Tag Archives: Nicole Atkinson

Nicole Atkinson Evaluation Questions

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

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2) How does your media product represent particular social groups?

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3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

IMDB Blank Template media

Here I have taken a template from a IMDB website, which contains information on films and tells people the basics about such films (such as who directed them, who stars in them, the plot, production etc). The template is of a page from this site, but I have put the information from the film that I created into the template, as if this database was advertising and showing the details of my film. This institution would distribute my media product because it distributes hundreds of other films across the internet, and from all different genres. Upon searching this particular database and institution, I found that they have a page showing the information and adverting many other thriller films, and in particular psychological thrillers such as Identity, The Roommate, and Shutter Island. All of these films are similar to mine, and they have a page on this website, so this is why they would have a page for my film. I believe that an institution such as Lionsgate would distribute our film as well, as this company is known for distributing many well known thrillers, so when the audience see that Lionsgate is the distributor, they will know what to expect. Similar works to mine that they have distributed would be Abduction, American Psycho, and The Day After Tomorrow.

4) Who would be the audience for your media product?

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Above is a link to the analysis of why I chose Empire magazine, and a film review that I believe would be found in such magazine for the film that we have created.

5) How did you attract/address your audience?

Above, I have included our opening sequence with a voiceover discussing what we did, all members of the group contributing to the script writing and the actually voiceover.

In the beginning of the opening sequence, we have used mise-en-scene to create a tense atmosphere to attract audiences as it’s a key element of thrillers and films belonging to the thriller genre. We have done this by using a reflector and shining a light on it, which reflects the light onto the board which we angled it at. This creates low key lighting, commonly used in thrillers, such as the thriller Identity, where within the first 5 minutes, low key lighting is a main feature as it creates a spooky atmosphere whilst the camera shows shots of different articles and pieces of evidence on the table, which is the same kind of feeling that we tried to create by using low key lighting.

We also used transitions between shots. This editing technique enables us to move swiftly from shot to shot, and also gives the audience a sense of prolonging as we used a fade towards the end of the sequence, this builds up suspense as the audience have to wait to see what happens in the next shot, attracting and engaging them with the film and what is going on. Straight cuts between other clips during the middle of the sequence are used to create tension because they’re straight and quick, giving a sense of pace to the film, addressing the audience and making them continue watching. Long shots are used to show the audience everything that is going on, and are used to show the board at the beginning, to show them the extent of the stalking, engaging them with the character being stalked as they can sympathise with her.

The soundtrack also corresponds with the effect we were trying to create and make the audience feel. We used various instruments and built up high notes and layered other instruments on top of each other. This creates a high pitched soundtrack, that makes the audience feel uncomfortable and on the edge of the seats, which they should be by watching someone get stalked, as that isn’t a comfortable situation, so it reflects what is going on on the screen.

Overall, we believe that our media product has successfully engaged the audience and attracts them because it fulfils the typical image of what a thriller should be and be made of, so we believe that we managed to attract the audience well, and the opening sequence would make them want to carry on watching the whole film.

6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?

Whilst creating the opening sequence of our thriller film, we used several pieces of equipment including a camera. Below is a picture of myself using the camera. When filming, we positioned the camera on a tripod. This made sure we would get shots that are still and static, making the sequence look authentic as if it what a real film created. It would also make sure that the audience get to see everything clearly, without having disturbance from the camera being unstill and shaky. We used several features that the camera held such as the ability to zoom in and out which we used to zoom in on a picture of our victim. This enables the audience to clearly see the character and learn about what she looks like, helping them identify with her. The only drawback we came across occurred when trying to zoom in whilst filming a scene, we found it would sometimes make it look slightly shaky and effect the filming, however we overcame this by being gentle when zooming in whilst filming. IMG_0269

The second piece of equipment we used and took with us when shooting was the torch. This soon become a vital tool we needed when filming because it helped us create the desire effected we craved when filming the beginning few scenes with the images of the character stuck to the whiteboard. We used a reflector, and shone the light onto the reflector, which reflected the light back on the whiteboard as we angled it towards it. We soon learnt that this created a low-key lighting effect, which made it look mysterious and slightly secretive, as if the audience was not supposed to see everything that was happening clearly, a common convention of the thriller genre. Using the torch and reflector together allowed us to create an atmosphere that was appropriate and matched what was happening in the scene, which was when the stalker was creating his board of images of stalking the protagonist. This is effective because it makes our thriller more realistic and engaging for the audience. IMG_0279

Once we filmed all the shots we had planned out on our shot lists and storyboard, we took all the footage and uploaded it to final cut pro, in which we formed a basic rough cut edit order by cutting the clips we wanted and placing them in a basic order for the opening sequence. This was a fairly easy process, and importing the clips and then editing on final cut was simple and I soon learnt how to use the software effectively. I learnt how to put together a series of clips in a good and orderly fashion, and once that was done, we began putting effects on different clips. We applied a ‘bad TV’ effect and black and white effect on one clip to create a CCTV camera like image, and this was another skill that I had picked up in the process. I also learnt how to add transitions between clips and titles, which we used by applying, fade in’s and fade outs on different shots to create a tense atmosphere, a convention of the thriller genre, which would engage the audience. Once we had completed editing, we converted it into QuickTime so it could be played and watched easily. I learnt to do this by following some simple steps, which just meant we would have to change several settings on the video, which was very easy to do. IMG_0287

We wanted to create a soundtrack, to have played behind the footage in the opening sequence, so we did this by using the software named Garage band. Firstly, we began by choosing appropriate instruments to add to the soundtrack, ones we believed would create the desired tense atmosphere. In order to achieve this, we used woodwind instruments such as a flute, and several string instruments and pianos. We also laid down a track we had imported onto the mac via freesounds.com, which delivered a very eerie and creepy tone to the soundtrack. By using garageband to create the soundtrack to accompany our sequence, I learnt how to use this piece of software as I had no real prior knowledge of it, so I have gained skills on how to add instruments and produce a soundtrack made of different instruments and pre existing sound clips. Overall, we managed to produce an authentic and convincing soundtrack that creates suspense to match the storyline within the footage. IMG_0286

Finally, we tested out creating credits on a piece of software called After Effects. We played around with the different types of text that can be used for the credits, and looked at what would be appropriate for our chosen genre and mood we wanted to create in our opening sequence. On this software, you can also animate the text that you create by having it do things such as fade in, or have come in at an angle. There were many different techniques that we found on there would look good, however we didn’t believe any would be quite right for the film we were trying to create, so created credits on final cut, by placing text on top of the footage and have it fade in and out to create an element of suspense. We chose not to use after effects for the credits and titles because we did not like all the texts that came with it, and found it was slightly complicated to use, and using final cut seemed a lot simpler and more effective, so we settled on sticking to final cut. IMG_0285

Overall, I learnt many things from all the equipment and software we used both in shooting and post production, which will benefit me in the future if I were to complete a similar task, and it has given me skills which may come in handy when creating more films or moving image. I believe we worked to the best of our ability, and that I grasped all technologies used, and picked up skills along the way.

7) Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt  in the progression from it to the full product?


Above is a prezi presentation I have created taking you from the very beginning of the task where we created a preliminary task getting to grips with different camera angles and techniques, and editing styles, to make a coherent and continuity error proof piece of footage. The skills I learnt from that enabled me to create a opening sequence to a thriller which I believe, on a whole, was successful, and addressed my target audience and fulfilled the conventions of thriller which I found are present in other thrillers from analysing other thriller opening sequences. On a whole, I believe the whole thing was a success, and I am pleased with the overall outcome.


How we worked as a group

For this task, I worked with two other members from my class to create a short 2 minute long opening sequence to a thriller film. Firstly, we chose groups then ran through some initial ideas which we could develop and use for the storyline for our whole film and opening sequence. At first, we argued on ideas and narratives, but shortly resolved them and settled on an idea, which all members of the group contributed to. Overall, the group and I worked well together, and whenever a disagreement arose, we quickly dealt with it by talking over everyone’s view and idea before it caused a problem or conflict. On the whole, because of a cohesive group that worked well with one another, we managed to meet all deadlines on time, with a completed product that we worked hard on and are proud of.


Evaluation – Voice over, script, task 5

Speaker One: In the beginning of the sequence, we have used a low angle shot looking up at a board of pictures of the protagonist, giving the viewer a sense of how extreme the stalking of this character is.

Speaker Two: A zoom in shot has been placed where the camera zooms into a picture of the victim, which tells the audience what she looks like – helping them identify with the character.

Speaker Three: Low key lighting is used in the beginning shots to create a spooky and tense atmosphere. It also makes it look mysterious as if you’re not supposed to see it clearly – making it secretive, a common convention of thriller, to leave the audience wanting more.

Speaker One: A shot of the antagonist walking past the camera is used a method os transition between one shot and another. This makes it look as if he in charge, giving him power, making the protagonist look weak and vulnerable.

Speaker Two: We have editted scenes using colour corrector, where we lowered the saturation and added a bluey-grey tint, making it look less welcoming and more tense and cold.

Speaker Three: Static shots of the character being followed enables the audience to get a clear view of what is happening.

Speaker One: Cross cutting is used between shots of the actual stalking, and the pictures of the victim on the board. This gives the audience more information about the character, engaging them as they can feel they can then identify with her.

Speaker Two: Another shot of the antagonist’s shadow blacks out the camera and creates a transition between shots, once again making him look in control of the situation, which he is.

Speaker Three: A high angle long shot of the female character being followed has been edited into a blacvk white effect, with a ‘bad TV’ effect also applied, making it look like a CCTV camera. This gives a sense of voyeurism, as the audience is giving priviledged access, engaging them with the clip.

Speaker One: A sound effect named ‘static’ has been applied under the footage of the CCTV camera to make it sound athentic, and replicate the sound of the camera cutting off.

Speaker Two: The soundtrack was created on garageband and gives a scary and tense feel to the sequence. The high pitched eerie sounds makes the audience uncomfortable and puts them on the edge of their seats.

Speaker Three: The last few shots are of the female character reaching her front door. There is a tracking long shot of her getting close to thge door. This following action replicates the following that has been taking place throughout the whole of the sequence, putting the audience in thew position of the stalker.

Speaker One: The last shot of the characters is where the camera ios placed as if it’s the door, and she moves slightly and the stalker can be seen going to grab her. The camera then fades to another shot of the board from the beginning. The audience is left with a cliff hanger as they do not know what will or has happened to her.

Speaker Two: Finally, the sequence finishes with a long shot fading in of the board from the start showing the extent of the stalking, making the audience empathise with the stalker’s victim.


Final Thriller Opening.

This is our final Thriller Opening.
As a group we think it went successfully.

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Lesson by lesson Plan.

Thursday 14th March: Begin editing again, re-arrange sequence and include our new footage to improve ending.

Friday 15th March: Sound. We need to make unique sound. And if we have time start to create an ident.

Tuesday 19th March: Finish creating the ident and make the effects including the CCTV effect.

Thursday 21st March: Make sure everything is running smoothly and editing is complete. Make tiny touch-ups to it. Upload our final cut.

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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

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. 



‘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.