Our Film Opening

Friday, 14 July 2017

Evaluation Q1: Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What roles did you take? What were your best bits and why?

For me the main workshop shoot day was very enjoyable as due to the great levels of teamwork within the group which in turn lead to a non-hostile working environment. This therefore meant we could all focus and learn from the more experienced crew members, such as the director. Also, another bonus of the commitment shown by all of us was that numerous re-takes were not required, thus lowering stress levels and allowing more free time throughout the day. Below you can see a time lapse of the day, showing how the set and lighting set-ups changed throughout:

video

On the day my role did not vary that much as I was primarily in front of camera playing the role of Jamie. When I was not in front of the camera I was either on clapper board duties or supporting the actors on screen with words of encouragement. Even though my experience of acting on camera was minimal, the warm atmosphere around the set helped me settle quickly and in turn made me enjoy the experience even more. In my performance of Jamie,my roles varied from modelling to playing the guitar and at some points lip-syncing along with the actor playing Sydney, usually Sian. Below you can see some of the scenes I was involved in:

Me in costume whilst waiting for the dancing shots
My solo in a mid-shot

My Best Bits:

In my opinion, the amount of takes it took me to do my scenes was a very big positive as prior to filming I thought I would mess up and in turn cause a multitude of re-takes. However, this turned out not to be the case as my scene went very well with myself getting into character fairly quickly and in turn making myself proud of my scenes.

Overall, I think my best scene was when I had to play the guitar on my own in front of the camera. I think this scene went very well as I managed to pull off every move required of me whilst also being able to enjoy my performance which I think was reflected well on screen. A short cut of this long take can be seen in the GIF below:

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Evaluation Q2: What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5?

Task 1: Audition Video


Due to this being this being the first audition I have done, the idea of putting myself on camera like this was pretty daunting. Moreover, it was even harder to get myself to look straight into the camera rather than the display lens or any lyrics. This made the process take longer than it should have done but in the end we became more familiar with the music and more confident with our movements/appearance, thus enabling a better and more enjoyable experience.

What I learnt:
  • that framing shots and then acting within them is very time consuming
  • effective lip-syncs require actual signing
  • music videos need many shots to keep them interesting
  • to just have fun when lip-syncing as this brings out more genuine/energetic performances
Task 2: Learn and practice your performance

Jasmine was our performance director and she was very helpful in getting me more used to the camera and developing my characters moves. We had many rehearsal sessions with her in which we all worked together to help boost everyone's confidence as we believed this was the key to a stronger performance in front of the camera. One of the most useful tools I took on when practicing was the 'movement dictionary'; after watching the original music video I realised my character Jamie had certain moves which he repeatedly used, in turn I learnt these moves and gave each one a name. Jasmine was then able to shout these names to me when I was performing so I knew to instantly do them; this made my performance far easier as the pressure of memorizing a routine was withdrawn.

Me being instructed on my performance by Jasmine (on right)
Task 3: Help to plan and organise your costume

In terms of my costume, I provided the shoes (borrowed of a friend), the white shirt and the skinny jeans. Apart from these items, the tie and the blazer I wore were provided by other members of the crew and my class.
Me in my band costume, whilst playing a guitar provided by one of the runners on the day
Away from my costume, I also brought in a variety of smart shirts which were either worn by both member of the 'cool kids' and a member of the band (Ray). I also brought in 3 pairs of VANS shoes as these were specifically required by some of the 'cool kids' to complete their look. Below are some of the items of clothing I brought in which contributed to some of the characters costumes:


Through this task I also learnt that wearing the costume can be very useful in actually getting into character; this helps bring out better performances from the actors and is thus something I will take forward into my next project.

Task 5: Complete the remake edit

For the edit I worked with Sailesh and I believe we worked well as a team as we equally divided the editing time to ensure fairness whilst I also felt that both our creative inputs were respected in our final edit.

In my edit I:
An example of a shot where I had to match the lip-sync
  • helped choose the best takes and place them on the timeline
  • graded some shots
  • sped up and slowed down some shots to match the original music video
  • matched the lip-sync of our actors to the music track
  • changed the framing of some shots
The timeline of our sequence
I really enjoyed editing Cool Kids as I was able to explore more creative possibilities as music videos are not restrained to the traditional continuity rules. For example, each shot is very short and the transitions are constant. This makes the video fast-paced and in turn keeps the audience interested whilst not taking anything away from the actual music track (which must take priority). An example of the fast-paced editing can be seen a a GIF below:


Conclusion

Overall, I think that tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5 have helped me consolidate and improve my skills which which be very useful when it comes to making my own music video next year.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Evaluation Q3: Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how your expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

I am very pleased with my final cut as I believe that our remake was a similar yet still original in it own right from the actual music video by Echosmith. Also, I think that the great work of the cast and crew contributed to a lot of high quality shots and thus made the editing process a far easier task. Below you will be able to watch our finished edit:


ProcAmp was the tool we used for our grading

What works well:
  1. All the lip-syncs match
  2. All cuts match with the original
  3. We managed to get the set designs very similar to the original
  4. The costumes matched those in the original music video
  5. Our grading achieved its desired look
  6. The movements of the actors matched those in the original
  7. Before grading
    After grading
What would I change:
The main thing I would change in our remake would be to have shot every shot which was in the original, example can be seen below. Overall, I think this would have made our sequence a better match to Echosmiths music video.











Monday, 10 July 2017

Evaluation Q4: How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

I think my prelim experience will have a positive impact on my approach to next term's music video coursework. Overall, I have learnt a lot from all three sectors of production, pre-production, main shoot and post-production.

Pre-production

From pre-production I have learnt that it is important to have:
Our performance schedule

  • a clear sense of what genre our music video belongs to as this will heavily affect lighting and styling choices
  • detailed schedules for both cast and crew and this helps keep everyone focused and stress-free
  • choreography learnt and thoroughly rehearsed before the shoot as this will help it run smoothly
  • all required locations booked/available so shoot days have less hassle

Main shoot

From our prelim's main shoot I have learnt to:
The set-up on the day of the main shoot
  • have an assistant director whose job is to ensure we don't over-run; on the day I felt this was critical in us having a more productive shoot
  • shoot every take more than once as this gives you more options when editing
  • ensure that any actors who are required to lip-sync actually sing as this helps make their mouth movements more believable on camera
  • ensure that all the actors are supported and encouraged frequently as this helps bring out better performances as a result of boosts in confidence

Post-production

Through the post-production period I have learnt that:

Me working at my edit suite
  • having an edit schedule is imperative in making sure that the final deadline for the project is met and in turn helps keep the load more evenly spread out between group members
  • grading choices can only be decided by experimenting and they must accurately reflect the genre of the music and therefore the look/style you are going for
  • cutting shots to the beat is very effective in delivering a professional music video of which the story being portrayed does not take away from the music
Conclusion

Overall, I believe that this prelim has taught me a vast range of new skills which I can carry on into my next project. It also taught me that the time required to actually make a music video is very long and thus must not be underestimated by any one taking part. However, no matter how long it took I also feel that this process was thoroughly enjoyable and has made me very excited for next year.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Evaluation Post 1: In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our Film Plot:

My film opening uses, develops and challenges the forms and conventions of real media products though its form, genre, narrative structure and style. Some of the real film opening that we used to influence our ideas included, 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'Contagion'.

Our film is an horror-thriller film revolving around the multiple disappearances of locals within a north London suburb in a menacing forest and then how a group of teenagers from the area enter onto the scene in an attempt to uncover the 'being'/reason behind the suggested attacks. As the film progresses the group is slowly cut down to a single girl who survives the ordeal in order to tell her story and reveal what she went through.

Form:

I think that our film opening is typical of the horror/thriller genre as it's features all contribute to its purpose of 'hooking' the audience and make them want to keep watching.


In terms of title placements our opening sequence is quite similar to that of 'The Shining' as all the credits are super-imposed onto the screen in order for the tension to continually build up without any lapses- which could be caused by cutaway titles.


The base/majority of our opening sequence is based upon dialogue within a news broadcast. We were inspired to take on this idea by the film 'Quarantine' which, in it's opening sequence, had the a news reporter talk into a camera whilst introducing her surroundings. Similarly, our film opening has a news reporter introduce a crime.
The setting of the 'Blair Witch Project'

A screenshot of the film opening of 'Quarantine'

Genre conventions for horror/thriller films:


Our setting was inspired by the 'Blair Witch Project' as we thought that the use of a desolate forest to create suspense was ingenious and would therefore work perfectly in our sequence. Furthermore, the 'Blair Witch Project' is one of the most well known horror/thriller films due to the use of footage being captured on a characters camera which is then seen though the eyes of the audience. We took inspiration from this in our hand held falling scene in our sequence (as seen in the table above)  as we thought this would immerse the audience even further into the film.


Narrative Structure:




Style:

The style of the film helps to connote its genre and support how we want it to look and feel.

1) Grading
Our grading was very similar to that of 'Quarantine' as the saturation and contrast is low, thus reflecting the lack of hope in the scene. Moreover, the low brightness also helps in symbolizing the dark nature of the film and its antagonist.



2) Titles

For titles we took inspiration from a very successful independent horror/thriller film, 'Sinister'. This film's opening credits not only influenced our title styling, but also how the titles appeared onto the screen and the order at which they do.

In 'Sinister' the titles are as sharp white in order to contrast the dark surroundings, we thought this was a great idea to help make them stand out without having to enlarge them- which could take away from the action. Moreover, in our title sequence we had titles come onto the screen letter by letter in a random order; this was also inspired by 'Sinister' as in that credit sequence the letters fade in, also in a random order.




Evaluation Post 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our chosen social group is males between the age range of 16-24 year olds, in turn our film openings representations mainly focus on age and gender. We have used casting choices, camera/editing techniques and mise-en-scene, such as costume, to help create representations of the young male adults.

After researching how the different genders were portrayed in successful films, I noticed how the male gender was very strongly represented, as shown below.
As successful thriller/horror films usually have at least one male character taking a leading role, we thought that following this convention would help our film opening appeal to the male audience even more.
In Sherlock, 'Moriarty' also gives off a laid back vibe which helps further his representations as an antagonist in control of his situation and his actions.

Moriarty from 'Sherlock'
In the shot above you can seen Moriarty being put at gun point by Sherlock; instead of displaying the normal reaction of being afraid he seems very comfortable, with him even giving off a vibe of patronizing Sherlock by making think he's in control. The costume of Moriarty is of a very similar purpose to the costume of our antagonist. A suit is usually associated with a formal event, so the idea of it being worn by someone at gunpoint would never be thought of and this is what makes Moriarty a great psychopathic villain. Hence-why we wanted to emulate him within our antagonist.

As well as this, we used the news team to help be a representation of the ethnic diversity in London and therefore help our audience better relate with them. We chose a white male to act out the role of the news anchor, and we also chose an asian female to act the role of the news reporter.

The news reporter
These roles are arguably the most important in an actual news team, which is therefore the reason why we chose to actors of both different gender and ethnicity; this we believed was the best way we could give an accurate representation of the social make-up within London.

The news anchor