Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Media evaluation question 4

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

In every media lesson we have had we used Mac computers. These computers were used to carry out most of the activities for our project.

We used Google Blogger to post information about our film and research we had conducted.

We used YouTube for research. We watched trailers of movies similar to ours and also watched videos that gave tutorials on various different camera techniques and shots. The ultimate purpose of using YouTube in our project was to upload our completed film on to the Internet.


For researching our film we used Internet Movie Database to look at films that were the same genre as ours (psychological horror).


In conclusion these websites came in great handy for the planning and researching of our film. I will definitely use these websites and others like them in future.

When it came to making our film we used other pieces of software and technology. We used Adobe Photoshop to create individual film posters.

This is the poster that I created using Adobe Photoshop.

We HD digital cameras to record our film. We also used them record video logs that we
made for the blog.

After we had finished our filming we then used Final Cut Express to edit our film together.


Finally, for our film’s radio trailer we used zoom recorders to record Tom Swift’s voice.

In conclusion, the technology and software used in our project served us perfectly. I believe we had no problems with the equipment and they didn’t interfere with the making our film.

Media evaluation question 1

1. In what ways does the media product use develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

1a. At a technical level, how well does your film reflect or challenge the conventions of continuity, and the language of film and editing?

As a media student, I am fully aware of the importance of continuity in film. Continuity involves keeping things in a scene the same throughout the shooting. For example, if a door in the background is closed, it must remain closed unless it is opened as part of the script. If in one shot the door is closed and in the next shot it is open then that is what’s called a “continuity error” as it confuses the audience and makes no sense at all.

As director of the film, it was my responsibility to make sure that continuity is properly used in our film. I would often observe our settings to see how things were laid out in case we ever had to film on the same setting again. I would also take notes on costumes and props. I also starred in the movie, for my role I wore a black coat, blue jeans and black boots. For continuity, I had to make sure that I wore these all the way though the film.

1b. The genre of our film is a psychological horror with some mystery added in to it. I believe that the content of our film meets the conventions of a psychological horror. We have suspenseful music, emotional instability, murder, mystery and a cliff-hanger ending. I think that these help to meet the nature of our film.

1c. Having viewed our film, I don’t think that there are any moments were we played with the genre’s codes or history. And we didn’t make a lot of references to other films. One of the only references to another film that I can think of is the head shaking effect from the horror film Jacob’s Ladder.

1e. As our film is psychological horror, we decided to study other psychological horror films in order to get an idea of what we needed to make a film of that genre. Our film has some comparisons with films such as The Shining (a man loses his mind and commits murder), the Silence of the Lambs (a cliff-hanger ending), and The Ring (a supernatural object that triggers the events of the film).


Question 3

Monday, 22 April 2013

Question Four - Essay

4) How did you use new technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Research and planning

To start with, we have used iMac desktop computers throughout the project. In this particular stage, we mostly used the internet to access websites such as:
  • Blogger, to record research, videos and our evaluations.
  • IMDb, to look up information about films and other media.
  • Facebook and Twitter, to send the questionnaire out.
  • YouTube, for soundtrack comparison, watching specific movie scenes, and for tutorials (we learnt how to do the Jacob's Ladder head shake effect through YouTube).
  • Freesound.org, to download a few royality-free sound effects.
The Internet Movie Database.

Browsing these websites helped us in research, and gave us some scope into what ideas we could implement by looking at other films, camera shots and effects.


The construction stage allowed us to use more software and hardware based technologies. It was in this stage that I started to design our film logo (original post) which was then changed countless times to suit whatever text it was being used in. Then, I made a newspaper that was going to appear in a few shots and a film poster. All of this was done in Adobe Photoshop, and the access to this software allowed me to be creative and let me design whatever was needed for the project.

At this stage, we were filming. We used HD digital cameras to record our footage and Final Cut Pro to edit it. The cameras caused a few problems - mainly with the batteries - but other than that, everything was fine. Later, we used Zoom recorders to record the radio trailer. This also went without a problem.


Again, I used Photoshop to created the .gif and the newspaper analysis in the first question. Blogger is also being used again more frequently, but that is about it.

Question 1

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

I think that our film did observe the conventions of continuity pretty well because we filmed the full scene in one day, which meant that there were no issues with clothing. The clothing that we used matched the scenes that we filmed because Greg who played the boss was in a suit while the other employees were wearing normal day to day clothes, which made the film more realistic and it didn’t break continuity. We also did not break continuity with the time of day because we filmed the full scene of the same day meaning that if the weather changed the camera would capture to change.  Our group followed the 180% rule throughout our film so that it followed the conventions of continuity and convention. This was helped by us using static cameras as they don’t move as freely as handheld ones meaning that it is harder to break the 180% rule.  

In planning and creating our product we used various examples of the language of film and editing such as diegetic sound, non diegetic sound, jump cut editing, establishing shot and over the shoulder shot.

I believe that our film does reflect the conventions of a thriller/horror film because of some of iconography involved in our film. One use of iconography is the Jacobs Ladder head shake effect which we used in our film. Another use of iconography is possession which is used in several horror films such as The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror and It. We also used iconographic isolation and silences which were both used in The Woman in Black. However it doesn’t fully fulfil the films genre as our film was filmed in daylight. This was because we chose to film in the daylight; we did this because it seems more realistic in terms of normal life which in turn makes the violence in our film more shocking. In this way it is more like the novel The Dice Man and the film No Country For Old Men. There is no parody in our film however we do copy the Jacobs Ladder head shake effect.  

I am quite confident that our film provided pleasure in the form of a thriller/horror film would do. I think this because of the violence and the twists of our film happening in daylight to ordinary people.     

Question Three - Mind Map

Below is the mind map I created for question four - What have you learned from your audience feedback? 

Enlarge it by clicking on it.

Question One - Essay

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

In editing, we used many different techniques to show continuity between shots. The most basic example of this was cutting/adjusting shots to ensure they all follow the match-on-action. This convention is basic, but all films need to do this. Following the 180° rule is another way we followed continuity - something I learnt when shooting our previous film.

To add a bit of variation to the opening sequence, I cut up one shot into a few segments and deleted one or two of them. Then, I added a 'cross-fade'. Adding a fade signifies the passage of time - or, in this case, it can drastically reduce the length a shot. The shot went on for too long before I edited it.

This is the cross-fade effect in action (Extract A):

Extract A
Using a cross-fade is common in all types of film. In this case however, I used in an uncommon way.

The same can be said about 'fading to black'. We used the transition seven times throughout the film to change setting and time.

It is also a common transition - it was used a few times in the film I analysed here.

We used many common tropes from the psychological thriller/horror genre in our production. For example, we left the film at an open ending to add mystery. The Tenant by Roman Polanski does this, with many mystery and thrillers movies doing the same. What's more, our film builds on this. There are many inferred events not directly mentioned in the film, but hinted at through a newspaper I created.

Extract B
The newspaper (Extract B) - which can be seen in numerous shots - explains the events what took place before the film started. It hints that the events of the story are meant to take place in an endless loop (Extract C).
Extract C

Concepts like this can make a film more entertaining to the audience. Small things such as the newspaper would be noticeable the second time watching the film.

The film also uses a shot shown in Jacob's Ladder. The 'head shaking shot' shown in this video.

This video shows my attempt at recreating the shot, originally posted here. Fans of the genre will remember the use of the shot in Jacob's Ladder, so it is a suitable reference.

Audiences of films get pleasure from escapism from their day-to-day lives. This applies to all films, and our film is no different. The premise of the film follows a normal guy who the viewer associates with from the start. He is meant to have normal hobbies and do normal activities, because that is what makes him (and the film) seem realistic.

Towards the end of the film is when the surprise fantasy element is introduced - and this ends the suspense of the audience. The timing of the plot twist is the main element what causes audience pleasure in our film.

Again, the film I analysed, Home, is relevant. It does the same. It leaves the audience questioning what happened to the women's husband until the end, then it is revealed. This film is where I got a couple of ideas for our film.

Question 2

Question 2 - Powerpoint

Question 4

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

Research and planning

For our research we created a blog on Blogger to store all of our information and posts on it. By doing this we were able to save all of our work in one place so it was easy to access.

We looked for similar films to our on websites such as IMDB and Wikipedia. This gave us several ideas of what genre we were going to go for. A film we looked at in particular was Jacobs Ladder, which is a psychological horror film about a solider. We liked the look of the “head shake” effect which the filmed used and so by using YouTube we watched and learned how to do the effect.

One shot we could not use was the Jaws zoom in dolly out shot. We could not use this shot because we couldn’t get the shot steady enough to do.


In the construction stage we used new Digital cameras to record our film in HD. This allowed our footage to be in better quality for when it went on to the computer. These cameras enabled us to record our footage and import it on to the editing equipment. We imported it on the computer by using a fire wire. We then edited our project. The editing equipment we used allowed us to use several special effects such as fades and to be able to speed up our scene so we can use the Jacobs Ladder head shake effect.

We also used the same editing equipment to edit our radio trailer after we recorded it on a digital sound recorder. This enabled us to create our radio trailer. We then used sounds from our film and imported them onto our radio trailer by using a memory stick. We then edited it.      


Evaluation Q2

Matthew Beet Evaluation Q2

Die - final export

Radio Trailer


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Short Film analysis

Dry Spell Analysis


The short film uses mainly close ups to not give too much detail away. This is done by close ups of the hammer and of the man’s face looking concerned, but the camera doesn’t show what has concerned him. This creates a really spooky atmosphere especially when the feet are shown under the door. The wider shots are shown only to set the scene of the bathroom but only after twenty seconds of the clip so you think he is going to be attacked by the man with the hammer.

There is also a good over the shoulder shot which shows the man’s face in the mirror. This shot makes the man look concerned for who is in the bathroom with him. It also puts the viewer in position of someone watching him. This show adds to the tension of the situation.

The clip also shows the camera zoom in on the man’s back as though it was a predator stalking its prey. This effect makes the man look weak and vulnerable in the bathroom especially because his back is facing towards the camera. This is after feet are shown in one of the cubicles. Therefore we are aware that there is someone in the bathroom with him.


The clip is edited in a normal way until at the end where the editing is shown to be less fluent and more like stop motion animation. This happens when the man realises that he is not alone in the bathroom. The effect of this is that it creates a sense of panic as the man is worried, it is then shown again when he has burned his hands. This clip reminds me a lot of Jan Svankmajer, who did a lot of creepy animation. 


I think that the sound is really empathised the clip as it makes the clip seem more surreal and strange. There is also some incidental music in the clip to add to the suspense off the whole clip. The sound at the end of the clip is also very lively and upbeat which makes the clip more jolly at the end when the threat has been revealed. The man in the cubical also makes lots of noises but you cannot tell if he is crying or if he is laughing until the very end scene when he is shown to be laughing.   

Mise en scene

The bathroom is shown as a traditional quite posh bathroom because of the suits the men are wearing and the cleanliness of the bathroom. The men are shown to be quite smart well dressed because of the suits they are wearing, which sets the scene in the working day. This is also shown as the repair man is shown in his work overalls.  The bathroom is lit quit dimly which adds to the tension over who is in the cubical.   


Friday, 12 April 2013

Radio Trailer Script

Intro - soundtrack
AUTHOR talking - " I have always loved stories, writing, reading, even living them."
AUTHOR talking - " The thing about stories is that they can be fiction or non-fiction.
However, this one, is different to them all.
SOUND EFFECT - Die landing on the table.
AUTHOR talking - "Every story needs a driving force."

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Ideas for the radio trailer

The radio trailer could feature the soundclip of Matthew Beet talking to the die.
Another idea is that Tom (the mysterious author) could voice-over the clip, too. The clip would also need music from the soundtrack.

  1. Author talking - "Every story needs a driving force"
  2. Sound clip of Ian - "What is this"
  3. Author speaking - "Something to move the story along."
  4. Sound clip of die landing on the table. 
  5. Author speaking - "Something to keep everything under control"
  6. Jacob's Ladder sound effect.
  7. Coming on April 17th to theatre near you. DIE.