Monday, 31 December 2012

Planning - Colour Grading

Hello readers,
 Having shot our test shots we decided to try out colour grading; this is a post-edit process we could use in our final opening sequence if we are unhappy with the colour aesthetic.
 Using Adobe SpeedGrade, I imported the edited look development film and began adjusting the whites and blacks within the footage. I also changed the colour levels and temperatures. The result of this was a custom colour mask. The images below show the difference between footage with the colour mask and without. The footage without the colour mask appears dull and less visually appealing. The colour mask has a blue tint which suggests coldness and also lowers the overall exposure of the film. This could be a good colour mask to use for our final piece as it creates an eerie look. If we do decide to colour grade our final opening sequence, it is better that we shoot as neutral as possible.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Planning - Location Hunting (Woods) and Look Development

Hello readers,
 Upon deciding the chosen locations for the escape scenario within our film opening we, as a team, decided to hunt for accessible locations that would suit the criteria for our intended site. We had already decided upon a forest location for the main dual escape scene between the victim and the captor; this we found on the outskirts of a village. It is accessible as a road cuts through the middle of the wood meaning equipment can easily be transported for use.
Images of found site:

Why this is the chosen location?
 As well as being accessible, we also decided this location was suited to our criteria of a thriller movie as not only is it maze like, but due to the time of year (winter) it is eerie with bare and fallen trees creating irregular patterns within the environment. Due to fallen trees, our victim will also appear helpless due to loss of direction and loss of ability to run well. We were inspired to choose a wood for the escape scene by different films such as The Blair Witch Project, Sleepy Hollow and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (the snatchers chase scene).

 Using a wood environment for the main chase scene between the two characters will also be ideal for our chosen genre as the lighting in woods is shadowy, creating suspense for the audience.
Look Development in Wood

 When in our chosen location we decided to do test shots; this was the first time working with our particular equipment meaning the camera work in this is shaky which will be improved on in our final piece. Shannon, our actress and co-worker, helped and was filmed for this particular montage as she will be the victim in our final piece. We also found the lighting to be too dark so we will over expose and film in daylight to ensure we have enough exposure for easy watching; this we can later change by colour grading. Overall we used a variety of shots such as dolly zoom, close up, focus pull and so on and also worked with a camera rig. The whole look is eerie which is essential for our chosen thriller genre. We used a soundtrack from The Killing which will inspire us when we make our final soundtrack as it creates tension and suspense which is necessary.

Planning - Team Member Roles

 Hello readers,
Before filming, as a team we decided to make a clear post about the parts of production we are enrolling ourselves into.

 Amelia Eguchi-Wale (myself)
 It has been dictated by the team and I, that I am going to be chief-editor and costume supervisor. I will also be filming and directing cinematography. On top of this, I am of course a producer along with the other two team members and a director.

 Amber Wilson
Amber will also be filming, but she will take role as head supervisor of credits. This will mean she will be supervising the creation of our credits, title and 'ident'. She is also a producer and executive director.

Shannon Bulmer
Shannon is acting within our film, but she will be capturing footage of our actor James. She will also be supervising creation of our soundtrack and directing and producing. She will be chief recorder of ambient sounds too.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Planning/Research - Camera Angles

Hello readers,
 Before creating our storyboard and taking test shots, we decided to look at the chase scene from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'. Having already looked at this chase scene as a team before, we already knew that we want to echo the same fast pace as has been done within this clip in our own opening credits.

 The shots in this scene vary, creating interest. There is inclusion of tracking shots, medium close up's, long shot's, close up's and panning shots. Through the use of varying shots, the pace is enhanced and the audience are shown different perspectives which increases tension. The quick cut editing successfully creates the illusion of a speedy pace and builds suspense as the viewer does not know what is going to happen next. You can also notice that within this scene, the movement of the camera is very smooth; although we have not practiced much with filming before, we will have to ensure our camera movement is as smooth as possible. We will also use a variety of shots, and consider using ones which are presented in this particular chase scene.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Research - Ident

Hello readers,
 As we are making an opening sequence, it is important that we try to give our production the utmost feel of professionalism is as possible. At the beginning of every film is an 'ident'; this acts as the signature of the company. It shows the audience who created the film. Our team has made the decision to make our own 'ident', so because of this we needed to research into an 'ident' that could influence our own.
 Twisted Pictures are the company behind the renowned 'Saw' franchise. In their 'ident', it is clear to see that the films of which the company release are of the thriller/horror genre.
Below is Twisted Pictures company 'ident':

 How is it made evident that this is the genre of film of which Twisted Pictures release? Firstly, the name of the company. 'Twisted' connotes ideas of insanity and abnormal human behaviour; thriller/horror films follow storyline's of odd happenings which are wrong and at times inhumane. This title therefore represents the genre well. Secondly, the font. It is bold and sans serif, which results in harsh edges. The colour of the letters is steel; the viewer can infer that this shade depicts images of knifes and so on, again, relating to the theme of violence within both genres. The black background makes the title stand out more and the dark colour scheme emphasises the 'dark' side to the thriller/horror genre. The animation of the barbed wire curling around the text suggests ideas of being trapped and no escape - the title is imprisoned within the wire. This is perhaps something we could include within our own 'ident' as The Syndrome is about a girl being captured and held hostage. After the wire has finished curling around the title, a dagger falls from above and lands between the two words. This again connotes violence and pain, popular of the two genres. The dagger turns and wraps the barbed wire around itself, almost suffocating the title. Then with the flash of apparent thunder, the title is released of the barbed wire and appears cut and damaged, emphasising the popular themes of suffering and death which are linked to thriller/horror films. The dagger then stays entwined with a little barbed wire. Throughout the 'ident' is a short soundtrack; noises within is metal sounds, the sounds of thorns growing and thunder. All are harsh sounds which exaggerates the representation of the thriller/horrow genres even further as it implies ideas of violence.
 Overall, our team is very influenced by this particular 'ident' and would like to give our own the same aesthetics and feel of the genre that Twisted Pictures have achieved.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Research - Other Ambient Sound

Hello readers,
 As well as creating ambient forest sounds, within our soundtrack we need to emphasize the idea that our victim is running as fast as possible to escape from her captor. To exaggerate this, we plan to record heavy breathing and import this into our soundtrack. An example of heavy breathing is in the clip below; the only difference being between our recorded heavy breathing and the example one, is that ours will be of a female panting.

Research - Ambient Sounds

Hello readers,
In my post about the programs we intend to use within the production process, I commented on the fact that we have made the decision to create ambient sounds for our soundtrack. As the main escape scene is within a forest, we need to make sound effects suited to this location.
In this particular Youtube clip, you can make out a lot of winds and distinct creaks. The listener can also pick up on ambiguous crunching of leave and snapping of twigs which suggests presence within the woods. We could include noises like this within our score, by collecting leaves, paper and twigs and crunching and snapping these to portray movement within the forest. As well as this, we may be able to find noises which create wind sounds within Soundtrack Pro.

In the below clip, we can hear the sound of leaves being walked on. We could recreate this within our own ambient sounds.

We plan to make the sound effects we create diagetic throughout the duration of the escape scene.

Research - Other Soundtracks

Hello readers,
 To further research soundtracks which could possibly influence our own, we looked at this particular soundtrack taken from '28 Weeks Later'. Despite this film having little in common with our own opening sequence idea, we feel that the slow build up and layer of sounds could influence us in the way we compile our own soundtrack. The slow beginning of the score to a climax helps to build tension; this is something we would like to do in our own soundtrack. However, as the time limit of our opening sequence is two minutes, we cannot evoke the slow beginning within our own, so this soundtrack is unhelpful to the suitability of what we need from our own score.

  Our final soundtrack which we found to influence us the most is from the TV series 'The Killing'. This is because it uses a lot of electronic sounds and provides a feel of tension through the erratic placing of sounds and beats. The score also builds up to a fast pace. Because we are trying to attract a younger audience, we plan to use electronic sounds within our own soundtrack as well as the inclusion of ambient sounds. We also want to depict a quick chase scene, so a fast pace is essential. We plan to make our soundtrack diagetic throughout the whole opening credits as we have no dialect. 

Research - Soundtrack

Hello readers,
 To begin thinking about our soundtrack, our team started research. One of the most iconic thriller films is 'Psycho', a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The soundtrack has been recorded using an all-string orchestra. This is probably because string instruments can create eerie, short noises which results in the creation of tension. The soundtrack has a quick pace which is unnerving; we also would like our own soundtrack to follow a fast pace as we are capturing a chase scene. As the soundtrack proceeds, the string sounds become longer and calmer however this does not omit the unsettling atmosphere that has been created; it is almost the 'eye of the storm' as the score then continues to speed up. Despite this being a successful soundtrack, we would like a more modern feel to our own as we are trying to attract a younger audience. 
                                 We then began looking at films based around this idea of 'no escape' and being held hostage. A movie which is well known for following similar themes is the action horror film 'The Hills Have Eyes'; there is a colony of deformed former miners who capture a family and then inflict heinous crimes onto them such as rape and death. Although, this film is an 18 it is still fairly similar to 'The Syndrome's basic plot due to victims being held hostage. This particular soundtrack is a little unsettling as it has erratic beats with an underlining subtle screeching noise which crescendos into a shot. This surprises the audience as stays slow until it climaxes; this soundtrack creates tension through this, as the viewer is unsure what is going to happen. The shots then continue and the music becomes louder. This is very suited to its genre of horror, or it even would suit a thriller, as this soundtrack successfully creates tension and connotes violence through gun shots. Our team have decided, however, that we would like to makes our more pacy but using similar sounds like the beats and the ambiguous string instrumental.

 We will continue to research more soundtracks to find one which will influence our own the most.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Planning - Intended Software List

Hello readers,
Having previously considered the equipment of which we will be using when filming, we decided to make a final decision of software we intend to use.

Editing Program

Program: Final Cut Pro

Why chosen?: We have chosen to use Final Cut Pro post-filming to compile our footage together as not only have we used it before, but it is easy to import footage into and allows simple navigation around the software. We also have access to this program.

Image of software:

Soundtrack Program

Program: Soundtrack Pro

Why chosen?: We have decided to use Soundtrack Pro when creating the score for our opening sequence as no one in our group has made music before, so we require a simple program that provides us with a variety of sounds in order to do so. Not only is this program suited to our needs, but is also accessible to us.

Image of software:

Recording Program

Program: GarageBand

Why chosen?: Having decided that we will be filming part of our escape scene within a forest location, we decided we would end up creating ambient sounds. We will not be recording these directly when filming as we do not want to pick up unwanted sounds and do not have access to the essential equipment. Therefore we will become 'foley' artists and create our own ambient sounds through recording into the software GarageBand. We will then import these sounds into Soundtrack Pro. 

                                                      Image of software: 

Credits Program

Program: LiveType

Why chosen?: Our final program choice is LiveType. With this software we will be creating our credits and title. Like the others chosen, it is easy to navigate around and allows the user to produce animated text. There is also a variety of fonts available and effects.

Image of software:

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Planning - Filming Equipment List

Hello readers,
 Before beginning test shots and filming, it is essential we complete an equipment list to ensure we have everything needed.

DSLR Camera
Model: Canon EOS 550d

Why chosen?: Our team decided to use this camera to film our opening sequence on as it is accessible. With two lenses available, one being a 50mm f1.8 and the other 18mm-130mm with an aperture f3.5, we can alter the look for different shots. For instance, when taking long distance shots, such as an establishing shot or a long shot, we can use the 18mm-130mm f3.5 lens. If we desire a more professional look on closer takes, such as a close up, we can use the 50mm f1.8 lens as the low aperture provides a more 'arty' aesthetic. 


Model: Tripod with Manfrotto fluid head

Why chosen?: Again, this equipment is accessible to us. To ensure steady camera shots and fluid panning, we chose to use this tripod with the Manfrotto fluid head attachment to gain professional filming when taking takes. Also, it allows easy attachment of the DSLR camera we  intend to use.

Camera Rig
Model: Just a standard movie pro rig

Why chosen?: When tracking characters, it is vital to gain as steady a look as is possible . Therefore, having the DSLR camera attached to a camera rig, when filming we can run whilst balancing the rig onto our shoulder. In this sense, the rig acts like a Tripod, but one intended for use when moving.

Model: Lilliput 7 inch monitor

Why chosen? It is important to ensure that what appears on the screen of the camera, appears the same on a monitor. For instance, when filming we could accidentally under expose so to ensure we avoid this we will be using a monitor to check our footage's white balance and exposure. It is also easier for the person filming to see what they are capturing. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Planning - Casting

Character 1: Captor 

Actor: James Poole
Why chosen?: We decided to cast James for the role of captor as we needed someone with a bigger build to appear intimidating in this role which determines the necessity for a powerful figure. We plan to not show him wholly visible during the opening sequence to create a sense of mystery around the dominating figure which will hold the audiences attention to continue watching on; therefore, we plan to just show his figure in shadow, from behind, particular limbs and from his shoulders down meaning the face will be left to be revealed later on. 
What scenes will they appear in?: The captor will appear during the escape scene and in two solo scenes: one scene will be the captor checking the captives prison and the other being of the captor preparing weapons/chains.

Character 2: Captive

Actress: Shannon Bulmer (also a Co-producer, co-director, co-editor, head of sound production and co-camera woman)
Why chosen?: We needed a young adult girl for this role and someone with particular interest in acting. Being a team member of ours already, we chose Shannon who would know how to portray the character and is also an AS Level Drama Student; by being a student in performing arts, Shannon will be able to convey ideas of emotion and fear better. Shannon also has a small frame which will increase a sense of vulnerability in opposition to the larger built captor in the escape scene. 
What scenes will they appear in?: The dual escape scene with the captor and a solo escape scene in the prison location.

Other team members:

Amber Wilson (Co-producer, co-director, co-editor and co-camera woman, head of credits design)
Amelia Eguchi-Wale (Co-producer, co-director, co-editor, co-camera woman, director of cinematography)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Research - BBFC Certificate

Hello readers,
Having received results from our target audience questionnaire confirming the group decision of making our film opening suitable for females and males aged 15 and above, we decided to investigate into the guidelines of the BBFC certificates.


Films with a 15 certificate on them, could include the following content:
(information taken from the BBFC website)


Films with an 18 certificate, could include the following content:
(information taken from the BBFC website)

As we intend to make a film with a 15 BBFC certificate, it is vital we do not include any unsuitable content that could put us at risk of gaining an 18 certificate, and losing our intended audience. We cannot include 'very strong violence', 'very strong language such as c***', 'strong portrayals of sexual activity', 'scenes of sexual violence' (in comparison to brief scenes/verbal references to sexual violence), 'strong blood and gore' and 'real sex'.