Monday, 28 February 2011

The Pitch.

So before we actually make our movie, we had to pitch it to the rest of the class to make sure that they understood what was going on and to see if it would be successful. We made a presentation that contained all the important stuff for our movie. The loactions, the props, the actual storyline, music/SFX, a filming schedule and all sorts. Presenting our pitch to the class was fine (Goz did all the speaking) and we got some constructive criticism which we took into consideration. Let me give you a run down of our presentation.

The title: Echo
The treatment(or storyline): 
A smart businessman leaves his hotel, the seemingly routine journey to work is disrupted by a familiar face.
He leaves his hotel, and grabs a coffee from the local stall, things seem normal as old friend catches his eye, however, when he does a double take, she disappears. As he strolls through Millennium Bridge, he notices her once more and is mislead to think that she helps him as he drops his pen. As he carries on walking, he seems startled and worried as she brushes by him.
The Genre(and sub-genre) : Psycholoigcal Thriller
The Locations: Millenium Bridge, a coffee stall, Jury's Inn hotel lobby and St. Pauls Cathedral
Mise En Scene: Coffee, Suit, Briefcase, Red dress/ jacket, a pen and a red bag
Storyboard and animatic: (both which are already on the blog)
Schedule: The dates we're going to film
Risk assessment
Skills we've learnt
The Audience

I think our pitch went well. We were the fourth? group to go and it was interesting to see the other groups ideas.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Let say that we were making an actual movie and that we had a budget...

...we would have to create an advertising campaign :)
To do this well, it is important to know what is our target audience. We know that we want to target both males and females aged 16 up to 35. This means that we have a variety of people which gives us more freedom to target the audience that would normally not want to watch this type of movies. This could be done by showing the areas of the movie that is more attractive to them such as romance scenes to attract females and action scenes to attract males.
Also we would have to choose the types of advertisement (posters, banners, internet content) as well as the places to display them.

I think that putting it at bus stops near shopping malls would be a good way to attract female audience and using banners near a motorway can attract the male audience.

Trailers of the movie before romantic movies as well as action movies to attract similar audience. The trailers would require to show different sides of the movie, the feminine one and the masculine side of the film.

Using free advertisement such as groups on Facebook and Twitter is an easy way to save money and attract a wide range of similar minded people. This helps to spread the movie among people because every time someone joins the group their friends see it  and it spreads "through the word of mouth"

YouTube is a great place to advertise because it allows us to make free videos which could then be passed on from person to person and this way introduced to many people. Also it is easy to target specific audience with advertising because we can show a banner or a link to a video only next to videos that are relevant or similar to the genre or content of the movie.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Location hunting!

As shown on the slideshow shown in my previous post, we had to use a hotel lobby. Some said that this may be a problem as it may be hard to get permission from hotel managers to be able to film inside their building, however, our very convincing group were on a mission! 
When our lesson was over, we all marched to the nearest hotel to our college, Jurys Inn London. With out kind smiles and id badges at the ready, we strolled in a took a deep breath, as we walked over to the reception, the receptionists greeted us with smiles and listened to us politely asking to use their lobby. After going to speak the the manager, the kind receptionist returned to tell us the great news! 


The pitch!

As creative as we are (VERY =P) we have come up with a seemingly unique and effective idea for our opening.
We thinks it fits in with the psychological thriller genre very well and thanks to our classes helpful constructive criticism we have made a few changes to our editing and filming plan to try and help the audience understand what is really going on. Although in a normal feature length film, the story line may not be so obvious, for the purpose of this coursework, we thought we should play it safe.

In our pitch, we had a slideshow with most of the information shown on it, then a member of our group was nominated to do most of the talking, unsurprisingly... it was me -_-
Buutt, here's the slideshow! enjoy...

Our Pitch

This week we had to prepare a presentation about our movie. We had to include an idea for a title, sounds, props as well as our storyboards and the treatment. Every group would have to present it and then listen to comments from the class. There were many very good ideas but some had to be twitched a little, including ours.

I think that today went pretty well. It wasn't necessarily the constructive criticisms  which made us change the idea a little bit but the fact that we were successful at finding a hotel where we could film one of our scenes.

Our presentation:

I have not included storyboard in this slideshow because there is an animatic already on this blog:

There was also a hyperlink in our slide show ("check this out") to a short video which I've made in Adobe After Effects. This is still in development because it's too short, lacks focus and information but it's a start:

RESEARCH: Inspiration

Lately I have started to research movie openings. I have watched tens of movie openings over the past few days. I was looking for inspiration for our sequence but at the same time I wanted something different, unusual to the genre. I have seen openings for thriller movies but with sub-genres such as action, horror, adventure and drama. I didn't want to look at psychological-thrillers to have a wider choice of movies. Also we are open to change the sub-genre of our movie but we will try and keep to the original idea.

I looked at movies such as "Triangle", "The Next Three Days", "Buried", "Brothers", "The Box", "Resident Evil: Afterlife", "Winter's Bone", "The Lovely Bones", "Salt", "Knight and Day" and more.

The two openings that looked similar to what we wanted to achieve were in "Triangle", "Winter's Bone" and "The Next three Days". I especially liked "The Next Three Days", I actually watched the whole movie after watching the opening. This shows me that it was successful.
All of those openings were similar in some ways but different in others. They all created suspense and curiosity among the audience in different ways.

"Triangle" was mainly in a house, showing a mother and her child. We can clearly see that she is struggling. The dark rooms and use of close ups made the scenes dramatic and not the characters themselves. However there were moments which showed that something might not be right for example a door bell but no one was at the door.

"Winter's Bone" starts with really creepy, dark and old music which makes the opening very creepy from the beginning. Also the location looks quite dark. It's an old house/farm surrounded by trees. This isolation may suggest that evil things happen there ;-)

"The Next Three Days" is a bit different to the previous two. It starts with a flash forward which at the beginning makes no sense but as you watch the movie everything is explained. The flash forward was only few seconds long but it already made me curious what could drive someone to that (we could hear someone begging for life in the back seat while the main character was driving). The next scene was in a restaurant where two couples had an argument about women who are bosses. This would also make more sense later on. The next scene is at home. A family eating breakfast, being normal and in no way dangerous or creepy. However it's just then when the wife discovers a blood stain on her jacket and tries to wash it off. I really like the use of flash forward as it made me curious about the movie.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


As we know there are many ways of displaying titles. I thought about each and everyone of them and what are the pros and cons.

Our back-up opening is a narrative opening. It may distract the audience from the movie but if done well it will blend in as part of the movie making the film look better. The best would be to put the titles on during shots where not much happens so that no one would miss any action while reading the directors name.

We will definitely not use titles on the black screen as it makes the whole sequence a bit slower. Also this king of structure works better with thrillers in darker locations. It keeps the viewers attention on the titles and doesn't disrupt the movie. Things that should be seen, are seen. This is very basic but effective and simple to do but it won't work with our movie.

A highly stylised editing sequence takes lots of time to do but looks really great. It keeps the audience interested and doesn't have to be directly connected to the movie. However it works best for action packed thrillers. The video below shows a short stop-motion video made by me in year 11(the origami birds were representing dancers because those two projects were linked).

The music was used from YouTube's library but surprisingly it fits very well

I had very limited time to do it and no experience (which can be seen). The time-lapse in the background took me 5 days to make (the camera didn't have an option to take pictures by itself and the battery was dying every few hours.) I've captured 7hrs of pictures which overall looks ok but wouldn't be good enough for a movie. To make a good stylised editing sequence we would have to use more footage like this as well as other well edited footage which would be very time consuming.

Our last option is a discrete title sequence. I though of using Adobe After Effects to create an effect like shown on:

I have not used Adobe After Effects before but the tutorial is quite detailed and I think that I'm up for the job. This opening might not be directly connected to the rest of the title sequence but it might be connected to the whole movie (which we don't know). i think this effect will look really good and can give a bit spooky feeling to the relatively calm sequence.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Editing: Soundtrack Pro

Soundtrack Pro

It looks incredibly complex doesn't it? Thats what I thought when I first saw it. But it's nearly not as complicated as you think. There are two ways to create a soundtrack on here. One is an audio editing mode. This is where you can import sound clips or use ones already there and create a track of some sort. You can change the volume and add in fade ins and fade outs to it to make it sound pretty epic. The other way is called a multi track mode and this is where you can put different sound effects and instuments together to make a cool sounding track. With this one you can change the tempo and make it louder/ quieter and other things of the sort. It's a pretty useful programme and I think for our final movie, we would definately use this to make our spooky sound effects.  

Editing: Livetype

As well as using Final Cut Pro for our preliminary movie we used Livetype. Never heard of the programme? Well don't fear, I'll explain to you the ins and outs of it.

Lets start with Livetype. It's this programme (obviously) that let us create titles for our movie. We only made one, but we were obviously just testing it out.

This is how the screen would look when you open up Livetype. We obviously didn't want just a random title, we wanted it to fit in with our movie. Imagine how weird it would look if we just handed in a title for our prelim. So in the timeline at the bottom our movie would already be there. To make the actual title you type in the title and have the option to change the font, colour, size, animation and a bunch of other stuff. The titles are important remember? I did a whole post about them before, plus we're making a title sequence so we obviously need good title-making experience. Right? Thought so. There were so many different choices for us and we spent ages trawling through and experimenting with what looked best. We ended up with a slightly curly kind of font (because we couldn't really make up our mind. And we were running out of time) and added in a shadow because we had several black screen transitions in the beginning part of our prelim. It also made it lookd quite creepy looking. Which was what we needed.

One thing I learnt about making a title. It needs to be on the screen for at LEAST three seconds. You would think that three seconds is too long, but when I watched our final prelim, I thought it was abit short. But at the time of making it I thought it looked fine. So, I think five second titles would be okay. I think.


Just before we start posting our main ideas for our film opening I thought I should post a video that has inspired our group a great deal.
Although it is neither a film or an opening of some sort, this clip has given our group a seemingly great and unique idea for our opening. All shall be revealed sooooon..................

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Things to remember!

As we've received some great constructive feedback from our teacher, I thought we should really take note of the important things, and what better way to take notes than to do it on a blooooog?!

  1. Make our shots looooonnnggggggeeeeeerrrrrrrr! In the introduction of our preliminary film we showed shots of a dead body and added some 'cool' transitions. However, we didn't realise that the transitions made the clips a lot shorter (Whooppss!). 
  2. Also, we need to make the audience wonder what in the world is going on, give them clues about what's happening and give them time to really think about it. Really, we need to follow the rules 'Less is more' and 'slow and steady wins the race!'
  3. We need to show our titles for looongerrr! 
  4. A direct quote "need to shoot a greater range of shot types and angles in general."
  5. We need to remember to also use the ND filter when necessary.
  6. We also need to remember to use the correct type of microphone when recording vocals/dialogue.

Now.. the job of applyingg these notes to our real film! =| 

Wish us luck...Please? 

Thursday, 10 February 2011



Here are some thoughts on the prelim, there are some real strengths that you can focus on and try to use in your film and also a couple of areas that I think you could make little changes to improve.

I really like the concept of the fragmented opening shots of the body. The music you have used works extremely well with this and together the film  elements (sound/camera/editing/mis en scene) change the perspective of a grizzly murder scene from 'yuk, blood and a body' to something beautiful and serene. I like this because you are presenting a different perspective to the audience and that is something that could be followed up in an interesting way, it introduces the question,  who sees death scenes as a thing of beauty?

I really like that the camera is handheld and moving around. However, I think you have cut the shots too short in the edit - just 10 seconds all together! I think that scene could easily run to 30 or 40 seconds or indeed considerably longer if you slowly began to reaveal some details with the different individual shots. With these tight close ups of the body you are  witholding back the answers to questions that the audience want answered, who is the dead guy, where is he, has anyone found the body yet, how did he die, who killed him... you need to leave more time for these questions to develop. The poetry of this edit would also work beautifully for a title sequence, but you would need to think of whether the titles are going to come over the pictures and if so frame some shots in such a way that you leave an area for these to go in.

Speaking of titles, woah slow down! As a rule of thumb put them up for as long as you need to read them and add on two seconds for good measure. If in doubt have a look at some of the clips on the blog and time a couple of the titles to see how long they last. Also obviously make sure that black titles dont appear on a black screen!
Did you intend to have a jump cut of Azeemah approaching the door? Really? No I didn't think so. The angles and shot sizes are too similar between the shots. But the next shot (overhead turning the door handle) is great! Shots with innovative and original but still effective will really lift the overall quality of your film, let's some of them (if appropriate) please. I think you need to shoot a greater range of shot types and angles in general.

Shot reverse shot on the conversation are fine, however the framing is not good, far too much dead space in the frame on both angles. Remind me of this in the next lesson if you are not sure what I mean and we can have a look together.

BCU of Azeemah's eyes is good but I think you had the ND filter (sunglasses) on when you didn't need too and therefore it looks a bit dark.

Again nice BCU of hand holding pen, this kind of cutaway shot is really useful when editing, make sure to get a selection of these again.

The sound of the dialogue is echo-y that is because you are using the wrong type of mic. Dialogue is not really encouraged in your films, it is not really very typical in the first two minutes of a film opening. However if you must record some please ask and I or one of the other teachers will kit you out with the correct mic and give you some tips for recording dialogue.

That's it, good prelim, but now on to the real thing... good luck!


Evaluation Of Preliminary Film

Generally I think that our preliminary movie went quite well. We did all the things that we were set to do; a match cut, shot reverse shot and acknowledge the 180 rule, and we were pretty close to our storyboard/animatic which is important while making movies.
There were few areas where we could improve such as:

  • get rid of the fades at the beginning
  • cut the scenes better 
  • use the SD filter where appropriate 
and few other minor mistakes.

The fades at the beginning were meant symbolise heart beat and at the same time make the jump cuts less jumpy but in reality it looks quite cheesy and unprofessional.

Some of the shots are too long and awkward. After the "So you are the witness..." line, the shots are too long and it seems ages before the "detective" says " wanna tell me what you saw?"

There is another problem with that scene, the shot showing the witnesses eyes is too long but also too dark. We must have left the SD filter on which should only be used in bright locations.

I also think that we could have chosen a better font and transition for the title (as well as the title itself) because it is too stylised to the point that it looks mediocre.

However I do like some shots such as the "CCTV" camera-like shots from the corners of the room or the shot right above the witness as she enters the room. Also the scenes flow quite nicely and its easy to watch.


Dear All

Come and find me this afternoon or tomorrow and we will get your prelim film fixed and up on your blog. Unfortunately technical meltdown is a recurring theme when working in media but there is nearly always a solution.



Audience is the reason for making our movie. The people who watch the movie are the ones who we have to impress, potentially scare and keep interested throughout the movie.
Unfortunately thrillers are not very popular. Not many people know what exactly is a thriller. Thriller is a wide genre and that is why movies are often categorised by the sub-genre and not the actual genre. This causes thriller genre to be less popular among the audience.
I think that thrillers attract a wide range of audiences because of the fact that it can have a sub-genre that suits everybody. They are not gender or age specific.

I think that our movie would attract both males and females. Their age would vary between 16 and 35 year olds.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Hello, where is your prelim? I know you had problems with handbrake, but please get Micky or Marissa to help you get this sorted, you need it up here sharpish (before you start planning your actual film). I want to give you some feedback on it as well, so that you can use that to help you when making your opening sequence. I am in on Thursday, please make sure it goes up tomorrow and we can discuss it then, I will post a comment on this blog as well.



o_o "What's that noise?!" "not sure but its probably from Soundtrack pro!"

Soundtrack Pro, is another Apple developed software and is used to make it easy to compose tracks for personal use or film. In the programme there is a 'multi track mode' and an 'audio editing mode.'
In the 'Multi Track Mode' instrument loops and sound effects can be put in sync with he imported video (usually from Final Cut). Here you can also adjust the tempo of the music/sound as well as sometimes being able to change key!

'Audio editing mode' is where sound clips can be edited on their own ( ad the frequency spectrum can also be seen (like the picture on the left). Here, the audio can be faded in and out as well as the user being able to add in and take away segments and clips from the already available sound. Sound can also be reversed or normalised as well as reordered! Basically... you can change what you hear!

Once the soundtrack is finished you can export it to final cut and finish editing your movie. Ta daaa!


Livetype is the programme developed by apple to allow us film makers to add titles to our already amazing movies. It consists of a menu section (on the right) and your blank canvas (on the left).
Firstly, users must thing about and write down, what words they would like to add to their masterpiece. Then they should select their desired font!
Livetype also has a unique range of 'Livefonts' which allow the user to choose from a range of moving and animated fonts, these include fire and smoke... cool eh? :-)
You can also add effects, such as entrances, exits, glows and fades of selected words. so the world is your oyster fellow film makers!

For our preliminary film, we used a quite smoky, eerie font with a drop shadow to create an old eerie effect

Before we begin filming... remind ourselves of...Camera!

As the time film our actual movie come closer, I thought I'd post up a little reminder of cameras and camera facts and things we should generally have in mind when filming.

  • Remember your memory card! Although this seems like a generally easy thing to remember, people do tend to forget. and if they forget, then they are really filming for no reason because its not going anywhere =(
  • when filming, always try to keep the camera in a safe and secure place i.e; not on top of a sharp rock that's on a bent surface.
  • When keeping the camera on a constant level, it is always best to use a tripod. Remember to make sure the camera is locked firmly onto the tripod before filming to prevent any accidents as well as having a wobbly movie.
  • Before pressing record, you should make sure the lens is in focus and the object is in clear view (not blurry).
  • Make sure the camera is kept dry! If filming in possible wet conditions remember to keep an umbrella handy, London's weather can be very unpredictable after all.
to finish off, here is a video showing the basics of the video camera:

Who's gonna watch our film? The AUDIENCE!

The films compared with the gender of their usual audience.
In my opinion, Thriller audiences can mostly be categorised by their sub-genre, for example romantic thrillers such as 'Mr and Mrs Smith' would have a Female dominant audience, however action thrillers such as 'James Bond,' would have a majority of male viewers.
However, in 2009 Only 4% of the total box office takings were from the 'suspense/thriller' genre'. This is an exxtreemelleeyy low percentage. However, this could just be due to the face that most thrillers are not classified to be in this particular category!  For example, 'Enemy of the State' is a thriller film but can also be categorised as an 'action' movie. due to these low numbers, it seems as if the audience for thriller films is quite small.
The size of the audience can be due to the fact that most thriller films have a high age certificate. Sadly due to the context or nature of the movie, the certificate reduces the audience size even more! Making it even harder for thrillers to make a decent gross! 

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Now that I have finally been able to use the software 'Final cut Pro' a couple of times - and actually understood the concept and all the keyboard short-cuts - using the program has finally become easy!

Just like the Picture on the right, when using final cut, the screen is divided into sections, usually with 2 screens, the 'canvas' that shows the  the movie being edited and the 'viewer,' showing what piece of film you are planning to add. 
Adding video to the canvas is usually quite easy, I tend to just double click on the chosen clip (when its in the Browser section of final cut), but you can also drag it there. The viewer allows the editor to see and hear what the edited piece will actually be like. Here, they can adjust the scale of the movie along with cropping and colour refinement.
Below that, is the timeline. It consists of several layers - visuals and Sound - which editors can use to overlap pieces or to just give them a visual aid of what they are creating. When a video is in a higher layer to another, it takes priority and would be shown instead of the one below, however, if the editor changes the opacity etc., both videos would be able to be seen. The timeline is where the editor can add transitions and effects to the chosen part of the film.
On the far right of the picture is the contextual menu (shown also on the left), this is where the desired tool is chosen, here, the editor picks out the tool he wants to use to the video clips on the timeline, for example the razor 'cut' tool (which is the 6th option going horizontally).

To use the programme, editors must first load the wanted film and sound using the browser, then they must select the chosen section and drag it to the timeline, or double click to view it in the viewer! Then they must use the tools to either add effects or cut out/insert other sections as they see fit. They can then repeat this process with any number of clips they feel like they need, then they should add sound using the same process, simple!! 

Preliminary Match Cut Exercise

Week after making the animatic using jelly babies we could start filming.
All the footage from the camera in FC Pro
After getting the camera, SD cards and a tripod we went straight to the library to ask if we could use one of the rooms as an interrogation room. Yes we could. Because we did the animatic, we knew exactly what to do. To have a variety of footage that we can use we recorded each action many times from different angles, using different shots and with different lighting. I especially like the shot from above (below), it reminds me of shots used in movies with prisons or well... interrogations. 

Shot from above gives a feeling of being watched from every angle

Many of the shots that we filmed weren't in our animatic but we thought that they might look very good. Also some shots are examples of intertextuality i.e. they were used in movies from this genre and can be associated with them. The shot above and few other shots which we filmed from above (CCTV) represent a prison-like or a government institution.

We still have some editing to do such as adding sounds and text but making the animatic helps because we know exactly what to do and when.

The Black Swan - Analysis

Although the IMDB doesn't classify 'The Black Swan' as a thriller (, i DEFINITELY disagree!  In my opinion this five time Oscar nominated film is on of the most psychologically thrilling and suspenseful movies I have watched in a VERY long time!
Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers
The basic storyline (SPOILER ALERT) is that a Ballet dancer named Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) wins the lead in a production of 'Swan Lake,' a role that she is seemingly perfect for. However, she must also play the part of the swan's evil twin, which causes her to lose bother herself and her sense of reality.
This epic movie cause numerous tense moments and caused the packed theatre to both hold their breath from the tense atmosphere and to be hooked to the physical and mental pain that Nina Was going through.
My favourite, and probably the most thrilling scene is towards the very end of the movie, where Nina schizophrenia really becomes evident. After an Awful First act (where she gets dropped during the lift), Nina Goes to her dressing room and sees her dance rival Lily putting on Nina's Black swan costume that she wears for the second act. Here, Nina Switches! Her inner black swan takes over and she leaps on Lily, the two have a huge fight, during the battle, Lily turns into a twin of Nina (yes, wierd, I know). This causes Nina to freak out even more so she pushes her double towards the huge mirror on the wall, smashing it and using a shard of glass to stab her rival in the stomach!
Cool eh?
One of the Most suspenceful parts of the movie was a little later after this scene where Nina goes to retrieve the body of 'Lily' which she threw in the shower, as the dramatic music piles the suspense to the already tense atmosphere, the audience (as well as Nina) is shocked when the body isn't there!

All in all, a thrilling, mind twisting film, recommended to all regular film goers with an open mind!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A little bit of action

Right now, I'm watching Percy Jackson and the lightening thief. It's the movie on sky premiere this week, so I'm thinking why not write something about it? This movie isn't a thriller, it's an action/adventure family movie, but it has tense moments in it. And I'm starting to realise that all movies have that, just some are more subtle than others. So i guess this is a little commentary of one scene that I absolutely think is full of action (and a little bit of suspense). It's the scene where Percy Jackson and friends have just gotten a pearl from Nashville and are now in Las Vegas in a casino. They get offered Lotus flowers, something that puts them in a daze and keeps them there for five days.

So, eat Lotus flower. Fall under a spell, which makes them want to stay there forever. Or a while anyways. They forget that they have a mission to complete. Soundtrack plays. Pokerface by Lady Gaga. Good choice. It gives the ultimate party vibe. People are dancing and having fun. Another soundtrack. Tik Tok by Ke$ha. Then a spooky voice tells Percy not to eat the flower because it will *insert spooky voice* 'keep him there forever'. He has a conversation with a guy about a movie and learns that he's in...DUN DUN DUN. 1971. What the...?Waitresses keep offering him Lotus flowers and he always says no. He spots the last pearl. But before he can grab it, the bell boy person thing interrupts his thoughts of how to get it. He speaks into a headset and says "Percy Jackson is awake." Not in a creepy voice, but in a monotone kind of one. The close up shot of his face when he says that is the suspenseful part. Because everything goes sort of quieter, his voice loud and clear. His friends are still in a trance. So he wakes them up and tells them they have to run. The bell boy from earlier spots him ready to run and they begin to go after them. He grabs the pearl. And runs. Naturally. Mayhem begins. They start to attack the people who are out to get them. Man are they good at beating people up. Snooker sticks, crutches and all sorts. They need to get out. So Grover (one of Percy's friends) spots a Porsche sitting on a rotating wheel and says "In the car! In the car!" Best line from that scene. Easily. The best angle comes next. When they're in the car, the camera looks like it's being held by one of the actors so its shaky and keeps moving. My mind has one word running through it. Panic. Panic. Panic. The security people come in front of the car. I thought 'They won't run him over right?' Only partially right. They obviously cant injure the guy, so they do one of those faking-to-get-hurt-and-jumping-out-the-way-just-in-the-nick-of-time moves. Very unoriginal, but it gets him out of the way. Grover, puts his 'foot on the gas' as they would say and drives straight through the glass. I wonder how he passed his driving test. The amplified sound of the smashing gives me a second to think 'What's behind that glass fool?' and the next tells me they've escaped. Phew.

Planning: The ACTUAL preliminary movie

So after we made our jelly baby preliminary, the next lesson was were we filmed the actual movie. Finally. I didn't realise I had to be in the film, so when I found out I was like :O 'Noooo....' but I took one for the team. Just kidding. I didn't mind that much. Plus it was a good learning experience because I took direction from the 'directors' (Goz and Konrad) and had to wait for them to set up the shot before I had to act. It was pretty confusing and different when we filmed because we filmed the latter part of the film first, and then filmed the first scene if the movie last (mainly because we didnt have the blood with us). We then went guessed it, Final cut pro to edit. Here's a sneak preview of our movie (we still need to add some finishing touches).


The first screen shot is of all our footage. We took quite alot, because we had many great angles to get through. The next three shots are from the editing process itself, the first one having a CCTV type angle (thanks to the very tall Konrad), the second being a close up and the third a birds eye view type of shot. Those are just some. We have plenty more amazing ones. The final screen grab is of the timeline. If you look really really close you can see the transitions that we added in at the beginning.

A rule we learnt: The 180 degree rule. The picture below explains it all.

Planning: Making an Animatic

For our preliminary movie (a fancy term for practise movie) we created an animatic using jelly babies, before recording the real version. We took still shots with a digital camera to make up a storyboard containing the camera angles we were going to use in our actual preliminary. We had to make match shots, which is basically when you take shots from different angles and edit them together to 'match'. It was quite fun.

Look quite innocent, don't they?

Here are some shots from the editing process.

These are some of the close up shots of the 'dead' jelly baby. Sad times. The top image contains a screen grab of all the still shots taken. And the left part of that screen is where Final cut pro is open to begin the editing the process.
The initial task we were given was one person enters a room, sits down opposite another person and exchange a few lines. Doesn't that sound...well boring? To make it interesting we did some brainstorming and came up with the idea of making the scene like an interrogation because someone died. Morbid, right? We weren't gonna show you how the person died, no way. Just plenty of close ups of them dead. Then in comes a witness. Or are they really? We then skip to the 'witness' going to the interrogation room, where we use several different shots to add lots of suspense. Then the 'witness' sits down and has the smallest of small conversations with the interrogator.
With limited resources for our animatic we had to make the props and scenes out of paper. This resulted in the jelly babies falling off the improvised paper chair evey time we tried to make it sit. It was hilarious. I wasn't there to take the shots, but by the looks of it my other team emebers had a blast.


Friday, 4 February 2011

creating our preliminary movie

Making our preliminary moooviiee was indeed very fun! We had to make sure that we were following the guidelines of our animatic and staying clear of the 180 degree rule.

The 180 Rule: This rule is one of the most simple yet effective rules in film making. All it consists of is the fact that the camera can only stay on one side of the action, just like it's shown in the picture below. The rule helps the audience connect with he characters in the action gives a subliminal sense of understanding due to the full visual of the background of the characters.

We followed our preliminary movie as much as we could, adding a few more angles and shots on the stop as we had waves of inspiration flow through us! LOL We stuck to the same dead guy for the opening (Konrad), and used Azeemah for the Witness.We used the 4th floor corridor for the death scene which created a sense of eeriness due to its emptines (no wonder, getting up there is like climbing Mt Everest!).  

As usual, we used Final Cut pro  to edit our movie, HOWEVER, this time, we had the task of adding titles to our amazingaling movie. To do this we used Livetype pro, which was definitely a lot more complicated to use. but have no fear,  i shall blog about that in a moment! 

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Intertextuality in film, is when films or movies use ideas or scenes from other movies in their own film!
...also known as....copying =D
An example of a storyline that has been intertextualised is 'She's the Man,' staring Amanda Bynes  and directed by Andy Fickman, which is based on Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night'
Another example is the film 'Clueless' directed by Amy Heckering is loosely based on the novel named 'Emma' by Jane Austin.

In the world of thriller, one of the most 'thrilling' scenes of all time is used countless times in many films all over the world, this of course it the famous 'shower' scene from Alfred Hitchcock's film 'Psycho.' Many films such as 'The stepfather' and 'What lies Beneath,' have a tense, suspenseful scene involving a shower, this scene has made its way across our screens for decades and has become a trade mark for thriller movies.

Lights, Camera, ANIMATIC

For our preliminary movie, we had to create an animatic (a rough outline of our actual film containing ideas for shot types and angles) using jelly babies and a still camera. YUM! 
Our idea: A murder! We start off with a dead jelly baby, blood oozing from his torso, in this section we use lots of close ups before having a long shot to show the audience what's really going on. Then, (as a cool twist) we show that there is a witness to the slaughter! However, at this point the audience isn't clear on weather she is a witness of the murderer....tense eh? 
Then we see the witness outside a door, waiting to go inside to be interviewed, here we have a variety of shots from a range of angles, then the witness walks in, here we have a series of match cuts as well as shot reverse shots, always following the 180-degree rule of course. =) We then added the song, Make me wanna die - The Pretty Reckless, as it has an eerie intro and the lyrics seemed to fit the storyline pretty well! 
Here is our Animatic......

RESEARCH: Preparation for Preliminary Video

There are many types of shots, angles and editing techniques such as low and high angle, shot/reverse shot as well as "rules" that shouldn't be broken like the 180 degree rule to make our movie more professional and enjoyable to watch. No I will explain some of those.

Shots are very important while making a movie. They can establish location, introduce a new character or build up suspense. I will not write about all the shot types but I'll explain the basic ones which we will use in our preliminary video.

Shot/Reverse Shot

This is often used to show two or more people talking. It's basically a shot where the camera firstly shows one thing(or a person), then a second thing and comes back to the first thing. To make it clearer there is a picture explaining it a bit better:

Shot                       Reverse                       Shot

The camera shows the lady first, then we cut into to show the mens face and it comes back to the lady. It's used in dialogues because we often like to look at peoples faces when they talk. Also it gives a bit more action to the scene.

180 Degree Rule

180 degree rule is a rule that tells us that we shouldn't cross an imaginary line with our camera while filming two people. This line would go through the two people and the camera shouldn't pass through that line. This id done so that there is no confusion in the audience with the way that the actors stand and if they face each other or not. To explain it better this image shows the line and how it all works:
We can see that the cameras in the blank area can all work together but the camera 'x' can't. This is because if we look at the footage we can see that in camera 1,2 and 3 the lady is on the left side and she's looking to the right of the frame. If we were to use camera 'x' it would switch the women's location, she would somehow be on our right side and look in the same direction as the guy in other frames.

Match Cut

This is basically when we edit two shots together when one of the shot is showing some object or space and the other shot is showing a different (but similar in e.g. shape) object or space. This makes the two scenes continuous and linked together. This could be done to for example move from one scene to another scene in a smoother way. An example would be a famous match cut from "Lawrence of Arabia" where blowing off a flame from a matchstick cuts into a sunset.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

PLANNING: Preliminary Match Cut Exercise

Storyboard and Animatic

Even when we used jelly babies, the scenes look dramatic and scary.
Today we started to plan our test movie. We had to plan the shots, angles, lighting etc. to make a dialogue scene more exciting. Firstly in a group we were brainstorming the reason for a dialogue ie. friends meeting, a date or maybe just strangers talking. We have decided on a cime based interrogation. We used jelly babies to create an animatic by taking pictures with a camera and putting it all together to make a little movie. This can help to plan the video by showing the types of shots much easier. Also we can add sound effects and titles in Final Cut Pro which cuts down the editing time of the final piece.

Using two screens really helps to organise all the components of the program.
All the pictures we took in class for our animatic

jelly babies!

Preliminary Exercise - Screenshots