Friday, 29 March 2013

Final Production - The Syndrome Opening Sequence

                                            Created within the group of Amelia Eguchi-Wale, Amber Wilson and Shannon Bulmer

Evaluation - (7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Through completing our production of an opening sequence with credits, I feel that I have learnt a lot since making our preliminary task.
 The main areas I feel I have improved in since making 'The Syndrome's opening credits are camera skills, continuity editing and improved knowledge of mise en scene and the impact of soundtrack.
 In our preliminary task we only had access to a basic tripod and Panasonic camcorder. This provided us with basic tools to film our footage. The camera work within the preliminary task is fairly smooth however the colour within the shots should have been altered and since creating this clip, I have learnt more in relation to utilizing the tripod as best as possible. When creating our opening credits, we had a tripod with a Manfrotto fluid head attachment. This meant I learnt how to smoothly pan and tilt whilst recording. Also, having access to a DSLR camera when filming meant that I learnt how to control white balance and exposure within a scene, ensuring we had the best visuals available to us. Also, you can see the change in quality from the preliminary task to our final opening credits. This is because we had access to lenses which provided us with a professional touch when filming our final production, in comparison to just using the hand held camcorder in our preliminary project.
Continuity Editing
 As you can see in our preliminary task, we changed site three times. This means the whole clip lacks fluidity and just looks poorly edited together. Because we changed locations thrice, the lighting varies throughout the footage. This gives an amateur appearance. Since finishing the preliminary task and creating our final project I have learnt that with planning, you can ensure you will gain a continuous style throughout; by creating a call sheet we ensured that our actors and crew would be on site when needed and through hours that provided us with the same amount of available light. We also organised ourselves so that we were sure we to be able to gain access to the site, unlike when filming our preliminary task as we were removed from two locations. Having minimal knowledge of our editing program Final Cut Pro when compiling our footage of the preliminary task together, the standard of editing is poor. You can see this as we have not cut some clips short enough and some cuts are untidy. Since doing this, I have learnt how to successfully edit on Final Cut Pro and ensure the finished cut has as much as professional look as is possible. I also have learnt how to show a relation between two characters through placing cuts together. This was especially important within our chase scene as we needed to show to the viewer that the antagonist is chasing the protagonist. We omitted use of transitions and used quick cuts between the clips as we felt this increased pace. With transitions, the speed of the chase was lessened.
Mise en scene
 In our preliminary task it is clear that we have not considered everything within the scene. The location does not suit the situation and the costumes change due to lack of good continuity editing. Since creating the preliminary task, my knowledge of how to create a successful mise en scene has grown. Within 'The Syndrome' opening sequence, you can see we have clearly thought about the location, the costumes, the shot types, the lighting and appearance of the characters. This was not portrayed within our preliminary project. In our final project we ensured that the costumes worn by our two characters represented their roles; the victim dressed in red to signify her as a fated protagonist in danger and the antagonist dressed in dull colours to emphasize his stealth persona. The location increases the idea of 'no escape' within the chase scene and the shot types heighten pace and allow the viewer to identify with different characters. Comparing the preliminary task with our final opening credits, it is easy to see the impact of which mise en scene can have on a clip.
 Producing our preliminary task was the first time we had used Soundtrack Pro. Being beginners we included a lot of gaudy sound effects that added comedy to the video. Despite this being suited to what we intended, it only added to the amateur feel of the production. The sound quality of the dialect is also poor. I know now that if I am to record dialect I should use a recording attachment to the camera, or record it separately to the footage. When creating our final opening sequence, we decided that to gain the utmost sound quality available for our ambient noises, we should record these separately to the footage. We did so using a microphone and a recording software. We also researched into soundtracks to ensure ours suited the genre of our film opening well and then created this, ensuring it fitted timings well and enhanced a feel of tension.

Overall it is clear to see how far I have improved since making the preliminary task.
Final opening credits:
                            Preliminary task:

Evaluation - (6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Evaluation - (5) How did you attract/address your audience?

Evaluation - (4) Who would be the audience for your media product?

Evaluation - (3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Evaluation - (2) How does your media product represent particular social groups?

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

Editing - Audience Feedback

Hello readers,
 After creating our final film opening, it was essential to receive audience feedback. By doing so, we would see if we had attracted our target audience successfully. We asked a group of mixed genders ranging in age from being 15 years old to 22 years. We colour coded those in question so you can see who answered with what.
 As you can see, on question 1, 90% answered 'yes' to whether the opening scene reflected a thriller genre, and 1% answered with 'kind of'. This shows the success of the representation of our  chosen genre within our film opening sequence. On question 2, 80% answered that 'yes' the plot is clear within the opening scene, whereas, 10% said that 'no' the plot was not clear and the other 10% answered with 'kind of'. As the majority vote is 'yes', this shows we succeeded in illustrating the plot within our chase scene. Question 3 asked whether the location had an impact on the scene. 70% said 'yes', 20% said 'kind of' and 10% said 'no'. This tells us that the location added to the chase scene as the majority agreed. In concern to question 4, 90% agreed that the music was effective and represented the thriller genre successfully. This shows the team that our diagetic score created a big impact and was essential to  enhance our opening sequence. Question 5 was based on the impact of snow within the visuals. 60% agreed with 'yes' to whether it created an impact and added atmosphere, whereas 30% answered with 'kind of' and 10% disagreeing with 'no'. This tells us that although at first snow was a problem, it did not create a negative impact within our chase scene. Question six is based on costumes, with 80% agreeing that costumes were well assigned to the characters and 20% answering with 'kind of'. This shows us that the characters represented their roles well through their overall appearance. Question 7 was the least successful, as noone agreed to the inquiry of whether the credits were easily readable. This meant that 60% answered 'no' and 40% replied with 'kind of'. This suggests that if we were to alter our opening sequence, we should make our credits clearer so they can be easily read by the viewer. This is a shame as the credits were one of the most important aspects of our film opening. Question 8 asks the audience if the title 'The Syndrome' is effective and representative of a thriller. 9 of those questioned agreed with 'yes' and 1 person answered with 'kind of'. This shows that our title is well suited to our chosen genre.
  Question 9 concerns editing and whether it is representative of continuity editing. 100% answered with 'yes'. This shows the success of our editing and compilation of footage. Question 10 asks whether are chosen BBFC certificate of '15' is reasonable. The majority (8 people) agreed with the answer 'yes', contrasting with the minority (2 people) who said 'kind of'. This reassures us that we are targeting the right age group (15 +). Again, question 11 has received an 100% vote that 'yes' the female character reflects characteristics of a protagonist. This shows our team we have shown our female character to be a stereotypical main character of the thriller genre. 100% also agree to question 12 which asks if our male character reflects the characteristics of an antagonist. This shows we have successfully portrayed the captor as the opposition within the opening scene. Question 13 inquires the audience on whether our 'ident' is representative of the thriller genre. 80% agree with 'yes' and 20% answered with 'kind of'. This tells us that our 'ident' is successful and would not have to be altered if we were to make changes. The penultimate questions asks the audience whether props should have been included. 2 people answer with 'yes' whereas the other 8 say 'no'. This reassured our team, as our mise en scene was effective enough without the addition of props. The last question concludes on whether the audience enjoyed the opening sequence of 'The Syndrome'. 100% agreed with 'yes'. This shows us that have we have a created a successful opening sequence which attracts our desired audience. Despite a few areas having potential room for change (the credits), I feel we have succeeded in concerns to the set brief.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Production - Credits

Hello readers,
Within this post  is a screen shot of our opening credits within the software program 'Live Type'. As we had already edited our footage together, created an 'ident' and composed our soundtrack, the final stage was to compile our credits.
Having previously made our 'ident' within the program 'Live Type' we felt confident using it to create our credits. Timing within our credits was an important factor to consider, just as it had been when composing our soundtrack, as we needed to ensure the credits ran throughout the footage, and the title 'The Syndrome' appeared at the end. Despite wanting to include the title at the beginning before (shown in in our storyboard), we felt that the title would make a bigger impact by appearing boldly at the end. We also felt that this would establish the ending of the opening, and create a transition for the film to begin afterwards. For this move, we were inspired by the 'Lion King' opening sequence as the title appears at the end, which we felt was especially effective (despite being a film of a different genre).

The colour of the text used is a dark grey as we felt black text against the white would appear too harsh, whereas white would blend in with the snowy surroundings. Grey is also a soft colour which would appear subtle as the credits ran; we decided to make the credits subtle as we wanted the main focus to be the feature and not the text. For the title, we placed white large font against a black background. As our film is of the thriller genre, we felt that the contrast between the two colours would appear slightly harsh, and not only that, but appear slightly unnerving. The white on black also stands out, and because we wanted a bold title we felt this succeeded our aim. In consideration of our credits size, we chose to have them appear at the size 33.0. This makes the text big enough to read, but not so big that the credits become a distraction to the audience.
We also used effects, as similarly done in the 'ident', over the credits and title. With the credits, we used a transition of 'Fade in and fade out', allowing them to only appear for a brief few seconds and then to brush away subtly. For the title, we firstly applied a slight glow behind the text to give a subtle, yet almost ghostly effect (which links to our unnerving thriller genre), meaning the harsh outline of the text became lesser. We also applied an effect which creates the feel of a dodgy light bulb turning on, hence why there are only a few letters on the screen shot as the effect is in place, and the other have yet to appear. This again creates a slightly eerie feel which is perfect for the style of film we desire.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Production - Application of Ident

Hello readers,
Previously, I made a post about the creation of our studio 'ident' which was made within the program 'Live Type'. After finishing the compilation of our footage together, we imported our 'ident' file into the editing program 'Final Cut' and placed it at the beginning, before the shots ran. We rendered this, and once checked through, found there were no alterations to be made as it fitted and suited our footage to the utmost accuracy.
You can see our 'ident' within the red circles on the screen shot; you can see the placement of our 'ident' on the sequence, and our 'ident' within the viewing window.

Production - Making of Ident

Hello readers, 
 Before all professional films openings, the company 'ident' appears, which is almost comparable to a signature as it creates a genuine feel to the production and reassures the audience that the film they have chosen to watch is created by an established company. 
 Here is an example of an 'ident':

To echo a feel of professionalism within our own production we decided to create our own 'ident'. We decided to name our studio 'Crimson Pictures' as this could connote ideas of blood and violence which are known popular themes of thriller movies. The software we decided to use was 'Live Type'; this could be easily utilized to create a moving image revolved around text. 

The below image shows the font we used. The font we installed was retrieved from the website 'Dafont'  ( We decided to use this site to find a suitable font as we wanted to create an original ident; this meant we experimented with more fonts beforehand to find the most suited one. We decided to make the font white, to contrast with a black background. This creates a bold look that is fitting for a thriller movie as the light on dark is harsh and unnerving, just like the chosen genre. It also means the title stands out, making the studio name noticeable.

This second image shows the placement of an effect over the text; the font appears to be glowing creating an eerie aesthetic which fits well to the 'thriller' genre of our production.

The final image shows the finished 'ident'. As well as the glowing effect over the text, we added a moving effect; this is a series of moving 'slices' over the title which range from cream to red colours evoking images in relation to blood and violence, suiting the studio name of 'Crimson Pictures' which also connotes similar ideas. We will be placing the 'ident' at the beginning of our footage.

Production - Further Soundtrack Development

Hello readers, 
 In the previous draft, I presented to you our first draft soundtrack to accompany our footage in our final opening sequence. In this post, I have included an image of our second draft soundtrack. After creating our first draft soundtrack, we tested it with our edited footage through process of importing it into 'Final Cut' (the software used to edit our footage). We then played the footage against the soundtrack to see areas needed to improve and then did so within 'Soundtrack Pro'. The areas we needed to improve with were in relation to inaccuracy with timing against the footage and a lack in creation of tension. We improved these faults by including more music within our soundtrack, changing tones, altering pitches and paces. This resulted in a preferred and more suitable soundtrack however some small adjustments still need to be made to make our finished soundtrack as fitting as possible.

(Picture of second draft soundtrack)

Production - Editing

Hello readers,
This is an image of our work during the editing process. We have edited our footage within the program 'Final Cut'; this program allows us to use basic tools to cut and compile footage together, but also allows importation of soundtrack, credits and an 'ident', which are all aspects we aspire to place with our footage. We have also used 'Final Cut' before, so are confident with utilising this program to create our final opening sequence. As you can see within the screen shot image, we have already placed our soundtrack and cut our footage; we are now mid stage through placing and compiling the cuts together.

Production - Soundtrack Development

Hello readers,
 As part of the production/editing process, it was essential for our team to create a soundtrack. In our previous montage of test shots, we used a soundtrack from 'The Killing' and another from 'Resident Evil'; this allowed us to gain an idea of what sound accompanied our footage well. Previous research into films also gave inspiration through creation. We also used inspiration from woodland sounds to create ambient sounds to sit beside the electronic sounds.
 The software we used to create our music piece was 'Soundtrack Pro'; this program provided a space to create our soundtrack, whilst also allowing inclusion of sound effects and voice overs.
 To begin the process of creating our accompanying music, we collected  branches, leaves and tissue paper to echo the atmosphere of a forest within the soundtrack as this is the location shown in our opening sequence footage. Using a microphone to record sound, we snapped the branches and crushed the leaves and tissue paper to illustrate the effect of the running of feet on the woodland floor (shown in the footage but without original sound). Once recorded, we then imported these sounds into 'Soundtrack Pro'. The ambient sounds we had created as 'Foley artists' were combined with the music we had produced using the software.
 When creating the music for our soundtrack on the program, we knew we needed to create a quick pace to not only be suited to our footage but to excite our audience when watching the escape scene through the feel of tension. We used diagetic sounds to last through the running scenes; in these sounds, the inclusion of fast electronic beats is frequent. The use of electric sounds also creates a contemporary feel to the opening credits.

The following images show the making progression our soundtrack:

 The above images show the first draft of our soundtrack and the careful consideration of our team in relation to timings; not only have we used 'Fade in' and 'Fade out' to highlight pauses and transitions in our footage, but due to various scenes in our opening sequence (eg. the main escape, the capture and the returning of the prisoner) we have had to place the sounds in appropriate places to match the events.