Main Task: Evaluation Question 7

Looking back at the preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full potential?

Eval Q 7 new

I would also like to add, a few other aspects that I feel I greatly improved upon. One of theses was blogging everything that I did; in the preliminary I feel as though i could have added more to blog which I now believe would have helped us greatly, for instance doing more extensive research, such as filming schedules, production logs and overall quality of the blog posts i.e. in depth detail, more picture etc. As I was spending far more time researching and analyzing our inspirations, I fell as though  gained a greater understanding of the genre and it greatly affected the quality of our product.

Also we took greater care in our filming schedule and our time management, something we did not do in the preliminary task. In the preliminary we spent a lot of time planning (without adding a significant amount of it to our blog), and even changed our idea quite significantly with only a week or two to go. This left us a limited time, and we filmed the whole sequence in one evening, therefore, we didn’t have anytime to re take shots we didn’t like, which luckily wasn’t necessary. Whereas with our main task, we made sure we had everything fully prepared and then spent a whole day filming, but we spent so much time and attention to detail that we did not finish all of the scenes and, we actually needed to shoot one more sequence, but due to us being far more organized we had plenty of time left, and finished the whole project a week before it was due in.

 


 

If the writing is unclear in the mind map,  here is what I have written:

Looking back at the our Preliminary task, I feel I have learnt so many new things that have had a positive impact on our main task, for example, lighting, new camera angles and movements, editing colour schemes, editing movements etc.

I think the most important thing I feel we have improved upon from the preliminary is the camera movements, looking back the camera angles are very central and very bland, whereas in our opening sequence there are several different types of angles, that also help portray the character in different ways, for example we have quite a lot of high angle shots on the detective making him seem powerless as he can’t seem to work out who the murderer is, and also for the victims we have used close ups to emphasize their vulnerability and powerlessness against the murderer. In addition we added far more movement. Although, when we initially filmed the sequence we only filmed a couple shots which had movement, like our Preliminary task, but upon review we believed there wasn’t enough movement which made the sequence feel very still, therefore we decided to film a few sequences again. These shots were when the detective was interviewing a potential suspect and we circled round to make the scene (even though it wasn’t) dragged out, emphasizing how the detective is feeling. These were all very important for us as it added a different dimension to our sequence making it more varied and interesting, differing it from our preliminary task.

In our opening sequence we also added several new editing techniques to give it a more eerie, unpredictable and disturbed sense to it as, unlike in the preliminary we change the colour schemes as I have previously said. Other editing techniques we used included were flashes, transitions and titles, which all previously had not featured on our preliminary. I certainly feel that my editing skills improved greatly, as were able to implement the credits smoothly in to the shots without drawing to much attention but without being missed entirely, the best case was our ending shot, where the murderer walks through a tunnel and the film title appears behind him in a typewriter format so every step he took a new letter would appear. These were so effective as it made our sequence not only seem to add very good smooth effects and flow far more but also gave it more professional look, which of course is very important.

Overall I believe that our preliminary was instrumental in the success and creativity in our opening sequence which I am very proud of.

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Main Task: Evaluation Question 6

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

During our time of filming this opening sequence I have learnt several new things about the technologies that we have used, specifically, the cameras and editing software (Final Cut Pro).

Using the cameras was, obviously, the most important aspect of creating our piece and we were using the Canon 700d. At the beginning of the year, when we first did some practice shots for our preliminary, I had some trouble changing different settings, and a few shots that I took, the exposure was far too high resulting in useless shots which we had to retake. Whereas now, although it takes me a little bit longer than some, I feel comfortable adjusting things such as the exposure, which, as it turns out, was very important as we had to change it constantly due to us being so particular about the lighting, so for different scenes we had different lighting levels thus having change settings on the camera. I feel that I have learnt a significant amount in using the cameras, so much so that for a majority of the detective/murderer scenes I was the one in charge of the camera (we all shared time filming shots).

Like these ones:

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However unlike using the camera’s, before this year I had no previous experience with editing software at all, so in doing a project as large as this, it was quite a daunting task. Despite this though I feel as though I progressed quite quickly, learning how to use several features that were key to our opening sequence, for example colour correction. The changes in colour correction was very important us as we were using it to separate the detective and the murderer, like I have already explained, we had a green tint for the murderer and an orange tint for the detective. However the strength of the colour correction was important due to different lighting levels of individual shots. For example for the hanging murder we had a strong light in the background which made it bright with strong contrasting shadows, and it took quite a long time for us to find the right levels, however when we went to use the preset on another shot (the drowning murder) it did not fit that particular scene, therefore we had to change all of the levels once again.

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There were several other aspects from editing that I learnt how to use for example; Ken Burns, crops, rotations and transitions. These all became very prominent for our sequence as the Ken Burns allowed us to infuse extra camera movement by doing a slow zoom in to increase the area of focus. The crops became very handy as we realized, for one of our shots, there was a small thing in the background that we didn’t there, and luckily there was plenty of room to crop without the object being either too zoomed in or not centered. And lastly the transitions became very important as it changed the pace of the sequence, changing it from quite rapid to slow and calculating reflecting on our murderer.

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Main Task: Evaluation Question 1

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

We chose this genre of film as we thought it as we would have more freedom in terms of inspiration and narrative compared to genres like horror for example. Although it is only a 2 minute opening sequence, doing a Neo-Noir Crime Thriller we found would have been much more interesting and challenging to film as it is such a vast genre, there are so many different plots we could have done, for instant a heist, police corruption, gang wars etc. This is why it is a challenging genre to film as all of these potential plots usually have a grand scheme, something our production didn’t have.

We were unified in our decision because all three of us had rough ideas already on what we wanted and all of the coincided with this genre, this diminished one of the key decisions we would have had to make. So for this we took inspiration from other Neo-Noir Crime Thrillers like ‘Sev7n’ and ‘Memento’. For my pitch (for the story line) I took inspiration mainly from ‘Memento’ as I thought the story line and twist at the end were fantastic. In some aspects our film is similar to the forms of the products we researched (Sev7n being our main source of inspiration in terms of camera angles, lighting etc.).

We thought the mise-en-scene was very important and that’s where we focused, despite this though, the actual location where we filmed wasn’t too important as many of our shots are extreme close ups and also take place in the victims house. But apart from the actual setting our visual style (in terms of M.S.E) was very important, for instance the lighting is a prominent feature in our sequence as it is situated above and highlights the focus of the camera, but darkens everything in the background which is a common convention of the Neo-Noir genre.

There are many aspects of this genre’s conventions that we have tried to challenge and develop, especially in the overall plot of the film. For instance; one convention of a Neo-Noir thriller is an unreliable narrator, (the person whom the story revolves around). This is where the narrator tricks the audience (intentional or not) into thinking one thing when the opposite actually occurs. Personally I think we challenge this as our main protagonist (/antagonist) believes he knows what he is doing and so will the audience too until the twist at the end when it is revealed that he is in fact, unknowingly, he committed the murders. Another way we challenged the conventions of this genre is our prominent use of Chiaroscuro lighting which we focused on, especially our shots of the detective writing notes and Victim 2 (hanging) by using this we were able to create very strong shadows and silhouettes which emphasized the mysterious theme.

One last convention that we challenged is long tracking shots, obviously because of the shortness of our sequence, it is hard to do one long tracking sequence when, we are trying to set up the whole narrative of the media product, however there were two tracking shots that we attempted that I am very proud of; first is when the detective flips his desk and secondly when the murderer is walking through the tunnel, this particular tracking shot challenges this convention as not only, when I tracked Arnold’s movements but due to the angle of the tunnel and where the camera was placed it tilted slightly to create a Dutch angle, which is a convention of the Neo – Noir genre in itself.

Main Task: Villain Monologue

On 3/2/16 James, Arnold and I went to the music department to record the monologue the antagonist has over our opening sequence. We had to ask for permission to use one of the sound proofed studios for maximum quality , once Trish had helped us to set up the equipment and software accordingly (microphone, stand, XLR lead, sequencer and Logic). Then Arnold as the protagonist recorded the script that we wrote.

We plan to effect Arnold’s voice on final cut to muffle it to added an extra degree of mystery and then place it over the top of our product, where we will have to reduce the prominence of the music so that the sounds are balanced without drowning each other out

Main Task: Filming Lasts Shots

James, Arnold and I have been trying to film our very last shot for quite a while, however we have had troubles with printing and designing the portfolio, but finally we were able to shoot this it.

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Using this portfolio we created, it was very easy to film as we only wanted to do an ECU of the murderer crossing  and scribbling lines through it.

In addition there were a few shots that we weren’t too happy about, these were the detective scenes when he is stressed then flips the desk. we decided to re-take these as there was lots of white noise, the camera angles themselves were dull an uninteresting and the setting of the shot didn’t match; as we were in school we decided to film in a classroom, however, despite our best efforts, it still looked like a high school classroom, rather than an office or an interigation room. Therefore when we had a free slot we were able to book a drama room, that has black walls and a black floor.