Sunday, 23 December 2012

Storyboard and Development

Me and my group drew out our storyboard to see if we had included all the relevant information such as the timing, type of shot, transition etc. We also did it because it gives us an insight on what the opening sequence  may look like. This helps us because we can rearrange shots and see if they work or not, this stops us from making mistakes when coming to filming and preparation for our final piece. Overall, doing the storyboard has been successful as it is a guide line for me and my group when coming to make our actual final piece. It has helped us think about what shots we don't need and what shots to include. It also displayed to us what we didn't have enough of; such as high and low angles. 

This was the first storyboard that me and my group made. After putting everything in order we felt as if we needed to add in shots due to the fact some shots were either too short or went on for too long. We also put titles and transitions in to make sure we were fully prepared when it came to the editing. On each of the different storyboard sections we tried to go into a lot of detail so we would be fully prepared when it came to filming. Below is the second storyboard. Here is where we've changed and added things in. Me and my group are happy with this result as we have thought carefully about each shot and what type of angle, sound, costume will be in the shots. To improve the way we approached the second storyboard I think we should have made the notes more clearer and easy to read so when coming to making out opening sequence our notes will be understandable. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Evaluation of Continuity Task

What have I learnt from it?

From taking part in the continuity, it has evidently added to my understanding of film making process. I have learnt that you must need to make your storyboard in detail. Before doing the task I had a brief understanding on why story boarding was important but I had no idea on the depth of the detail which should be put into the storyboard. In the storyboard, me and my group tried to include all the different aspects of sound, editing and camera. However, we only used terms which only summarised what we needed to include. This did not help us whilst filming as we had to include extra parts, extra shots to make sure the clips flow properly. When making my actual storyboard I now know that I need to make sure everything is in detail so when I start filming I will not need to add and take away aspects. 

The shot list of the continuity task did help me and my group as we were precised. We worked on the timing largely to make sure that we knew the exact times of how long each of the clips would be. From this I can use these basic skills and develop them when making my actual shot list. The filming which took place within my group was very good as, as a group we were very organised. We made sure that we had all the props, actors and storyboard ready so that we could get straight into filming. The only challenged we faced whilst filming was the noise in the background was very loud which would have distracted the attention away from the clips. This has taught me that I need to think about the location of the setting and evaluate the sounds in the background to make sure it is the appropriate place to have the filming at. Furthermore, the editing was successful as each of the clips flowed (apart from a few which we decided to take out) - Apart from that the editing ran smoothly. By doing this I have also built upon my skills with using the software, Adobe Premiere which is good because I will be frequently using it when coming to editing my real coursework piece.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Discuss the ways in which ethnicity has been represented in the extract from Hotel Babylon

In the extract from Hotel Babylon the director represents many stereotypical and atypical constructions of ethnic groups, some of which may be considered and interpreted as negative. The extract opens with a wide shot whilst tracking right, this is significant because it helps the audience recognise the mise-en-scene and body gestures within the extract. The man is wearing a suit with connotes his high social status - the side view helps the audience notice the man brushing his suit down, indicating he is proud of where he works. The extract then goes onto a mid shot of two black men. One of which is portrayed as a stereotypical Jamaican man, the fact that the man has dreadlocks and no top is iconic of the culture. The over the shoulder shot of each of the characters emphasises the juxtaposition between the two opposing men, it also helps the audience see the reaction of each of the characters. The eye line match reinforce the idea of the characters being equal as the are audience are frequently viewing the two characters at the same level, physically. Each of the men have the same amount of screen time, demonstrating the balance in equality between the two characters. It is evident to the audience they have the same ethnicity due to the diegetic sound of them talking about memories and  the colour of their skin which denotes that the ethnicity is the same. Furthermore, the diagetic sound such as the dialogue convey how the upper class man is speaking standard English, however, the Jamaican man is speaking colloquial language. The significance of the two characters being the same sex displays how the gender within the ethnicity can be represented differently.

The extract then goes onto the representation of two Eastern European hotel maids. When introducing the characters, their is a lack of cuts displaying slow paced shots. This reveals to the audience the facial expression of one of the maids, looking anxious and worried. The high key lighting contrasts with her mood due to the setting being vibrant. Also, this is significant due to the atypical representation of one of the maids which juxtaposes with other stereotypically Eastern European maid who is portrayed as a more traditional stereotype of an Eastern European. This is evident to the audience through the diagetic sound such as the dialogue when she states “double for double”, revealing to the audience the idea of prostitution. The gender is also considerably important as the two characters are women, who of which are considered higher in prostitution. The non diagetic sound is parallel as the music is upbeat which sets a seductive mood throughout the scene, giving the reader a more advanced insight on the stereotypical Eastern European women. The long shot of the two maids stripping reinforces and emphasises the stereotypical culture which has been representation in an arguably negative way due to the abundance of the prostitution in Eastern European. The editing such as the shot reverse shot displays to the audience the facial expression on the Chinese man which expresses desire and desperation, representing a stereotypical Chinese businessman. The mise-en-scene reinforce the stereotypical representation as he is wearing a dressing gown, connoting he is used to the luxury lifestyle, representing his culture as wealthy.

Moreover, the ethnicity of the English culture is represented as dominant. The two English managers are introduced with a long shot, revealing the classy, sophisticated costume which signifies that they are of high power. The long shot also displays the surroundings of other characters which are portrayed as a lower status as they remove themselves from the area of which the English managers are walking through. This denotes to the audience that the English people are being represented in a stereotypical way as they seem to control the surroundings and have the power to remove characters when they are in the scene. The two characters are centralised throughout the scene, reiterating the focus on the English characters. The significance of using a male and female to represent the stereotypical English people denote that the genders are equal in the ethnicity. The diagetic ambient sound in the background helps make the scene look authentic and as there is a lot of distraction in the background, but the main focus is still on the two English people, emphasising the dominant state of power in roles which they have. The use of the diagetic sound such as the dialogue reveals to the audience that they are higher class in society as the use of standard English is frequently used throughout.

Furthermore, the opening long shot of the two chefs is significant as it reveals the two opposing ethnicities, one of which is is from Eastern Europe and the other from England. The mise-en-scene such as the costume convey the equality between both of the men as they have are employed as the same position which are chefs. However, the use of the binary opposition of the colour of clothing contradicts this as the Eastern european man is wearing darker colour clothing, signifying a dark side to the him and the representation of the  culture.  However, the Englishman is wearing a full white coloured clothing signifying purity and lack of immorality. The use of the props such as the food and cooking tools help the scene look authentic and reinforce the idea of them both working in the same job despite the different ethnicity. It is evident to the audience that one of the chefs are represented as a stereotypical Englishman, as the diagetic sound such as the dialogue reveals to the audience the use of standard english being frequently used. The second chef is introduced in a negative way due to the recurring mid shots which display his violent body gestures, representing the ethnicity of Eastern Europe as negative. The non diagetic sound is parallel as it creates tension and symbolises the frustrated feelings which both of the characters are portrayed to have. The folly diagetic sound of the knife being pulled out by the Eastern European and the close up of the Englishman looking anxious infer that the Eastern European man is in higher control which contradicts with the previous representations of them being equal.

Overall, the extract successfully displays a group of different ethnicities in a partly stereotypical way. The use of the opposing characters in the various ethnicity such as the Jamaican man and the second maid restrict the stereotyped being represented throughout. However, the director has given the audience an insight on the basic culture of each ethnicity which all could be arguably interpreted negative or positive.


By picking out and analysing the key techniques from the extract it helps me understand the affect of the technical techniques which will help me when coming to filming my coursework piece as I already have a brief outline of what the camera, mise-en-scene, editing and sound do within a piece.

Monday, 17 December 2012

First Attempt of Editing - Recreation

Last week in Media we were given a short task of recreating a title sequence which have been made from previous students. We were given the raw files for the final piece which were all in the wrong order - challenging us to rearrange the files and make clean cuts to make the clips flow. In addition to this, we had to add the sound and titles into the video. In order to do this activity we used Adobe Premiere Pro software which I was not confident with at is a new program to me.

Strengths: The editing was smooth and roughly accurate - helping the extract run efficinatly. Titles were successfully added in the same font, colour and positioning which make it similar to the real title sequence.

Weaknesses: The timing of our video was slightly longer than the original as we did not manage to cut the clips at the right time. The sound did not come in at the time which stopped the video from looking realistic. Lastly, we missed out some of the clips which is why some of the music was hard to fit in.

Overall, I have benefited from this task an extreme amount as from my weaknesses I can highlight the challenges I faced and think of ways to overcome them. The real challenge I faced was using a new software  however, now I have briefly used it I feel confident to use it again in my my real coursework piece as I have got to grips with the main features. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Continuty Task First Cut

Problems we faced  - (First cut of contintuy task)

  • Our story board wasn't detailed enough which is why we ended up adding into the clip extra shots 
  • One of the shots we had to change as we needed a stack of paper but it kept falling over so we decided we need to use a paper shelf so the paper will not physical fall over
  • Narrative was too simple - this restricted our group technically as the storyline was simple, consisting of the same type of shots
  • No non diagetic sound was included - struggled to find the appropiate sound which will fit in with the clip

How we are going to overcome these problems in our real story board?

  • Make sure when we create our real storyboard we go into detail so that we do not have to add in any extra shots 
  • Try out all the different kinds of shots to see if they work so that we do not have to change it last minute
  • Research into different kinds of music - seeing which ones suit the clip and which ones don't.

The software used was Adobe Premiere Pro. I was considerably new to this software but due to the extra lesson and the amount of editing time we spent I have gained key skills which will help me when making my opening sequence. I still think I have a lot to learn with the software, however, me and my group managed to make a successful first cut of our continouty task with the brief, basic skills we have learnt. 

Overall, the filming of the continuity task has been successful in teaching me why the story boarding is significant and how it plays a large roll when making our real one. By looking at and evaluation the specific problems me and my group faced it helps us view and overcome the problems, it also helps us not make the same mistake again. Finding a solution for each of the problems will also help us when coming to story boarding and filming as we can now learn from the previous problems we have faced.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Below is the shot list for our final product.

  • Long shot of the back of our protagonist facing a window
  • Close up of a bottle of alcohol and a glass, and our protagonist pouring liquid out of the bottle into the glass
  • Medium shot, the camera tracks round to a side view of the protagonist
  • Close up of the protagonist's face, as bring the glass towards her mouth
  • Extreme close up of protagonist drinking the drink
  • Extreme close up of the protagonist's eyes
  • Fade to a white screen
  • Fade to extreme close up of teachers eyes
  • Low angle, point of view shot of teacher telling the protagonist that her brother has gone missing
  • Fade to white screen
  • Close up of protagonist looking frustrated/ upset
  • Blurry/slightly out of focus point of view shot from the protagonist as she walks over to the desk
  • Medium shot of protagonist sat at the desk
  • Close ups/ Extreme close ups of the protagonists hands circling/underling words in articles, photographs, finishing drawings etc.
  • Cut to the title centralised on the screen
  • Long shot of the antagonist walking down some stairs
  • Medium shot of antagonist looking at his reflection in a mirror.

What I Have Learnt From Storyboarding

Before we did our practice storyboard, continuity task and spoke to a real story boarder (Sophie who came in and taught us about story boarding) I thought that story boarded at this point had no importance. This was due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of how significant story boarding is to the final coursework piece. Practicing and completing a rough storyboard for myself gave me a brief outline on how detailed a storyboard would be. When I went onto story boarding about my continuity task I already had the knowledge on the amount of detail which should be included. This helped when we started filming as I already knew what shots, angles and how long the clip should last for. When Sophie came in and taught us about story boarding I gained a wider understanding on the key concepts and features a storyboard should consist of. Example - the rule of thirds. I feel that I have achieved an expanded ability  which will help me when I come to make my real storyboard. Overall, the amount of learning and practicing I did on story boarding will help me when I create my story board of my title sequence as I now know what not and what to include. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Targets - Merlin essay

From my previous essay my targets were to develop on my analysis of sound and editing. In my current essay I have improved as I have achieved a higher grade because of my deeper analysis. In this essay which was based on an extract from Merlin I received 41/50. I have improved a lot since my last essay which is good as I am progressing further as I go along. My new targets are:

  • Remember to respond to the question, opening each paragraph by making a clear argument point about representation.
  • Remember to use technical terms frequently and accurately.

This tells me that in my next essay I need to make sure that the point I am making is always connected back to the question. Also, I need to revise Semiotics again as I still am not fully confident in using the different kinds of symbols. This has helped me overall as I can now look into and highlight what I need to do to improve so that I can gain a better mark in my upcoming essays which will help me practice for the exam. It will also help me with coursework as I need to understand the technical terms before I start filming as I do not want to get my filming incorrect.

Story boarding Learning Continued..

In my previous lesson a student who used to take Media Studies A Level and went to University and achieved a degree in story boarding helped me gain a more advanced insight on how story boarding really works. Firstly, Sophie displayed what the key features of story boarding should include such as:
  • When drawing your storyboard do not worry to much about order as often adjustments are made and you will end up changing it around
  • Bullet point your storyboard so you have an idea of what to draw
  • Remember the rule of thirds

By Sophie telling me this I now know that if I draw my storyboard and the order changes it is only for positive purposes which will benefit me and my group. I also know that before I start my storyboard I should make a bullet pointed list so that when I come to make my storyboard I do not struggle in what to draw and annotate. I then found out what the Rule Of Thirds is - before Sophie taught this lesson I had no idea on this meaning. She explained that it meant that the screen is split into three sections and that the main character should be centralised so that it is the main focus. However, this tells me that if I do not want one of my characters to come across significant in the opening sequence I should place him to either side of my screen to make him appear less important. This will help me and my group as we have a more advanced understanding of the positioning on the screen. 

We then went onto watching an animated storyboard Gravity Falls on Disney Channel. Despite the fact that it is animated and it has not got any link to a Thriller. I still need to focus on the storyboard and how it has changed through the use of the storyboard being constructed in a successful way.

Below is the clip we watched -

From watching this clip is is clear that they have followed the basic story board which has helped them produce a successful opening sequence of an animated show. I can look at this and highlight the difference between the story board and the real opening sequence - the main differences are only the images are produced more clear. Even though I am not doing animation because of the characters, lighting, mise-en-scene etc it will create a huge difference from my story board to my real opening sequence. 


Overall, I think my storyboarding knowledge has expanded and I now have a more advanced understanding on storyboarding in general and why it will be important to me and my group. I have learnt that I do not need to draw out every movement of the characters in each shot as I can use arrows to designate the movement. I have also learnt that it does not matter if the storyboard is not in complete order as it may be moved around when filming and it helps you highlight the errors that were made in the first storyboard. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Possible Locations

It was important we found a good location so that we could make sure our setting was appropriate to the story line. The main thing we focused on having is a basic room, with no electronics or decorations as we wanted the room to look isolated. We have looked at two rooms which are both plain and slightly similar but we need to decide which one as they both consist of different color schemes and layout. As we are presenting our antagonist to be wealthy we thought using a marble staircase will be appropriate as it will be able to ensure that he looks higher class. The mirror he will look into is also large which again will emphasis his wealth.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Continuity Editing Task - Storyboarding

In my previous lessons me and my group have learnt how important story boarding is, and how it will help us when we come to sketching ideas of what our final opening sequence will look like. From knowing this we knew how important it was to create a story board for our continuity task which we all will understand easily.  It is important that each of member of the group can understand and read the story board properly so that it will be easy to direct the actors.

Before we started our story board we had to find out what we needed to include such as:
  • Shot reverse shot
  • So NOT break the 180 rule
  • Variety of shots
  • Non diagetic sound
  • Interaction between two characters

We need to create a story line which can include all of the above. This is why The first thing my group decided was to create a short narrative, this simply consisted of a person walking into a room looking through a pile of past papers, stealing answers to an up coming exam, and having teacher walk in and find them. We didn't want anything too complicated and we didn't want to waste time over it because we felt that our time would be better spent on creating the storyboard for the task. Doing this in a short period of time helped us think about the technical side to the filming as we needed to make sure we included the all the camera shots we needed, the sound which we feel would be appropriate for the story line and the dialogue between the two characters.

Overall, I think me and my group approached this task in a successful way as we have created a good story board which will help us highlight any improvements we may need to make when filming and also if we needed to include anything more into the short film. If me and my group were to improve the way we did this task it would be to focus more on the sound we would use. We had a brief idea but nothing specific which was negative as we need to make sure our sound is linked in with what we are trying to display. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Practice Story Boarding

In class, we had to make a horror story board of a chase scene to practice making story boards so when we come to making our own story boards we have a better understanding of everything we need to include and the amount of detail we need to go into. Me and my partner thought carefully about how we are going to start and finish out chase scene. Even though we knew what kind of scene we were creating it was good to think about how we could present the chase seen. We also had to think about the shot, duration of the shot and the sound/dialogue. 

This was our first story board. We had to comment on the type of shot and the duration. In the next box we had to think about the sound a dislouge which would be happening throughout the scene. We wanted to make the scene start of intense as it is the most interesting scene in a film. The first shot is a long shot of the girl running away, already connoting to the audience that she is in some kind of trouble and needs help. The scenery such as the woods also creates ominous signs as it will be dark and dangerous. We then put a close up - conveying the girls facial expression displaying how scared she is. The next scene there is another close up of the man weapon he is chasing her with, making the scene more scary as the tension builds from the props. The next shot goes back to a long shot - a lot of music comes in helping make the scene more sinister and scary.
 This was our second sheet of story boarding. We did this exactly the same as the one before as we included drawn images showing what the scene will look like, the duration of the shot and what kind of shot it is and the sound and dialogue. We tried to use as many types of shots as we could, we ended up using a mid shot and close up to display the mans and woman's feelings towards the situation. 
Overall, this practice story board exercise has helped me understand the amount of detail I need to put into my real story board so when it comes to making my final opening sequence I will automatically be able to get straight on and know exactly what I'm doing. The drawn diagrams are easier to look at rather than just words, it also gives me a more advanced insight on how the scene will actually look like, highlighting if the shot will be effective or not. If I was to improve the way I approached this task I will make sure I go into more detail about the type of shot and the duration of it. However, now I have found out this could be a problem in my final storyboard I can make sure I do not make this mistake again.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Changes on our title sequence..

As a group we've realised how we are still not familiar with the Bollywood genre and we may struggle to produce a Bollywood inspired film without knowing the full details. We have decided to drop the idea of Bollywood and go forward with our original idea of doing a psychological thriller. I am content about this as I feel we need to focus more on the technical areas as it will improve our overall grade. I also think we would have struggled with doing a Bollywood just because even if we did all the research we would still not have a broad understanding of what it really is as we are not familiar with it in our day to day life. We still would like to go ahead and use our original actors which are Asian as we think this shouldn't effect our title sequence. 

Importance of Story boarding

Today in class we discussed why story boarding was important in our process of making our opening sequences. At first I didn't quite understand the impact a storyboard could have on the coursework.

So why is it important to story board? These are some examples we found out in class:

  • It displays a brief outline of what your finished piece may look like
  • Links planning to filming process
  • Pitching an idea
  • Visualize links between shots, action, graphic matches
  • Timing
  • Revise narrative and sequencing
  • Change to make decisions and revisions
We then went onto looking at a short extract from the person who created the story board for the film The Sixth Sense. Looking at this video improved my understanding of how the story board will help me and my group if we have done our story board well. Things which I have learnt after the video is..
  • After looking and reviewing your story board you can see mistakes you have made
  • How the director needs to tell the story
  • Allows you to think ahead
Overall, I think today's lesson has been successful as I have fully understood why story boarding will help me and my group when it comes to creating our final piece. I think that when I come to make my story board I will understand the amount of detail and effort I need to put in to save things going wrong when filming my opening sequence. I can now start thinking about how my story board may look like and see if what I am creating is effective.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Art Of Title Sequences

At first, I was confused about this term as I did not fully understand what art was  into a title sequence. I then did some research and found out how important it was..

I started off by looking at Six Feet Under, a film that was made into 2001. I watched the title sequence once before I looked at any information about how the title sequence was made. From my point of view, overall the title sequence was very interesting and extraordinary. I did not fully understand what was going on throughout, however I have learned that isn't much of a problem as you should not include too much of the story line in the sequence as it is only the first two minutes.

What did I notice?

The single clips lasted quite a long time to show the significance of each of the parts. This made the editing quite slow and steady at first. Furthermore, as the title sequence got to 1 minute the pace of the editing increased. The transitions helped make the title run smoothly as they faded in and out lasting around 2-3 seconds. This gives my group something to think about, are we going to include any transitions? if so, where are going to put them?. The font which has been used is sans serif, bold and stands out to the viewer. Me and my group have already spoke about the color of the text as from our previous knowledge on title sequences we have noticed that the color white is frequently used and stands out to the audience. I also think using sans serif font will be effective too as again, it is bolder. 


Before we go ahead and start filming, of course we need to make a detailed storyboard on what our title sequence is actually going to look like. To get a more advanced understanding of how the storyboard impacts the real piece I looked at a the designer of Six Feet Under's story board. This is the storyboard and the real piece..

As you can see, not everything from the storyboard was included and there are more stuff added. This tells me that even though I need to make a detailed plan, there is always going to be change throughout.

I then went onto looking at the graphic designer who made this title sequence in more detail..

"Well, I was taught that design is a type of visual communication and storytelling where a single image needs to say something profound immediately, in the simplest form possible. To exercise this type of restraint without being boring is a challenge, but I learned to differentiate smart design from cheap communication — trends that lack substance. And that was my goal for this piece. It’s about death but it doesn’t need to be gross or spooky or horror-driven. Those things have their place but I thought it was more about the bigger picture — that there is a life after death and it is not ugly or morbid but beautiful."

From reading this summary of how the designer moved their idea forward I notice how just because we are making a Thriller it doesn't again, need to much of a story line as it is only the beginning of the film and there is not a lot you can display as a designer in 2 minutes. The designer also went onto saying what type of typography he found interesting and exclusive. Looking into typography is important to me and my group as we need to think carefully into what text we are going to be using throughout the title sequence. I then went onto looking at typography work..

David Carson is an American graphic designer. He is best known for his innovative magazine design, and use of experimental typography. He was the art director for the magazine Ray Gun. Even though we are making a title sequence and not a magazine I thought some of his work may influence and inspire us to create the same kind of effect on the text. When looking at his work I noticed that he created quite a horror effect which will help us as we're going down the physocial route. The editing also reinforces the horror as it is over powered and dominated by words and complication. Examples:

After looking at these examples, I thought it may be a good idea to go back to looking at another title sequence but one that was made on a computer and had no actual people in it. The next one I looked at was a film called 'Catch Me If You Can', a Drama Thriller made in 2002. Even though our Thriller isn't going to be based on drama, it would be good to see how the theme is frequently being reinforced in the opening sequence.

As you can see, the editing of the title sequence is at a very fast pace. This gives me and my group a more advanced insight on what the effect of fast editing actually has on a title sequence. It helps build the tension and suspense in the title sequence. In most of our piece we want to build up the tension by using editing as our main tool and by looking at this title sequence it is clear that the effect can be made with editing. Also, how the text appears on the screen is very interesting as it is unusual. Even though we want our text to be very different to this, it helps us view how varied text can be but still the text is used to create the same impact on any kind of thriller title sequence.

Overall, I feel that I have built on my knowledge and understanding of what the art of title sequences actually is. I did not know that the text has such a big impact on the title sequence. This is something we MUST think about within the group as we need to make sure we are following the basic codes and conventions of the art of a thriller title sequence. Looking at someones personal work and how they developed their ideas into making a successful title sequence has also helped me as I can see all their adjustments and changes they needed to make which shows me that it is okay to change and adjust just as long as it is helping the title sequence. I still think I have more to learn before I start making and adding in any kind of art and effects to my title sequence as I need to make sure everything I include is relevant.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Challenges we may face..

How are we going to make our piece look like a Bollywood film?

From analysing a few Bollywood thrillers, it normally conveys the religion and culture through the use of costume and props. This means we will have to make sure our female protagonist is wearing an Indian type dress so that our final piece is effective. However, because it is a thriller we would rather her dress be dark colors helping create a tone and atmosphere in the scene. This means we will have to find an indian style dress in a reasonably dark color.  The props is also something we need to consider and think about but the ideas which we have thought about is using certain objects to show the culture.


In our 2 minute opening sequence we wanted to do a lot of close ups of the protagonist and the props. However, the editing was our main fear as there would be so many different shots. To pull it off we have decided to look at the opening sequence of Se7en. As you can see below, there is fast editing of extreme close ups of images, articles, words. This is similar to our idea as we are hoping to create the same effect as this just over a shorter amount of time. To overcome this problem, we will need to think carefully about each shot, the position angle, close up and see if it is or is not effective as we do not want to make this part of the sequence not up to excellent standards. We also need to make sure the images build up tension, along with the music as we need to follow the basic conventions of a thriller.

Apart from these problems I think everything we have come up with is realistic and will help make our final piece effective. Even though we are open to changing and developing our idea we still are content with what we already have come up with.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Our Narrative

This is a bullet point list of the narrative for our final piece:
  • Opens with an establishing long shot of the female protagonist, centralised in the frame. Setting - in a dark room, low key lighting. 
  • Close up of her pouring the drink, body language should show signs of anxiety distress
  • Tilt up from her hands to an extreme close up of her eyes
  • Cut to white background and a non diagetic sound effect to establish a flashback
  • In the flash back the audience see's a point of view shot of the protagonist when she was told by a teacher her brother had gone missing. Approximately, this should last up to 3-5 seconds.
  • The whispering of the word "missing" is then repeated when the audience views a close up of the protagonist back in the room.
  • Titles will start to appear in different corners of the frame.
  • The non diagetic sound will start to play other the top of this.
  • The protagonist starts to act distressed and agitated this is shown through the close ups of her fidgeting with her hair and scratching her head. 
  • The atmosphere in the room builds as she starts to go through old papers and articles of her brothers disappearance.
  • The pace of the editing will increase through a series of close ups and extreme close ups of the props and the protagonist. She will be circling, underlining and ripping parts of old photos, newspaper and articles.This should last around 35-50 seconds.
  • The title then will appear on the screen. The sound would have built up throughout the scene until a loud noticeable note. This should last for around 3 seconds.
  •  The male antagonist will be firstly introduced with a medium shot of him stood infront of a mirror, doing up his tie. (Attempting to look "normal").
  • He will then turn towards and walk out of the front door picking up a brief case and shouting (positively) "Bye!" -  7-10 seconds.
  • Will then cut to an extreme long shot, of him leaving the house to establish the difference in location. Lighting should be brighter to help the scenes contrast the previous scene.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bollywood Thriller Survey

Me and my group decided that it would be a good idea to make a small survey so that we could ask our target audience about Bollywood thrillers and see if there's anything important we need to make sure we include or things that we shouldn't include. However, from making this survey and looking at the results it is clear that making a Bollywood thriller is good as our target audience are reasonably keen on Bollywood inspired films. We made sure that we got 50 responses at the least as we wanted to have accurate results. 

The questions we asked our target audience were all relevant to the idea that we have in mind. The first question we asked was "Would you be interested in watching a Bollywood style thriller?" The reason we asked this question was because we wanted to know if people were interested in watching Bollywood films/Bollywood thrillers. It makes us as group more confident with doing the idea of Bollywood as 61% of the audience said that they would watch a Bollywood thriller, it helps us as a group because we now know that the majority of the audience would enjoy watching the thriller that we are preparing to make. 

The next question we asked was: "Have you seen any Bollywood inspired films? (b) If yes, please name the film" The reason why we asked this question is because we wanted to know how popular Bollywood was and to see if the audience have seen any Bollywood films. The most popular film which the audience gave as an example was Slumdog Millionaire. Even though this isn't a thriller it would still be handy to look at how the director pulled off the Bollywood features throughout and within the film. 

Carrying on from our last question we then asked "Do you think that typical Bollywood aspects such as music help make a film authentic?" - The reason why we decided to ask this question is because we wanted to see if we needed to include a lot of Bollywood aspects to help make the film realistic. As 71% said that it helps make the film look authentic it shows us that as a group we need to make sure there are several aspects of Bollywood to help make the opening sequence appear like a Bollywood film. 

We then wanted to find out things which they would expect to see in a Bollywood film. We asked this question we need to know what we need to include and what we shouldn't include. The question we asked was "What would you expect to see in a Bollywood thriller?" - We gave examples of what the audience may think to help them out. The most popular answer was religion. This tells us we may need to look into the religion and try and include the religion in ways such as the mise-en-scene and props. The second most popular answer was romance. Even though our story line does not consist of any romance, it means we are going against the usual stereotype of a Bollywood film which will make it interesting for the audience.

Before this point we were still unsure of what key theme to choose. Obsession? Romance? These were two themes which we found it hard to choose between.  However, we did then decide on Obsession but if the survey told us differently we would have reconsidered the theme and could have changed it. The question we asked was "What key themes would you enjoy to see in a Bollywood thriller?" Obsession overall got 68% of the vote which made us more happy with doing that theme because we now know what the audience would like to see. 

Overall, this survey has helped me and my group an extreme amount as it has shown us what we should include more of such as religion through the use of costume and props, even dialogue. It has also shown us what films we should look at and try to be inspired from which may help us in our coursework piece. I think me and my group have done well with thinking up and making this survey as we have gathered all the answers we needed. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Development of Story line

Me and my group discussed our ideas of having an unrequited love theme but we thought it would be too cliche and un-original. As we are doing a psychological thriller we decided to keep the same obsessive theme in the story but change the way we showed it. Firstly, we are using one proganist and one (maybe two) antagonist. The relationship between the characters will come across very misleading as they are brother and sister but because of there past and what has happened the stereotypical relationship of a brother and sister is ruined. 

A summary of the story line  The brother went missing a long time ago and the sister who was slightly younger was so upset and depressed that her brother has gone missing that she has become mentally ill over the fact he has gone. However, he then comes back but, because she is mentally ill she doesn't understand the fact he has returned and been found so she ignores his return by ripping up news paper articles of "boy ages ** found!" - We are then going to show the brother, looking very casual and smart (looking rather normal) to convey the juxtaposition between both their lives. It also highlights her obsessivness over him and how she couldn't deal with the matter. 

Order of clips shown:
Even though we haven't talked about a shot list, and what kind of shots we want to appear/when etc. We have decided the order of how the opening sequence will go.

  • First shot will be introducing the title of the film company
  • Will then go onto a shots of the protagonist, looking stressed and mentally unstable
  • Title will appear very fast and bluntly
  • The antagonist will then be shot, looking smart and doing day to day things so the two shots are contrasting a lot but the title of the movie will split them up
Me and my group still have a lot of things to think about such as the:
  • Costume?
  • Lighting?
  • Camera shots
  • Editing
  • Title colors
  • Title of film
  • ETC

Discuss the ways social status is represented in the extract from Merlin.

In the extract from Merlin, class and status are represented in many ways as the extract displays and differentiates between upper and lower class. Firstly, the protagonist is introduced to the audience with several wide shots whilst the camera is panning. The panning and wide shots happen when Merlin walks in and out of the castle which emphasise Merlins class and lower status as he is compared to the enormous setting; The castle and the market, conveying to the audience he does not have much importance as he looks small. Also, when Merlin is looking through private belongings in the castle his screen time is shortened as there are only close ups of the belongings which reinforce Merlins lower class and feebleness in the extract because of his lack of screen time. The sound also helps reinforce the social status of each of the characters. Firstly, when we are introduced to Merlin the sound is diagetic and is quite mysterious connoting he shouldn’t be at the castle which means he isn’t upper class enough to enter the castle. However, when the women is introduced the camera slowly zooms into her which gives her a slower introduction to her character indicating she is upper class. The low angle shot of her also denotes she is dominant as the audience are looking up to her which conveys her social status. This combined with the peaceful and soothing non diagetic sound helps emphasise her importance. Additionally, the mise-en-scene also makes it apparent to the viewer that Merlin is of low social status as he is wearing old ragged clothing iconic for working class. The colours of the costume are also symbolic of the simplicity of working and lower class. On the other hand, the prevalence suggests otherwise as he is given a large amount of screen time denoting his importance throughout the extract. Whereas, the colours of the woman’s clothing which is purple symbolises power, luxury and ambition. It indicates the woman’s wealth and extravagance signifying her high social status.

As Merlin walks out of the castle grounds, there is a sudden jump cut to the market establishing Merlin amongst his peers who are also lower class. The contrast between the current and previous setting gives the audience a more advanced insight on the separation between the two of the classes. The antagonist, Arthur is in soft focus when firstly introduced, whereas, Merlin continues to walk towards the camera establishing a close up of him revealing that although he is lower class but he is the dominant character. This allows a connection between the viewer and Merlin as they sympathise with him. The dialogue juxtaposes with the close up of Merlin as it represents Arthur as the more powerful character because his tone is  patronising towards Merlin. Furthermore, the mid shot of Arthurs fellow knights reveals to the audience that they are mocking Merlin as each of the knights have a sarcastic facial expression whilst turning to each other for approval. This and the fact they are wearing body armour conveys their relevance and significance because of their higher social status. Merlin then goes onto challenge Arthur to a fight, the close up of Merlin dropping the props which have been used such as the medieval weapon signify the danger he is in as he has never had the chance to train for a fight because of his  lower class and has been brought up with only skills for manual labour.

The use of jump cuts during the fight increase the intensity and allows the viewer to recognise that Arthur is currently winning, emphasising  how he has been brought up to fight whilst remaining courageous. The upbeat non diagetic sound also helps increase the pace and is parallel to the duel and makes the fight seem humorous as Arthur is easily winning. This reinforces the difference between upper and lower class. The scene then cuts to a point of view shot of Merlins teacher who witnesses the fight from the window. The low key lighting and the costume of the old man express his low social status to the viewer and his similarity to Merlin. The shot reverse shot reveals the teachers disappointment as we see him walk out of the room in distress connoting his fatherly role towards Merlin which convey his equal social status. It then cuts back to the fight, still portraying Merlin as weak through the use of fast pace editing of him falling over. Merlins body gestures such as raising his hands also reinforce the fact that he is losing as he is struggling to keep his body stable. The extreme close up Merlins eye, changing colour signifies Merlins use of magic towards the end of the fight and makes it evident that he is now winning. Merlin’s magic helps make him more relevant and important in society which indicates that if you have some kind of strength, upper and lower class become irrelevant. However, the mid wide angle shot reveals Arthurs guards holding Merlin, reestablishing his high social status as he has protection. The over the shoulder shot of Merlin and Arthur after the fight create slight confusion in the scene as the director has represented their social status as equal.

The scene then goes onto a shot reverse shot of Merlin and his teacher at eyeline match denoting and reinforcing their equality of social status. Whereas, the dialogue contrasts with this as the teacher is raising his voice to Merlin, creating a hostile mood and atmosphere within the scene. It also displays the teachers power over Merlin which portrays him as slightly higher in society. Additionally, the dialogue of Merlin when he says “I’m just a nobody and always will be” indicates his awareness of his low social status. There is then a close up of the teachers face displaying his sympathy for Merlin and this combined with the end shot on the teacher reinforces how he is more dominant than Merlin.

Overall, doing this essay has helped me expand my knowledge as I am frequently using the technical terms which help them be memorable. However, I did struggle with this essay as I found the extract hard to understand. I tried to focus on sound and editing they were both in my targets from my previous essay. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Rachels Research On Bollywood Conventions

Below is Rachel's research on Bollywood conventions:

Bollywood Conventions

Due to the fact that we are strongly considering making our coursework with a Bollywood inspired theme, or style, I decided to do some extra research on the typical conventions of a Bollywood film to see how they differed to traditional Hollywood. This is to see what codes and conventions we may need to include in our product to make it realistic. 

Bollywood Codes and Conventions
  • Dominance of one or two actors (Usually a male and female)
  • Using other forms of performance art such as playing an instrument, singing and dancing
  • The presence of a religious figure that all the characters believe in, such as a God or Deity
  • Romance is the main plot or subplot in the story (This might include love triangles)
  • Large studio sets with elaborate design and decoration
  • Films are usually set in Mumbai, India (However, some popular Bollywood films have been set in western cities such as New York City, and London
  • Authentic and elaborate costumes, such as traditional clothing (i.e. saris and dresses)
  • Other key themes include; melodrama, obsession, and kidnappings.
There are also some traditional gestures and symbols used in Bollywood films such as:

  • Seeing someone tug on their ears – When someone tugs on their ears it is usually seen as an apology and the quivalent of saying sorry.

  • Seeing someone touch another person’s feet - According to Hindu theology feet are the most polluted part of the body because they are the closet body part to the ground. So when a person touches someone else's feet it is a sign of great respect because they are honoured and touching their feet is a privilege.

  • Someone waving their hands over another person’s head - Usually a person will do this to a bride. They will wave their hands over the bride and then make fists of their hands and crack their knuckles on each side of their own head. Whoever does this takes on any evil that may be sent toward the bride.

  • A woman wearing red dye in her parting - This red dye is called vermillion and when a woman wears it in her parting, it signifies that she is married and her husband is still alive.

  • Kohl is placed on someone’s cheek - When someone looks strikingly beautiful it is assumed that they will attract a lot of jealousy. Therefore, a black dot (kohl) is placed on their face as a blemish to ward off jealousy of a person's perfection.
  • When someone presses their palms together - When two characters first meet, one of them will press their palms together and say “Namaste.” This is equivalent to the American/English handshake because it shows the possession of manners. However, it holds a higher level of respect than shaking hands.
Evaluation Of Rachel's Research

Overall, Rachel has done an advanced piece of research which will help us with our coursework. After looking at and reading through Rachel's research I have definitely achieved a wider understanding into the codes and conventions of Bollywood films which we will need to use in our coursework piece. Reading through Rachel's research it has shown us that we will have to consider carefully which conventions to include as we don't want to make our piece too unique and original as it will become to distant for the audiences expectations. However, we need to include enough conventions so that the Bollywood within the piece is noticed and considered by the audience.