Questions 1,2,6

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Information about Questions 1,2,6

Published on March 16, 2014

Author: AlexMcDowell


Question 1

. The fact that there is a lack of dialogue means that the audience will purely judge the characters on their non-verbal language and appearance. This helps with their exposition as it adds an element of mystery to the characters. The supernatural figure will therefore be judged negatively due to its dark physique and lack of movement and emotion through facial expressions. Also by creating a mystery it will entice the audience to watch on and find out more about the characters. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Plot- Our narrative is very conventional of supernatural horror. Paranormal activities begin to happen in the home, such as the music box opening by itself and the flickering lights, and a mysterious figure appears. This then leads to a death. “The Amityville Horrors” takes a similar format of this plotline. We created the supernatural antagonist as an enigma by not reviling much information. For example its gender ,age and ethnicity is kept unknown. We did this by cleverly choosing certain costume and make up to make the figure unidentifiable Also the low key lighting and character positioning meant that the figure was hidden even more.

Titles- We used a dark Reddish-brown colour for our text to connote death horror and blood. This was inspired by the red writing in Dawn Of The Dead. Typography- We chose a thin font called ‘suicide draft’ It visually works very well with our opening and is very creepy looking. We ensure that we kept to the rule of thirds when placing the text so that the audience’s eyes’ would naturally find the titles and therefore not distract from the actual footage. We also didn’t animate or make the text moving in anyway on the screen to make sure that all attention was on the footage. For our main title we also used a red-brownish colour text. We made the screen fade to black so that the title was clearly visible as the background would contrast with the letters. The black background is very conventional for horror films for example Insidious used a black background with red writing.

Location- It is conventional for a supernatural horror to be set in the home of the protagonist. Supernatural horrors are set in people’s homes because it promotes the fear of something unwanted and unfriendly entering your own personal space, making you feel frightened in the one place designed to make a person feel comforted and safe, this is what we wanted to create for our opening. Having it set in what is meant to be a safe environment will automatically place the audience on the side of the protagonist and feel empathetic towards them because we relate to how we would feel if our own homes were being destroyed. This makes us defensive and angry at the spirit for ruining what is usually a new safe place. An example of a super natural horror film which we have researched that is set in a house is Paranormal Activity In the bedroom we made sure that everything was plain and simplistic. This way the set design didn’t distract from the protagonist Hannah and didn’t reveal much information about her. Also the fact that we kept the walls bare meant we could create stylistic shadows on the walls.

Characters -Our main character in the opening is a seemingly normal girl who appears as harmless. We created her as a relatable typical girl which is a very conventional character in supernatural films. Characters within the horror genre are conventionally natural women with a fresh faced look with simple clothing , this presents the beautiful female form and doesn’t project them as sexualised. The first impression of the paranormal spirit is negative and confusing as to why its tormenting the ordinary girl. As many people believe that spirits and ghosts are just stories and not real life its important to make the idea or notion seem as real as possible. So, the use of characters in their own home relates them to the audience watching, this common ground adds realism to make the characters seem like them.

Props Usually in supernatural horrors if there are any weapons it is, household appliances, kitchen utensils, ornaments, and garden equipment anything that is sharp, long and or heavy. So we have been conventional by using an iconic kitchen knife. This subgenre tends to have less blood and violence as it is more focused on paranormal events. However we have challenged this convention by making it very gruesome using a lot of prosthetics. This was inspired by Zombieland.

Sound- In this sub genre empathetic sound is used to reflect the mood of the characters in scenes of fear, panic and chaos. Using this technique has allowed us to use sound to anchor the visuals. For example when Hannah is reading the article report of her own death high pitched violins start to play to connote the fear she feels: *insert clip of article* In this genre, especially ones that involve a child-ghost, you can create contrapuntal sound by adding sound that is supposed to be sweet, innocent and endearing to a scene where something terrible is about to occur. In our opening we have used the delicate music box sound which plays near the start of the opening and returns at the end when the protagonist has died. *insert clip of music* For the non diegetic sound we slowly built in up through out the piece. At the start is low ambient music and then later on we begin to overlay more sounds and incorporate high pitched sound at certain points. This way would could slowly build tension and apprehension. Examples of music that inspired us-minor key-reptitive , seven?, crescendo,

Many horror films use POV shots to make the audience feel more involved in the film and to create verisimilitude. The audience will also relate more strongly to the character whose eyes they are looking through. We took this technique from the film Zombieland. The conventional flickering lights shots are inspired by Amityville. Light flickering indicates that something unnatural and unexplainable and supernatural is about to happen. It creates tension and makes the audience feel uneasy

When developing concept we looked at a film called ‘The Possession’ Objects moving unexplainably is very conventional of supernatural horror. It creates unease and breaks down verisimilitude which would be very disconcerting for the audience to view.

We were inspired by a clip in Donnie Darko. To recreate the clip we used stedi cam and rotated the camera. The shot created a sense of uneasiness and almost places the audience in the confused mind of the character themselves. Creating discomfort through camera movement is very conventional of horror films.

We used continuity editing through out the piece to create verisimilitude. We achieved this by cutting on action. Continuity editing meant that the piece is more realistic and believable as many people wouldn’t believe in the supernatural figure. The continuity editing gave prevalence to the protagonist Hannah. This makes the audience sympathise more with her than any other character.

We used character blocking to convey which character was in control and superior in the situation. As the antagonist is placed behind the protagonist it is in the position of power as it can see her but she can’t see it, giving a huge advantage to the creature. It is very conventional for the monsters in horror films to be placed behind characters. This means that the audience usually sees the monster before the characters do, this adds apprehension to the audience as they wait in anticipation for the character and monster to come into contact. This is used in the film Insidious. The protagonist is oblivious to the fact she is being watched, her guard is down and attention is being averted to the article on the wall. This places her in a very vulnerable position.

It is very conventional for horror films to use slow and steady camera movement to build tension and apprehension. We looked at Insidious and particularly liked the use of a slow pan from right to left across a room to reveal a figure. We imitated this in our sequence. This allowed the figure to only be in shot for a short amount of time allowing the figure to stay an enigma.

Question 2

There are no males in the opening or any other ethnicities other than a White American. This was unintentional, other ethnicities would have worked in our opening but our main character established in the opening is appropriate for the plot. The fact that we have not included a broad range of ethnicities and older generations means that we could possibly be narrowing the demographic which our film would attract. Social groups- The main Character in our opening is White American young girl, working class. We chose to use a young main character as this reflects horrors core audience, so she is more relatable. The supernatural figure is left unidentifiable in our opening, you cannot tell the figures age gender or ethnicity.

Our opening reinforces some of the stereotypical views of women in society, such as them being viewed as over emotional and weak. The Binary opposition is that a male is strong heroic, in control and powerful, where as a female is weak and not in control of her emotions. This is due to the patriarchal society that we live in. In our opening we have challenged the patriarchal society by presenting an emergent ideology. There is a main female character, where as this genre is usually male dominated and orientated. Also we have thought about the rest of the film and would have a strong female character as the protagonist, therefore reinforcing the progressive ideology that women are capable of being the hero. Therefore our film would be targeted more aimed at females rather than males.

How does your media product represent particular social groups? Representation: The Supernatural figure is presented as an enigma, this means the audience doesn’t know the gender or ethinicity of the character. This means that there are no clear ideologies about gender based or ethnic issues in the opening. Hannah depicts both negative and positive representations of women. In some ways Hanna is represented as the stereotypical final girl. A final girl is often included in horror films, this refers to the last woman or girl alive who has to face the killer. The final girl has been included in many films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Hannah is also represented as quite weak. Her will power is displayed as low through non verbal language and post production. She is instantly possessed and walks into the garage. Her eyes turned black to highlight the fact that she has been possessed and is no longer in control.

However this shot also connotes power as you see herself come back and the blackened eyes disappear as she is for one moment Hannah again and isn’t being controlled. She has broken the power that the supernatural figure had over her. This goes against the residual ideology that women are weak and inferior to men. The CU shot also makes the audience relate more to the character and relate to the emotion that she is feeling. The residual ideology that all women are very emotional and vulnerable is highlighted through our protagonist Hannah which is very regressive. There is a CU shot of a tear streaming down her face. The non-verbal language displays the fact she can’t hide what she is truly feeling. This CU was inspired from the film Amityville. This CU shot was inspired by the film Amityville.

We have used sound to makes you feel sympathetic for the character. For example as you see the CU of her face and the fear in her eyes high pitched violins start to play. This connotes her fear and panic which she is feeling on the inside. *insert clip of Hannah with tear and high pitched sound*

Question 6

The first online tool that we used was our blog on blogger. It enabled us to share ideas in a number of formats such as text, videos, pictures and slideshows. This made it easy to see each others ideas, what we were looking at for inspiration, any genre development ideas, sharing research and any location ideas. Comment and interact We also used prezi. This was very helpful when developing out concept. We could easily make it visual and communicate to others exactly what we had envisioned. It also meant that we had an easily accessible and managed way of storing our concept development, and if anything changed along the way it was easy to edit or add too our ideas. Survey monkey- this was very useful when testing out our ideas and getting recorded feedback. Survey monkey allowed us to create a broad range of questions with different ways of answering. For example open ended questions and to what degree someone agreed with an idea. This enabled us to see what our target audience through of our ideas and alter our ideas to meet their opinions. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

You tube- Firstly it was very useful when researching title sequences and other horror openings. It enabled us to find out a lot of information and get a lot of inspiration. Also it allowed us to upload any experimental shots we did before filming the actual opening sequence, and also we were able to export our finished product. This meant that these clips could receive feedback through comments or likes and dislikes. Now that our finished product is on you tube it meant that we could market it though various forms of social networking. Social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter allowed us to show a wide audience of people our opening and receive feedback very easily and quickly. -internet- this allowed us to do majority of our research. Such as looking into different horror sub genres, what were there conventions etc.

We used a tri pod to achieve still steady shots ensuring that there was no unwanted movement or jerking making our opening look more professional and high quality. We could easily use the tri pod to move the camera frame to different heights and angles, this made it possible to try out a large variety of shots. The tripod also allowed us to achieve steady slow pans. These were very effective : (shot that pans down cranes) We also used the steady cam for a couple of shots. For example we were inspired by a clip from Donnie Darko where the camera frame tilts and rotates. We imitated this in our opening and to achieve the shot we used the steadi cam: When filming our opening we used my DSLR camera which is a canon 60 D. Using a DSLR was very useful as it meant that we could adjust how bright the footage we were recording by adjusting the camera settings. Also the camera enabled us to have HD quality and create different depths of fields. example on this shot the death of field was very shallow creating focus: The only small issue with the camera was the fact it was quite heavy, so when using the handi cam and taking the rotating shot it was difficult to keep the rotation smooth

As we shot at night we didn’t use any natural light. So in a way it was easier to keep lighting continuity as we weren’t relying on the weather. For lighting we used one tall light which could adjust to different angles and positions very easily. This was very useful when we wanted to create interesting shadows onto walls and faces. We also used the built in lighting in the garage. By having a free standing light it meant we were able to create a variety of shots and experiment and play with the lighting quickly while on set. It allowed us to create a silhouette when Hannah has the knife in her hand which created tension : The only difficult thing about the lighting was ensuring that nothing was too dark, as otherwise the footage would look grainy. So instead we made the shots brighter than we wanted as we knew that in editing we could dark the shots if we wanted to. Also sometimes if the lighting was behind the camera a shadow of the camera or tripod would be casted so we had to move around until it worked.

Colour grading- We took inspiration about colour grading from ‘The Road’ and ‘Sweeny Todd’. They both had the iconic desaturated style. It makes the footage look more cold, creepy and sinister. So in Post Production on Premiere we desaturated the clips. As we used artificial lighting it meant that our footage had a yellow tint however in post production we were able to change the colouring. Desaturating the clips illiminated the yellow tint on many of the shots which appeared due to the over head lighting. BEFORE: AFTER: ‘The Road’ and ‘Sweeny Todd’ colour grading both look very grey and unnatural. This creates an uncomforting image and also makes the characters in the films look unhealthy . We imitated this colouring by lowering the saturation of the clips and slightly increasing the contrast to make the shadows in our piece more bold.

On premiere we selected a clip and then went onto ‘edit effects’. We selected image control and started to experiment with how de saturated and what contrast and brightness looked best. Once we had decided on the exact colouring we used this same grading for all of our clips. So all we had to do was copy and paste this effect onto all of our clips. However we did decide to leave this effect off of a few clips. For example in some clips we used fire and as we liked the intensity of the orange/yellow fire against the other desaturated footage so we decided to leave it un edited.

Time strech- when Hannah drops the knife we decided to expand the clips time. This made the clip appear as if it was in slow motion. We wanted this shot to feel dramatic and focus the audiences attention on the clip. To do this we right-clicked on the clips and then ‘time-stretch’ and decreased the speed to 80% *insert clip of Hannah dropping knife*- before and after shots In and out points- after first initial editing stage realised how much more we could cur out, also making the swish pan shots faster made it more dramatic and scary as it meant the supernatural figure wasn’t seen as clearly as was on screen for a very little amount of time The swish pan was used to break verisimilitude and create something un natural and discomforting.

I have learnt about the 180 degree rule. It was completely new to me. We ensured that in our opening we kept to this rule as it meant that audience perspective would be kept. It was essential that we thought about this rule while filming through out the opening.:

I edited the decided on the placement

Continuity editing


We utilised the option of manual focus on the canon60D and used pull focus to give a cinematic feel. This made our piece look more stylistic and drew the audiences full attention on to what the article was titled. Shallow depth of field focus

Main title- I created the title using stop motion

• Compositing shots- mise en scene, • rule of thirds- • ensuring nothing was in the shot- for example in one shot you could see the wires leading to the light • Transitions- fade in and out • sound  jump sound when monster appeared non-diegetic background ambient sound constant all the way through music box noise high pitch noises for shocking / jumping effect diegetic = cutting of the throat and chocking (alex and laurel)

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