Thursday, 19 March 2009

Closing post

The project has come to an end now. I throughly enjoyed this term as it was my first, real attempt at writing, directing and shooting. At times it was stressful, as I was running a production all on my own however I am more than pleased with my final piece.

I have learnt so much this year and cannot wait to carry on growing and developing my knowledge and interests.

This blog is now closed.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Evaluation - Question 7

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

Looking back I have learnt that working independently is the best thing to do. I have also realised how massive the leap is from a continuity piece to a whole sequence and that creating an opening sequence is not as straight forward as it seems. When receiving the brief I thought it would be fairly easy to create a two minute opening title sequence. I decided to work independently as whilst I was working on my continuity piece there was a lot of chasing around I had to do. I was constantly relying on others and I was not happy. I thought it would be easier to work on my own rather than in a group. Also I seemed to be the only person in my class interested in exploring the genre, noir. I liked the idea of being different and being the only one interested in this genre.
I think it would have been a lot more easier if I had worked in a group. When it came to shooting I could not do everything at the same time, there were many things that I needed to have under control such as: the lighting and the framing so I had to ask my friends to help me. In this sense, working in a group would have helped greatly. Although I think if I worked in a group I think I would not have been happy. I had a very precise visual idea of how I wanted each one of my shots to look exactly. I feel I have grown more comfortable with editing, and setting up each frame. I have learnt how vital the micro elements are to a piece of film as together they convey meaning to its audienceIn regards to the final piece I feel the progression relies deeply on planning, construction and organisation. I have learnt how important it is to storyboard each frame avoiding last minute decisions and complications. Whilst shooting my preliminary task I storyboarded some shots but not all. This led to confusion and I feel it had a very rushed feeling to it. Fortunately this was a fairly simple task and when it came to the video brief I storyboarded everything and also re-did storyboards when my ideas changed. I feel I benefitted from this and I am glad I went through this difficult process because at the end of the day I created something I am proud of.

Evaluation - Question 6

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

From the process of constructing this opening title sequence I have learnt a lot about several technologies I have come across and used. During the process of shooting I developed my knowledge of the equipment that was available to me. I used a DV camera for both tasks as I could not get access to a broadcast camera. When creating the preliminary task I used basic camera shots and a basic editing software, iMovie, as I did not feel the need to spend lots of time on this specific task and create something amazing. It was a short and simple yet fun task. I feel this was a good starting point as it allowed me to get familiar with the facilites I was going to be using again, very soon.

However when working on the video brief I learnt how to use the tripod more effectively whilst filming. My opening is very much dominated by extreme close-ups. The tripod enabled me to get closer, steadier extreme close-ups of my character and also allowed me to shoot from different angles. This time round I had more time to explore and experiment with the different techniques of using a tripod. I preferred having more time on to plan these little but vital elements. As I have been studing many openings closely I realised that the micro elements are crucial to an opening sequence. I felt the need to spent more time planning and carefully constructing several key things such as the setting, the lighting and the cinematography.

When it came to lighting I used a bright lamp and placed it directly above and positioned it closely to my actress. The mise-en-scene was simply a room with black walls. As the majority of the shots were close-ups of people I did not feel the need to spent a lot of time planning a huge mise-en-scene. I decided to film in the school drama room, I felt the black walls would work perfectly.
I also explored other techniques such as a light reflector. A fellow colleague is an absolute expert in the art of lighting (in the photo to the right). I thought this would add to and help create chiruscuro lighting I was aiming to create. Another thing that added greatly to my sequence was the use of fog. I wanted to create the illusion of my female character walking outside, so I decided to use a fog machine. ( It fairly difficult and took several tries in trying to get all of this to show up on the camera. When it came to editing I found it hard to make that jump from iMovie to Final Cut Pro, so I did this in small steps. So once I had all my footage I created a rough cut on iMovie first ( I felt this would be a good starting point and helped me through the process of editing. It gave me a rough idea of how I wanted my sequence to look and gave it more structure than a storyboard. As I wanted to pay homage visually to Sin City I then played around some of the clips on iMovie and then Final Cut ( Once I had finished experiementing I decided to edit everything on Final Cut (, I felt everything looked more professional on this programme. I have learnt that the softwares available are not as hard as they seem. I found it very difficult to use at first, it took me time to adjust to it but I am glad I decided to use it in the end. With the help of my colleagues I managed to pull through and create a piece I am happy with.

Evaluation - Question 5

How did you attract/address your audience?
I address my audience through casting, sound and mise-en-scene. The protagonists in my opening are the same age group as target audience. I also used familiar music, conforming to the expectations of a film noir. The mise-en-scene is set in a familiar setting to the audience. The minority of the establishing shots take place in a working environment, allowing the audience can relate to the protagonist.

Evaluation - Question 4

Who would be the audience for your media product?

My target audience is middle-aged adults of both genders, but more so males as I feel this particular genre is more appealing to men. Noirs have the tendency to represent men as powerful and dominant. Men are represented in this way to maintain the patriarchal society even within a fictional world.
My film is a fresh new approach to the genre noir. It focuses on the alpha-male protagonists struggling, putting males into a different light this is appealing to women. It also features the stereotypical prostitues and promiscuous femme fatales, still maintaining the male side of the audience.

My film will appeal to male and females with an obscure film taste. It will appeal to adults who watch a film for the storyline, not because it has received a lot of publicity. I believe my audience would be a niche intellectual audience who crave films with a twist and leave you thinking.

Evaluation - Question 3

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

Dimension Films - It distributed such films as Sin City. I chose this institution as I felt my film was similar to Sin City. Visually inspired by the film, both my film and Sin City are sleek, classy yet sinister with mild violence.

Evaluation - Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

My film focuses on the older generation - middle-aged adults. I feel my opening does not really focus on any social groups in particular but if it were to I feel the film represents the working class.

I cast Alan Fairnie as the role of the protagonist as I thought he would suit the mindset of a murderer and comes across as someone with a lot on his mind. My protagonist is focused, hard-working and always has a lot to do. I needed my character to look tired to create the illusion that he is staying up late. I filmed at the end of the day making sure Fairnie looked a little tired, but not exhausted. I thought this would work perfectly. However I used Ian Elmslie when it came to creating the voice-over. There was something I couldn't articulate with Alan. I think this is partly because Ian is a drama teacher. He is excellent when it comes to getting into character and I thought this would be the most sensible thing to do. I wrote up a script for Ian and described what kind of tone I was going for and he responded outstandingly.

I also cast Leanne Whittaker as the role of the femme fatale. I thought she would be perfect for the part as she is tall, slim and blonde. I thought the blonde and red would together nicely to pull off the seductive look. Whilst working with Leanne I suggested she wore something red. Originally I wanted her to be wearing a red dress with red heels. Fortunately Leanne improvised and suggested a red shirt with lipstick to match. The lips were a lovely feature and add greatly to the sequence.