Welcome to our AS media coursework blog

In our group there is Becky Wholley (featured left) and me, Hannah Ferreira. We are producing a 2 minute film opening of the horror genre. The Film title is Sleep Tight.
My YouTube account is:
Becky's YouTube account is: http://www.youtube.com/user/88Beckyjo

Monday, 21 March 2011

Welcome

Hello and welcome to my media blog!
I hope you enjoy and appreciate all that has gone into our AS coursework film opening.

Thank you!
Hannah Ferreira


As you can see from our pose, we have become accomplished film directors/producers.

The Final Product

Make sure you click the non annotate button - speech bubble - to watch the full clean version.

Evaluation Question 1.

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





To answer this task we created a vodcast in which we discuss our film in certain aspects such as...
  • idents
  • Titles
  • Fonts
  • Opening shot
  • Shot types + varitation
  • Continuity editing
  • Focus on main character
  • Mise-en-scene + versimilitude
  • Sound and music
  • Representations
  • Genre and its key conventions
  • How characters are introduced
  • Challenges and Limitations
And finally relate these factors to real media products.....

Unfortunately we both suffer from talking too much...thus this vodcast is a tad long, but all the points are there and we covered all the important aspects of our media....



And part 2 to this exciting vodcast....



Evaluation Question 2.

'How does your media product represent particular social groups?'

Question 2

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Evaluation Question 3.

'What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?'


We answered this through a podcast.



Evaluation Question 4.

'Who would be the audience for your media product?'

These are two example of our target audience
Primary....

Secondary...
We approached two different age groups to answer this question.....
OUR CORE AUDIENCE EXAMPLE - AGE 17 - Toby Pope
CONTRASTING AUDIENCE- AGED 50 - Jenny Wholley

We showed them these images to see their response to the genre...

This was Toby's response....



'That's the shower scene from Psycho and the masked character is in Scream'






This was Jenny's Response....


 ' I don't recognise any of those images, I think I might have seen the masked one in a fancy dress shop before but I don't know its revelance...'






We then showed them the opening to our film and this is their feedback....
Toby:
Jenny:


As you can seeThe main target audience for horror is teenagers and 'twenty somethings'. Age 15-24. We would give 'Sleep Tight' a BBFC rating of 15. The BBFC guidelines for a 15 rated movie are as followed,

Films under this category can contain adult themes, hard drugs, strong words, moderate-strong violence/sex references, and mild non-detailed sex activity.

We chose '15' as a rating as there are flashing graphic images of an attacked girl. Her face looks bruised and there is much blood coming from her stomach and chest area. It is typical representation of a 'wet death'. The girl is in a bath with a white vest top and jeans whereas before she was wearing a blue turtle neck jumper and and a denim shirt. The change of clothing is ambiguous. A possible interpretation is that the killer stripped her of some layers in attempted sexual assault. This is another reason for why we chose 15 as a suitable rating. 
Our secondary audience is 24-45 as there are many middle aged people who enjoy films relating to horror. 
The rating is 15; nevertheless, many interpret this as a guideline and permit their children to watch highly rated films with their supervision. With this in mind, 'tweens' are included in our target audience. They would be able to relate to being babysat and being in a secondary school environment. Pre-teens are definitely a consumer market with teen flicks as they use the characters as role models.

In 'Sleep tight' there are nationally diverse actors and actresses. The protagonist in our film opening has a naturally North American accent due to her having migrated to Britain. This contrasts to the accents of the child 'Rachel' and the teenage actors as they have standard English accents which could be interpreted as southern English. Their dialect is similar to those typically portrayed in Hollywood films with an English accent, rather than a strong, localized accent. The easily recognizable English accents and the North American accent would help not only tap into a UK-wide audience but an international audience.
In our film we do portray the default hetrosexual relationship; however, this is not dwelt on as there is only a small snipet of the teenage actors holding hands. 

The target gender audience for our film is female. The protagonist female. If we were to create the entire film, the story would continue to show the little girl grow up and be followed by her stalker who is trying to kill her. She would fulfill the role of the Final Girl and not be killed. This would draw in a female audience as there is a girl portrayed as tough, strong and resourceful. There are attractive young women in our film which would appeal to the male audience. It could be argued that the bath photos of the attacked babysitter could provide material for the voyeuristic male gaze (Laura Mulvey's feminist theory). 
We have not included any Scream Queen archetypes such as flaunting flesh and exaggerating beauty by making them wear lots of make-up. This is because the Scream Queen is portrayed as the Final Girl. .

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Evaluation Question 5.

'How did you attract/address you audience?'

To show you how we did this, we have created a annotated version of our final piece to show what we did within our opening two minutes that we felt would acheive this task....

Evaluation Question 6.

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

Technologies we have used....


One of the most important softwares we used was IMovie HD - without it we couldn't have edited and produced are opening film...
This software was found on the school mac computers, this meant that we only had access to it within school hours. This was a big restricting factor, but it meant we had to work fast and practically to complete the film for the deadline.
To learn how to use this software we were shown by our technician - John Cockshaw, but if we were ever in doubt a key website we used to help us was the IMovie online tutorial. This runs you through using the programme and was very useful for us.
The software was easy to use and we were able to create what we had hoped for. However we had a lot of difficulties with uploading our footage onto the software - we're still unsure what the issue was, it was either our tape, the camera or the software. However this meant that we had to spend extra hours re-shooting our footage and spending more time uploading than expected. 

A useful site we relied on a lot for researching important information on the film industry was IMDB
This website allowed us access to a mass archive of past, recent and upcoming films. It informs you of all the key information needed to know about a film. You can find the actors, plot, directors even the films budget. This website is a reliable source of information to rely upon for our coursework.
Its simplistic layout means its easy to find out all the neccessary information and makes it easy for anyone to use.

The most important website we have relied upon to present our coursework has been blogger. The website you are accessing right now....
We have had no difficulties with this website what so ever. The dashboard seen to the right allows you access to your own blog, your followers and blogs you are following. You have access to edit posts and your profile to your personal liking. When creating a post you are able to include, links, pictures, films and edit it to your liking - whether its font, colour or size your able to personalise as seen below.
Once completed your post you can press publish post and see your creation on your blog. Your blog can be edited to appear more personal and colourful.
This website has been great and easy for us to use, its reliablilty and freedom has been perfect for our coursework.
To film our footage we were allowed access to the school video cameras and tripods. We were taught how to use these cameras within the first lessons of media. The cameras were shared between other students so a problem we had to overcome was making sure we had booked the cameras in advance to filming and taken them. It wasn't the situation where we could film when ever we wished, we had to plan around the access to the technology.
The cameras were easy to use and created the finish product we hoped. If we had the money we would have liked to have used better quailty cameras, and invested in equipment which could allow us to create smoother movements, such as panning and zooming. Whereas with our cameras when zooming we found the footage to become bad quailty.
In conclusion the cameras were useful and without them we wouldnt have had an opening. However better quailty equipment would have allowed us a more professional looking finnished piece.

To create our idents we used a programme called LiveType this programme allowed us to create a moving image which we could use. To learn how to use this programme the technician John, ran us through the neccessary information for us use it successfully. If we were unsure we could ask for his help or if not we could follow this tutorial to guide us through any problems. 
Our first ident, 'Tribal Productions' was created on the fonts and backgrounds available on the programme. We were able to searc through a wide range of fonts and movements till we find the one we felt was most appropiate. There is also a wide range of sound clips available to choose to play aside your ident.
Our second ident, 'Banana Drama' was created by footage we took ourselves which we uploaded onto the software and then edited in the name 'Banana Drama' by using the livefonts available. 

Garage Band was another important software used towards our final piece, however we asked John our technician to create a soundtrack for us, as he was more experienced in the software. It was similar to us asking someone to play the guitar for us however he created a piece which fitted our opening perfectlty. Without the soundtrack as seen in our first drafts the opening wasnt infact that scary.  The soundtrack enabled us to signify our genre to the audience better.

We used a wide range of technology to create our coursework. There were new softwares we had to learn to use to complete our coursework - livetype, IMovie, Scribd etc... and there were some which we use everyday - mobiles, email, USB sticks etc. 
Overall we have been very lucky with the software avaiblable to us, and it is surprising what you can create with such a low budget. With all software there is always a chance of there being problems, we were very fortunate in only sufferring several issues. 

Evaluation question 7.

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


This was the preliminary filming task from the group Becky was in.



This was the preliminary filming task from the group Hannah was in.



This was our very first filming task. Both of us were involved in the acting and editing of the micro-drama. 



We know substantially more about creating a film now than since we first created a media product. We learnt that before you even come to brainstorming plot ideas, much research must be done prior to this. Our only research we did for our micro-drama, 'The Opposites', was looking at Vladimir Propp's character archetypes and trying to incorporate all of the characters into one short film. For our film opening 'Sleep Tight', we watched numerous openings of slasher and horror films and made notes on shot types used, mise-en-scene, editing, plot, sound and signifiers. We also made a note of who it was directed, produced and distributed by. This helped greatly as we were then aware of horror conventions and how to signify the genre to the audience. We drew upon the film openings we watched for inspiration for when we came to creating a film opening. Films that helped us to shape our film opening were Prom Night and When a Stranger Calls for the story line. Jennifer's Body showed us how to successfully film Point of View shots and have appropriate mise-en-scene for a girl's bedroom. We attempted to edit our photo inserts in a similar way to those in the opening of Eden Lake.


We had a lot longer time span to create Sleep Tight than we did to make the The Opposites and our preliminary task therefore we could adequately plan days for shooting and researching rather than trying to fit it all into a couple of days.


We worked as a team creating the film opening and we shared the roles of director, cinematographer and producer. When doing our preliminary tasks we worked in larger groups and therefore it was harder to split the workload equally. 


We had a longer time to scout for locations thus meaning we had more appropriate filming location. We filmed at Becky's house which was ideal as it was a detached house and it reflected the family home look that we wanted. When we filmed our preliminary task, we only had a few classrooms in school to choose from. 


We were able to get sufficient feedback for Sleep Tight which helped as it showed us points in which there was room for improvement. We did this in a number of ways. Firstly, we asked our media teachers to look at it and share how it was good and how it could be enhanced. This was the most constructive feedback as they know the marking criteria and therefore what level it is at. We also received feedback from friends and family of our age via social networking sites and from our classmates as the rough cuts were projected onto the board for viewing. This was helpful as they are the target audience and so we gathered information on why they did or didn't enjoy it. From this, we process we learned that we had to make the ending more clear as people did not understand that it was the same little girl but 7 years later. We didn't receive feedback on our micro-drama until after we finished it and handed it in. If we were able to get feedback then the end result would have looked somewhat better. We received feedback for our preliminary task. This was desperately needed and it meant that Hannah's group had to re-film theirs again as the 180 degree rule was not correct. 


media eval q 7. Newspaper article



Wednesday, 9 March 2011

ALL- Rough cut 2 of 'Sleep Tight'

This is the second draft of our film, with new clips and a more continuinty editing.
There is still no soundtrack, and only one ident is present.
No titles or opening credits.
No photos of the dead babysitter.
A working progress....

Friday, 4 March 2011

BW- Soundtrack to our final cut of 'Sleep Tight'

As we were finally happy with the final cut of our 2 minutes film opening, it was time to begin working on the soundtrack.

Originally we had wished to use a child's music box that Hannah owned which played the song nutcracker.
We wanted to use a music box as we felt it corresponded well with the little girl and would be a common thing to find in a 10 year old girls bedroom. We intended on editing the noise recorded from the box to create a creepier slant to it.
However this music box became unaccessible (broke) and we then had to search for another source of music. We did ask around and try find a replacement music box, but it was proving too difficult and time consuming.


We then tried to create a piano piece, our friend Anna composed. We tried several different compositions and finally decided on this one...

However when watching through our opening, we felt the music made the film appear less scary, and the classical music didn't fit in with the context of our film.
To try solve this issue we approached John Cockshaw who said he would attempt to edit the piano piece recorded, to make it fit the film better.
However when we met him he said he had created something different and wanted us to have a look at it. He had instead created a piece using a range of Zanzibar Chords, Shimmering flute, Grand Piano on Garage band. Which he created to interpose with what was happening in the opening. This suited our film much better. It made the film much more tense and generally fitted the conventions of horror music.

 When played with the film it works like this...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

BW-Behind the scene's shots

The bathroom shots of the babysitter dead -- Hannah applying fake blood to Emily.


A landing shot of Emily -- Babysitter opening a door to lead to a false scare. We wanted a high angle of Emily to make her look more vulnerable. But due to tripod restrictions we ended up using a step ladder to raise the camera more.

BW - Opening Credits

In most films, horror, slasher, ron-com you will find they open the film with credits. Some are short some can last up to 5 minutes.
In some cases they play the credits whilst playing footage from the film or in others they might use a blank screen and have the credits visible while maybe using an image.
Some examples are,

Jennifer's Body, 

  1. Establishing shot of location; big house surrounded by countryside. Tyre swing anchors it as a family home.
  2. POV shot zooming in to the house. Sans serif, child-like font titles in a light green colour, as if it was written with wax crayons. It is at night and lights are on inside signifying people/someone is home.
This is an example of moving images whilst showing the credits another example of this is,

The Silence of the Lambs 1991,

In the opening we watch a young woman running through the woods. 'Woods, near Quantino, VA' appears on screen, which anchors the setting of the begining of the film. Non diegetic classical music is played this is a more sublte horror music chosen. Meanwhile we also hear diegetic nature noises such as birds. The titles appear, san serif, capitals, bold and black this creates a serious sinister look.



The Shinning 1980,

Still following the car the titles begin to run over the shots, the titles are in capitals, sans serif and in a powder blue colour. This colour could connote several things, the colour itself doesn't really fit in with the context of the genre, powder blue is normally associated with oceans and calm and relaxed. However the powder blue could be used to emphasize something out of the normal, which could relate to the plot of the film. 

Whereas in some other film openings, they choose to emphasize the credits more and make them the only visible thing to be seen by the audience, for example,



Halloween 1978,


The film begins with the credits. To fit in with the context of the films title the only visible object you see whilst the titles roll is a pumpkin which connotes a halloween theme to the film.
The pumpkin progressively increases in size as the credits roll, the light inside the pumpkin also creates an eary effect. The tense music played increases in tempo and volume as the credits continue, the music creats more suspense as it changes the audience heart beat with the rhythm.
The titles themself change in colour from a yellow to a red. These colours can be symbolic for evil and hell.
The credits end 1min 59 secs, the pumpkin has now zoomed in so that all is visible is the the eye and nose of the object, which also emphasizes the presence of the flickering candle overall creates an evil image through the use of the pumpkin. This is quite a low budget opening and appears so to the audience however the preferred reading has been created and the audience are aware of what film it is.

The first option can be seen as more appealing to the audience as it instantly draws them in with action whereas the latter option can sometimes be quite tedius to an audience participant who is more interested in what happens in the film than who directed it.


For our coursework as we only have the limit of 2 minutes, we didn't want to waste precious time on something similar to Halloween, we felt we would go for something more along the lines of Jennifers Body. 
This would include an establishing shot of the house, giving a sense of a point of view shot. The shot would include the parents leaving the house and getting in their car, and a light being turned on upstairs, which would then lead onto the next shot of the babysitter and child in the bedroom.
So in the establishing shot we hoped to include the necessary credits to appear on the screen whilst the action takes place in the background. We feel this idea will work best under our time limitations and can be quite effective in drawing the audience into the film.

ALL- Audience Feedback



George Hayden:
age 19
  • Camera Angles shot well.
  • Nice variation of shots.
  • Lighting was impressive based on low budget.
  • Outside low light conditions were poor.
Overall very impressed for an A-level low budget production. 

Trish Nursiah
age 17
"It's really good so far, like the editing and stuff...I don't get what the last like 2 seconds are about. Let the story line be known more? 
It's good given it's just a rough cut :) "
Olivia Wilford
age 17
"This is so good!
I love the camera angles.
The only thing i would say is that its a little slow...
like I know you're trying to build suspense obviously, but some bits are a little dragged on...
thats all I can say :)"


Nathan Ferreira
age 19
"There is a really good sense of realism and being able to relate to the fear of someone being in your house without your knowledge.
The angles used are effective in creating suspense and allows the audience to relate to the main character and the environment, rather than it simply being a set, we can now relate to our own homes.
I think in possibly an attempt to make it too real the lighting fights against the feeling of what the video is trying to portray, Im not suggesting I would like to see stereotypical lighting sequences from other studied films but rather be more aware of its effect on the audience.
The sound is very good, despite there being no apparent soundtrack the silence of the average home really created a suspense for me."








Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dead Babysitter images





We took these pictures and edited them in the style of the images at the beginning of Eden Lake. These will appear as flashes to show the fate of the babysitter without filming the attack. They appear towards the end of the opening just before the flash forward to Rachel grown up.

Behind the scene shots

The bathroom shots of the babysitter dead -- Hannah applying fake blood to Emily.


A landing shot of Emily -- Babysitter opening a door to lead to a false scare. We wanted a high angle of Emily to make her look more vulnerable. But due to tripod restrictions we ended up using a step ladder to raise the camera more.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Using LiveType

To produce our company idents, we have been taught how to use an application called LiveType. This was the first time we've used it.

For our Distributor 'Tribal Entertainment' we created the entire ident using LiveType.
We chose the background from a vast choice of moving images. We chose a rusty brown colour with different shades of brown and red resembling the ground in a jungle lit by a fire.
For the font we used bold red, serif and capital letters. We adjusted the tracking to make the words fit closely together and  we included shadows onto the background from the font. The overall effect we wanted was dark but the effect that it was lit by a fire, reference to 'Tribal'.

For our Producer ident 'Banana Drama', we took video footage of a banana with a drawn on face being peeled or 'killed'. As it was peeled, ketchup representing blood was shown oozing from inside the skin.  To finish it off, the banana was karate chopped.
First we edited the clip on imovie and used an old film effect which created a grainy antique effect. We uploaded this and placed it as a movie background on LiveType and adjusted the timing to speed it up. We edited the name 'Banana Drama' in capital letters onto it using a live font called 'string' which the letters looked as if they were made of string and individually wobbled.

'Banana', as we posted before, came from both of our names joined together. We opted for Drama and the gore related aspect with the banana due to our film being in the slasher genre. We wanted a balance of comical value and also a horror twist.

We are still in the process of finalizing our company idents as we are still to upload a sountrack to it. For 'Banana Drama' we will record the sound of someone screaming and to make it sound more animated and comical, we will speed it up so the sound resembles a chipmunk.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Rough cut of 'Sleep Tight'



This is the rough cut of our film opening. It does not include soundtrack, transitions or company idents. It is still a work in progress.

Audience Research

The target audience for our coursework is teenagers as it will fit into the teen horror genre. All films in that specific genre contain teenage actors or actresses as does ours. Our film has a similar theme/story line to that of Prom Night and therefore we have teenage actors in ours. Our film opening to 'Sleep Tight' is set in the 1990's and the present day. This appeals to the younger audience more than period films do.


The main target audience for horror is teenagers and 'twenty somethings'. Age 15-24. We would give 'Sleep Tight' a BBFC rating of 15. The BBFC guidelines for a 15 rated movie are as followed,


Films under this category can contain adult themes, hard drugs, strong words, moderate-strong violence/sex references, and mild non-detailed sex activity.

We chose '15' as a rating as there are flashing graphic images of an attacked girl. Her face looks bruised and there is much blood coming from her stomach and chest area. It is typical representation of a 'wet death'. The girl is in a bath with a white vest top and jeans whereas before she was wearing a blue turtle neck jumper and and a denim shirt. The change of clothing is ambiguous. A possible interpretation is that the killer stripped her of some layers in attempted sexual assault. This is another reason for why we chose 15 as a suitable rating. 


Many people who spend money on films are young and so many genres with this target audience are very successful. An example of teen horror success is:


Scream (1996)
Directed by Wes Craven. The gross takings from the film was $103,001,286 (USA).


A new wave of low budget Brit Horror was pioneered by Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. Shaun of the Dead, Dog Soldiers, Wilderness and Creep followed the lead.  However, These were not as successful as the Hollywood films of the genre. This may be an argument against our film being successful as it would be classed as a low budget Brit horror film. Nevertheless, I feel it would be a popular film with teenagers as there are many teen horror films such as Jennifer's Body (2009), Prom Night (2008), All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) and Sorority Row (2009).
These have been successful as Jennifer's Body had had a gross of (USA): $16,195,523, (UK): £1,196,718.


Ethnicity: Our film only contains caucasian actors and actresses. In our film we challenged the codes and conventions of horror and had our stereotypical final girl killed. We wanted her to look like the typical final girl which is white and dark haired. The young girl that we had available to play Rachel was also white and therefore we needed a caucasian teenage girl to play the older version of Rachel. 
We were also restricted to the actors available to us and due to the surrounding school area being predominantly caucasian we did not have a multi-ethnic cast. 
Jennifer's Body is an all white cast apart from one actor, Sal Cortez, who has Spanish ethnic roots. 


Gender: The target gender audience for our film is female. The main characters are female. If we were to create the entire film, the story would continue to show the little girl grow up and be followed by her stalker who is trying to kill her. She would fulfill the role of the Final Girl and not be killed. This would draw in a female audience as there is a girl portrayed as tough, strong and resourceful. There are attractive young women in our film which would appeal to the male audience. It could be argued that the bath photos of the attacked babysitter could provide material for the voyeuristic male gaze (Laura Mulvey's feminist theory). 
We have not included any Scream Queen archetypes such as flaunting flesh and exaggerating beauty by making them wear lots of make-up. This is because the Scream Queen is portrayed as the Final Girl.


Nationality/Region: In 'Sleep tight' there are nationally diverse actors and actresses. The main actress in our film opening has a naturally North American accent due to her having migrated to Britain. This contrasts to the accents of the child 'Rachel' and the teenage actors as they have standard English accents which could be interpreted as southern English. Their dialect is similar to those typically portrayed in Hollywood films with an English accent, rather than a strong, localized accent. The easily recognizable English accents and the North American accent would help not only tap into a UK-wide audience but a nation-wide audience.


Fans of... Prom Night (2008) and When a Stranger Calls (2006) would appreciate our film opening as there are similarities within the plot line. It may also appeal to fans of other teenage girl slasher movies such as sorority house massacre as there are similar themes of horror conventions.


Sexuality: In our film we do portray the default hetrosexual relationship; however this is not dwelt on as there is only a small snipet of the teenage actors holding hands.


Socio-economic Groupings: Our film does not contain a complexed plot and there is little dialogue therefore it would appeal to more to a C1/C2DE audience which includes middle and lower class. Also, because the film is centered on teenagers, the ABC1 audience, upper and upper middle class, may not be drawn in as it could be argued that it is not intellectually stimulating.