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

The filming and editing of our preliminary task was extremely basic and was put together in just under an hour at the start of our media course. We used an iPhone to video and edit the footage with a basic editing app. Altogether it lacked any direction and failed to even show a good use of match-on-action or the 180 degree rule. Not only were we determined for our opening sequence to be a step up from the narrative of the preliminary task but also we wanted to show how we could use a wide range of equipment and technologies to achieve a much more appealing piece.

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The first real step up was the planning and research into our opening sequence. It required a lot more thinking and dedication than the five minute talk we had prior to filming the preliminary task. However for answering this question we must look at the more technical side of things. for our first filming day we used an actual video camera as we wanted to be able to have a tripod for the talking scenes to make it stable and more professional looking.The camera was more complex than the iPhone used for the preliminary task and required us figuring out how to pause, stop and start. Whilst this sounds particularly easy most of our footage was our feet in between shots, second time round filming however we had mastered the camera. For the complexity of the camera in our hands I believe this was a step up from the ‘one-click’ iPhone we used to film our preliminary task. As mentioned above, we used a camera predominantly for the tripod as we could set up stable, effective shots. With our preliminary task we could not use a tripod with the iPhone and had to use tables to ensure it was not overly shaky. This limited our range of shots extremely as they were just a fixed height and were not available 360 degrees around the character.

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For the whole of our opening sequence we had to fake/create a night time which our viewers could still see all the action, whereas in the preliminary we filmed in daylight and left it that way. Filming at night or in dark conditions required a great deal of planning about lighting and post production. I will talk more about the post production later on. One our first film day we created a false sense of night by covering windows and not filming towards them, this worked well on the day however when reviewing footage it was dark and grainy. Therefore upon our second filming day we filmed at actual night but used car headlight to illuminate our characters. We did this as we now were aware that we could darken film a lot easier than lighten it in post production. Our preliminary task required no consideration of light in particular due to the shortness (lack of continuity needed) and the daylight it was set in.

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We advanced most in our post production from preliminary task to opening sequence. Post production of the preliminary task was simple cuts and done with a free of charge iPhone app, it took around 10 minutes, where as the post production of our opening sequence was done using Final Cut Pro, involved editing of speech, sound, music, lighting, colour, putting together, titles and much more which took over 3 weeks. The two post productions are hardly comparable and it is clear how we advanced. For example in our preliminary task we did not have to edit sound as there was no changing of scenes and no background sound was added, where as within our opening sequence there was a huge amount of adjusting sound levels, reconfiguring the clearest speech with the clearest picture, background sound including muffled music added and even sound bites of doors closing.

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Our opening sequence shows good continuity due to the narrative and the stability of characters and the sequence flows. However within the preliminary task since it was so short and lacked any kind of valuable audience content (i.e characterisation) that it was hard to show continuity as it was set within half a minute. We also used a much greater range of shots within our opening sequence, such as low angle, medium and wide shots, whereas our preliminary task was almost all wide shots.

(All GIFS show the preliminary task stills first and then our opening sequence stills)

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

Whilst doing the planning for our opening sequence, we looked at several different films and TV shows as inspiration. One of the films was ‘Project X’, this film was a two hour long party so there was much to be learnt from it. It was clear to see how it progressed from a tamer event to a out of control situation and we decided to incorporate that feeling of progression into our scene by increasing the nature of the clips to a crazy ending. When viewing ‘Skins’, our other inspiration, we noticed that particularly in the advert for Series 1 and the parties that the episodes were contained, that lighting was used to show everything that was happening at the party in flashes. Stopping a ‘documentary’ like feel to the party and making the viewer feel more involved. To see how these flashes were created we researched on YouTube how to edit in flashes, and decided the easiest way would be too get one shot that is significantly lighter than the rest and use it as a flash. We also viewed other A-Level projects on the internet, including ones that shared their marks, this gave us a clear understanding at what kind of quality would reach an A grade and which would receive lower. We also picked up on weaknesses and strengths of other people’s pieces; a common problem was bad sound, or match-on-match action, however most past media students were good at conveying the genre of the film and at characterisation.

 

Flashes like our inspiration pieces featured

Flashes like our inspiration pieces featured

Upon the actual filming we had to learn several new techniques, this included setting up a tripod! Having never used one before it actually took a reasonably long amount of time to figure out how to adjust the height and make the cameras’ stand rotatable. We also realised fairly quickly when filming and after once reviewing the footage that low-budget cameras like ours picked up very little light in what seems like a reasonably bright room. They work best with natural and strong light. Unfortunately for our first filming session we were not attuned to this, and thought we could lighten the footage through editing, of course this was easy enough, but created incredibly grainy footage. The next filming session we learnt our lesson and filmed in as much light as possible, realising also that there was an actual effect on FinalCut Pro, Day into Night, which could darken the clip naturally whilst maintaining the quality. Throughout the editing we used YouTube and several google sites on how to achieve certain effects we wanted. Such as just simply how to slow down a clip, which was much easier than we anticipated. Also we used online sources to work out how to deal with our ‘Red Eye’ situation on one of the clips (another thing I learnt – don’t use flash directly at someone’s eyes as it might end up as a red eye). Luckily the eye was only in the footage for a fraction of a second so covering it with a black circle overlay was fairly easy. We then frame by frame tracked its movement so it stayed on the eye and not just unnaturally stationary on the face.

 

Red eye correction

Red eye correction

We also learnt a fair bit about sound within the sequence and also downloading it onto FinalCut Pro. It took a shameful amount of time for us to gain access to the music for our sequence. We learnt that with iTunes not allowing a shared computer setting and the school blocking any means of buying the music, we had to bring in ‘hard’ copies of the music, but the Mac still wasn’t keen on this, leading to a lengthy process of converting the file into another media type. Once the music was on FinalCut Pro we faced more problems such as the tuning of the non-diegetic and diegetic sound. Several diegetic sound clips, contained background sounds of rain so we decided to add a rain effect over the top so that they would always sound similar. We also had to add sound effects for door closing etc. as we realised that if we wanted the music to be heard without the fizzle of the cameras sounds it would be hard to have the actual door’s closing sound.

Editing the sound

Editing the sound

When receiving feedback we created pie charts and tables of people’s reviews to make them easier and clearer to read. This in turn has taught us techniques to show off data in a clear and organised way. We used Microsoft Word and Excel to create these as they had clear instructions. For uploading these to the blog we decided screenshots of the feedback charts would be the easiest way to upload. Throughout blogging I regularly used screenshots to illustrate a post. I even learnt how to make a GIF and click through links. Both I researched online and with the GIF I found an online gift maker that produce a code compatible with my blog, and uploaded three pictures that would been shown with delays. For the click through link, I added the links when uploading a picture to the WordPress site and through that it took the viewer to YouTube to hear a song. This was especially useful as it stopped the blog being clogged up with huge videos and links, making it much more user friendly.

Click through links on the music

Click through links on the music

5. How did you attract/address your audience?

statsWe looked at our inspirations to see what attracted us to them as teenagers ourselves and realised it was their unique and different filming cinematography and characterisation which was different to the more adult based media available. It appeals as it relates to the audience and therefore we are attracted to it. Above is the stats for my blog is hash tagged the blog to build more of a wider audience through the tags and trends which helped people that would not be interested before, build interested and even hype about our project.

I used polls to make sure that our target audience was interested in the film and understood it. We also received feedback throughout the project from our target audience as we were surrounded by our peers whoa re teenagers which was highly convenient. as we could ask what appealed and what would look good. Our actors and extras during the party scene also helped us as they gave ideas of typical party behaviours which helped it all look more natural and better overall.

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

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Our target audience is teenagers (15+) of both genders. We believe because of the nature of our opening sequence which includes drugs and swearing, it would be suitably rated as a 15. We also believe that as our film would probably include violence, more drugs and language throughout it is a good rating. Of course to make this decision we had to visit the British Board of Film Classification Website which can be seen above. We considered which ratings contain what material and decided that ours featured several of the below:

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Our opening sequence contained strong language, portrayals of sexual activity and drug taking. We also believe the rest of the film may contain more of the above features and therefore it would be more suited as a 15 rating. As our genre is a teenage thriller this was reflected in the content of the film so that it appealed to the teenagers it was intended for. However we had to consider this in the classification, as seen below on the website.

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However we are fortunate that our piece doesn’t contain any of these harmful behaviours. The target audience for our piece is well reflected by our characters who are young, adventurous and outgoing.

Overall we believe our piece would be best suited as a 15 rating.

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

A film distributor takes a film that has been made and ultimately gives it access to the cinema or wherever it will be broadcasted. This involves advertising, legal and physical distribution of the film through copies. This is vital to ensure the film can make as many sales as possible by reaching its target audience.

We chose Film4 as our distributor as they aim to produce new innovative and unique films. From there back catalogue they also seem to enjoy films which have a twist or edge to them, which we believe our product contains. Film4 was launched in 1998 and whilst it may broadcast some huge block busters hits on the channel nowadays, its selling point was and still continues to be the rare British film it produces. Some of its most notable productions or co-productions are: Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, 12 years a Slave, Four Lions and The Inbetweeners Movie.

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More recently Film4 launched the above campaigns to reach out for more exclusive films. We believe our film could fit into this new, particular category due to several reasons:
• We believe that the narrative of our piece stands out as it is a fairly bold way to open a film being ‘thrown’ into the action within a few minutes. Film4’s productions are often willing to step over the line and break into new territory like this.
• Our use of sound is different and engaging as we use it to link together our sequences and as the dominant sound within the title sequence and dance scenes.
• We believe our film fits with the Film4 ‘ethos’ of edgy and ground breaking as shows the teenage world from a more immersive angle. It is clear from Film4’s releases and Channel 4’s hosted programs that they enjoy teenage comedies and also that they enjoy darker stories. Therefore our mix of thriller and teenage is perfect.

One of our inspirations was also Skins which hosted on Channel 4’s side channels of e4. We feel if the content of that TV series was the kind of material Channel 4 looks for then our film may fit in perfectly. Although Channel4 and Film4 are managed separately from viewing both hosts products they carry very similar values for the TV or film that is appealing.

Former film distribution research

Former film distribution research

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

We were are fairly conventional in our representation of teenagers and researched before hand into fashion, music and the behaviours of the teenagers using mood boards and our inspirations. Our characters show a variety of personalities and social types through their general being. Below we are going to dissect the characters appearance and how this helped achieve a good variety of social groups and reflect our target audience. Firstly all of our actors were teenagers themselves and therefore represented well the target audience.

1a

Here is Ellie, the best friend of the main girl. We decided to dress her quite conventionally as she is not a very out there character despite having much importance later in the film.

She represents female teenagers through her hair which is styled and long, and makeup which although subtle also is typical of a teenager (eyeliner etc.). We also asked Ellie to wear her nose ring as we believe it showed a more wild teenage side. Below are our other female characters.

 

1b 1d

Amber (left) is dressed very nice to try and impress one of our male actors. We chose this outfit as we believe that teenagers sometimes try to dress older to impress guys or attract their attention.

Sophie (right) however is a little plainer in her outfit as she is in the relationship and somewhat of an outsider of the group. We chose this subtle outfit as we believe it would show her character best.

1e 1c Our boys arte fairly conventional in their clothing and we decided to dress them extremely similar to show how a gay person doesn’t necessarily dress a certain way as we didn’t want Peter (left) to look particularly different.

Jack (right) is the straight male and is dressed similarly. We gave him glasses so that he would appear innocent as he meant to be the heart throb of the film.

 

 

 

 

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

Above is an audio answering the question over our opening sequence. Below there is more detail on the aspects of our sequence:

CharacterisationWe created a strong sense of characterisation through mis-en-scene and the language our characters used. We used clothing to represent the age and identity of our characters, we told them to dress in suitable clothing for a party and described their characters personality. We instructed the more prominent, i.e main characters, were asked to dress in brighter colours, whilst all our other party guests were told to wear darker clothes so they wouldn’t draw focus away.The characters language upon the lead up and within the party also show what kind of person they are. We chose the lines which we knew were typical of a teenagers language of other film and TV shows such as that used in our inspirations. Which is often brief interactions and swearing.

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“we told them to dress in suitable clothing for a party and described their characters personality. We instructed the more prominent, i.e main characters, were asked to dress in brighter colours”

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“We chose the lines which we knew were typical of a teenagers language of other film and TV shows such as that used in our inspirations.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting: We believe the songs used in our sequence (both being modern and one released just last year) help set the time of the film – which is modern day. The setting of the actual party and where the film will be base is apparent on the approach to the party where you can see houses lit up and a quiet street. Hinting that the film isn’t set in a city but a more rural and less busy setting, this is good for a thriller as it allows more suspense as theres less people around so less people to see the missing girl in our story.

houses lit up and a quiet street (builds the unlikely hood of someone running away - serene village idea)

“houses lit up and a quiet street “(builds the unlikely hood of someone running away – serene village idea)

Genre: Our genre is a ‘teenage thriller’ we believe our opening sequence introduces it in two key scenes: the packing of the bag asks questions and enthrals viewers to keep watching to see who and why they are packing and secondly in our dance scenes as the beat builds leading to the suspense building as well, making the viewer intrigued into just ‘how far’ this party is going to go. The last scene with a person leaving the house, seems an anti climax compared to the wildness of the party, however this could be reversed as rather than it being an anticlimax due to the calmness, it actually represents how important this scene is as it leads to the rest of the film being about finding the girl. The ending scene also gives a sense of enigma, ‘who is leaving and why?’ hopefully convincing viewers to watch on.

"sense of enigma, 'who is leaving and why?'"

“sense of enigma, ‘who is leaving and why?'”

Narrative: The narrative of our opening sequence is all about how the missing girl ‘Molly’ leaves which are clues for the rest of the film. The packing suggests an organised and planned retreat however when she leaves at the pinnacle of the party the behaviour becomes more suspicious.

Visual Style and Ideology: This was perhaps our strongest point. We believe it was unique and different of us to use music as diegetic sound within the sequence and then make it into non-diegetic sound by playing it out. For example in the title sequence it was used to show where the titles start and end as we wanted to incorporate the titles into the opening sequence but also show clearly the title sequence, we did this by switching the music to just play by itself instead of background noise as well. We also copied the technique in the build up to the dance scenes in our opening sequence, playing the track as background to the party in the scenes before and then it becoming the over riding sound when the dance and party scenes were played out. Throughout the opening sequence we had purple undertones to help link all our scenes together and make the whole thing flow visually more, however only in the party/dance scenes we used this to our full advantage. In our inspirations we had seen flashing that helped show the whole of the party and highlight important or iconic images of that film or TV programme. We did the same but rather than uses flashing in our editing which could be a bit overbearing, we filmed one very bright dance scenes and cut that up to create flashes compared to the darker purple undertones. We believe the sequence showed a good sense of ideology through the party and the teens taking drugs, drinking or being sexual. This is what it shown by the media to be a ‘typical’ teenage party and so we played on that stereotype by allowing our party to get fairly wild within a short amount of time.

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“In our inspirations we had seen flashing that helped show the whole of the party and highlight important or iconic images”

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“we filmed one very bright dance scenes and cut that up to create flashes compared to the darker purple undertones.”

 

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