1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
2) How does your media product represent particular social groups?
3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.