Final Evaluation

Overall I am very pleased with the way our opening sequence turned out, and we learnt a lot along the way including:
a) How to use Final Cut Pro
b) How to edit frames together smoothly
c) How to achieve an effective piece of visual imagery.
d) That Final Cut Pro is much easier to use, and better quality when rendered than Windows Movie Maker.

However, if I had the chance to redo this project I would:

a) Use a better quality camera.
b) Not use a trial version of a software, due to the fact they will expire.
c) Allow slightly longer time for editing. I learnt this can take much longer than expected.
d) Allow more time planning shots and directing. I learnt that preparing and planning is in fact more important that the actual construction.
e) I would also perhaps add a wider variety of shots and locations, particularly of the victims in order to establish a better connection between the audience and build a synthetic relationship between the characters and the audience. This would make my opening sequence more eye catchy and captivate the audience more.

But apart from that I really like the way it turned out. :)


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.

Group Photo (Whilst Filming)

Group Photo (Whilst filming for Preliminary Task)

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

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.

'Se7en' (1995)

‘Se7en’ (1995)

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.

Evaluation Question 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?

We have used technology in many ways to research, plan, create, post produce and receive audience feedback on our work.

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight

When conducting research we used technologies such as the internet to learn about our chosen genre of thriller, and also learn more about directors such as Christopher Nolan who directed the Dark knight. As we were both already familiar with using the internet, we used the search engine Google due to its fast capabilities and managed to find the information we needed quickly however we did learn that the internet is home to a vast expanse of information which we needed to pick out carefully, using particular words to type in, in order to get a particular result. We used websites such as IMDB to help us find accurate information about certain actors or films that we wanted to research further. As the internet is so vast, it was important that we could find reliable websites such as IMDB to source our information form. We tried to avoid using Wikipedia for our research due to the fact it is an unreliable website and could contain some untruthful facts.

We initially used the DVD technology to research through a range of films in order to decide on a category of film in which we would explore further. Watching DVD’s such as Paranormal Activity, Titanic, Dirty Harry and Mr& Mrs Smith, all of which helped us define our chosen genre of drama thriller. Watching DVD’s did not only give us an idea of the genre itself, but also introduced us to certain camera angles such as over the shoulder shots which we noticed was vital in displaying a characters power over another one. We also gained some vital influences such as the costume and characterisation for the victims and the antagonist.

YouTube was a large technology we used in our research, planning and production processes. We used it to search for audio tracks in later research and planning, to help us decide on a sound track for our opening sequence. YouTube was very efficient in allowing us to access the sound tracks we wanted, such as ‘Reptile- Nine inch Nails’, as YouTube does supply us with a vast supply of clips to choose from. These computer technologies taught us that we needed to be patient, especially when downloading the soundtracks from YouTube, as it took time. After research we used the internet to search for another website which would allow us to simply copy the URL of a YouTube video and convert it to MP3 for us to download and incorporate into our opening sequence. This was a very useful technology as we could download tracks for free from the internet, and I have learnt that YouTube is a reliable website if I want to find specific audio tracks.

We also used YouTube to upload research videos such as our interviews with our target audience initial research as an accurate way of displaying our findings. To record our videos we used the technology of our mobile phones which proved convenient as we always had them with us, and they were easy to use and transfer the video files onto the PC computer too (but not the Mac Book because the files were not compatible).

We used YouTube and Vimeo to upload and display our own opening sequence, and videos of editing throughout the course. This enabled us to digitally share our work, thus enabling us to gain a wider audience feedback due to the fact we could share this link digitally via social networking sites like Facebook. Vimeo was better for uploading longer files due to the fact that YouTube limited us to 10 minutes.

In our planning stages, I and my group communicated via the use of the social network of Facebook. This allowed us to instantly communicate online via instant messaging. Here we discussed about our narrative ideology and we also arranged filming and editing dates. This was vital in our planning due to the fact it enabled us to keep up to date with each other and transfer ideas. We also let each other know if we had uploaded a new media video to YouTube by sharing the link over Facebook. 

Also as part of our planning we researched some locations and took pictures of them using a digital camera technology, and also experimented using a simple digital camera to see how the lighting showed up. We experimented different angles to explore the effect lighting had on the characters and took images of them so that it was easier to analyse later. We noticed how simple it was to compare locations when we could easily see an image of each one. After deliberation through weighing out the pros and cons, we decided on three locations – in which the technology of a digital camera helped us do.

The initial camera we were given was a Panasonic, which after experimentation we realised had a faulty battery and was not of high quality and therefore we had to exchange it for my Samsung WB600. Whist filming we used a tripod to enable us to film a still image. This was a good technology that was also very simple to use and set up after some preparation. We saved the footage onto the cameras 8GB SD card which was a very good amount of space for us, as we only used a small section of that; however it was very good that we had a lot of space to work with so we were able to film multiple shots. We used our 5mp mobile phone camera to film some of the flashback footage, partly because we wanted a distorted look but also because our Samsung camera ran out of battery on one occasion. We found that cameras are versatile to work with and it is important to always be fully prepared. We recognised that it was vital we should have a fully charged camera battery on every filming occasion, however on one instant we accepted it was not possible to charge our HD camera and therefore had to improvise by using our mobile camera.

We learnt that technologies especially mobile cameras tend to have some difficult properties and compatibility issues, especially due to the fact that the file type of our footage after we had filmed was not recognised with our computer and therefore we had to get it converted which also stunted our development. We also found that the fact there are multiple file types caused a problem for us, as certain file types only work with certain software’s which can prove a problem in some cases, especially post production. As we were able to easily convert our footage using ‘any video converter’ allowing us to convert our files from the mobile’s 3GGP into MPEG-4, suitable for work with Final Cut Pro, we could move on with our post production process. After we had successfully converted our footage, we were able to view it and later realised that the quality of our mobile camera was very bad as it had pixelated some areas. We have learnt that although technology can be unreliable at times, there is always another type of technology that we can use to combat the negatives. For example, to fix the bad quality of the camera footage we used the ‘Gaussian Blur’ effect that we found through Final Cut Pro in the production process. This was a major help to us as it dramatically improved the quality and managed to conceal the pixelated affect, while adding a distorted surreal effect to enhance the memory like approach of the narrative.

We chose Final Cut Pro as our main editing software as is it renowned for its professionalism. Neither I nor Leanne knew how to work with Final Cut Pro before, so we had to teach ourselves everything. We used the internet and websites such as Apple and YouTube to help us with tutorials. After a few attempts we got used to using the software and we began exploring the different types of transitions – in which we discovered a few very handy techniques such as turning the brightness and contrast down to make the atmosphere look gloomy, and also using a ‘feather and crop’ effect to help also add to the tone and conform to our thriller genre. We found the ‘Intro flashes’ effects which conformed to our ideology enhancing the dramatic aspect further. We also edited the music by using Final Cut Pro to crop and merge the soundtracks into one another and added sound effects which we enhanced using the Final Cut affects such as ‘monster’ and ‘alien’. These worked to our success as they made the sounds create a more surreal atmosphere.

Adding titles was one of the final steps we took. We had previously filmed the initials of the people who were involved using fake blood, and then we imported them into Final Cut Pro. We found these shots did not meet our standard and therefore we added titles and transitions into the piece by overlaying them and adding a ‘dissolve’ transition in final cut pro. We recognised that this type of font is far more professional and therefore works to create a successful approach. We learnt that Final Cut Pro is a simple but effective software to use for editing film and we would like to use it again in the future.
To gain audience feedback we used software such as Microsoft Word to produce questionnaires and hand them out to people. Microsoft Word was a very simple and easy software to use to produce a range of questionnaires and it helped further due to the fact we were already familiar with using it. To analyse feedback we used Microsoft Excel in order to create pie charts and bar graphs to put in the data from the questionnaires, and interpret it into useful information for us. Microsoft Excel was simple to use and enabled us to present our findings in a professional manner.

Overall I believe we used a range of technology in the processes of research, planning, production and feedback. I have learn multiple skills such as how to work with this new editing software of Final Cut Pro and a range of its capabilities, of which is a far more advanced software than Windows Movie Maker that we used in our preliminary task.

Evaluation Question 5: How did you attract and address your audience?

We conducted a number of methods in which attracted our specific audience, and used methods to address them directly.

Film Questionnaire

Film Questionnaire

Firstly, we conducted a questionnaire asking the general public their age, gender and which genre they most enjoy. I then put this data in a bar graph using Microsoft Excel. This helped us analyse which age groups enjoy which genre, and eventually came to a conclusion that we will choose the age group of 16 to 26 due to the fact they are close to our own age group, and so we already have an idea of what we want to see ourselves, and therefore that can show though our opening sequence.  The age group of 16 to 26 most popular genre choices were Thriller and drama so we decided to choose thriller but still include some aspects of drama as both these genres interest us and our audience of 16 to 26.

Paranormal Activity As the genre is thriller, most of the audience will be interested in similar thriller films, therefore we needed to research many films to do with our genre such as Paranormal Activity, and The Dark Knight to understand the style and features they incorporate into their films, so that we can do the same to our media product in order to attract a similar audience. We found they often use mise en scene in order to conceal the antagonist and this helps the audience feel intrigued in the narrative. This was inspirational to us due to the fact that well known thrillers used this technique and managed to engage with their audience using mise en scene, therefore we could achieve the same effect by using this.

Another aspect of mise en scene is in the opening titles we used a track by Nine Inch Nails titled Reptile’ which could create connotations in the audiences minds as they may be into a similar style of music. This could interest them further as they may feel they can relate to the situation and social group of the characters more. Our choice of sound was proven successful when Luke, 17, stated how he enjoyed the choice of music which had a “good beat” thus conforming to our musical ideology and research in which we found how music controls the atmosphere. I am sure we made the correct musical choices due to its minor tones and technical instrumental melody, and this quote backs this up.

As for the imagery in the opening sequence, the natural field and forest shorts combined with the characters costume can also provoke audience’s connotations and allow them to interpret it to their own lives. For example they may be familiar with the country side if they go out for walks or just the occasional walking home from going out, or the type of clothing they wear or see around them. Even if they don’t fit into the particular social group that we are representing, they will still have an understanding of what other social groups act or dress like, causing them to engage with the film further.

Characterisation was a huge part of attracting and addressing our audience. We chose characters of the age group 16 to 26, which was the same as our target audience’s age group. This enabled our target audience to become engaged further as it creates verisimilitude and exaggerates everyday situations that the audience can relate to which therefore makes them interested. The light floral dresses worn by the female victims could create connotations with similar things available on the high street at the moment as these are in fashion for spring and summer 2012. Our audience will most likely be aware of these current trends and therefore by conforming to current fashions, we can relate to our audience more.

We engaged with our audience throughout the course by conducting a series of interviews in which we gathered information about their film preferences. We noticed on the whole they enjoyed the idea of using mise en scene to conceal the antagonists identity due to the fact it creates suspense in which causes it to be a more exhilarating film. For example, Luke, 17, said he enjoys the film scream due to the use of “hooded jackets”, which conceals their identity. We also asked Warren, who stated he enjoys the use of masks in films due to the fact this is scary. We took on board our audiences preferences and decided we needed to give them what they want to see, in order for them to watch our own sequence. This is why we decided to give the male antagonist both a hooded coat and a mask in order to make his appearance both scary and intriguing. We also showed them our current work throughout the editing stages, and asked them whether they enjoyed the camera angles and editing transitions, or whether they thought we could improve. This feedback caused us to reflect upon our work in a more in depth way, where we could see areas to improve thus making our opening sequence a higher quality and conforming to the needs of our target consumer.

We explored a variety of ways in which we received audience feedback. We handed out some questionnaires then conducted some interviews with people in our target audience.  We asked 10 people to watch our media product and tell us their honest opinion. The questions we asked them was: What is the genre of the opening sequence?’ and if given the choice, would you continue watching our opening sequence?”.  After we got the questionnaires back we were glad to find 7/10 of people who watched our opening sequence correctly identified our genre. The remaining 3/10 believed that our genre was horror thriller, due to the harsh confrontation between the male and the female. However, we are still pleased because a horror thriller is categorised under the thriller genre, and the abrupt confrontations can be associated with horror films. Also we did research the Grudge and the Ring which both have aspects associated with horrors, which meant that our research paid off and was portrayed though our work. 9 out of 10 people said they would have continued watching the opening sequence because they said it looked ‘promising’ and that it ‘intrigued’ them.

This was exactly what we hoped as a response from our audience as it made us realise that we did in fact produce a product that was suitable for our specific target audience. The reason that the one person that said they would not like to watch on, was because it wasn’t their ‘preferred’ genre of film and they said it could look to ‘scary’ for them. We respect their judgement as we realise that not everyone enjoys the genre of thriller, especially if it does have aspects of horror or violence in it. This feedback proves that our opening sequence was suitable and enjoyed by an audience of males and females between the ages of 16 to 26, as we had originally aimed for.

Evaluation Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product?

The video below explains about who our audience is, including interviews with our target audience.

As you would have seen from our research in the introductory stages of planning, we devised a number of ways in which we decided on who our audience would be. Firstly we decided which genre we would concentrate on through methods of questionnaires and spider diagrams, and also through process of elimination. We decided on the genre of Thriller and then moved on to find out target audience using a number of methods. Some examples are questionnaires and interviews in order to gain the general public’s view on our chosen genre of thriller with a slight sub genre of drama, so that we could correctly aim our film at a target audience. Our main audience would be males and females between the ages of 16 to 26. However, our audience can extend to anyone who enjoys the genres of drama, and thriller films, and also to anyone who enjoys an exhilarating, immersive experience of film.

We strongly based our target audience in mind when it came to producing the opening sequence, which is why conducting interviews with members of our audience was of upmost importance. One interviewee, Luke, 17 stated that he liked the thriller ‘Scream’ due to its classic use of “hooded jackets and knives”. We used this as inspiration for costume and characterisation for our antagonist in order to conform to the mise en scene ideologies that our audience want to see. Another interviewee Sarah, 17, stated she liked the film Paranormal activity because it was “scary and gets your heart going”. Another person we interviewed, Warren, 16, stated he likes the thriller film ‘Nightmare on Elm street’ and in particular, “Freddie Krueger’s mask”. We thought of using a mask in our own opening sequence to conform to our target audiences expectations within a thriller film, but also to work on the parts of these films they find the most exhilarating and re produce these conventions in order to produce an equally immersive film to the ones they enjoy watching.

We decided to give our film the classification of 15, so that we could gain a wider audience, therefore making more profit. We did not give our film a rating of 18 as this would limit the audience and not allow us to make as much money as we know we are capable of. I think our audience of a younger generation would enjoy this film due to its context involving crime, murder and a suspense narrative. When we did our research we found that this was popular with our target audience, and therefore we decided to conform to stereotypes about the subject. This disobedient stereotype of teenagers is something commonly popular in films in our genre, and our target audience is of a similar age to that of the female characters we have tried to portray.

Although our genre is thriller, more psychological thrillers concentrate on the mental states of their characters to show the audience. We have taken inspiration from psychological thrillers in a way that allows the audience to relate the characters to themselves – for example they may be around the same age group, or in a similar social group which allows them to relate to the characters mental states. The antagonists character could be easy for our target audience to relate to due to the fact we based his costume and characterisation from characters like ‘Mr Harvey’ from the film, ‘The Lovely Bones’ – in which we found was popular with our target audience. We also based our antagonists dress on a character within the popular music video by Skrillex ‘ First Equinox of the Year’ which is also very contemporary in terms of our target audience’s interests. This direct relation to stereotypical murder antagonists that we have used enables us to ensure our target audience understands our narrative and representation in terms of power and dominance.

Our media opening sequence explores the inequalities between genders, power and dominance. I think that some of the female audience could relate to the female victims characters, due to the fact they could be in a similar position themselves. In my planning stages I explored the area of representation for our opening scene. It stereotypes the social group of the female teenagers and the problems they experience with ‘peer pressure’, or looking good and therefore revealing more which generally makes them vulnerable. We also explored the stereotypes of the innocence and purity within these particular female victims, thus making the outcome of murder all the more shocking. This area of representation could appeal to teenagers who either may be expieriening peer pressure, or the need to dress over the top. It could also appeal to teenagers due to the fact of our location choices. We chose to film in the location of a park, a field and forest all of which are locations associated with walking home. This in turn could work as a warning for the audience, explaining how walking home alone at night is dangerous.

As our genre is thriller, we decided to manipulate our areas of representation and exploit them in ways that will grab the audience’s attention and make it stay in their memory – for example the use of threatening weapons and body language combined with the use of daunting music can increase anxiety for the audience, therefore causing it to be more entertaining.

Overall we gained a good idea of who our audience for our media product would be and what they enjoy through the use of research such as questionnaires and interviews, and conformed to their own expectations about films within a similar genre in order to produce a film of a similar standard. Thus entertaining them and conforming to our brief.

Evaluation Question 3: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Below is a video discussion outlining the points below:

Media distribution is the key final process involved in making a media product, such as a film, successful. It is important to consider carefully how we will distribute our opening sequence film to ensure it creates success.

A production company is mostly involved with the progression and development of a film, however they occasionally involve themselves in the funding of the film too.  Although there are production companies that have connections and work alongside distributors, the distributor does not have any such involvement with the production of the film, and exclusively works on the demonstration and presentation of a product.

Film distribution in the UK is highly important for the film companies, as it is the distributors aim to advertise and present the film so that it can receive the largest possible audience. Once a company has produced its film they need to make sure it is distributed in such a way that it can receive the highest amount of attention – a film can only be launched once so it needs to be presented in the best possible way, to ensure they won’t make a loss.  This task cannot be easy for media institutions, especially when there are so many different alternate entertainment options. This is why marketing strategies have to be highly thought of in order to make the film successful.
Some distributors only release a few films a year, where as some may release twenty to thirty, so it important to regard competition when making a judgement. Who the film appeals to, and its audience is very important to consider when choosing a media distribution institution, as this can affect the campaign and marketing strategies itself. Older generations are more likely to be persuaded by TV adverts, where as younger generations are more likely to see internet adverts, due to their activity online. Genre, narrative and characterisation of the film is also vital to consider when choosing a distribution institution, as we have to look at what the institution has successfully distributed previously, to see if ours will fit in and turn out as successfully.
We also have to take into consideration about our film budget. Larger budget films can afford simultaneously release the film on 1000’s of different screens throughout the UK.

After much consideration, we decided to choose Film4 Productions as our media distribution industry as we think that it would benefit us the most. As a low-budget British film co-funded by Film4 with a target audience of 16 to 26 and a genre of ‘Thriller’, our media product would be best suited for Film4 Productions. We found from our research that most of the younger generation watched Film4, Channel 4 and E4 more than any other channels as it is considered to be popular and up-to-the-minute with modern day teenagers.

Film 4 Productions (owned by channel 4) has occupied a situation in the UK film industry since it originally started in 1982, therefore gaining a trusted and successful reputation with audiences. It is a television channel available with certain providers, which screens films for ‘free’. Film4 is available to Virgin Media customers, Sky TV customers, and Freeview and Freesat customers, therefore boosting the accessibility to the channel. Film 4 has also been accountable for making a large number of UK films successful. One example of this is Danny Boyle’s Academy Award-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which was released in 2008. Channel 4 and E4 also show programmes such as ‘90210’, ‘Skins’ and ‘Ugly Betty’ which are also popular with our target audience, and therefore capture their attention. ‘Skins’ is closer to our genre as it features similar content to that of our own, such as illegal crimes and murders.

We have chosen Film4 because we found that this channel is more associated with the type of genre and audience that we have related our product with, than other channels such as ITV. This channel would be most successful in delivering our film to our target audience in a way that appeals to them, therefore gaining us further profit from sales, as they can advertise all the way throughout the day on television to those who might be interested in a thrilling film, and also on the internet on any of the channel 4 websites, which would reach our target audience more successfully. Not only does Film4 have a thriving marketing strategy, but the way they deliver the films to the audience is triumphant. Film4 is on air everyday from 11 am, therefore appealing to a wide range of audiences. Most films within the same genre as our ‘Drama Thriller’ genre are available later on in the evening. By being on this channel, it would express the general conventions of the film, which create ideology for the target audience. This largely triumphant institution would benefit us when it comes to the distribution of our media product, as audiences connotations with this industry would be thought of as successful.

The BBC Films is an alternative institution that we could have chosen to distribute our media product with, however we rejected this idea after researching, as we found out that it doesn’t convey the correct approach that we would like to with our film. The BBC is more popular with older audiences, and for people who like the genres of drama, and documentary. We felt our film would be out of place in the BBC and we would not get the response we want if we were to choose them.

We would not choose the cinematic approach with our film, as it is only low budget and would not make a profit if we were to choose this route. Film4 is considerately cheaper for both us, and the audience. We have taken into consideration that our audience may not have much money, due to their age and therefore probably wouldn’t be persuaded by going to the cinema. This way we can gain a much wider audience, and therefore popularity and success.

Our opening sequence includes “In association with Film4” at the beginning, to show our audiences that we have worked with them. This in turn gains them popularity and further profit for future films.

Evaluation Question 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Here is a video response covering some initial points upon reflection answering the question, displayed below.

My media product represents particular social groups through features such as age, gender, power, subculture, characterisation, social status and stereotyping.  We wanted to keep the style of our product consistent to create verisimilitude, to achieve this we had to attain the correct representation of the social group all the way through the film.

Dirty Harry

The main representation in our media was the power and dominance struggles between the antagonist and the victim. Our media product represents the social, physical and mental contrast between the characters of a murderer and his victim, through use of gender. We used the stereotypical and very old viewpoint that ‘women are inferior to men’ which was shown through multiple high angled camera shots in films such as ‘Titanic’ and ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’.  We used these shots to show the contrast between power and gender in our own opening sequence. The male antagonist is shown through low angled shots looking up to him and high angled point of view shots from the victim’s perspective. Both shots allow the audience to view the antagonist as the more powerful character as he appears physically bigger, and this creates the illusion that we have to look ‘up’ to him – as though he holds the authority in the context. These types of shots were seen in the opening sequence to the film Dirty Harry when the antagonist looks down onto his female victim. We developed this idea and used these conventions in our own work to portray this particular social group.

The female victims are portrayed through high angled shots looking down onto them. These display the females as inferior in terms of power and dominance representation, as the audience has to look ‘down’ upon them as though they are the smaller person in the context. This works in combination with the low angled shots on the antagonist to differentiate between the most powerful character in this particular social group.  These shots demonstrate the victim’s vulnerability in the situation, causing the audience to fear for her safety therefore causing further anxiety for them making them want to continue watching.

The male character the (murderer) is portrayed through mise en scene such as dark lighting across half of his face to conceal his identity as well as giving him a dark and mysterious edge, thus implying he is from a more isolated social group. Not only does this dark lighting play a huge part in the shed scenes where he is flicking through the pages of his scrap book, but also his choice of costume.

In terms of mise en scene, the characters costume and appearance helps to differentiate their social groups. The antagonist wears a striking mask to conceal his identity – this combined with the use of dark lighting helps to portray the fact he is an antagonist, from an isolated social group and perhaps capable of committing crimes.

On the other hand, the females are dressed in more fashionable, lighter clothing to suit their youthful ages and underlying innocence. Their floral wear creates connotations connected with nature and therefore purity, suggesting they are all younger and much more innocent than the opposing antagonist. These light, floaty florals are signals to tell the audience that she is from an opposing social group of which is more innocent and vulnerable. Each victim is of the same social group each being young girls. This repetition of these types of females all from the same social group being murdered by the same antagonist represents the young females social group as vulnerable, and represents the female gender as slightly threatened by powerful men – again working on the archaic ideology that women are inferior to men.

The last victim wears a slightly shorter dress which reveals more of her legs. Although her dress is still lighter and floral, it looks slightly more revealing. This represents her as an ‘object’ to men, due to the fact that her legs are more on display thus being more provocative in which males could stereotypically see as an ‘invitation’. This therefore conforms to the stereotype that she is vulnerable and our ideology that females in the social context are the victim in society.

When compared to the murderer’s costume, this opposing dress sense emphasises the fact they are from different social groups. For one, the baggy dark parker jacket and dark worker boots completely create opposite connotations. This clothing implies to the audience that this character does not want to be seen, which suggests he could be hiding from something which is what we wanted our audience to think.

We attempted to conform to the stereotypes that the older character in a social group usually has more power. The male character, the murder’s age is also shown as being older than the female, which in the same way is conveyed through a number of low angle shots, to imply that he is the more powerful one in the social context.  This age comparison represents this particular social group as being strongly determined by social status, and where a person stands in a group determines how much they are respected by the other members of that group. Although they are not within the same social group in general, the social context they are in for the time being suggests that age, gender and power plays a key importance in conforming to audiences expectations.

Our chosen locations also represent the particular social group in which we attempted to represent. The film begins with an establishing shot of a scenic field view which has connotations with country walks and innocence of nature’s beauty. We would not expect such crimes to happen here and therefore this surreal location represents the females own innocence and virtue.

The shots of the forest scenes in which this confrontation takes place, is more likely to be associated with walking home. The victims were all walking home from somewhere and took a short cut through a forest.  This automatically leads the audiences expectations towards that of something bad could happen, thus conforming to our narrative ideology. This common teenage activity is expected with the characters ages, which in turn creates verisimilitude due to the fact the audience whom are of a similar age, can relate to this.

The location of a dark work shed is contrasted to this natural location, which helps juxtapose this characterisation. The antagonist’s nature is dark and mysterious and therefore we complimented his personality with a dark and eerie work shed with tools in the background. This implied he was a lonesome individual, and perhaps incapable of typical social interaction- this implying he is from an opposing social group.

In terms of characterisation, the fact the female actors are teenagers themselves helps the target audience relate to what’s going on, as our target audience are young adults between the ages of 16 to 26.  The characters in our sequence help conform to stereotypes about particular social groups due to the fact their age is the same of those you would find in this particular social group, this therefore creates verisimilitude for the audience.

Overall, I feel as though we successfully conveyed the realism within the stereotypes associated with the particular social context that we used for our film. We successfully manipulated everyday situations by adding surreal effects and ideologies in order to engage our target audience, so that they can relate to it, and managed to exaggerate it to turn it into shocking and memorable situations.