Here is my finished thriller opening:
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Here is the finished prelim task:
At the beginning of the course we were asked to create a short sequence demonstrating different shots and continuity editing skills. We had to show that we understood how to shoot shots like eyeliner match and shot/ reverse shot. We decided to shoot a short interview scene as we thought that this was be simple to shoot and easy to create a short script for. Instead of having a boring interview sequence we decided to make our sequence humorous so that it would be more enjoyable to watch.
We were asked to create the prelim to make sure we understood the importance of continuity editing and that we knew how to ensure the footage and editing was seamless. Looking back at the prelim task and comparing it to the full product I can see how far me and my group have come. I can see how far our editing and camera skills have come from the beginning of the course.
From completing the task I have learnt mainly how difficult it is to create a two-minute film . The hard work and hours of editing that have gone into our final product makes me proud but also shows me how complex it must be to create a two hour film. Thinking about the time I spent editing and filming and then thinking about doing it for a two-hour film makes me appreciate how hard filmmakers, film editors, directors and cameramen work. By the time I had finished making my film I was sick to death of using Final Cut Pro.
I also leant the importance of effective planning as the prelim task was poorly planned and for this reason turned out pretty basic but our final product was thoroughly planned and in my opinion turned out rather well. We planned aspects such as location, props, casting and filming schedule. This enabled us to film everything we needed and get the best shots we could.
Editing the prelim footage was useful as it mean that I could get to grips with Final Cut Pro. Previous to this task i didn’t have any experience with this software as i had used iMovie before but never this software. I initially noticed how much more complex it was and how may more functions there were. I would say that Final Cut Pro is more professional due to the amount of things you can do on it and how high quality the end product is.
Overall, I believe that I have come a long way from the prelim task in terms of skills and I think this is reflected in my end product. There are however a few things I would do differently. Firstly, I would plan my editing time more effectively. What I mean by this is that I would plan my editing time in advance so that I knew more specifically what I was doing when. For example I would plan that I would edit a certain thing such as the letterbox effect on the shots for 40 minutes on a specific day rather than editing for hours on end whenever I could.
My group and I also decided to film a short video explaining what we had learnt during the process of making our thriller opening:
What have you learnt about technology from the process of constructing this product?
During this process of creating a thriller opening I have mainly learnt how technology has evolved in media over the years and what the advantages of this are.
Smart phone- My iphone has proved invaluable in terms of helping me plan this project. My iPhone has notes pages, calendars and text messages on it which all enabled me to plan this project thoroughly. I was able to keep in contact with my group member through social media on my phone and by text. The calendar app enabled me to put dates in the diary for filming and editing days. The notes pages enabled me to keep notes for my blog so I could remember key details from filming. All these functions on my smart phone proved absolutely invaluable in the production of my film opening. Without my smart phone it would have been a lot harder to plan the project as I wouldn’t have been able to keep in contact with my group and I would have had to carry round a notebook or diary to organise filming days and keep notes. This technological advance helped me in numerous ways.
The camera- Modern cameras have evolved to become compact, lightweight, easy to use and equipped with many different functions. The fact that the camera is digital made the whole process of filming and exporting footage a whole lot easier and quicker. The footage could be exported within minutes and edited without any problems allow us to use our time effectively. We were given school camera to use, however George had a DSLR Canon 70D which is a lot more professional as it produces higher quality footage. We all had a chance to film and George taught us how to adjust the focus on the camera so that the depth of field changed and that certain things in the frame were in focus and others weren’t. From using this camera I learnt how to operate a digital camera. This technological advancement in cameras enabled us to create a high quality thriller opening. Years ago this wouldn’t have been achieved without a big budget, however due to the advance in cameras we were able to create a high quality product on a virtually non-existent budget. One connection I can draw to the film industry is that small independent filmmakers can produce high quality films on a small budget.
Editing software- To edit the footage we used Final Cut Pro on the Apple Macs. Prior to doing media A-level I had never used this editing software and initially I thought that it would be very difficult to use and navigate. However, to my surprise I found that it was very easy to use. The editing software is cheap to buy and accessible for everyone. I used Final Cut Pro to arrange the order of footage, edit filters on top of shots, and add music and Foley. All these things were completed with ease and didn’t require much skill. However, I did find that you need to know what you want to do as in you had to know what filter you wanted to apply or where you wanted to place the music clip. Without the advances in editing software the process would have required cutting the roll of film. The process would have required far more skill and would have been very time consuming. The fact that the process didn’t require these things makes me appreciate the technological advance far more. From using this editing software I learnt how to operate and navigate the software.
Sound software- Instead of using someone else’s music or sound clips we decided to make our own music using GarageBand. I have used this sound software before to create my own music and therefore knew how to navigate it which was a great help. GarageBand is a lot harder to use compared to Final Cut Pro but due to my previous experience with it we didn’t struggle to make the music. I enjoy making my own music and so to me this wasn’t a task. I played around with volume and pitch to make the footage more eerie and creepy at certain points and then to make the footage more comfortable and calming at other points. This kept the audience interested as the music kept them alert and interested. This advance in music technology allowed me to digitally create my own music. Years ago I would have had to higher out a music studio and record my music there which would be expensive and time consuming. Garageband is cheap to buy but also very fun to experiment with. From using this software I have learnt how to work independently on music and how to create my own music for specific purposes.
Whatsapp- Whatsapp is a free messaging service that enables user to send messages to others across the globe. Internet is required but using this app mean you save money on texts. My group created a group chat on this app and this means that we could all discuss ideas and plan in one place rather than texting every group member individually. This was extremely useful and helpful when planning filming days a we could all communicate easily. On this app you can also send voice note if you don’t feel like typing a message, making it all the more convenient.
Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product? How did you attract/address your audience?
Audience for my Thriller film
Audience feedback is absoluetly vital in the process of making a film. It enables you to find out what certain demographics enjoy, dislike and want in a film. This is essential in marketing a film and establishing a specific target audience.
15-20 years old
Social Class: Middle class
Race/ ethnicity is not focused or important, however the cast is predominantly white which may have an impact on audiences.
My target audience frequently visits the cinema and is always out socialising with friends in the city. They enjoy watching Netflix and watching new series and finishing them in a matter of days. They have every social media app there is and spends vast amounts of time keeping up to date with current events on social media. When they visit the cinema they enjoy watching Thrillers as they enjoy being scared and thrilled.
I would say that our audience is very similar to that of films like ‘Girl on the train’ and ‘Gone Girl’. This is because both of these films are very accessible to many people and can be enjoyed by all types of people. Due to the strong female lead in our film and ‘Girl on the train’ I would say that young women would be more attracted to our film.
Name: Eloise May
Social Class: Middle Class
Ethnicity: White British
Eloise enjoys visiting the cinema with her friends and going to parties. She loves meeting new people and making new friends and basically lives for the weekend. She likes Romantic Comedies and Dramas but her favourite genres are Thrillers and Horrors. Eloise loves being scared so she frequently watches horror films with her friends. However, she would never watch a horror on her own as she is a big scaredy cat.
Favourite film: The Fugitive
How did you address/ attract your audience ?
Genre: Thriller films are a very accessible type of film and for this reason we were able to attract a wide audience. Everybody enjoys being thrilled and therefore will enjoy our film. Furthermore we wanted to appeal mainly to a teenage audience. The teenage audience love thriller films as they are exciting and thrilling, which are to aspects that teens look for in films.
Female protagonist: Females may like watching my thriller film as the main role is a female and therefore they can empathise with her as we see that bad things happen to her. The audience may aspire to be strong like the female protagonist which gives the audience something that connects them to the main character.
To get more of a varied opinion on our thriller opening my group conducted a focus group where we asked questions about our film:
As we can see in this focus group, we were really effective in appealing to our target audience. The group, all aged 17 were interested in the films concept and all agreed that they’d love to watch the rest of the film. We made sure the focus group included both sexes and different races so that the results of the focus group would be varied. All of the focus group saw that the film would appeal to a teenage audience. Younger audiences are really intrigued by suspense, as they are more eager for a thrill, which explains the interest in the cliff hanger also. Although, this is very common in Thriller films, it appears to be particularly thrilling for a younger teenage audience.
We also asked our audience who they believed the killer was in the film and who the victim was. It was quite humorous to see that the boys believe the girl was the killer, whereas the girls thought it was the boy. We found this divide really interesting, but it showed the ambiguity of our film opening which we were really trying to achieve. This ambiguity proved helpful as it left the focus group on a cliff hanger and they wanted to find out what happens next.
During this lesson the class watched each others films and gave each other feedback and constructive criticism about our films.
From the feedback I can see that my group needs to mainly work on the sound in our film. One of the groups thought that the knife dropping sound at the end was annoying however, I think that this is necessary as it shocks the viewer and almost forces them to engage. The resonating sound is disorienting and for that reason fits into the genre of the film.
Another piece of feedback we received was that there was too many shots of the girl running. I do agree with this to an extent and for this reason my group have decided that we will cut some of the footage of the girl running. I hope that this will help the audience understand the plot more and not just see a girl running for the entirety of the film.
One of the group said that we should cut the swear word from the film, which the group had mixed opinions on. Me, George and Stef all thought that the swear word was necessary as it exaggerated the action and makes the film more realistic as the boy’s reaction is realistic and would happen in real life. However, Mimi thought that the swear word could be cut as it doesn’t further the plot.
I think this feedback was helpful as we can use it in our final editing sessions to ensure our film is as good as it can be. From the feedback given my group will work mainly on fixing the sound.
During this editing session we had to overcome some obstacles. Firstly, when we opened our project on the mac we found that sections of our film had been lost. The file that kept all the footage hadn’t saved the footage properly and so the file appeared as ‘missing’. This was particular annoyance as the group had spent quite a lot of time editing the original footage. When we first edited this section we made it a jump cut to reflect the mental state of the main character, which in itself was quite difficult as we had to cut the footage as certain parts instead of letting it run smoothly.
However, we dealt with the situation well and managed to re-download the ‘missing’ footage. We ensured that we waited for the entire file to download so that it wouldn’t happen on any other sections of our film. To ensure that the task was a group effort we all took turns in re-editing the jump cuts. Once Stef, Mimi and George had all cut the footage in the correct places my job was to fix the sound (muting it) and working on the appearance of the shots. I did this by increasing the brightness of the shots and adding a ‘letterbox’ effect on top of the shot. I took my time doing this to ensure that this section was up to scratch with the rest of the film. I had done a similar job on the original footage and so the task wasn’t as difficult as it was the first time, as now I knew what I was doing.