70 – Preliminary Exercise – Second edition

For our preliminary exercise we first shot the following clip however upon our teachers evaluating our clip we were told there some issues and they advised us to re shoot the clip. The clip below is our first attempt.

In our own evaluation of this version we noted that was clear audio problems and that the continuity was wrong at the start of the clip once it goes to an over the shoulder shot. In this shot the character was basically too far into the room and the continuity was therefore wrong.

Upon the teachers viewing they noted that there was a lack of match on action, or at least incredibly apparent match on action. Also they said some of the framing was a bit wrong and that certain shots needed to be closer to the characters and positioned differently. At the time we were a little bemused by these comments but on reflection they were true. We were then asked to redo the clip to correct the problems in this clip. So the following clip below is the second edition of the exercise. We were going to keep exactly the same script but we deviated from it slightly to add in a more creepy element purely for our own entertainment. Also we added in a few more shots in order to demonstrate match on action more effectively.

The start of the clip in this version is quite different which is hopefully apparent. We have added more shots with different angles at the beginning when the character opens the door so that the match on action is displayed in more detail. This involved matching the action from the door handle opening in a close up to a obscure close up on the other side of the door looking down slightly as it turns open and then finally to a wide shot from inside the room as the door finished turning. This demonstrates match on action much more apparently than the first clip so this was a definite improvement.

Also the sound problems have gone as we spent more time making sure the audio was at the right levels and no bit was too loud. Also there are no continuity errors as far as I am aware so all of the points we noted in our evaluation have been corrected.

The final key thing to change then was the framing and we tried to be more creative with how the shots were framed in this version. We achieved this by going for more close ups than before and being very scrutinous when it came to the compostion by sticking as much as possible to the rule of thirds for instance.

It wasn’t extremely deliberate but we also used a much better quality camera this time round. As before we had used a digital 200 pound camera, this time we used a DSLR (digital single lense reflex) which are far superior in definition so in general most shots looked much nicer than before. However at the time we didn’t actually know how to focus the lense so a couple of shots are out of focus which is a shame. Since though I have bought a Canon DSLR myself so I am now much more knowledgeable on how to work DSLR’s so this mistake should not happen again.

Overall I am really pleased with how the second version came out. It particularly demonstrates match on action much more effectively and still shows the 180 degree rule once the characters are facing each other and at the same point we used shot/reverse shot with over the shoulders and close ups. So I am glad we re-filmed as we have been left with a much better example of these rules and in general a better quality clip overall.

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69 – Looking Forward and Jump Scares

As it nears to the end of the half term it is a weight of my chest to know that I have the majority of the footage we needed already filmed. But I know that some of the hardest work is yet to come, the editing. To truly know how difficult the editing will be I must look at the footage we have. The following are screen shots of some of the footage and what editing I expect will be needed.

Some shots were well lit and nicely in focus which will allow them to be quickly added to the film. Such as the shots below which I think are fairly good on they’re own. However I am considering adding filters across the whole video and cropping the shots into a different aspect ratio so they may have to be altered a little just for consistency across the whole opening.
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There also shots where I may change the framing so that the centre of the shot is larger and therefore some of the outside of the shot is cut out. The shots below were part of a sequence through a corridor upstairs where we turned the lights off and did two handheld shots walking through. These were some of my favourite shots from the shooting as they are so clearly from a horror or adventure film and I love the ambient look of the candle and how it flickers. I’m not sure if the private sign will be a problem though as I may take advice on wherever or not it looks out of place. If so I’m sure with enough editing I can remove it from the shot as it is quite small in the frame.

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However some shots I believe were a little too dark and may need a lot of experimenting with brightness and contrast along with filters in order to get the most out of the shots. I believe they will still be usable but will need a lot more work than other shots to get them up to feature film quality.

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One of the other main processes I’m expecting with the editing is selecting the best shots from what we have and deciding how long each one needs to be. As our opening is meant to be building up tension it may be best to go for less shots for longer rather than an abundance of shots. We tried to film a fair deal of footage which is useful as it gives us room to eliminate poor shots and simply replace them with another, hopefully of a better quality.

One feature we are really pushing to achieve is to have a ‘jump scare’ at the end of the clip. A jump scare is basically what it sounds like, a scare to the audience that makes them jump out of their seat, and is a convention of the horror genre. So as a group we did a little bit of research into how to create an effective jump scare. To do this we did a bit of internet searching and found this blog post which was very useful.

http://thethrilloffear.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-art-of-jump-scare.html

What helped sum up a lot of the post and make sense of how a jump scare works was the graph below.

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The graph basically shows how tension will be built up in a scene up to a point where the audience are scared and crucially are expecting a jump. The audience will expect something terrifying to occur at a certain point. However at this stage there is then a relief. It seems that the tension was all for nothing and the tension of the scene decreases. This is then the perfect point at which to scare the audience as it’s when they’re off guard. They thought if there was a shock it would have already happened so to to shock them at this point is unexpected and scares them more than if the relief wasn’t there in the first place.

This jump scare trick could be a fun feature to put into our clip. However it will come down to the editing as to wherever or not it pays off as we need to build a lot of tension first and then make sure the relief is substantial enough to confuse the audience but not long enough so that there is no tension what so ever once the actual scare happens. I’m sure that this is achievable however if we cannot get it to work then I think it would be best to have no attempt at the scare at all rather than a cheap failed attempt.

Overall out of the entire film making process I think I most enjoy editing as you can see the results much quicker which feels more rewarding compared to trying to write a script. Also it’s nice to go back over the footage and feel proud of what you’ve filmed and then try to do something creative with what you have. Also editing is something I can easily just crack on with in solitude which suits me very well.

At this stage of the exercise it’s also relieving to know that we no longer have to worry about getting the cast together, or making sure we have costumes. My stress levels should now start to lower. Now it’s just a month of sitting behind a computer screen till we’re done and I can’t wait. I am optimistic now that we will have a really interesting and unique finished film and the risks we took by making it a victorian sci-fi horror have paid off.

67 – Test Shots

The setting of our film opening is in the victorian era which was easy when it came to locations for us because I have access to an old looking pub as said in the previous locations post. In preparation for the filming I took a few pictures of the interior of the building. The pictures below are of the hallway that enters the pub. This is where part of the scene is set. As you can see in these pictures there is a lack of objects that are modern. Except for a fire alarm and a few wires however we are deliberately going to avoid these in the shots to avoid anachronisms that would hurt the integrity of the film.

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We wanted a shot looking through this window because at the start of the opening we are trying to avoid close ups on the vicar’s face as we believe there is a convention of showing glimpses of the main characters before they’re face in many other films. So much so that I would go as far to say it is a convention across the majority of films that the main character is first shown in a very vague way and not directly (say a close up shot of a foot as they walk, or a very wide shot where they’re face isn’t quite visible) then a sudden reveal of the face will be done by a fairly close up shot. So by using this window we can obscure the main character for another couple of seconds as he enters the building. Also the glass will hide the fire alarm button by the main door which saves us a job covering it.

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As far as the rest of the scene takes place we are using a long corridor upstairs and another room inside the pub to use as a bedroom.

We also wanted some outdoor shots however these may prove more difficult to avoid anachronisms as there may be cars or powerlines around the area. However we are lucky again in a sense as the village I live in is basically very quiet so we don’t need to worry much about cars going past.

I think the interior of the pub is quite an interesting area to film is as it’s been kept with a rustic look and there are some interesting features that we may take advantage of. For instance there is a peep hole that slides across on one of the doors which I think would make for a really interesting reveal of the father character so we may deviate from the storyboards (to be posted soon) and use an extreme close up of the peep hole instead.

66 – Locations

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The picture above is of the White Hart Inn which is a fairly old fashioned looking pub with a vintage aesthetic. I also happen to live there. So obviously this location is incredibly accessible to me. This is handy for our production as it’s obviously set in victorian times. Luckily the inside of the pub keeps to this aesthetic. The main bar is seen below.

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The easiest day to film in the bar is going to be the first monday of the half term which falls on the 17th of February. This is because the bar tends to be open from 12 onwards throughout the week. So to cause the least amount of disruption it seems logical to film on the monday where the bar doesn’t open till 5 o clock.

Some set dressing may be needed to do but this would just be simply covering some electric lights and moving some posters. Basically to avoid as many anachronisms as possible.

Also in the storyboards (which will be uploaded shortly) there is a sequence of shots at the beginning that depict the vicar character walking away from a church. Conveniently there is also a church in the village which is literally just up the road. A picture of which is below.

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There has been discussion in our group though on wherever or not to cut the church sequence from the film. However if we were to film it I think this church would be best but as an alternative there is Lincoln cathedral nearby which could make for a more imposing and more of a spectacle than this church. A picture of this is below.

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The intention of the church sequence was to quickly establish that the vicar is a religious character and to look up at a church in order to represent the idea of a high power and then shortly after to have a shot looking downwards at the vicar to show how little authority and power he has. In this case it would probably be more appropriate to use Lincoln Cathedral as it is physically much bigger and would therefore look a lot more imposing. However I am struggling wherever or not to keep in a shot like this as the religious aspect could easily be established through the costume of the vicar.

65 – Prop and costume list

The following is a list of needed costumes/clothing:

  • Large jacket
  • Black trousers
  • Black shoes
  • Dog collar
  • Red dress
  • Wooly shirt
  • Standard trousers
  • Misc. clothing for extras, nothing too modern or fancy

Props:

  • Briefcase
  • Beer glass
  • Ash tray

We have spoken to our schools drama department who have said they are able to supply us with costumes and while exploring they’re props department we found a briefcase that had a great rustic element to it so we will hopefully be able to use that as well. The main problem may be acquiring a vicar costume but I am fairly confident we will find one.

64 – Film Idents

An ident is a logo for a production company or studio that is usually shown at the start of a film and shows the name of the company(ies) behind the making of the film. These tend to be around 20 or 30 seconds long.

There are some incredibly iconic film idents which goes to show that studios can design them really effectively and with a particular ident at the start of a film there can be more expectations for a qood quality film. Many of the big production companies have kept their idents over the years as well and have been consistent as they know this ident acts almost like a quality stamp. The most famous idents have become extremely iconic and are well recognised by many people. However for the lesser known studios and production companies they’re idents can seem incredible generic which Family Guy makes a joke about in the following clip.

For our film opening we will create our own production company ident. I would like to make sure this ident isn’t generic which may be tricky and hopefully not as misleading as some of the logos in the Family Guy clip. Some studios have made really interesting idents that look great in their own right. One of my own personal favourites is Lionsgate who’s ident is below.

I think this has a really interesting look to it but with a soundtrack that doesn’t go over the top. It’s also more relevant to the name of the company than other idents. Also some times the ident is manipulated to suit the film better. A great example I remembered of this happening was with the ident for Universal in Scott Pilgrim vs the world which became 8 bit to match the real world meets video game theme throughout the film. This is below.

I think as our film opening is obviously a one off it would be best to make a film ident that has a sci fi feel to it and use a distinct feature to avoid being generic. If the ident is done well then it can have great potential. Maybe not in the scope of an A level media video but ah well.