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Feedback from our Rough Cut.

1) Camerawork: The camera work was static in most of the scenes. Small shot variety which together with the static camera makes the scene seem prolonged and boring.

2) Mise en Scene: Haven’t used many props. Hood is good. Doesn’t look like they’ve used much lighting. Good variety of scenes. Clothes show age.

3) Editing: Two frames in one, two different shots at once. Disorientates the audience slightly. Really good transition from the ‘wall’ scene, worked really well as the character walks.

4) Sound: Quiet. Liked the beeping when crossing the road. -1.19. Could be used to create tension something similar to at the beginning.

5) Titles + Ident: Suitable font. Well fitted name, involve credits in opening sequence.

Response to feedback: After looking at our feedback we need to shoot our last scene again to make it more effective and less boring, including more variety of shots, shaking the camera for example. The two frames in one can claim us more marks in terms of editing but perhaps we need to change the two clips used to link them better and prevent audience confusion. Our sound needs a lot of improvement, maybe using garageband to create our own soundtrack. 

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Rough Cut

This is our Thriller Opening Rough Cut.

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Evaluation of Rough Cut

We had to make a rough cut of our thriller opening once we had uploaded the scenes/clips onto the Macs which we had previously film. For the rough cut we simply have to show what we want our thriller opening to look like, this includes clipping together the scenes in the correct order, adding an idea of sound and just a quick demonstration of the text (including font and style). It was an easy process to do without any complications. I feel it went successfully and as a team I think our rough cut meets the requirements and is good on the whole.

Our thriller opening begins in a dark low key lit room where the stalker hasd a photo-board of the victim, Nicole. We decided to use the board with photos in the opening as it gets the audience thinking and they realise what the film they’re watching is about. The audeince is also immediatley introduced to the antogonist (the stalker) and has already been introduced to a character they should fear. We used simple cuts at the start to create quite a tense atmosphere along with the mysterious and drone-like soundtrack, which we downloaded online.

When moving on from that scene we wanted to have a different effect, an interesting transition, a unique one. At the end of the first scene, set in the dark lit room, we see Mark (the stalker) walk infront of the camera and as he does we used a simple cut to show him walking past the camera but in a different setting in place. I really like this effect as it creates a nice transition and looks good to the human eye.

We wanted to use a variety of editing techniques to capture the audience’s attention and prevent them from becoming bored. In our rough cut we used the interesting transition effect, a split screen idea and began on our CCTV effect. We haven’t yet finished the CCTV effect to make it look real, this is something we need to do when Mark’s there as he is the group member who knows how to achieve the effect. I really like the split screen idea as it increases the awareness from the audience of the victim and her stalker.

To conclude, I am really impressed and happy with our rough cut. We met the critera and successfully comlpeted it. We worked well together in our group and were all happy with the outcome. Now we need to continue editing to ensure all the opening titles are on there, that the cuts are smooth and together and to complete different editing techniques such as the CCTV camera. We need to include better sound, perhaps make a soundtrack ourself using garageband. I’m looking forward to working together to complete our thriller opening.


Evaluation of Rough Cut

Once we filmed our desired scenes for our opening to a thriller film, we uploaded it onto the Macs at college and began editing the clips together in a basic rough cut edit using Final Cut Express. This was fairly easy to do as it was just a case of simply deciding as a group what particular footage we wanted and where we wanted it to go in the sequence. This was a straight forward process as we just followed our shortlist and storyboard as a guide of how we wanted the sequence to turn out like, so cutting up the clips and placing them in the right order was easy thanks to having the storyboard on hand. I believe it went well because we managed to use the best clips we filmed on the day, meaning the sequence will look better and be more effective. All members of the group worked well and efficiently together as we had an equal part in choosing the clips we wanted to include and use. However, if I were to make any improvements, it would be to film at an earlier date, so we had longer in the editing process to make sure we used the best footage we had out of the lot. 

The rough cut starts off with a close up of a board we created made up of pictures of our character as if she was being stalked, which we thought would be effective as the audience would get an insight into what the film is about, and would see from the perspective of the stalker. Close ups are used in the beginning of the film to inform the audience as to what the character who is being stalked looks like. On the board is written information about her, such as where she attends college. This gives character background information to the audience so they know more about her and can identify with her more.

During the beginning scene, we used low key lighting. This element of mise-en-scene created the desired effect of mystery, as it makes the film seem more mysterious as not everything can be clearly seen, giving it a sense as if something is secretive and is being hidden, which there is, which the fact that he is stalking this character. An example of low key lighting is demonstrated below. Image 

We used low key lighting by shining a light source (a large torch) on a gold reflector, which reflected the light onto the board which we stuck all the pictures onto and filmed. This created a dark and low lit effect which we felt looked good and fit in with the kind of atmosphere we were trying to create. 

When creating the basic rough cut structure, we edited several of the clips together to create a match on action effect. This was done by placing footage of the character walking down the street towards her front door, then another clip following that of her walking through the gate entering her front garden, then another of her finally reaching the front door. This gives continuity as it makes the sequence flow smoothly and correctly, and doesn’t confuse the audience. It also shows clearly whats she’s doing and in chronological order. 

In terms of sound, we applied a basic soundtrack which we had downloaded during the beginning  of the sequence in which the board with the pictures of the character are shown. This makes the film seem tense and the soundtrack used is a low pitch track which makes the audience think something menacing will/or is happening (which it is, as it is shown that he has been stalking her). To improve this, we will remove the downloaded track but use it as inspiration for our own track which we shall be creating as group using garageband for the final product, as we believe this will be more effective as we can make a track for the precise effect we want to create for the audience. In the beginning of the clip, we applied some simple credits created on final cut express. We used a dark red writing and a text named ‘Urban Jungle’ which we felt created an impact and fit in with both the thriller genre and the atmosphere we wanted to set. To make this more effective, we will create better and more credits which we will place in and around the pictures in the footage at the beginning of the sequence by making them on After Effects, which we had tested out before. 

Overall, we have met deadlines and worked well by compiling an effective and well structured rough cut of our opening sequence, and will improve it by adding effects such as bad TV on the CCTV looking shots, and different transitions. We will also create a better and more authentic soundtrack on garageband which we will use for the final product, and create improved credits for the final piece. 



Analysis of a Thriller Opening Scene (Zodiac).

The opening scene of Zodiac starts with the first Zodiac murder. The first murder is of a couple and takes place in a car.

The clip I found starts with another car driving up behind the couple’s car. We see a mid-shot of the couple turning and looking towards the car. We then see a view from the back of the couple’s car of them both turning around. This shot is effective as we notice the fear the couple are experiencing and we are almost put in the view of the Zodiac Murderer.

Artificial lighting of a torch is then used to shine through the couple’s car and is used effectivley to not allow the audience to see the Zodiac killer. This creates a mysteric atmosphere hiding the Zodiac’s identity. The Zodiac then moves around the car still holding the torch blocking lighting from his face.

The Zodiac killer then simply pulls out a gun and shoots the girl, still blocking light from himself. As we see blood splatter across the girl’s body the Hurdy Gurdy Man song, as previously heard in the opening credits, kicks back in. We see the girl struggle as she is repeatedly shot. I really like the use of music being added in here as it makes the deaths seem incredibly easy for the killer to commit and shows the audience it’s going to be quite a casual thing for him to do.

Once the girl is shot we then see a mid-shot from the front of the car of the killer moving away he then comes back and we see a high angled long shot of the boyfriend sturggling and attempting to get away but being casually shot by the killer. After that the Zodiac killer walks away, still shadowed out, and walks back to his car. As he does so the screen fades into darkness.

I think this scene is really effective as we never see any part of the killer that’d reveal his identity or a clue to who he is. The murders are treated quite casually with the use of sound and begins to make the audience fear the Zodiac Killer.


Analysis of Font and Opening Credits.

Here is the opening credits from the film Zodiac (2007). Zodiac was directed by David Fincher, who is known for directing Fight Club, Seven, The Social Network and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Zodiac stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Zodiac is about a San Fancisco cartoonist who becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

I really like the choice of font and style of the opening credits from this film, they’re different yet effective.

The films opens and we immeditatley see a newspaper used for the opening credits. We are straight away introduced into setting in place by the newspaper being called, “San Francisco Chronicle”. It’s an effective way to introduce the audience into the setting in place.

As the sequence goes on we see the camera scroll across the newspaper and zoom in to certain articles focussing on certain areas such as “Warner bros. pictures and Paramount Pictures presents” and blurring out the rest of the newspaper. I really like this technique used throughout the opening credits as it introduces the genre by showing a lot of mystery in the newspaper showing the audience they’ll be watching a Thriller/Mystery.

We also see a red marker circling and highlighting certain sections of certain articles which gives us the impression we should read them however the text is never visible for long enough. This is a strange technique which creates a slight confusion to the audience.

The font is a very straight forward plain font. It’s normal and very easy to read. It’s font you would find in a newspaper and had a sucessful effect in making the audience see what they’re watching is a newspaper.

The soundtrack is very effective as it links to the setting in time of the film. The song we hear playing for the opening credits is “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by British singer/songwriter Donavon. It was written and recorded in early 1968. The song works well with the film as the Zodiac killer case was in the 1970s and therefore the song would’ve been out at the time. The song creates an erie atmosphere to the credits and in a way completes the opening credits.

Overall I really like these opening credits as they show the audience the genre. They also have a Journalistic effect showing us the film will involve Journalism. I like the effects used to blur out the rest of the text and focus on certain areas to present the credits.

I would definitley use the Zodiac opening credits to inspire our credits and use of font.


‘Why Thrillers Thrive’ essay by Alfred Hitchcock

In Alfred’s essay about why thrillers thrive he says we watch thrillers so we can experience things we’d never dare to do or get away with even so we experience them “artificially” by watching thrillers to get ‘thrills’ that we’d never do in reality and firsthand. He claims that we do this as whilst we’re watching the violence or graphic images and thrills unraveling in front of us, we are safe and sound sat meters from a screen watching them. He also goes on say that we project ourselves onto the characters in order to appreciate them fully and understand what they going through. By this he means that we picture ourselves going through the situations that the characters in the film go through, and we relate the story lines and what’s going on. It is this way in which we engage with the film, and what distinguishes a film from a good film. 

Alfred says that we are aware we are safe in our subconscious, so it’s fine to imagine ourselves in such situations, and we get some thrill from picturing our lives in a different way than what they are day to day. He argues that the type of thriller in which the audience participates in is the one which has the characters which appeal to the audience pathos, and makes the audience empathise with those on screen – usually the ones in risk or at danger. He then goes on to say that the audience thrives on thrills which thrillers provide. He makes his opinion of horrors clear by saying that it is unnatural to provoke excitement in us humans through ‘exploit sadism, perversion, bestiality, and deformity’, and says that they are bound to fail as audiences are healthy-minded. 

Furthermore, he concludes by rounding up that the more exciting a thriller is, the better, and why the authentic thriller will thrive. 

By reading Alfred Hitchcock’s essay, you can see that he believes we watch thrillers as they offer us some escapism from every day to day life. This could be argued to be true, and if it is the case then we will take this into consideration when creating our thriller opening. We will do this by creating thrills which engage the audience. This will be done by having our protagonist so close to the stalker, but her still not realising that she is being followed. This will create suspense, as the audience will be able to see him following her, and feel empathy towards the female victim who cannot see that he’s there. It will make the audience put themselves in the victims shoes, and as they watch they will wonder what they would feel like if they themselves were being followed. 

In more detail, we will have a low lit room in the beginning with images of the girl which have been taken by the stalker, and we will show close-ups of those images. This will create suspense as the audience will begin to wonder who the stalker is and what he wants with the girl he is stalking. Having high angles and effects making it look like CCTV cameras will make the audience feel as if they’re being given special access to the footage, engaging them. 

To make sure the audience feel as if they’re the character, we will have over the shoulder shots of the stalker, so they can put themselves in the shoes of the stalker, and get everyone’s perspective of what is going on. Image


Thriller Poster Analysis

Posters advertising thrillers are crucial in advertising the film and giving the audience an initial clue of what the film entails or what it’s going to be about. Some posters reveal more about the film than some others. For example, the poster for the film Wicker Park clearly shows the audience that the film is based on a relationship with two people, but there is another character which seems to be jealous as she can be seen looking on the couple as they share an intimate moment. The character placed on the left is the one we’re supposed to identify with so the audience will know that we will learn about the character on the left which we do in the film.  The poster is mainly made up of warm yellows and orange tones, which makes the audience know it has elements of romance as that is the typical colour of romance. It also connotes that the film is warm and romantic, yet is still a thriller because of the character situated on the left of the poster looking on at the couple. It hints that she could be jealous or that she might try and spy in on their relationship because she her face appears to be a reflection, as if she’s looking at them through a window, therefore indicating she could be spying on them. Also, the two characters are looking into one another’s eyes, as if they’re not aware the other character is looking, showing even more that she is spying on them. This is voyeurism which is a convention of thriller and is seen a lot throughout thriller films. This indicates to the audience that they’re watching a thriller because typically in thrillers there is a character who tries and manipulates another character or other characters relationship. The font is white on a red background, and looks like an sketch of some sort, as if it was done in a hurry, giving the film a sense of fast pace and adding suspense. Image

The second thriller poster I looked at was the poster advertising the film Shutter Island. The poster is very dark, and the background is a mixture of dark black or blue colour. In the centre of the poster is an image of the character low lit with half of his face slightly hidden by the shadow. This gives the audience connotations that his identity is hidden or as if his character is unclear, like half of his face. The audience could link this to then be a psychological thriller, which what the film Shutter Island actually is. The character is also looking to the side, as if he’s looking at something in particular. The picture below the character is an island looks isolated, indicating the film belongs to the thriller genre as thriller films have a convention of being located in abandoned or isolated situations. The title is in bold and red, and looks slightly bloody, indicating that the film could have elements of violence or even gore, this also suggests that the film may have a certificate of 15 or even 18. The weather in the image is stormy, also a convention of the thriller genre, so the audience will definitely know that the film belongs to the thriller genre. Image

By looking at these two poster for two very different thriller films, you can see that typically of thriller posters they have to reveal a sense of mystery. With the wicker park, this is conveyed by the character on the left, as as people see it they will want to know who she is and why she’s spying on them, whereas with the shutter island, they’ll wonder who the ‘someone’ is that is apparently missing and what the shutter island is. Based on this research, I will make sure our poster for our thriller film will be also secretive and make the audience puzzled as they’ll want to know more and what’s going on in the film. I will also make sure dark colours are used, as in the Shutter Island one, mainly dark colours are used, and in Wicker Park, despite yellow and orange tones used, there is still dark undertones which can be seen throughout the whole poster. The main actors and directors are also clearly shown on the posters, which is crucial, along with the title of the film, so people know what the film is called without a problem. 


Classification Analysis

When films are created and finished, before they can released they must be classified with an age certificate. Linking back to my research, the people I asked say they prefer consuming thrillers which are certified as 12 or 15. Based on this I would say that the opening we created would be for a film that would be either certified as 12 or 15 as it would attract a larger audience as they’d be drawn in by the ambiguity and feeling that it can only be suitable for those aged 12 and above or even 15 and above. 

During this study of classification, I looked at several thriller films which are classified as either 12 or 15, or even 18. The first film I looked at were classified as 12, and they were Taken 2. This was rated a 12 as it had minimal if any swearing, and was not that violent, making it suitable for audiences aged a minimum of 12. There is not a very unsettling tone which would make the audience uncomfortable, making it suitable for a classification of 12. At 12, moderate violence is allowed but it should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if they can be justified by their context (for example brief sight of bloody injury in a medical drama). This means that slight violence but nothing too graphic can be shown. No dwelling on harming or suicide or rape/sexual violence can be made but can be briefly mentioned or implied. Infrequent use of strong language can be used but not a lot. 

For 15’s, it may contain strong violence, frequent use of strong language, strong references to sex and drugs, sexual nudity, portrayal of sexual activity, and references to sexual abuse. However, strong gory images are not frequent, if any, very rare. For a thriller certified at 15, I looked at Black Swan. This may not be very violent, but it has occasional use of strong language, and slight scenes of portrayal of sexual activity, distinguishing it between a 15 and a 12. 

And as for 18, they may have very frequent use of strong language, and strong violence, strong portrayals of sexual activity, strong blood and gore, and strong horror. I found that thrillers certified as 18 such as Taken are very graphic with strong displays of violence and blood, making it certified as an 18. 

For our thriller, I believe it would be certified as a 12 or maybe on 15 as the fact she gets stalked may scare some younger audience members, and in the main body of the film, it would get more intense with some portrayals of violence and use of strong language, perhaps making it be more suited to be a 15 opposed to a 12. 


Logo Analysis

Before creating our own logo for our film, I have decided to look at several examples of logos for already existing production companies, this will help influence the decisions made in our group. I decided to analyse logos for production companies that are known for their thriller films. One of these being well known production company Lionsgate, famous for thrillers such as American Psycho, Hard Candy, and Buried. Image

As you can see, this logo clearly indicates the name of the production company so when this appears before the film begins, the audience know what they will be watching and what to expect from the film as they may be familiar with films from the production company. The word lions gate is written in capitals and has a bold font. This makes it stand out, and makes it recognisable amongst audiences. The word has a slight 3D effect, making it stand out against the clouds background. The word is centred in the middle of the clouds, and has a white glowing effect around it, making it stand out even more. This makes the audience remember it well. The word looks as if it’s made of steel, which goes with the name ‘lions gate’ as gates are made of steel, or hard metal, so it goes with the name of the production company. The fact that the name is hovering in the clouds in the background gives connotations of dreams and makes it seem as if the films produced by this company will make you escape reality and that they take you away from the normal every day to day business. The name of the production company is a major factor within the logo, so when creating our production logo we will bear this in mind and make sure ours has a name so the audience can know who produced the film and will remember it. 

The second logo I decided to look at was Columbia pictures. This is because like Lionsgate, they are also known for producing several thriller films, such as Identity and Panic Room. Image

I have decided to analyse this because it’s a well known and established production company. I could take influence from this as like Lionsgate, they have also incorporated their production company name and made it a main feature in the logo. In this logo, they have used a woman holding up a torch and carrying the flag of USA, this represents Columbia and the United States of America, making the production company seem patriotic. This logo like the Lionsgate one also uses clouds, making the production company seem dream-like, and as if they make you escape reality, which links to my research, where the people I asked said they watched thrillers to escape reality, and if you were to watch a Columbia film and saw the logo, you’d think it would do just that. When designing our own production company logo, I aim to have the same effect on the audience. The colours are quite warm colours, such as yellows and oranges, giving a welcoming feeling to the audience, making them comfortable with watching the film. I also aim to do this when making our logo.