level of fish eye and to create enough dark space for the eerie tone we wanted to create.

Another Convention that we used and developed slightly to create our film is the use of two camera prospective. One being the image we see as we watch the film or the Rostrum camera shots that shows the group of teenagers moving throughout the film and also in some of the action scenes. The second is a view from the main character Katie’s prospective as she films “ her film “ this such prospective is seen in many real media products such as “ The Blair Witch project (1999)” and also in “Quarantine (2008)”. However we developed this convention by mixing the two types of shot both the “rostrum” and the characters view. In using the prospective of Katie’s camera we put the audience in Katie’s shoes which allows them to get a more direct prospective of what’s going on and almost allowed us to manipulate the audiences reaction to what’s going by enhancing the anxiety and eerie atmosphere. Which was the effect we were trying to achieve by doing this. One of the main positive points from out audience feed back focused on the effective use of this convention, and how it helped convey our narrative to the audience

In terms of Sound we have conformed to many real horror films in that we have used gradually ascending eerie sound tracks as precursors to a “ scary event” happening, such as when Sean gets chased by “something “ and disappears. As We noticed it builds tension and is a very well used convention of successful horror productions. We also challenged this in doing the opposite for our big climax where Katie gets tackled by the “ thing “ that’s is chasing her . We had some very fast tempo conventional music for the chase but then faded it off as the chase progressed to a quiet background music allowing the image to be more dominant over the music . In doing this we timed the “ drop in the song” ( which we downloaded from a royalty free website called “incompetech.com” ) with the moment Katie’s gets taken out , giving the audience no precursors to what was about to happen , which allowed us to implement an element of surprise which we hadn’t used in the previous parts of the film .

Another area we have challenged a convention for most horror films, is in that the majority of horror films use blood gore and special effects to shock and scare the audience and to convey the horror genre. For example in the opening sequences of quarantine when the firemen get attacked by the rapid elderly lady in her flat. where as we almost created a subgenre in a more horror/ thriller style film , we use suspense, anxiety and surprise to scare our audience coupled with the horror narrative rather than using scenes of blood and gore and special effect which finance wise we were not capable of producing and if we did it would have been very difficult with the time restraints we had. Although If we could remake it and had less of a time constraint I think incorporating those conventions would enhance the views experience.

Use of Text

24 Mar

In order to get the distorted style font for my magazine articles front cover i needed to use a website called “www.dafont.com” where i found a font style that i liked and typed in a preview. then i used the print screen feature by holding “ctrl-shift-3”

i then copied this image to paint where i cropped the text, and pasted it into indesign .

Final Double page article

24 Mar

This is my complete double page article it differs from the first in that everything was too linear and was “flat” nothing popped off the page which made it look very unprofessional. so i decided to brake up the text by arranging it in shorter chunks that are broken up by eye catching quotes as are very popular in real media texts to make the reading more exciting and interesting , i also added page numbers and other information like a website to visit to read more reviews entitled ” http://www.lovehatemedia.com” i have also added another image as it was more appropriate with my theme but also to help brake up the text which i have shortened so that the page isn’t cluttered with information.

Double page article take 2

24 Mar

This is half way through the rearranging and changing of my double page magazine article. the reason that i changed it was because i stupidly hadn’t accounted for the fold in the centre of the two pages, also because everything was too linear and was “flat” nothing popped off the page which made it look very unprofessional. so i decided to brake up the text by arranging it in shorter chunks that are broken up by eye catching quotes as are very popular in real media texts to make the reading more exciting and interesting , i am planning to add another image as there is currently a big space at the top right of the page , also things like page number and websites need to be added.