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)

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

    The film VICTIM represents three social groups: Gender, Age and Class. The film VILLAIN represents one social group: Disability (both physical and mental)

    We represented these social groups due to the research we did earlier on about film victims.

    The female representation challenges conventions through the masculine qualities to her character.

    Similar representation of age as the teenagers shown in the horror films such as Friday the 13th (Nispel, 2009) and The Blair Witch Project (Myrick and Sanchez, 1999)

    Dress code of the t-shirt, shirt, jeans and trainers all connote her age as well as her casual poture and facial expressions

    The girl is a represented of the middle classes via...

    We chose the mental disability from the research we did earlier on about film villains, and saw an USP in making him physically disabled, as the majority of cases the disabled person is a victim, for example in Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954) and Misery (Reiner, 1990)

    In this representation we use the conventional horror genre signifier of mental disability and developed and challenged it by adding the physical disability aspect.

    He also represents mental disbility, a common signifier of the psychological horror. We showed this through his appearence and unexplained actions. The appearence was inspired by iconic film villains.
    •  The greased hair and smart jacket from The Dark Knight's Joker (Nolan, 2008)

    • Leather gloves from Freddie Kruger (Craven, 1984)

    • Heavy breathing and ECU shot to connote his distorted, twisted personality 

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

    We chose the horror genre and the sub-genre of psychological thriller, and aimed to display this through every part of the film, both by using and challenging the genre's conventions.

    The work we did on Levi Strauss's narrative theory of binary opposites was very influential in incorporating many of the signifiers and iconography of the psychological horror/thriller genre.

    • Good vs. Evil
    • Hero vs. Villain
    • Light vs. Dark
    • Female vs. Male
    • Cleanliness vs. Dirty
    • Quiet vs. Loud
    • Stable vs. Unstable
    • Vunerable vs. Powerful
    • Ability vs. Disability
    We combined all these aspects by partially using the conventional narrative pattern of Todorov to introduce our style, characters, themes and location but using the genre signifier of suprise by adding a twist at the end.
    Our opening sequence fills the functions of introducing the...

    • Style (gritty realism) by presenting many key genre and style signifiers and iconography and using realistic lighting/background sounds.

    • Location (house in the suburbs) and the characters placement to one another (through shots like the 'through the floor shot' early on)

    • Villain (enigma code used with ECU on face, shadowy lighting, mysterious/unexplained actions and objects)

    • Genre (psychological horror) via the signifiers of the attack, tension building music, scratched/spiky/spindly titles and shadowy/contrasting lighting)

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010


    Here is an introduction to my project, the opening sequence and the process that the evaluation is based upon.

    Feature of Project Summary
    Storyline of Opening SequenceTeenage girl is moving into her new house. She brings in a box, puts the kettle on and goes into the garden to put the flowers outside. The monster, a young male who is physically disabled, stalks her and leads her into his basement where she is cornered and attacked 
    Storyline of FilmThe rest of the film expalins the back story of the villain, intercut with the back story of the next woman to move in. She is no victim, and seeks to drive him out of her house and expose his criminal activity
    GenreHorror, sub-genre indie horror, themed with stalking, obsession and voyeurism
    Target AudienceIndie/alternative young adults and teenagers that enjoy being challenged and discussing controversial topics
    Production 'Black Cat Productions' is a company that specialise in creating low budget, gritty British thrillers that challenge and develop conventions. They have a similar industry identity as DNA and Qwerty
    Distribution'Fallen Tree Studios' is an independant distributor that seek to target young adults/teenagers. They have a similar industry indentity as Icon and Pathe
    CastVictim - Wanda Dunham
    Villain - Joseph Lane
    Film CrewWanda Dunham
    Claire Buswell
    Joseph Lane
    Jacob Vydelingum
    LocationSuburban house (corridor, kitchen, garden and basement)

    Thursday, March 18, 2010


    Today was our final production deadline and we have had our opening sequence snagged and signed off.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Re-Shoot Report

    Results from the re-shoot:

    • All shots went well and have fitted into our sequence, so we now have all the footage we need
    • As we tried a few different styles of lighting and camera angle, we are now deciding which version to use in our final opening sequence

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Main Shoot Editing Report

    • The vast majority of the shots worked well and the general sequence looks good as far as plot and continuity is concerned
    • We have drawn up a re-shoot list and have decided as its only 5 shots to shoot, we only need one 4 hour slot
    • We have now started to think more about sound effects and music that we need for the final sequence

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Main Shoot Report

    Results from the main shoot:

    • It went very well as we got all our shots finished and how we intended them
    • The new location (more cleared with added boxes) worked well and it now looks like she is moving in
    • We shot every scene all the way through from multiple angles to ensure we can have perfect continuity and a number of cutaways
    We are now starting to put the sequence together, and will discover if there are any shots needed for the re-shoot session next weekend

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Titles Research

    I used this opening sequence to see what roles they have on an opening sequence of a similar genre and how they word the titles.

    We were also inspired by these fonts, and liked the way they branded the film but will still subtle, a look we also aim to achieve.

    Titles shown:

    • Title
    • Actor x8
    • Casting x2
    • Costume designer
    • Associate producer
    • Visual effects supervisor
    • Music by
    • Music supervisor
    • Co-producer
    • Edited by
    • Production designer
    • Director of photography
    • Executive producers x3
    • Produced by x2
    • Written by
    • Directed by

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Editing Report

    Results from creating our rough cut from the footage filmed at the practise shoot:

    • There are severe continuity errors (e.g. the villain and victims paths repeatly collide)
    • The lighting at several points in the basment is too dark
    • The kitchen is not cleared away enough for her moving in

    • We have gone through each shot from our previous shot list, making notes of things to change for the main shoot this weekend, including lighting and camera framing
    • We have changed the storyline to include her leaving int the garden in order for the plot to make sense
    • We have plans to clear the kitchen more thoroughly, and place more cardboard boxes around to ensure it is obvious she is just moving in

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Practise Shoot (2) Report

    Results of yesterdays practise shoot:

    • In the 8 hours of filming, we managed to get every shot done successfully
    • The location and actors definately work
    • We enjoyed working together and made a good team
    Things to think about:
    • The lighting became a problem, and may have to be reconsidered for the actual shoot
    • After making the rough cut, the final changes can be discussed for the actual shoot 

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Planning Report

    After closer inspection of the plan B location of Wanda's basement we have decided that it is a very suitable location and would mean only a few amendments to the opening sequence plans have to be made.

    • Instead of a dog walker discovering the villain in a shack, a girl newly moving in to her house finds him in her basement
    • The new working title is 'Removal', referring to the removal men moving her into her new house and the removal of her life

    We have begun planning for the new practise shoot this weekend.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Idea for new plan

    Due to the unforseen circumstances of the practise shoot, I have now begun to think over some of my initial ideas as replacement ideas.


    This idea was inspired by the 'fridge cam' shots in the opening sequence of a previous years project (below @ 1:04-1:10)

    Following this, my idea for an opening sequence was to follow the victim around a house, performing every day tasks but cutting from, for example 'fridge cam' and 'tv cam', making it obvious that someone has bugged her house. In the background, heavy breathing and muttering can be heard from the person watching her walking around. Towards the end, the voice begins to say 'thats it, come this way', building suspension. Then she walks into a room, and instead of a monster, her boyfriend is sitting at a computer, showing to the audience that he has bugged her house.

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Practise Shoot Report

    Today was our practise shoot, and from it we as a group have concluded the location is now unusable for the following reasons:

    • A tree has fallen down, flattening part of the location and caused us to question our personal safety when filming
    • It was raining so much that due to being severely soaked and fearing the effect on the equipment we had to leave after around 2 hours, having shot a few shots without much sucess due to rain on the lense
    • From the rain, the mud surrounding the location has got to extreme levels and so would be impossible to spend more time than we did on location
    • It was impossible to get Joe there safely either in a wheelchair or on crutches, and so he could not be there when filming this morning, meaning if we actually filmed he would miss out

    After leaving the practise shoot early, we had an emergency group meeting and decided on the following:

    • Further investigation is going to be made into our plan B locations to maintain the storyline we are currently using (Wanda's basement and a local community hall)
    • If these locations turn out to be unsuitable, we will re-plan and prepare another initial idea
    • We will have the new practise shoot on the next weekend, having prepared the new idea next week

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Hollywood Trip.

    From today, 12th February, until the 20th February I declare this blog CLOSED due to the Hollywood trip.

    Next post will be reporting on the practise shoot that is schedueled for the 21st of Feburary.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010


    This is the list of props needed and who is bringing them for the practise shoot coming up


    • Big coat (JOE)
    • Pinstripe trousers (JOE)
    • Surgeons' sanitary gloves (CLAIRE)
    • Facepaint (WANDA)
    • Hair wax (JACOB)
    • Scarf (JOE)
    Shack props:
    • Table (CLAIRE)
    • Lantern/lamp (CLAIRE)
    • Bottles (CLAIRE)
    • Jars (ALL)
    • Papers (JACOB)
    • Photos (WANDA)
    • Assorted range of knives (CLAIRE)
    • Doll (CLAIRE)
    • Sheets (ALL)

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Continuity Techniques

    REMINDER of techniques for the shooting/editing sessions coming up

    30 Degree Rule:
    If the camera angle changes by less than 30 degrees (with the same framing) viewers may notice a visible jump cut, and so the sequence looks 'jumpy' and confusing

    180 Degree Rule:

    When cutting between two shots in the middle of a sequence, ensure you match on the action to the action flows without jumping ahead or backwards in time

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Location Test

    We visited our location as a group to test our camera angles, lighting and run through the final plan for the opening sequence.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Report from Proposal

    The proposal today was very succesful, and our idea is signed off by Miss Blackborow.

    Things to think about:

    • Possible plan B location in case of problems with shooting out doors
    • Think more about exact style with camera/editing/lighting etc.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Preperation for Proposal

    As a group we have discussed and finalised the following aspects of our film for our proposal tomorrow.

    • Target audience
    • Opening sequence plot
    • Film plot
    • Characters and actors
    • Location
    • Influences
    • Institutional identity
    We then put all this together and summarised it into a handout for the class to read during our presentation. We thought a flow chart was the easiest way to summarise the plot and a sketch of the characters best purveyed our ideas.

    Joe, Jacob, Wanda, Claire Proposal

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Target Audience Research

    Horror films primarily appeal to teenagers and men. As our horror film features teenagers, they will be our target audience.

    This means we need to think carefully about certification as we do no want to alienate our audience

    • A 12 certificate would increase our potential audience in cinemas, however will decrease its potentcy to scare older audiences
    • A 15 certificate seems ideal as similar films in the genre (e.g. paranormal activity) have gone for the same rating as it keeps it scary without alienating their target audience
    • An 18 certificate would allow for maximum horror, however may cut out a big proportion of the teenage audience, who are proved to be the most frequent cinema goers and so a big section of cinema profits may be cut out

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Genre Themes and Characteristics

    Having decided and reviewed our groups rough initial ideas, research into the THEMES is required to choose the finalised idea.

    The chosen genre is horror, and the themes included are:

    • Obsession
    • Voyeurism
    • Stalking/tracking
    • Mystery
    • Murder/death

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Initial Ideas

    Initial Idea 1

    • Influences: Recent success of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project
    • Plot (for opening): Young artist/film maker explores the location with a camera. A figure can be seen in the corner, curled in a ball, rocking forwards and  backwards. Protagonist tries to communicate, but lack of response causes them to back away. As they turn to get out, a sillhouette can be seen blocking the doorway. This immediately cuts to the title, possibly with a scream effect. This sets up for the plot of the rest of the film where a group find the camera and footage and try to track this villain down
    • Location: Abandoned changing room in middle of forest (as seen below in stills taken at night of location

    Initial Idea 2
    • Possible Title: Bugged
    • Themes: Stalking, tracking, obsession, voyeurism
    • Plot (for opening): Woman walking around house, seen through the view of various cams (fridge cam, door cam, tv cam etc.) A 'voice over' is heard following her movements, muttering, breathing. She then goes into a room, and her boyfriend is seen on a computer, and his voice is recognised as the one tracking/stalking her movment

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Moodboard of Film Victims

    Possible features we could use:

    • Young and teenage - provides a connection between the character and the young target audience
    • Often female - suggests vunerability against the male villain
    • Light coloured clothing, hair and skin - all features that connote innocence and vunerability

    Moodboard of Film Villains

    Key siginfiers/possible features we could use:
    • Long/greasy bedraggled hair
    • Masks
    • Gloves
    • Knifes/weapons
    • Smart clothing (long coat/suit)
    • Hats
    • Face paint
    • Sallow/pale/yellowing skin

    Thursday, January 21, 2010


    Here on is my film opening coursework and I am working in a group with Wanda, Jacob and Joe