Monday, 28 February 2011

Font Analysis.

The font that is used for the title of a film or for the entire title sequence itself, plays a large role in the overall representation of the film sinse the font should relate to the films subject/genre , whilst also relating to its target audience; this is attended to be put across through the font style alone.

There are basically two types of font:

Serif Fonts - such as Times and Courier
Serif fonts are generally more traditional and often slightly more formal than sans serif fonts.
Serif fonts are usually seen within books and newspapers.
(A serif is the extra little detail at the end of each stroke of every letter, this is circled below).

Sans Serif Fonts - such as Ariel and Helvetica
Sans Serif fonts are generally seen as more modern and informal, in addition, sans serif fonts are seen as more 'friendly', this is because of their bold, soft and rounded appearance.
Sans Serif fonts are typically used within magazines, comics etc.

Font Analysis of Pearl Harbor:

The title, 'Pearl Harbor', has been written in the serif font, Palatino, which instantly leads the audience to beleive that the film will be serious and more formal than informal.
In addition, the wording itself has been written entirely in higher case letters which, aswell as the font style, signifies the importance and magnitude of the film and also represents the importance of the characters we can see in the image.

The picture itself shows high ranked officers; this we can tell because of the medals worn on thier uniforms, in addition, the characters are assembled in line with one another, therefore, the way in which the title has been written, relates perfectly to the imagery since the lettering in the title is all lined up next to eachother and written in capitals, this has strong connotations of the army because of the ordering, regementation and lined up assembling which the army is ment to have.

The serif font that this film has chosen to use for the title, suggests formality and respect since we often see this type of font within formal and respectful peices of writing.

Moreover, I beleive this style of font has been choosen because of the subject matter that this film highlights, sinse the film is about war and has a lot of historical importance, it is intended to cater towards a slightly more mature audience with historical interest, possibley a more educated, middle aged person with this sort of awareness would be prone to watching the film.

The target audience for this film would be people possibley more familiar with this particular style font, who would come across it in newspapers i.e. 'The Independent' or 'The Guardian' .

So through the use of the Palatino font, written all in capital lettering, we get a clear sense as to who the film is aimed at and we also gain a rough indication as to what the film will be about.

Font analysis of Rocky:

The title 'Rocky', has been written in the sans serif font, Franklin Gothic heavy; this suggests that the film  may be quite light hearted and informal since the wording is round, big and bold.
However the wording has been written entirely in capital lettering which suggests that the character in the film will be powerful, bold and blocky, similar to the letters in the title.

The picture on the cover shows a strong male character holding a woman's hand which signifies that, even though the main character within the film is powerful, strong and dominant, he still has a softer side to himself.

In addition, because of the fact that the two characters are shown without any detail or colour, the audience may assume that they lead a simple life together.

Moreover, the wording is tightly packed onto the front cover, with it's first and last letters pushing against the sides of the cover; this imitates a fist pushing forward with each letter acting as a knuckle.
The fact that the title looks like a fist links to the theme of the film which is boxing.

The target audience for this film would be people interested in boxing or action films with drama sub-genres since the film includes fighting as well as drama.

Lastly, the character is reflected in the Franklin Gothic Heavy font title, since the letters are plain and simple like 'Rocky'.

Livetype and Sound: SKILLS

Livetype is a programme which enables you to design an animated title sequence for a film.
However, Livetype differs from FinalCutPro since Livetype offers far more ways in which you are able to experiment and play around with texts. While still offering the basic options such as being able to choose from a range of colours, sizes and fonts, Livetype also offers you options such as being able to change more specific aspects of each title or character, e.g. size, outline, glow, drop shadow, extrusion, opacity, tracking etc.

An example of the layout of LiveType

You are able to create the exact title sequence you desire for your thriller opening through using Livetype, however, once this is combined with the correct opening music, you will then be able to produce a well rounded opening for a thriller film.

Therefore, in order to edit sound, the programme we used was Soundtrack Pro. This particular programme enabled my group and I to compose and edit our audio applications and also let us add a peice of music over a section of footage that we had recorded.

An example of the layout of Soundtrack Pro

The peice of music you choose to combine with the title sequence to your thriller opening, can be selected from a variety of different genres such as; dramatic, alternative, orchestral etc.

Once an understanding and awareness has been gained from using Soundtrack Pro, it then becomes quite easy to use and can have a huge impact on the whole production of the opening of your thriller film.

Introduction to Editing: SKILLS

In order for my group and I to edit different clips that we had recorded, we were taught how to use a programme called FinalCutPro (FCP).
Whats really good about FCP is that it's really straightforward and simple to use. You are able to import files onto the programme itself, which you can then edit once they have been transfered.

After transfering clips onto the programme, you are then able to click and drag these clips onto a timeline. The timeline on FCP enables you to assemble the clips in the order you prefer them to be in and also allows you to input effects inbetween each clip in order for them to flow into one another without the transition being jumpy or robotic.

When editing your clips on FinalCutPro, you are offered a range of tools within a feature called the toolbox.
The toolbox consists of many useful editing tools, however, in particular my group and I learnt how to use the 'razorblade tool' which allows you to crop your footage and we also gained skills on how to add in effects inbetween clips placed onto the timeline. The effects we included were fade in and fade out which gave our 'bag swap film' more fluidity and made the short movie seem like more of a 'whole clip' than lots of little individual clips.

In addition, FCP also lets you add basic texts onto your footage and has a section called viewer which allows you to view the selected clip.

Types of shots my group and I learned about during lessons.

In order for my group and I to achieve the most effective suspenseful shots whilst filming our two minute thriller opening, we were taken through the different varieties of camera shots during some of our media lessons.

This proved very effective since we were able to encorperate a lot of the shots that were taught to us, into our thriller opening, for example, we used an over the shoulder shot when the villian in our film looks up towards the mirror infront of him, this creates suspense since it almost feels as though we are behind the character, therefore we feel physically closer to them and thus more in danger if the character is a villian. We see this sort of shot in the film 'The Stepfather'.

However, in addition to learning different camera shots to create a more successful thriller opening, we also gained knowledge on a variety of shots in order to generally improve our knowledge on what each shot is used for and how these shots have been demonstrated within films that have already been created.
For example,  we learnt about ariel shots, which is were the camera is above its subject, therefore the audience feel as though they are looking down on something/someone.

Ariel shot.

 Furthermore, we learnt how to do point of view (POV) shots which is a camera shot used to make the audience see things through a certain characters point of view.  

Point of view shot.

We also learnt about high and low angle shots, high angle shots make people seem smaller and therefore, more weak and vulnerable because the camera is overhead looking down on someone, whereas, a low angle shot gives a great sense of power and dominance since the camera is closer to the ground, looking up towards someone which makes them appear larger and thus more powerful. 

High Angle shot

Low Angle shot.

Moreover, we gained skills on how to achieve a tracking shot, this is when the camera moves along whilst following a moving subject and we also learnt how to pan, which is when the camera is on a fixed point whilst swivelling right or left.

Tracking shot

Panning shot

We also gained knowledge on how to achieve a close up shot, medium shot, long shot and establishing shot. Close up shots are camera shots that are typically used to only show certain aspects of a subject i.e. a hand or a face. Close up shots do not show the subject in the broad context of its surrounding, therefore the shot may only contain a persons face for example, this is to show more detail such as emotions. Medium shots, on the other hand, are camera shots that are filmed from a medium distance, a medium shot is usually framed from the waist upwards and is mainly used for a scene when you can see what kind of expressions a character is using. A long shot is typically used to show the entire object or human figure. Lastly, an establishing shot is used to set up, or establish the context for a scene by showing the relationship between its important figures and objects.

Medium Shot

Close Up

Establishing Shot

Long Shot

Thursday, 24 February 2011

comments from Donna

Ivet is up to date. Ismail - your updates have improved dramatically but can you please carry on inputting as you still have at least ten bogs to add before you are up to date. Can you please attend media workshop’s to catch up. Joseph and Tomi – you don’t seem to have made much effort to catch up? Can you see me to plan a workshop schedule. Can you all add your pitch. Thanks. Donna

Monday, 21 February 2011

A bit more on films that inspired me

The idea to have a typical morning routine right at the beginning we got from The Step Father, because in it they made it work really well by creating a sense of  normality, yet were able to make the audience feel like something isn’t the way it should be at the same time. And so we too tried to create this in our opening scene by not revealing the woman’s face on the bed until he finishes getting ready, that way mixing a bit of normality along with suspense.

Similar, I thought it would be good to look at a  variety of films, some that were even quite old in order to see how they portrayed the whole psychological aspect and also the way thrillers have changed over time. A film I found useful as it linked with our ideas in a way was, Strangers on a Train (1951) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the main actor wants a divorce from his wife and later on ends up hiring a guy to kill her, this is similar to the death of our main actress in the opening sense and also the fact that the second woman from the outside looks up may suggest that she too had something to do with the first woman being dead, which creates intersexuality, because once again you have two characters who are in the known and you have a victim, however the way we changed ours was by having two female actors, instead of two male ones.  Also in Strangers on a Train from the title itself we gather that a lot of the actions takes place on a train, and in our opening we use a train ticket as one of our main props and is where we got the film’s name from, which showed me that although technology and such changes over time, the whole idea behind a thriller film making which is to create suspense and be able to link in things that are well known to the audience such as a train ticket(in order to create familiarity), while still creating tension, these kind of ideas will apply to any good thriller no matter what year it is produced.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Evaluation of Prelim Film

For only our second time recording a film, I feel that we did an average job at filming. There were some good aspects of our prelim and some aspects that need improving on.

The Good:

  • The titles coming on while the film was playing.
  • The eeire sound in the beginning of the film fiit in well with the high angle following shot while he was walking.
  • The shot reverse shots.

The Bad:

  • The camera was shaky at times.
  • Wasn't focused on all of the shots.
  • Not many angles used.
  • Same clip repeated to fill in gaps.
  • No match cuts used.

Introduction to cameras: SKILLS

Before filming our practice film the "Bag Swap". We first learnt how to use the camera, getting used to it, learning skills we should use when filming.

The camera we used was a JVC video camera.

I will list what we learnt:

  1. How to put the memory card in.
  2. How to put the battery pack in.
  3. We should never use zoom when filming.
  4. We should always use manual focus instead of auto focus.
  5. We should always use manual lighting instead of auto, to make sure that the film will be light when filming and not dark.
  6. We learnt how to playback the clips that we recorded.

Also we learnt how to use the tripod with the camera.

  1. First we learnt how to set up the tripod. By opening the latches and extending all 3 of the legs, then closing the latches. The legs will now be in a fixed position, standing up.
  2. Second we learnt how to put the camera on the tripod.
  3. We had to put the camera and slide it on until it clicks, then had to turn a latch to tighten it into a fixed position.
  4. We learnt how to remove the camera, by pushing a red button it releases the camera. Allowing the camera to be taken off. 

Monday, 14 February 2011

Introduction to Cameras: Skills

In the lesson prior to filming our Bag swap scene, my group and I gained some skills on how to handle and operate highly advanced cameras as well as Tripods, aquiring these skills allowed us to create a short suspenseful film in which we used a variety of shots including; Panning, Medium Close Up's, Over the Shoulder etc.

In addition, we learnt how to adjust the Tripod stand in order for us to get as close to a smooth, steady shot as possible. Furthermore we learnt how to extend and shorten the legs on the Tripod which allowed us to gage the height at which we needed it to be at in order to achieve the 'perfect' shot.

During the lesson before shooting our Bag swap, we were taught how to avoid setting our cameras to Auto focus when filming, instead, we were told to use Manual focus since this gives a true sense of filming ability and clearly demonstrates how well you work with the camera.

However, whilst filming we forgot to alter the camera setting to manual focus for our first few shots which set us back timing wise, although once we made the minor adjustment from auto to manual, we were then able to shoot our own shots without the assistance of the face detection on auto focus.

Structure of Openings

Narrative opening - For this example I am going to show Panic Room. This kind of opening starts the movie and lets the viewers enjoy the sites of New York at the same time as the titles come over and show; the actors names, production company, distributers.

Discrete opening - For this example I am going to show Seven. This opening is very distorted, we start off with the movie and then the titles running over it. We see a close up of someones fingers. Also the sound is very eerie.

Titles over blank screen - For this example I am going to show Donnie Darko. This opening shows title over a blank screen, then the movie starts. This is very boring and dull.

Stylised editing opening - For this example I am going to show The Taking of Pelham 123. This editing is quite fast paced. Also it runs over the movie, letting the viewer enjoy the scenery. When the credits come on we see an image like a train bringing the actors names on. 
The music over is Jay Z's "99 Problems".

Evaluation of Prelim Film - The Confrontation

I think over all we did a pretty good job at filming it. However I feel the practice was definitely needed before our final production because it showed us where we went wrong and different shots we could work on before filming our final piece.

With the final piece I think if we decide to include panning shots we should work harder on making them seem more fluent, because with the Confrontation the first shot is a panning shot and is very shaky at times which ruins the effect of using such as shot.

Also, we should try make the change between shots more fluent to make it seems more realistic. For instance with The Confrontation the shot reverse shots could be improved, because at the moment you are able to tell they were filmed separately and then edited, which shouldn’t be the case.

Another important things we have to remember to do is focus our camera before each shot if its on manual, otherwise the shots become fuzzy or out of focus when transferred on the computer.

However, with the different shots of the daydream before she actually says what she has to say, the fact that you can tell they are all different shots put together afterward actually helps to make that scene less real and illustrates the fact that its an illusion.

I also feel the eerie music in the beginning works well with the panning shot as it doesn’t reveal much straight away therefore building tension and making the audience wait a while before giving them more.

My Prelim - The Confrontaion

Friday, 11 February 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Title Sequence which inspires me


This title sequence inspires me because the credits come on while the film in on. Also it's not just normal text, the names look like they are hand written by somebody.
Also we never get to see the persons face, we see the camera close up on his hand which has got plasters on it.

It seems disturbing, like someone is mental in the head. It sets out an example of how the rest of the film is going to be; puzzling, mind boggling. Not understanding what is going on.

The editing is quite fast paced, it doesn't stay on the same scene for more then 3 seconds. 

The sound is quite eerie and disturbing, as the move continues the sound rises and creates tension. 

Intertextuality in Film

What is intertextuality?

Intertextuality is the shaping of texts' meanings by other texts. It can include an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another.

An example of intertextuality:

Psycho Shower Scene

In this scene we see a woman having a shower, peacefully. The camera is positioned above her chest, focusing on her face.
Then we see a shadow approaching the shower curtain, when the shower curtain is pulled open, we hear screeching music, getting louder. This shocks the audience.

After we see a close up of the woman's mouth who is screaming. It then goes back to the person who has a knife in his hand, who starts stabbing the woman. The camera switches between each character. While the music is still the same screeching music.

This scene by Alfred Hitchcock has become famous and many other director's borrow this scene for their own films.

For example:

The Stepfather

The Stepfather borrows the same sort of scene from "Psycho", when they are in the bathroom and the man is trying to stab the woman with the same sort of knife used in "Psycho". But in this film instead of the woman getting stabbed, it is the man who gets stabbed.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

How suspense was created in the film Collateral

Scene 1


This scene creates suspense because two men (Tom Cruise and Jason Statham) are walking through a crowded area in an airport. We can hear footsteps.

The camera is a close up on both of the men, switching between each person while walking, there is also a slow pace of editing when it switches between each character. We then see a two shot of them when they collide, dropping there bags.
When there bags are swapped we start to here upbeat music, fast paced.

Scene 2


This scene creates tension because if Max doesn't tell his boss that he's fine and nothing is happening then Vincent is going to kill him. 

Scene 3


In this scene the woman is hiding from vincent in the building, suspense is created in this scene because all the lights are switched off the building is pitch black. They cannot see each other very well. 

Thriller Sub-Genres

Psychological Thriller

Thriller is a genre of literature, film, and television that uses suspense, tension, and excitement as the main elements. The primary subgenre is psychological thriller.

I have chosen pyschological thriller as I feel that it has a true connection with the audience. Particularly in this film "Memento", it plays with the viewers mind. Leaves them baffled and not knowing what's going on, while at the same time leaves them interested in the film. Wanting to know more.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Thriller Audience Research

Just like with any other movie genre , thrillers have a specific target audience which they rely on to boost their figures. However statistics show that in 2009 from 503 films that were realised in the Uk only 31 were thrillers, which speaks for itself as it shows that there are higher demands for other genres such as comedy and action than thriller. This idea is also backed up with statistics which showed that horror released 29 films, but even so managed to make £60, 228, 063 in the box office and made a lot more than thriller who produced 2 more films yet only managed to take in £42, 578, 104.

Of course there’s a reason why action, animation and comedy accounts for 52% of box office in the Uk in 2009, and that reason is because these genres appeal to the mass audience which therefore makes them more popular than thriller. Comedy and animations can nowadays be enjoyed by nearly all ages and definitely genders, therefore widening their target audience especially if those target audience are teenagers who are more willing to spend their money as they have more free time than adult who thriller films are usually aimed at.

Now, if we were to look at the ‘genre by gender’ diagram or take a few thriller films and look at their age certificate we would see that thrillers have a very spacific target audience who are in between the ages of 15 and above, especially those that have a sub genre of horror which then go even further with their age restriction to 18 and above, such as the Shinning.  The ‘genre by gender’ diagram also shows that the sub genres thrillers would include such as crime, action, sci fi go under the category of male target audience, therefore thrillers would normally aim at males, 15 and above which is really specific as it eliminates quite a big mass of audience who then influence the viewing percentage and that could be the
reason why thrillers are not as popular as comedy or animations for instance.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Bag Swap Fails...

During the filming of our first bag swap we made a lot of mistakes like catching people in the shot and having a shakey camera. We also had problems with constant laughing and being distracted.

Prelim - Movie

Our Prelim Movie, enjoy :)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'Watching' Documentary

 The ‘Watching’ Documentary showed us different styles of openings to films as well as their purpose. Also it referenced to people who work in the industry and allowed us to see their opinions and views on the different ways of opening a film. 

In the documentary Thomas Sutcliffe stated the risk of instance arousal by comparing films to food and saying that its human nature for us to want something instantly such as when we order pizza and expect it to come as soon as possible. He says that this need for instant need happens with "pizzas, cars and computers and emotions". However there’s a risk to wanting things as soon as possible, especially if that want is linked with the film industry, "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible." What he means by this is that for a film to be successful that film needs to capture the audiences’ attention within the first 20 minutes otherwise the audience may get bored and decide to not even see the film at all. Therefore, this temptations for ‘instance arousal’ is in a way ‘irresistible’, because without it there wouldn’t be any viewing audience as you would have lost them, however Jean Jacques Beineix tries to explain that there may be a risk with this ‘instant arousal’, and Thomas agrees with this point by saying that "you have to accept to wait, nurse , nurture your desire , to make it grow and then the satisfaction comes’, and what he means by this is that if you give everything and build up the opening of the film to the best it could possibly be, then there is no desire and eagerness on the side of the audience because you’ve given them your best already in just the opening and so what is left for the rest of the film? Therefore showing how fragile this balance between having an effective grabbing opening and at the same time not building it up too much really is.
The documentary also mentions that ‘a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little', this is a great piece of advice that I too plan on following for my own production because its saying that the opening of the film must be able to not reveal too much information but at the same time still manage to keep the audience interested and allow them to understand what is going on.
An opening which the documentary talked about was the 'classic opening'. This opening is when the film begins with an establishing shot (usually New York city from the East) then close up of the building and up the building, in through the window, and a character shot, this way establishing the setting and the main character instantly. Stanley Kauffmann says that in his opinion this classic opening works because it covers the basic what, where, who and when questions.
Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Se7en on the other hand is highly effective as it went against what usual opening titles do. The documentary narrator said that Cooper knew that director David Fincher wanted a ' sequence that would tune the viewers to the right dissident pitch', as the audience expects  the opening to "settle" them into their seats and "be part of the transitional time where you're getting ready to take in what it is". The sequence, according to Cooper, became the" first scene of the movie", it told a story and the nature of the main character. It foreshadowed the events of the movie as well as it was able to grab the audience’s attention through the shock of the disturbed images and off pitch music.
Orson Welles on the other hand wanted his opening to go straight into the film with no titles, however Universal were not happy with this as they still wanted to be recognised mainly through their theme music and Orson Welles’ opening did not do that as it started off differently to any other movie, by taking the audience right into the film with no time to understand what is going on.
The opening of casino however uses a favourite trick of Film Noir. This trick is when  the  film’s opening is not really a beginning but a sort of ending, and so once it has happen it takes us back to the events that lead to this happening, which then leaves the audience looking forward to and  waiting with anticipation to see what is to come.
And finally, the documentary also mentioned The Shining opening and how successful it was with creating suspense through the camera usage as the tracking shot from a birds point of view almost mimics the idea of a predator  following its pray and this is done through the tracking shot. This title sequence was effective as it was kept simple yet it manages to create worry because we knew as the audience that something was just not right through the tracking shot as well as the mise en scene that seemed like the middle of nowhere.