Sunday, 30 September 2012

In class, we were put into groups and were asked: Do generic conventions help or restrict film makers? We then had to present our ideas to another group.

So, do they help or restrict? Our group decided to do arguments for and against as we didn't believe their was a right or wrong answer.

Ways in which generic conventions restrict film makers:

  • Some generic conventions can restrict what genre you call a film e.g. If you set a film in an isolated or abandoned place you would be restricted to naming your film a horror. 

  • Generic conventions can also restrict the use of hybrids as because a lot of films which are made these days have more than one type of genre. This could now be argued that genre no longer exists. 

Ways in which generic conventions help film makers:

  • Generic conventions could be seen as very useful to film makers as it could act as a slight guideline, providing the film makers a starting point for the location, setting, iconography, themes and issues.
  • Another positive of generic conventions is that the audience know what to expect from the film making it more comforting and familiar which will help the audience enjoy the film more.
  • Also, the conventions can provide a near guaranteed success for the film as audiences tend to watch similar styled films and the basic conventions help ensure the film doesn't become too different.
Doing this task helped me gain a better insight into genre and how it may or may not exist. It has also informed me that because generic conventions act as a guideline in films, I will then have to research into the thriller genre to see what type of guidelines it has for the setting, themes and issues, location and iconography. However, this task has also taught me to be careful whilst making my coursework film as I do not want different types of genres linking in with my film. 
Representation of Gender: Women and Femininity 
Reading these notes will help me gain a more advanced understanding on how movies and TV portray women.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Camera and Sound

In class we discussed different types of camera angles, distances, movements and positions. We looked at the film Jane Eyre as an example. Looking at Jane Eyre as an example helped me as I got to see how the camera worked. The main aspects to do with camera are the:


This is an image showing all the different distances:
Extreme long shot,
Long shot,
Medium long shot
Medium shot,
Close up,
Extreme close up.

We were asked in class, what is the purpose of a long shot? I did not know at first but as I watched the opening sequence of Jane Eyre I slowly started to understand. Long shots are usually used to establish location, to set a scene. This was important in Jane Eyre as it conveyed her loneliness as the location was very isolated. As you can see in this image, the setting is very vibrant which displays the characters thoughts and feelings, which are positive. 

CrabA less-common term for tracking or trucking.
FollowThe camera physically follows the subject at a more or less constant distance.
PanHorizontal movement, left and right.
Pedestal (Ped)Moving the camera position vertically with respect to the subject.
TiltVertical movement of the camera angle, i.e. pointing the camera up and down (as opposed to moving the whole camera up and down).
TrackRoughly synonymous with the dolly shot, but often defined more specifically as movement which stays a constant distance from the action, especially side-to-side movement.
TruckAnother term for tracking or dollying.
ZoomTechnically this isn't a camera move, but a change in the lens focal length with gives the illusion of moving the camera closer or further away.
The angle of the camera is very important as it changes the way the character is presented. Example, if the character was positioned at a low view of the character it would show that the character is dominant and powerful. However, if the camera was at a high view it would make the character come across weak as the camera and audience are looking down on them. Each of the camera angles are important as they all have an significant job to do. I am hoping to develop a better understanding on angle and how it helps represents characters in the next few weeks, doing my own research.

Sound is also important in films. In class, we learned different kinds of sounds:
Diagetic - All the sound within the scene
Non Diagetic - sounds that are added over the top of the scene. Example: When Jane Eyre is walking through the desert, there is soothing music playing. This helps set a calm scene.

Overall, by looking briefly at the important jobs the camera does and the sound I feel like I have a more advanced insight on how it all works. However, I will still need to look into camera in more detail so I can get a wider knowledge and understand which will help me create a good opening sequence. I also did not fully understand the purpose of the camera position. I am hoping to research into this more so I can get a better knowledge on position.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Titanic Essay

Jessica Mockler - word count: 970

Discuss the ways in which Cameron has used Binary Opposition to create meaning in Titanic.

In this extract from Titanic, Cameron has used binary opposition to create a diversity between the wealthy and poor. Firstly, he uses the introduction of the two main protagonists to reveal and achieve this. The first character we meet is Rose; this already displays her importance because we meet her before any other characters. The director has intentionally made sure before we met her, the setting was bright to reinforce her personality and status. The first aspect we see of Rose is her hand. This is significant because Rose carefully puts her hand out of the car so that she can carefully be guided out. The director has purposely used a close up and a steady shot to focus on her body language, which is stable. This reveals that wealthy people rely on others to help them with small things. Also, Rose is wearing a glove which signifies her wealth as she is concerned about catching any kind of germs. However, Jack, the second main protagonists is introduced in a dark and gloomy setting which creates a very sinister tone in the scene, resulting the audience gaining interest in the scene as a sudden change has happened. Similarly, the director uses a close up shot to Jacks hand before we see his face. In contrast to Rose, Jacks hands are contaminated with filth to connote the way he lives. In addition to this, the director uses a panning shot of Jacks hand moving to portray the difference in Jacks unsteady fun lifestyle.

Furthermore, there is a huge difference in what each of the characters is wearing. Rose is introduced in a white long dress, wearing a purple hat. Each of these colours are significant as white signifies purity and represents Rose is a virgin. The purple is associated with royalty, it symbolizes power, luxury, and ambition. It conveys Roses’ wealth and extravagance. Whereas, Jack is wearing dark colours such as grey and brown. The grey denotes that Jack is living in poverty as it is a dull and lifeless colour and the brown could signify Jack’s hygiene as brown is known as a colour to do with filth. However, it could also imply Jack is a down to earth person as brown is a natural source from the earth. The director has purposely given each of the characters different clothing colours so that the audience could get a more advanced insight on how the wealthy and poor were dressed and represented.

In addition to this, the less wealthy people had to have a health check before they had access to the ship just incase they had bad hygiene or any kind of germs and lice. The director used a close up of a middle aged man getting checked out by a member of staff on the ship. By using a close up the audience can clearly see how the health checked worked as they just had to comb through all your hair making sure you had no bugs. Whereas, the wealthy people did not have to go through this as the members of staff gathered and trusted that they are already clean. This displays an act of unfair treatment between the poor and wealthy as the poor were treated so negatively and were not trusted. Also, the ship was two colours. The director has used an extreme long shot so the whole ship is visible to the audience. The wealthy were placed in the top of the ship portraying to the audience they were superior and were literally higher class. Also, the top of the ship was painted white which represents the perfection of the ship and also the emphasises the importance of the wealthy people. Whereas, the poor people stayed at the bottom of the ship which shows they were lower class as they stayed under the wealthy people. The black paint on the bottom of the ship is important because it signifies death which is meaningful as the poor people died first at the end of the fim. This already creates a clear divide between the wealthy and the poor as the audience already has a better knowledge on how the wealthy were praised upon and how the poor were looked down on.

Another difference between the rich and the poor is their attitudes towards life. When Rose views the ship she says “I don’t see what all the fuss is about” this demonstrates Roses’ un gratefulness towards going on the ship as she doesn’t seem excited at all. Also, the director has used a close up to display her facial expression which comes across as unimpressed and dull. However, the setting is very bright when she says this which automatically contrasts with the way she feels about going on the ship. On the other hand, when Jack finds out he is going on the ship he screams with excitement. The director uses a mid shot to show his upper body gestures which display signs of happiness as he is cheering with his arms spread out. The sound plays a large part in this scene as when Jack runs out, towards the ship the music reinforces his excitement as it is very upbeat. Whereas, Rose, walks steadily towards the ship with classical music in the background which shows no amusement. This affects the audience because they can see the different attitudes from each of the classes and how the poor appreciate what they are given in life.

Overall, Cameron is successful in using binary opposites to create a diversity between the wealthy and poor. He shows it through the use of camera angles and different lighting which display different attitudes and the different statuses the poor and wealthy have.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Introduction to semiotics

First of all, Semiotics is the study of signs, symbols and signification.

In class we have previously been looking at different signs and seeing how they link into films. To start off, the first signs I learnt were: Indexical, Iconic and Symbolic. At first it was hard to separate and understand these signs and I thought they seemed very similar. However, in class we watched several trailers and had to recognise signs and put them into groups. Even though this helped me a lot I think I will have to practice them in case I get confused in the future. 

We then went on to learn what signifer and signified means.

Signifier: any material that signifies, e.g., words on a page, facial expression, an image,.

Signified: the concept that a signifier refers to.

This then leads to what Binary Opposition is. This is how we understand the idea of opposites. An example of this would be: hot and cold. How would we know if something was cold if we had never experienced something hot? Or, how would we know if it was night if we had only experienced the day? We cannot truly understand something if there is no opposite to it. This is because as a culture, we have accepted the opposites we know as we have been learning them from the beginning and throughout our life. People tend not to question as they are comfortable with how life is.


In the previous lesson we have been looking at representation.  Representation is the construction of ideas of reality which is presented in media. These ideas could be stereotypes. For example,cultural identities, race, gender and class. 

An example of this could be how the media and general people stereotype young teenage boys when they wear a hood. The media has now created a sense of danger when a young boy wears a hood which is stereotyping young people. The people that believe the media automatically avoid these males wearing their hoods up.

It is hard to trust what the media tells us as a lot of the time as they leave key elements of the story hidden. However, a lot of people still believe the messages the media tells us. This is how median is then created. Mediation is when media institutions select and prepare material for their target audience. An example of this would be when TV shows tell the audience that they are playing the show live. But, television cannot be live as we only view what appears on the screen. This is because cameramen purposely only show us what they want us to see. You cannot gain a real sense of the atmosphere to the event unless you are there. 
What you would see if you were watching it on TV

What you would see if you were in the crowd

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Main Task

The main coursework task is to create the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximun of two minutes. All video and audio must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the expectiobn of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Sub Genres and Hybrid Genres

Yesterday in Media I learnt that Genre has a deeper meaning. At the beginning of the lesson I gained a better understanding of what Genre is and the Genre cycle. The genre cycle is what keeps the audience interested and satisfied. This is because if the same Genre was displayed at the cinema, not many people would go and watch as it would be predictable and dull for the audience. Because of this, the writers have to study and make sure they are picking the right Genre to make a film so the audience is still amused. At the moment, superhero films seem and are assumed as the most popular and acknowledged with the current audience. Film makers have recently introduced the new Batman and Spider man which are arguably similar - Even though they have different characters the film companies have to keep a familiar story line so the audience are comforted whilst watching the movie. However, they have to make sure that they introduce new twists in the story line to entertain and engage the audience whilst making the film exciting. 

We then went on to looking at Sub Genres and Hybrid Genres: 

A 'Sub Genre' is a Genre within a genre, for example - a common Genre is horror. However, it could be split into sections such as religion, monsters and general slasher films. 

A 'Hybrid Genre' is when genres mix together to make a film. An example of this is Batman, even though it is considered science fiction, it could also be considerd a "love story" as it portrays romance throughout.

Learning about Genre has helped me gain a better understanding of what Genre is. I have also accepted that if you look into Genres in detail, the word loses its definition because nowadays Genres are mixed and are rarely classified as one because they have too many aspects of different Genres. Overall, this has given me knowledge on how to classify films into more than one and different groups.