Group 5 Finished Opening Sequence - Removal

Group 3C Finished Preliminary Task

Monday, May 24, 2010

Note to Moderator

Dear Moderator,

Thank you for the time you are taking to look at my blogs, I hope you find them enjoyable. My group blog is linked to this individual blog, in the 'Essential Links' list to the right. In that list, there is also a link to the blogs for the other candidates in my group and a link back to our teacher’s central blog, called 'BLK Foundation Blog', which has links to all the student and group blogs.

Here on my individual blog is the research, initial ideas and planning I did individually in the early stages of the project before getting into my group. You will also find my work on the preliminary task, including the video clip at the top, reflections on the development of the project as it progressed and my answers to the evaluation questions set.

The group blog is dedicated to the evidence of group planning and project development work as well as research does together that led to influence, inspire and drive our project.

The finished film opening sequence 'Removal' is linked to both blogs, and can be seen at the top of each.

I hope you find it easy to navigate through both of my blogs. Everything is organised in date order from the start of the project in November 2009 until we finished in March 2010. The same labelling system is used on both; the 'Important labels' encapsulate the research, planning, production and evaluation work completed for the main project, as well as the preliminary task work. On the group blog, individuals were labelled when responsible for personal work, otherwise the 'group work' label is used.

Best wishes and thank you!

Claire Ruth Louise Buswell

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I've been fired (as the project is now finished). Well... We've got through every extreme, from fallen trees to broken legs and now its all over...
The blog is closed, so...


Friday, March 26, 2010

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

Looking at my preliminary task evaluation and film, there are many improvements I have made from it to my final piece. The preliminary task also taught me many skills that I found very useful during this final part of the coursework project.

Improvements made since the preliminary task:

  • Here is an example of taking the criticisms of the prelim and improving them in the main task. We focused on improving the framing

  • Above, in the prelim there is blank space above the character which becomes tightly framed at an interesting angle in the final film.

  • In the prelim, the characters expressions can not be seen and so the conversation and plot become confusing.

  • In the main task we focused on maintaining sight of the characters face and expressions, and if not her/his face at least showed what they were looking at (e.g. the plug as seen below)

Useful skills learnt during/as a result of the prelimary task:
  • Took the reflections on the preliminary task to spend a long time as a group on the storyboard to ensure that we were all working towards the same goal, making the filming/editing process more efficient
  • I learnt from the prelim that I do not make a good actor, and felt comfortable and highly productive working behind the camera as a director/sound technician/camera operator/director's assistan
  • We prepared our actors/location in order to avoid any clutter/confusion
  • We spent more time in this project getting to know one another in the group to maximise the group dynamics. This meant that if individuals had a problem, it could be voiced and dealt with, unlike in the prelim task. We also all supported each other, motivating the group to keep going towards the end of a long filming/editing session
  • We aimed to display all of the valuable continuity editing techniques learnt, and in particular match on action between the shots as the character moved around
  • We were more aware of listening into the headphones and using the microphone to record all the necessary sounds and removing unwanted background noise

6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this project?

With the exceptions of when members of the group were acting, we made sure to equally split the amount of time spent using/learning about both the hardware and software during the project. Personally, I particularly learnt about the different camera movements and techniques and options avaliable on the editing software.

Hardware used in our coursework project:
  • Canon HV30 camcorder (to film, frame and create focus)

  • Canon DM50 shot-gun microphone (to get crisp sound recording, for example picking up and putting down the mug)
  • Jessops 327 tripod (to get steady shots. Personally used it for the handheld sequences to gain 3-points of support to maximise stability and the panning shots to create a smooth effect)
  •  Sennheiser HD201 headphones (so the sound technician could check for unwanted feedback/noise etc.)
  •  Sony Mini-DV tapes (to record our footage)
  • C6 Pag lights (to enhance the light and create interesting shadows in the basement)
  •  Slik 6050 dolly (to create a smooth track, for example when following victim in basement)

  • Canon BP 2-L24H and 2L13 batteries
  • CanoScan 8800F Scanner (to scan paperwork)
Software used in our coursework project:

  • Adobe Flash (the fallen tree animation)

  • Photoshop (test out the titles font

  • After Effects (to animate the titles)

  • Adobe Premiere CS3 (to edit our film)

Me and Jacob at the editing suite, working on the 'through the floor' shot

Me and Jacob preparing for the corridor shots. I am the camera technician, and am checking the framing with the director of the shot, Jacob.
    To edit our film, we all used Adobe Premiere Pro. Below shows our work in action and the various parts of the programme we found particularly useful to create our film.
    (click to enlarge)

    1. We used the clapper board in order to easily identify the shot and take to insert efficiently into our sequence

    2. We used bins and labels in order to organise all the files used in our project (titles, sound fx and music, film clips etc.)

    3. We used the 'constant power' tool between two shots next to one another that were intended to show a smooth cut. The sound enhancement made the sound smooth between the shots, improving the continuity editing technique we used

    4. When editing the sequence individually, we used a seperate timeline in order to show the rest of the group the changes to approve before changing them in the acutal opening sequence. This allowed for maximum time efficiency and time alone for each person to experiment with the editing suite

    5. We used buttons on each individual clip in order to raise/lower the sound level or opacity in order to gain the right visual and audio balance between each track

    6. We used a the editing technique of 'zig-zag' editing so you can clearly identify when one shot becomes another, making it easier to edit

    7. We overlapped two music tracks to increase the richness and therefore the tension in the soundtrack to build the sequences tension and drama

    8. The sound level was important to keep an eye on to ensure it stayed in the green area as if it went red the sound feedback was too loud, and if it was yellow it wsa inaudible

    9. The seperate screen was used to preview the final sequence in order to see what the chnages made would look like when finished

    Using our camera, we experimented with the manual focus to see what effect it created. In this shot, we liked the effect as the move into focus connotes the characters realisation and also gives the sequence a cinematic look to it.

    We shot each shot from a variety of different angles and with the basement shots experiemented with different placements of the pag lights. Here is an example:

    Above, we lit  the shot from behind. We thought the halo effect looked good to enhance the connotations of the victim, but at this crucial point we decided that her facial expressions really needed to be emphasised, so we chose the shot lit from in front (see below)

    5. How did you attract/address your audience?

    We attracted and addressed our audience both through features of the film/genre/sound effects etc. as well as choices about the films institutional identity, marketing techniques and rating.

    • (0:00 - 0:14) is the reactions to the animation. From the audience feedback, we found the animation appealed for making the film more proffessional
    • (0:15 - 0:23) the movement through the floor got particularly good reactions for its originality and fact it placed the villain directly underneath the victim

    • (0:24 - 0:27) shows the reaction to the surprise ending, appealing to the audiences enjoyment of fear and suprise (see below)
    • (0:28 - 1:15) show the reactions of one group to the final basement section of our film. This shows the appeal of the revelation of the enigmatic features shown earlier, and the enjoyment of the tension and suspense created

    We chose to have a 15 rating as this appeals to the target audience (15>) as it is scary and controversial enough without alienating a significant portion of the teenagers we are attempting to reach

    Sound Effects:
    A key audience appeal within the opening sequence is the sound effects we used.
    • We chose to enhance the scenes with the monster with the heavy breathing, creating a dramatic tension effect
    • The score (gloomy room, northern spectre and remote location) was subtle and fairly so as not to distract the audience from the action, but was enough to create a sense of unease and mystery. We overlapped some of the sound tracks to distort and enhance the music to increase the tension and the vital moments
    • We initially added a scream after the attack but then decided that without, the end was far more potent as it created enigma and mystery, as well as being more suitable as just an opening to the rest of the film. This tapped into the audiences desire of fear and suspense
    Audience Response:
    (results from questionnaire

    Appealing parts of the sequence for the audience were
    • The ending attack
    • The basement
    • The villain (we designed the villain to appeal as he had many conventional aspects taken from our research into the genre, but the new aspect of the disability gave the film something unique)

    4. Who would be the audience for your product?

    Our original intended audience remains much the same, but due to changes in the film some changes have been made:

    Feature of AudienceOriginalChange
    Core audienceIndie/alternative young people/teenagersIndie/alternative young people/teenagers 
    Secondary audienceN/AMasculine, film fanatics
    Preferred genresHorrorHorror, psychological thriller
    Other media useOur film would appeal to those who enjoyed...
    ...the films - Blair Witch Project (Myrick and Sanchez, 1999), Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2007) (gritty, low budget horrors)
    ... the television - Spooks (Wolstencroft, 2002)
    Our film would appeal to those who enjoyed...

    ...the films - as well as horrors, psychological thrillers such as Se7en (Fincher, 1995) and Donnie Darko (Kelly, 2001)
    ... the television - Spooks (Wolstencroft, 2002)
    ... the magazine Empire
    OtherFocusing on the British cinema nicheAiming for a similar, widespread/global audience spread via the internet as Paranormal Acitivity (Peli, 2007) has recently demonstrated

    3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product? Why?

    We designed our production/distributing companies institutional identity by reflecting upon our  target audience, genre and film style and based our companies around real-life film industry companies with similar institutional identities. Below is a summary of our brainstorming session about each company.

    Black Cat Productions logo:
    The sketchy, spindly writing connotes the eerie, mystery of the villain and style of our film while the stark contrast of white on black makes the title stand out to the viewer

    Fallen Tree Studios Animation:
    This animation was done in the style of the animations done for real distributing companies, explaining the name (such as Universal and 20th century Fox)