Evaluation Question 4

Question 4:

How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

In the planning stages of my main task, I created a time lapse of my artist drawing a rough sketch of what my story is going to be consisting of. I used my Canon 550D DSLR camera with my standard 35 to 125mm lens and a SLIK tripod to film from so that the camera would stay steady throughout. This was a great idea to give me clear thoughts about the type of shots that I will be planning to take at the time of shooting.

 

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Furthermore, I have also used media technologies in the making of my two voluntary teaser trailers edited on Final Cut Pro X, where all of my test shots for my main task were composed to music as a first initial practise on video editing as this was my weaker area out of filming and post production. I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this trailer in particular though.

 

 

In the duration of my research stages I have predominantly used Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel to gather audience feedback into tables and charts to enable results to be a lot more visual than just numbers on a spreadsheet. In terms of construction, I also used Adobe Photoshop to manipulate my poster and double page spread images. Final Cut Pro X was the video editing software that I have used throughout the entirety of this year due to the fact that I feel most confident on that programme. Premiere Pro was also available to me however did not feel as confident and competent using it for film editing. Below is my final poster idea and how I managed to manipulate three photographs into one:

 

'RECLUSE' poster

 

To begin with I started with two raw shots taken in separate photography shoots. I planned on making one half of my model’s face the antagonistic alter ego, and the other half as the warming, innocent girl. By creating masked layers I was able to place the two photos together and merge the face; however the leaf in the right hand side photo was covering too much of her facial expression, so I used the clone stamp tool and the blemish tool to recreate the missing part of her face.After the reconstruction, I used the vivid light tool on a low opacity and fluency to create dark crevices and highlight dark circles under the eyes to create a demonic look about her. Finally, after all of the use with the clone stamp tool I decided to take a picture of trees and thought of the idea on merging the trees of the rise en scene into her hair. After turning the transparency down it created a lovely main focal point for my poster which I was very pleased with.

 

Finally, in the evaluation aspect and the technology I used was a very clear presentation site called Prezi. This was a lovely way to be able to collect up everything that needed to be said and place all the information in to a very clear and visual alternative .

 

Evaluation Question 2

Question 2:

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

 

Conventions of the genres:

My final product short film is classed as a hybrid/cross genre and this means that it is unconventional; fantasy/adventure/thriller/gothic. Common conventions of the thriller genre include shadowing, low-key lighting and quick cuts during action stages of the film. The protagonist is often shown at the mercy of the antagonist also. Moving onto the conventions of the fairytale/folktale genre, these would often include, a female protagonist acting as the victim, characters with supernatural powers and/or descend from old folktale stories from hundreds of years ago. They conventionally follow Vladimir Propp’s character types with a hero often in attempt to defeat disequilibrium and resolve back to equilibrium and end with the won over prize/princess. Hyper reality is a feature of postmodernism that is conventional of most fantasy films; incorporating magic, mystery and mythical beasts. The adventure genre is quite commonly hybridized with animation, romance and Sci-Fi. They often have clear binary oppositions with a linear format followed.

 

Narrative:

My short film mostly adheres to the conventions of a gothic fantasy genre due to the mise en scene of the woodland environment much in comparison with the Brothers Grimm version of ‘Red Riding Hood’. The heightened red tones in ‘Recluse’ bring about a similar idea to Red Riding Hood with features of discovery especially emphasized. Discovery is panned throughout my short film with the use of three red mysterious objects that are found in the depths of the wood; leading the protagonist on a journey to meet her ‘doom’. ‘Recluse’ does not conform to Propp’s character types due to the ongoing curiosity in our main protagonist and antagonist.

 

Conventions:

An enigmatic approach to the beginning stages of my film lead slowly onto an anchored and enthralling story that has an impact on my demographic as a whole. The use of tense audio pieces composed together to create a tonal changing music piece is the main aspect of convention, I have been able to coincide this with my sequence of shots, exposing the darker elements of the short. With the use of intertextuality, I have taken inspiration from the Brothers Grimm ‘Red Riding Hood’ and incorporate a conventional woodland environment with the discovery element of mysterious and ominous objects around the mise en scene.

 

Character Attire:

Shannon as my main protagonist is dressed simplistically and casually which definitely brings her innocent personality through the screen to the audience. She goes against Laura Mulvey’s theory of male gaze and conforms for towards a childlike character with an abundance of curiosity and a sense of adventure.

Ancillary:

Poster:

My final poster product is rather conventional of the thriller/gothic/horror genre moreover the fantasy genre, however, this was the look I was intending to create as I believe that this can allure audiences away from the film’s identity and can portray a much more ominous theme through just the pictures and photography used. It certainly coheres to other film posters of similar genres.

'RECLUSE' poster

One poster that has clear reflections onto my simplistic, yet effective portrait style manipulated film poster would have to be the gothic Sci-Fi ‘Dorian Gray’. The portrait style central focal point of the main character has been continued onto my piece of work and I believe it creates this exclusive and personal feel on primary audiences as they are already being introduced to the character. The contrast between the lighter background and the darker silhouette of the character’s torso creates almost a film noire style with predominantly used bland, cooling colours such as black and pale blue. I have also conformed to this style through bland house colours of beige, pale red, blue and grey.

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Typography:

During the planning stages of my ancillary tasks, I ensured that I analyzed font ideas to make me aware of what typography went best with my genre. The simplicity of my poster fonts adds to the conventions of horror and gothic genres in particular. I decided to design and create my own font from scratch to enable me to fully customize and manipulate my title. Overall I am extremely pleased with how my final poster design turned out.

 

Magazine spread:

The images could have been improved for this product due to the fact that the director image takes up quite a lot of space in the article section which made my film review a little more limited than I would have liked. On the other hand I am rather pleased with how well my double page spread conforms to other film review pages as it gives an exclusive ‘VIP’ insight onto the directors intentions for the film.

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To follow on, all of my products seem to challenge, use and develop conventions of other media products. Todorov’s theory is followed to an extent due to my film containing an equilibrium and disequilibrium; however no clear ending concludes a resolved issue in the ending stages of my film intentionally. This, in turn, allows audiences to interpret the conclusion in their own individual way. I was very pleased with each of my product outcomes.

Evaluation Question 1

Q1) What have I learnt from my audience feedback?

 

Cinematography:

I have received consistent positive feedback from my target audience about how the selection of shots that I have used conform to the typicality of my hybrid genre; the various close ups reflect my protagonist’s facial expressions and reactions to the number of actions happening within specific scenes. The cinematography was also prevalently referred to as “fittingly in focus” which was what I was intending to create. The ultimate range of shots that were taken shows my skillset with the camera and produced a “clean” and “tidy” sequence. On the other hand, a couple of comments were made specifically about my tracking shot from behind of the main protagonist; it was observed as being “in and out of focus”. However, interjecting against this statement, I believe that personally it creates an ominous atmosphere with each step the character present makes, the camera blurs a little indicating an disequilibrium approaching the storyline; which was also quoted within my audience feedback from some other individuals. Another optimistic overview of my final product was the how the narrative depicted from the cliché ‘good vs. evil’ characters and how the narrative was fluid throughout, beginning with a blithe tone to reflect innocence within Shannon (main protagonist) meanwhile still up keeping an ominous back lay to constantly create tension. Contextually, this would not easily identifiable due to the fact that a dark undertone to the film needed to be apparent during the disequilibrium of the film, making it hard to anchor audiences. Despite this, my demographic took an increasing understanding to the narrative, the more they watched so overall, my cinematography feedback was very successful.

 

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Mise en scene:

In terms of the mise en scene, my audience depicted the woodland theme to be ‘increasingly menacing’ and ‘unnerving’, again, successfully fitting into my cross genre of thriller/adventure/fantasy. I particularly agree with that statement as it is a commonly used setting within other horror and thriller movies and products with the connotations of jump scares and the gradual building of tension to reach a final climax. This would make the mise en scene of my short film, conventional of the darker, gothic genres of film. The lighting also played a huge part in creating this ‘unnerving’ approach with the use of shadows and heightened reds. Furthermore, there were some very interesting constructive criticism comments about my character’s “simplistic” and “casual” attire worn. I partly agree to this idea due to the fact that the actress had pulled out on short notice so this could have been thought through a little more in depth. On the other hand, this casual look can be seen to bring about her innocence and sense of insecurity, while also making it apparent that this is a modernized film notion. Moving back onto the heightened reds throughout the film, audiences immediately recognized this and related it straight back to the folktale ‘Red Riding Hood’ which had inspired me within my planning and research stages. A further criticism that was called to my attention was the time of day that I chose to film and that if left a little later into the evening, this may have added to the contribution of dark, gothic and thriller aspects. I agree with this to a certain extent but due to the season and month I was shooting in, left too late would have caused me to stop filming and perhaps even have to delete shots that were not as clear as earlier ones taken. Personally, any darker would have dulled the shadowed tones and the heightened reds would have been observed to be over saturated against extremely dark backings.

 

 

Narrative:

“Appropriately vague” was one particular comment that I had received back from my audience feedback in this area. This was my exact intention to keep my demographic guessing in the duration of the film until the final stages and the villain revealing. Mystery and the unexpected was a key feature in my film and I definitely wanted the ending stages to be open to interpretation for each individual. In some cases this may have been seen as confusing with the story perhaps not coming to a complete end, however, I am insistent about having open interpretations about the final stages.

 

Codes and Conventions:

Overall, my final product was consistently referred to as “unconventional” to the genre. This is due to the fact that this is a hybrid cross genre and contains elements and features of all genres included, making this a challenging narrative to follow. On the other hand, audiences also frequently spoke about how some conventions of genres were actually met; such as the dark droning and tonal change with each scene, reflecting a gothic and thriller piece. Additionally, viewers shared that my film ‘breaks and makes conventions at appropriate areas in the product’.

 

Representation:

With the use of only one actress in my main task, I wanted to create two personalities within her which brought about two differing and juxtaposing representations; both antagonistic and protagonist elements. ‘Both’ characters separately track a typical archetype; for example Shannon (protagonist) is easily identifiable to audiences as a victim against the antagonist who is portrayed through a dark light and at the climax of the film. I therefore, fully agree that the character is challenged, as she is an antithesis to convention.

 

Sound design:

This was reflected in my audience feedback as one of my strongest assets that coincided perfectly with all tonal drifts and scene changes. I used Freesound.com to create tension build-ups. This was definitely the most time consuming aspect of the production of my film due to the fact that I actually created the music following my shots, from individual audio effects and composing them all together to create an extremely tense outlook on the filmed shots.

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Ancillary feedback:

Poster:

'RECLUSE' poster

Photography:

I am extremely pleased with the audience feedback for my final poster design due to the fact that it was a long process of editing and typography was carefully selected to coincide with my theme. This poster was referred to as “professional” and “clear and concise”. I would have to agree with this feedback as this was the outcome I was hoping for. This poster is made up of two separate photographs that were taken on two separate photo shoots. Each photograph shown below:

The editing process of merging these two photographs together was done with the use of masked layers, the vivid light tool and the stamp clone tool to reconstruct the hidden elements of my model’s face from behind the leaf. Each photograph is representing her personality; the evil alter ego vs. the innocent. The photography was described as ‘very well fitting’ and ‘reflective of the mise en scene’ within the edited hair.

I wanted to keep the continuity of heightened reds throughout my products however; also keeping them low key and subtle to anchor my audiences further.

Narrative:

In terms of narrative, it was observed to be extremely clear and ‘to the point’, reflecting onto the horror/gothic genre moreover any other. I would agree that the narrative in the poster is very clear and conforms to the genre it is suitable for. An entropic narrative is based on the fact that my product is gynocentric; it is known to be a rarity that an all female cast is presented in a film, and therefore challenging conventional representation of a dominant male

Typography:

This was another strong area for my poster according to my audience feedback. It is concise, clear and values an identity that can be easily recognizable to my primary audience.

 

Magazine:

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For my magazine double page spread I have received a lot of positive and optimistic feedback that I will be taking on board as well as some criticism that could be changed for a further products in the future. My overall design was described as “professional”, likewise to my poster, as well as driving “portentous” tones onto my demographic. The photography created and conforms to the horror genre in particular due to the opacity of the chosen merged close up shot of my character. The left hand side of the close up was identified by my audience as to having connotations with a skull, which is a direct representation of horror features. The layered pictures presented on an ominous background creates depth and contrast with the darker tones towards the back of the photograph; in turn, allowing the face to ‘pop out’ from the page a catch audience’s eyes and anchor them to the film review.

 

Composition:

The overall composition had some criticism as my column was cut shorter than an ordinary film review due to the sneak peak image of the director shooting the film; I incorporated this because I felt that it would give the magazine a more exclusive and personal feel to it. However it did take up a lot of space where my review was placed. I can agree and disagree that the placing of the photo could have been decided more thoroughly. On one hand it would have spared up space to write a more in depth review however arguably, this may have been interpreted as an introduction with more text about the film further into the magazine; either way I can understand both ideas.

 

Typography:

I wanted to keep the continuity between my film poster typography and my magazine text so that my products would all be familiar to my primary audience. Unfortunately due to the fact that I created the ‘Recluse’ font title on my poster, I had some technical difficulties in recovering the font from that file. Knowing this, I decided to compromise with a similar font however not as closely identified to the previous as I would have liked and this was picked up by my audience feedback.

 

Ancillary Task 2 ‐ Final Design

Below is my final design for my double page spread and film review on my main task. It is a very successful outcome in my opinion due to the fact that this simplistic yet effective outlook creates a professional, formal film review which can be seen as a more pretentious film magazine containing successful shorts and full length feature films; which is the effect that I wanted to create, flaunting a successfully produced short within this style of magazine, reviewed by famous film critics; including Todd McCarthy who I have chosen to mention as the critic of my short. This creates a trusting reflection onto regular audiences who read this particular magazine ‘Review Central’ because of the well known, flourishing commenders. I have kept continuity for my primary audience throughout both my poster final design and double page spread final design. This includes the formal, simplistic structure/layout and the warm, welcoming house colours, including the beige backing that was also used within the poster final design, however also reflecting to the film’s most prominently used colours; such as heightened red throughout the shots in post production colour correction.

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Ancillary Task 1 – Final Design

Final Ancillary Task 1 design:

 

'RECLUSE' poster

Shots used to create poster:

These edited shots were taken during the previous shoot of raw images which were test shots for the film poster. I realised that I wanted to maintain and consistently keep the central focus of the images that I was going to incorporate. This was decided because I believed that this gave a simplistic yet effective look on a poster advertising a newly broadcast film. Simplicity is a key feature to grab my demographic’s eye and will be easily recognised if seen again.

Editing Process (PhotoShop):

I firstly began with the two images below on different masked layers. This would allow me to place both sides of her face together and remove the background behind each image including the leaf and one hand of the right hand shot. After enhancing shadows and changing the colour of both images together to black and white, I decided to find a photograph of woodland on the internet to later, weave into the model’s hair and use for the edging of her head. Darkening the left hand side shot, I managed to create a ‘good vs evil’ representation of the light skin tone against the darker skin tone of the model’s alter ego which plays into the hands of my film plot. Using the mask tool I was able to intertwine the woodland environment of where I will be shooting the film, into her hair. A plain beige coloured background allows the main focal point of the poster to stand out and catch the eyes of my audiences quicker and in a more effective way.

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Ancillary Task 2 – Planning – Mock-Up

Double page spread for a film review:

This initial mock-up plan consists of all the elements that a magazine double page spread would use. This has increasingly helped me understand the rough assets and structures of other magazine spreads. I designed this mock-up design like I have due to the fact that I believe that this was far more effective than some other more complicated and complex designs. Clear, structured articles with pop quotes broadcasting reviewer’s opinions on the film is a great way to entice audiences and anchor them into watching the film with the reliance of well known evaluators of films.

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Found Image Double Page Spread:

Likewise to my film poster mock-ups, I have created a found image mock-up for my double page spread which will corporate the rough planned structure of other double page spread layouts. I will take into account the structural elements of the images, colour schemes and text articles. This idea below is a potential idea for my final ancillary task 2. I will definitely be incorporating a colour scheme that perhaps recollects my film poster. This is due to the fact that the linked colours will be easily recognisable to audiences who have seen the poster or magazine review before.

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Main Task – Filming Process

All in all, the filming went extremely successfully with well over fifty different shots taken to create my final main task ‘Recluse’. I managed to explore all of my film making skills including the thorough planning of location and equipment that will be needed. An individual effort on my part while filming all of the shots needed while my peer acted the part of my main protagonist and antagonistic alter ego. As well as taking control for the production element of the filming task, I also took on board the directing side of the job which was a complete new experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the filming process and will continue onto the process of post production to create and build up my film.

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Main Task ‐ Planning ‐Props/Equipment

Equipment list needed to produce ‘Recluse’:

  1. Canon 550D DSLR camera (with lens cap).
  2. Standard Canon 18‐125mm lens (with lens cap).
  3. Wide angle Canon 15‐35mm lens (with lens cap).
  4. SLIK AMT PRO 700DX Tripod.
  5. SLIK Q/R 6124, 700DX/BH800 roller.
  6. Eimo Professional DSLR shoulder mount rig with Matte Box.
  7. Black cape (antagonist clothing).
  8. Red ribbon.
  9. Three red fake flowers.
  10. Red purfume bottle.
  11. Two spare canon camera batteries.
  12. Three 8gb SD cards.
  13. One 16gb SD card.
  14. Canon camera bag.

 

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