Evaluation Question 7: Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I have learnt a large amount in progression from my preliminary task to my full media product. I found it takes more skill and imagination to create a clear and consistent narrative that also engages and interests a certain audience in over 2 minutes, than for the 10 seconds we were given for our preliminary task. By creating this media product, it allowed me to realise just how much time, money and effort is put into producing a full length cinematic film.
Firstly, I made sure that I addressed all the issues we faced in our preliminary task, such as using a tripod instead of a hand held camera for many shots– this was to ensure stillness and increase professionalism. Although we noticed that using a hand held camera is appropriate for many tension building shots, we still used the tripod to achieve stillness where possible, for example the shots of the antagonist flicking through the book.
Match on action was an issue that we explored in our preliminary and it made me more aware of how to make a film more coherent. We tried to conform to match on action as much as possible, as we noticed how vital it was in making the narrative make sense in creating verisimilitude for the audience. However in a part of our filming process we realised how we did not conform to match on action, and so made an effort to go back and re-edit a section to ensure perfection in match on action. For example when the antagonist was turning the pages of his book, we noticed that he did not turn those smoothly and instead skipped pages. To overcome this we used the ‘blade’ tool and cut and merged sections together to create the illusion that he is turning the pages fully and coherently. This creates verisimilitude as we noticed in our research how continuity errors lacked professionalism.
We also noticed in our preliminary task, that we filmed at a direct light source, and in the given context this did not look right. We tried to avoid this as much as possible in the confrontation scenes between the antagonist and the victim, however when it came to the natural shots we decided that we would film at direct light sources, such as the sun as it adds to the overall surreal atmosphere. This was inspired by our research into ‘The Maccabees Given To The Wild’ short film which showed a surreal, artistic look which we were aiming for visually. Also by creating this subversion of filming technique, it allowed us to create a more visually immersive, unique opening titles that would stand out to our audience and allow them to become more visually engaged. I am very happy that I chose to film at direct light sources in our opening sequence as I think it created an intriguing affect which was not only creative, but cleverly foreshadows what is going to happen in the narrative.
In our preliminary task we used Movie Maker as editing software. This worked to enable us to compose a very simplistic piece with few effects other than simple fade transition. However Windows Movie Maker We decided we would need something much more professional for our main task so we chose Final Cut Pro. This software allowed us to edit out footage together brilliantly, as well as allowing us to explore our creative sides with a range of different effects and techniques. I am very happy that we chose Final Cut Pro to edit with as we most definitely would not have been able to achieve the style we did by using Movie Maker. We learnt how to seamlessly edit clips together, and in other scenes we learnt how to add disjointed effects such as the ‘intro flashes’, ‘crop and feather’ and ‘contrast and brightness’ to add tension to the clips thus conforming to our genre ideology and brief.
Our preliminary task is shown below.
In our opening sequence task we showed a range of camera angles and scenes compared to our preliminary. In our preliminary we mainly used mid shots to get an idea of characterisation; however in our main task we had more time to convey different aspects. This meant we could include close ups, mid shots, long shots, wide shots, two shots, over the shoulder shots and perspective shots, all of which we included. Our main task expresses a multiple over the shoulder and point of view shots from both the characters, so that the audience can understand both sides of the narrative; however we focused on making the female character of the victim look particularly vulnerable to make her the victim. We did this by giving the male antagonist the authority through the use of high angle shots, as if he is looking down at the victims, and we have shown each victim as if she is always looking up to the antagonist, to assert his power and authority of the sit in control. This use of over the shoulder shots lets the audience understand who’s in control and who has more power – which can lead to audiences interpretations about the narrative , and that something bad could happen to the female victim.
As our preliminary task was filmed inside, it was easier for us to get the correct lighting and sound from the camera (as there was no wind of environmental factors to disturb the camera). However most of our main task was filmed outside, on windy days – although this was the right atmosphere, we had to make extra effort that the sound quality was not destroyed. Luckily we managed to save all the diegetic sound in postproduction and make it the best quality we could using Final Cut Pro. Although we did not use much diegetic sound, it was vital that this was of good standard and fit the theme. In our preliminary we used all diegetic sound however we discovered this was uninteresting and took away from the visual effect. We tried to avoid using too much diegetic sound and therefore we eliminated the idea of dialogue. This worked to our advantage as we were able to engage with our audience further by using a contemporary sound track which they enjoyed and non-diegetic sound effects to put emphasis on certain parts thus increasing tension and conforming to our brief.
In our preliminary task we did not have any audience feedback and therefore we did not re draft our change our ideas much. In our main task we noticed how vital this was in the production and development. In our preliminary task we did not know what parts to improve, which is why we made it important to gain feedback on our main opening sequence. The feedback we received shaped our opening sequence, for example Luke stated he liked the film scream’ due to the fact it uses hoods and knives. Warren stated he liked the use of Freddie Krueger’s mask in Nightmare on Elm Street, and both of these feedback interviews influenced our decision on the antagonists costume and characterisation. Throughout the stages of editing we also kept in contact with our target audience by asking them whether they liked the sorts of shots and transitions we used.
Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of my work due to the effort both of us have contributed to our performance, as we were able to use our imaginations to inspire ideas, and then use process of elimination to highlight the best, most advanced ideas and work with those. I think I have produced this media product to the best standard I could, and if I was not happy with something, I would re-do it until I was satisfied. I have not only learnt more about the film industry and genres of films themselves, but I have learnt about the depths it takes in order to successfully plan, direct and produce a successful opening sequence, and the time that is put into it all. I have learnt how to use editing software to produce a more unique film and the enjoyment involved once we realised it looked good. Although we did encounter many problems throughout, we managed to overcome them by effort and determination in which we learnt from our mistakes. I have also learnt to work to a deadline as I found that time keeping is a vital aspect, however if I had more time and money to do this piece again I think I would like to add more artistic effects and imagery into the product – the opening titles particularly to give more of an edge to my work as I was particularly inspired by Kyle Cooper and his work with the film ‘SE7EN’. I may also think about incorporate more technological advances into my work, such as CGI to make it more immersive and more up to date with the modern film industry.