Published on March 31, 2014
The Finished Product
Question 1 In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Understanding the forms and conventions of real media /thriller title sequences is important when creating the final media product. This is because without them, it can be difficult to understand what you need to make a thriller sequence. To make sure that I knew what the conventions were, I researched thriller conventions and used that knowledge when I looked at real thriller title and opening sequences out there today. I looked at many different thriller title sequences, such as Cape Fear, Psycho and Casino.
After researching and analysing, I then knew what conventions I could implement into the sequence. To place all my research together, I created a spider diagram with the rest of the people in my team:
Frame 1 - Narrative
For the very beginning of the film, I wanted to create mystery and suspense, without giving away the narrative and the plot. That way the audience would be left wondering what will happen next. It also allowed me to set the scene of where the events will take place using an establishing shot of a sign for the school.
Frame 2- Camera and Editing
To make sure there is suspense and the title sequence is thrilling and intriguing, I used a mix of shots. This was important to the narrative and allowed for the emphasis on the tense nature of some parts of the sequence. Editing allowed me to create tension and suspense. This was achieved by using a jump cut between the killer killing the victim and the victims blood dropping.
Frame 3 – Film titles
Titles are important in providing the audience with a glimpse of what the narrative will be, with out giving it all away. As well as the sequence, I also had to consider the font for the titles. I had been looking at Noir films and the font used in the RockStarTM game L.A Noire. The motion of the font is designed so that the titles just appear as jump cuts.
Frame 4- Character Introductions
The introduction of my main character (the Protagonist) is not introduced till just after the final opening title. The first character we actually see first in the lower mid-body shot of the Antagonist, and is dressed in dark clothing, which is stereotypical. This was done so that actually the audience is left questioning who is the main character? My main character was dressed how a Detective is stereotypically portrayed, in a suit. This is very typical of many Hollywood films and so my product is using these expectations.
Frame 5 - Lighting This is the cropped version of the original frame, to indicate that the lighting is the subject.
I wanted to keep the natural light as I wanted to this to be the case as I felt it would add a more real feeling to the film. This challenges conventions of a thriller film as most films of this genre have dark and dim lighting. It also challenges film noir lighting as films in this genre also have low and dim lighting.
Frame 6 – Setting and Location
The setting for the opening sequence was set in a school. Most of the filming was done up in the sixth form. However the setting was not designed to immediately give the audience a hint that this is where the crime will take place. The shot of where the antagonist kills his victim, is where the audience then get a glimpse of the crime scene. This is then supported with the first shot after the final title, whereby our protagonist (The Detective) and the Medical Examiner (Coroner) walk towards the crime scene tape that is visible in the foreground.
Frame 7 – Genre
The frames I have chosen depict the crime-thriller genre that my media product belongs to. This is because the shots of the antagonist and blood dropping once he has shot the victim, can allow the audience identify that the film belongs to this genre. The genre is further backed up with the shots of our protagonist as he walks onto the scene. This indicates that he is there to solve the mystery, which is what the shot of the protagonist walking onto the scene.
Frame 8 – Special Effects
To do most of our editing and the creation of special effects I used Adobe Premiere CS6, which allowed me to create jump cuts between the antagonist and his victim. The tracking shot of our antagonist, where he is walking towards the office, but pure accident the actor got close to the camera, which caused a blurred shot. However this worked well as it made a effective transition to the next shot.
Frame 9 – How Suspense is created
Low angle shots of the antagonist creates suspense as the audience is left wondering what the identity of the antagonist is. The use of music over the titles was done so that it added to suspense because like the antagonist’s victim, the audience can not hear the antagonist coming along the corridor. This means that the audience will want to know if our protagonist will catch the antagonist.
Question 2 How does your media product represent particular social groups?
My product does represent social groups in many different ways: Class Age Gender
Class I have targeted a wide variety of Income brackets and their subsequent class. My protagonist is a middle class American, which is different as most police officers and detectives are usually lower middle class. The antagonist is at the working class end of the American population class divide, as typically, janitors are of this class. Going back to middle class, as the teachers are the antagonist’s victims, teaching is still considered a middle class role in society.
This conforms with Laura Mulvey’s theory that : “The point of view that a camera holds is essentially male and that there is a male gaze.” She also states that “Men can identify with male characters and that Women sometimes have to change sex in order to identify with characters.
Gender In the production although unintentional at the time of filming and planning, only since going through the video again have I seen, that actually it is a old-fashioned view of men and women portrayed. The Protagonist is male as we naturally assume males to be the Detective. The Antagonist is male, but his victim shown in this production is female, this is a stereotypical view of how the antagonist and their victim are portrayed.
Age As the age of people who will see the product, will be aged 16+, my characters had to fit into a suitable age range. My protagonist is aged around 24 as this about the age that most Police Officers will make Detective. However the Actor who plays this role (Me) is aged 18, however using costumes and props allowed me to look older. My antagonist is aged at around late 40’s early 50’s as this is the stereotypical view of Janitors. As the teacher that is shown in the film is quite high up in the teaching rank system, we expect her to be old and she is at 50 years of age. Luckily I found an actress of that age to play the part.
Question 3 What kind of institution will distribute your media product and why?
As my final product is a film, then the suitable company to distribute my media product as it is a film. I have decided that Fox Searchlight pictures, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox as they would be useful in distributing my film in the USA. This is because there is a much bigger audience and as the location is set in New York, then a lot of the audience will be able to relate to it. This will then ultimately bring in more money to increase the total box office.
Question 4 Who would be your audience for your media product?
It is important to conduct research into your target audience for many reasons: They provide the primary source of feedback. A source of what they like and dislike.
I interviewed different people from all ages and was able to obtain their taste and would use this with the production of my media product. After interviewing people from both genders and getting feedback, I concluded that the target audience for my film would be 16+ because they would be able to understand the film. This then gave me a more accurate view of who would come and see the film.
Question 5 How did attract/address your audience?
It was important that I could attract an audience to see my final media product. I did this through a variety of ways: I used VoxPops and synopsis to address to my audience what the film will be about. As I was set in a school, I felt that it could relate to people. Also as well, as our protagonist is a Detective with the NYPD, audiences will be familiar with the Detective type of character, from films such as Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, the black dahlia, etc.
Question 6 What technologies have you learnt about when creating the final product?
I have learnt about a variety of technologies whilst creating my final product: • Camera Equipment. • Editing. • Sound.
Camera Equipment We used high definition cameras, which was new to me and I had to learn how to operate the camera and use my knowledge of correct shot types, that I have learnt in class. It helped me to understand the importance of how the shot looks, so that it looks good.
Using additional equipment such as tripods provided stability when it came to shooting scenes and prevented ‘wobbly’ shots. Along with this , tracking shots had to be shot using ‘primitive’ methods, such as using a wheelchair or the Janitors/Caretakers trolley. As I had advanced further than the class, I had access to all the equipment that I needed.
Editing Technologies. We had access to AppleTM MacBook Pro laptops as our main tool for editing. We learnt about Adobe Premiere CS6 to help with improving our footage. In conjunction with this, we learnt how to upload to YouTube and Vimeo.
We learnt at the start of the course, how to remove parts of footage, they we may not require, as well as other functions as fading. Learning these different things helped with the production and the editing of my final product, but also helped me personally, understand how the storyboard can often affect the accessibility of some of the shots and their location. This helped as it improved improvisation.
Sound editing We learnt that music is an important part of thriller films. Although finding music was hard I managed to find some. I then had to import it into premier. Once imported I then manipulated it with other tracks I had found and created an original soundtrack.
Question 7 Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I feel that overall, I have gained a wealth of knowledge, from when I shot the preliminary sequence and right up to the full product and I feel that I was competent in both cases. The conversation between two characters in the preliminary exercise demonstrated the 180 degree rule we had been learning about. This would come in use for the final product, where my protagonist was talking to other characters.
All of my camerawork, is much more profession and stable. This is due to using equipment such as tripods and trolleys.
One important thing that I had learnt when creating the final product that was different from the preliminary exercise, was the planning. The need to make sure that you have all the necessary storyboards, shot lists and other plans to make sure things were as smooth as possible.
In conjunction with this, was making sure that all props and actors were n the same place on each shoot, to ensure continuity. I also learnt that costume and make-up are important and can be the cause of delays if not properly planned and implemented.
A weather report was also important as it gave me an indication of when I could shoot outside. I also learnt that it is important to have sound planned as well. This is because the key concepts of a thriller sequence are the sounds the audience can hear.
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