Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Evaluation - Finished Product

Evaluation - Question Seven

Looking back at your preliminary task (the continuity editing task), what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?

Since my preliminary task I feel that I have become a lot more confident throughout the processes of research, planning, production and post production of a media product. When you compare the preliminary task and the film opening the improvement is evident.

First of all, we had a lot more time to research and plan for our film opening. We all felt that our preliminary task was rushed, so the final product wasn't as good as it could have been. We were more organised throughout the process of creating our film opening, therefore we had more time to prepare before shooting. This improved our time management and we felt more relaxed about the process.

One noticable change was the addition of different shot types. In the preliminary task we didn't use many shot types and therefore didn't have as many cuts. In contrast, our film opening featured shots of different lengths and angles, which meant we had a lot of cutting. This improved the pace of the opening and made it a lot more exciting to watch. We also felt more confident in using match-action sequences, which made the whole scene so much more interesting. We tried experimenting using unusual angles and taking risks. Also in our preliminary, almost every shot was shot using a tri-pod, making the shots static and boring. For our film opening we tried to move away from using the tri-pod and taking handheld shots. Even though many of these shots didn't make it into the final product, it was a lot better to have more shots than we needed. This was a lesson we learnt from our preliminary task as we felt limited to the footage we could use. If we found a mistake, we'd have to keep going to film again, so for our film opening we'd always film at least five takes of the same shot.

More footage meant we had the freedom to edit more in the post-production process. For example rather than just have a medium shot cut to a tracking shot. We could use a medium shot, cut to a close-up, cut to an extreme close up, back to a medium shot, then cut to the tracking shot. This meant that the pace of our film could be increased which worked really well when we added music.

The choice to add music came from our experience with our preliminary task. We decided that our preliminary task lacked atmosphere without music so, for our film opening we really wanted to use music. We used a royalty free website to find our music on and downloaded it straight onto our computers. We also edited the overall look of the footage. For the flashbacks we changed the saturation and contrast of the shots, so that the audience were able to differentiate between the past and present. 

    Before:                                             After:

We were also aware of the lighting as we shot. During our preliminary task, we shot one scene infront of a window. This meant that, when I stood infront of the window, you could just see a silhouette, and the features were hard to make out. Although this would be effective for some shots, we didn't want it in this particular one. So, when we filmed our film opening we were much more aware of the lighting we used and wanted.

                                Lighting in the preliminary task:

Our use of titles had also improved. When adding credits to our preliminary task, we did not think at all about fonts and their relation to the subject. In contrast, when adding titles to our film opening, we were very aware of the font we used and where in the opening the titles were placed.This improved the overall look of the opening and made it look more professional. 

                                Preliminary credits:                 Film opening titles:

Overall I feel I've really grown in confidence using my knowledge to produce media products. I definitely think that I've improved a lot since the preliminary task, which aided in the process of creating our film opening greatly.

Evaluation - Question Six

Evaluation - Question Five

How did you attract/address your audience?

Evaluation - Question Four

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Evaluation - Question Three

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

As our media product is an independent Art House film, an institution that would distribute it would have most likely already worked with independent film producers. Although, this would depend on where our product would be distributed to. It’s the type of product that, if it did well at a film festival, it would do well theatrically. But otherwise, we don’t feel that it would do particularly well in large cinema complexes. It would probably be more successful if it were to be shown on a terrestrial television channel; most probably Channel 4 or ITV.
In this instance, a suitable distributor would be Optimum Release. Optimum have previously released indie films that are similar in theme to our film opening. They could also be a good distributer for our film if it was released solely onto home entertainment platforms.
Another distributer, which may be interested in our film, would be Wild Bunch International Sales. Wild Bunch are well known for their international sales and aim to distribute a broad, artistically diverse selection of international cinema. This would be convenient to us because our film is based on an Austrian event. Also, Wild Bunch are known for distributing challenging and controversial films to film festivals. This would be ideal because the subject of our film is very sensitive.
We also considered that Pathe might be a good candidate to distribute our film. They have a major presence in the UK film industry and not only distribute films but also produce them. This vertical integration gives them an advantage. Pathe may find our film too controversial compared to existing film they have distributed. Their film credits include Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Both of these films are independent which shows that Pathe are interested in distributing this style.

Evaluation - Question Two

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

The main character within our film is a young woman who has been repeatedly abused by her father and locked away for 24 years. We wanted her to represent others who have suffered similar abuse. We researched similar characters in the media and found two, which particularly stood out.

First, we looked at a character from Eastenders; Whitney Dean. She had been sexually abused by her step-father which strongly links to the theme of our film.

Another media product we looked at was a campaign advert for Barnardo’s Children’s Charity. The advert focuses on a shocking theme of child prostitution, which links more roughly to the theme of our product.

The image on the left is a still of Whitney Dean from an episode of Eastenders. Whilst Whitney and Elisabeth don’t look similar, both characters have been through similar physical and emotional situations. Both have been abused sexually by fathers in their lives and struggled to get away from their situations.  When choosing a costume for Elisabeth, we had to bear in mind that she was imprisoned over 24 years ago; therefore she didn’t have access to modern clothes, unless her father brought them down to the cellar. In contrast, Whitney is a more modern character and of a younger generation. Her attitude is completely different to Elisabeth’s because she’s had more time in the real world. Even though Whitney acts as though she can look after herself, certain moments in her story show that she’s damaged and scared inside, just as Elisabeth is.

The image on the left is from a campaign advert for Barnardo’s Children’s Charity about the prevention of child prostitution. Although this isn’t the same as Elisabeth’s situation, it is very similar. Both girls are vulnerable. In the Barnardo’s advert the audience do not see the little girls face, or the man’s face. This is similar to our shot, as you only see the hand of Josef Fritzl. Another similarity between the two characters is the obvious childlike appearances. In the advert, the girl is dressed in sparkly pink tights and wears pretty bracelets; very stereotypical for a little girl. The innocence is similarly symbolised in our film with the cuddly toy. Both of these representations make the suggestion of what is about to happen to both characters even more disturbing.

Evaluation - Question One

We Also created a shot-by-shot analysis for our film opening as a task for question one; this is what we created!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Audience Feedback

Once our film was finished we wanted to get some audience feedback, so I posted the video on my Facebook page:

The feedback was all really helpful. We got feedback from four adults, who were obviously our target audience, and a few people our age too! Overall it was really positive!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Editing and Effects

Once we had all of our filming done we were able to finish editing all of our clips together and adding visual effects, music and sound effects.

With the new clips we were able to have a lot more cuts and the angles looked so much more interesting than before. Overall the flashbacks were a lot more exciting to watch, even without the help of music or effects. One problem we came accross was the different lighting of some of the clips, where we had re-filmed some of them. We overcame this problem by changing the clouring and contrast of clips so that they matche one another. Also, for all of the flashback clips we used a setting called 'Old World' which made them look grainy and old, an effect we were really please with.



Once all the editing and transitions were in, we also added in the music. Actually seeing the footage with the music over the top made it so much more interesting to watch! Lastly, we added all of the titles, in our chosen fonts. We found it difficult to put them in the right places and to get them to stay on the screen for the right amount of time. Finally we were really happy with the result!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Inspiration for Our Opening Titles

We wanted to do some research on current opining titles, to inspire ours. Originally we wanted the titles to appear either at the beginning or the end of our opening scene, but after some research we had a better idea.

Whilst looking at The Art of the Title we came accross the end credits for Sherlock Holmes. We really liked the effects of the sketchy looking clips and the way the footage went with the music playing over the top.

We also came accross some of the previous ideas for the end sequence which we liked as well. It linked to one of our original opening credits ideas of scanning across a floor plan for the cellar.
After seeing these we decided that we wanted effects to distinguish the flashbacks from the present day and motivated us to look for some music for our own opening.

When we began looking for music, we had to make sure it was royalty free, so we started by looking at royalty free music websites. We found a few piano pieces which sounded really good, but all disagreed on which we should ultimately use. Finally we decided on a piece of music we all thought would fit well with our opening. Although, we wanted it to sound a lot more sinister, so we added another piece of audio over the top, which sounds like low drones.

Piano piece:  CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF WINTER piano solo MP3

Second audio layer:

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Finalising Our Filming

Alex rejoined us to finish all of our filming, with all the extra shots. We were able to bring Amber back for more shooting, as we wanted more shots and interesting angles in the scene when Fritzl touches Young Elisabeth's shoulder. We used a POV shot from 'Fritzl's' point of view. Alex did this by holding the camera close to her arm, just above her hand and she moved in to touch Amber's shoulder. When we played this shot back we found it really effective! We also took some close-ups of Amber's face as Elisabeth's reaction to Josef.

Another scene we re-shot was the 'Sleepover scene' with Teenage Elisabeth. The first shot was much too slow paced, so we added some close-ups and extreme close-ups of my hands, to show my discomfort. When we put these shots toegther it looked so much more effective.

Once we had all of our shots we began to edit them together using iMovie, as two of us have previous experience using it and we are more confident using this than Premiere Pro.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Production Name and Logo

As we are just filming the final few shots we need, we decided to start thinking about a production name and logo to appear at the beginning of our film opening. As we began to think of ideas, we all decided that something to do with sight should be used, because of the theme of flashbacks in our opening. Looking at words relating to eyes, sight and dreams we found a variety of fairly 'catchy' names, but found it difficult to think of logos that would go with them.

One phrase we found was "Pipe Dream"

pipe dream

any fantastic notion, hope, or story

We all really liked this name, it was both unique and creative. I began to put some image ideas together in photoshop, taking the words literally: pipe and dream.
I started off by putting together the sky, pipe and smoke cloud. I then coloured and cut dream-like objects and thoughts into the cloud and began spelling out the production name through the middle of the cloud. The logo looked really good, but we found that it looked too happy to fit in with the genre of our film.
So, to make the logo a bit darker, I changed the background into a cloudy, rather than a sunny sky. I also made the clouds appear as if they were beginning to cover the pipe, but we just felt that the logo didn't work.

Instead, we went back to our original ideas of the eye and began to play around with some images and names. Whilst researching again we came up with "Foresight Productions" which sounded original and kept in with the theme of eyes. Looking for images we found a free stock image to begin working with.
We wanted to make the image look more sinister and interesting, so in photoshop I began to black out the area around the eye, so the focus would be of the eye itself. 
This looked quite bland, so we began playing around with ideas to make the image more interesting. I started to use photoshop brushes that resemble eyelashes to put some onto the eye. We wanted them to be a colour which stood out and contrasted against the black and felt that white looked the best.
We were all really pleased with the result of the image. Then, all we needed to do was decide on a style for the title. Alex had lots of interesting, extra fonts on her personal laptop, which we had a look through. Alex also made this sample of fonts over the logo.

Finally we found something which fitted excellently!
Our final production logo to appear at the beginning of our film opening.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Extra Filming

After putting our footage onto the computer editing software (we're using Final Cut) and beginning to edit our film opening, we decided that we didn't have enough footage to play around with. In particular, we wanted more angles to cut to within the flashbacks. This means we can speed up the pace of the editing and therefore make the scenes much more exciting.

As Alex was ill and down to the amount of time we have, Georgie and I went ahead to film some extra shots for a couple of the scenes today. We mostly focused on the pregnancy scene, to get more angles to cut to. We experimented with lots of angles and shot types, such as very low angle shots and even a point of view shot.

Throughout the course I've definitely learnt not to think a shot looks good until you've seen it on the computer! This meant we took a variety of shots to have a look at and see what works best.

Hopefully next time we film Alex will be feeling better and will be able to join us again!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Monday - Our Final Day of Filming

On Monday we filmed our final scenes for the opening of our film! These scenes were the two featuring the teenage Elisabeth. We also chose to re-film the flashbacks featuring pregnant Elisabeth and the taking of the baby. This is because when we watched back our takes of these scenes, they didn't look as effective as they could. So, we thought we could come up with different ways to shoot them.

First, we went to Alex's house to film the teenage scenes. Our friend (another Alice) came over as well, to appear as an extra in the scene. Georgie would be filming this scene, so Alice, Alex and myself changed into old, plain pyjamas.

We hadn't decided what kind of set-up we wanted for the sleepover scene, as we didn't know what would work best in Alex's bedroom. Trying lots of different angles helped us choose which would work best. We started off with a high angle shot of Elisabeth facing slightly away from the other two girls. Then, we tried a medium shot of Elisabeth in the foreground, sitting on the edge of the bed and the other two girl laughing in the background, slightly out of focus. We thought this would emphasise Elisabeth's isolation from normal teenage life and it worked really well! The lighting in the room was also high key, which is strongly juxtaposed with the darkness of the cellar.

We then moved downstairs to film the other teenage scene. This was shot in the same location as one of the young Elisabeth scenes, which ties together the flashbacks. This was shot from a medium shot, showing me sitting on the windowsill. The light through the window created a really nice silhouette effect.

Once we had finished filming at Alex's we walked back to my house with the equipment to film the two baby scenes. This time we decided that in the scene where Fritzl takes the baby, Elisabeth can be asleep. This meant that we could use an interesting angle for the shot and put the camera on the floor. This time, as only the arms would be seen, Alex played Fritzl; unfortunatley my dad was away for work. The shots turned out to work really well.

Then, we were able to film the preganant scene. Rather than standing, I sat down with the baby bump. This made it more obvious that I was pregnant and not just overweight!

Before and After videos to come...

We were really pleased with all the scenes we shot, so we have finished filming! Next we need to begin editing our footage and adding in titles.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Second Day of Shooting

On Monday we began our second day of shooting, in the morning. We shot all of our cellar scenes, including the flashbacks of the pregnant Elizabeth and the baby. Although we had shot a couple of these scenes before, we wanted to shoot them all in one day so the lighting and camera positions were exactly the same when we needed them to be.

We began by shooting the opening and closing scenes first. We discovered that we needed more light than just from the television, so we found a small lamp to use. This created some great lighting effects with lots of shadows.

Then we filmed the close-ups of the eyes. We had previously had trouble with focusing on the eyes, but we managed to sort this. The shots are actually quite scary, because of the amount of detail you can see!

Once the present day shots had been filmed, we could begin on the flashbacks. First the one of the baby bump, which we decided to change slightly, to make it more interesting. Rather than just have a shot of Elizabeth holding her bump, I was filmed putting up the drawings (which you see in the present day shots) on the wall. Then we asked my dad to appear in the baby scene, where Fritzl takes the baby away from Elizabeth. We used an old toy wrapped in baby blankets for the baby.

After this we didn't have enough time to fill the teenage flashback scenes, as I wouldn't have been able to change and do my make-up in time to start filming again. We decided that we would do this on Friday evening, for the sleepover scene especially.

Friday, 4 March 2011

First Day of Filming!

Today was our first day of filming! Georgie and Alex came over to my house after school to set up and get ready. First I had to sort out my make-up and costume...

I put eyeliner under my eyes to create really dark circles, as Elisabeth wasn't exposed to sunlight for 24 years. Georgie also applied light make-up to my face to make me look more pale and I applied talcum powder to my lips so they too looked pale and cracked.
 I wore an old jumper, pulled out the back of my mum's wardrobe(!) and some old jeans.
  Covering up the window in the garage to shut out any natural light.
 Sticking up the pictures.

The television and pictures set up. (You will not see the floor in the shots and it will be much darker.)

After setting up the garage we went to Alex's house and began filming the two scenes with Young Elisabeth. Amber did really well, as she has never acted before, we were all very impressed! We shot one scene in Alex's kitchen in front of an old fireplace, which looked excellent. Alex played Josef Fritzl in this scene as we would not see much of her and Amber felt comfortable acting with Alex.
Filming some test shots.
Amber - our Young Elisabeth
 Georgie with Amber and Morris (our production mascot!)
 Setting up the camera for the second scene of Young Elisabeth.
 We found creating a shadow that would show up on camera really difficult, but eventually found a bright light to place behind Alex!

 We were happy with our shots for the Young Elisabeth flashbacks, and decided that if we needed to re-shoot we could. So, we went back to my house to try some test shots of the main cellar scenes.

I used a jumper under my top for the pregnancy scene - it looked surprisingly convincing!

Although we did film some cellar scenes it took up a lot of time because we had to find the right lighting for the scenes and figure out using the television at the right times. After so much shooting and preparation we decided to leave the cellar scenes for the next shoot. This is because we would not have enough time to do them all in one night and it would be to difficult to keep the lighting and camera positions exactly the same if we did half the filming then and the rest another time.
I am really pleased with our progress and enjoying shooting our footage, even though it is very challenging!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Setting Up for Filming!

This week we were ready to start filming! Today we decided to organise our sets after school. We all went back to my house as we really needed to clear a filming space in the garage as it's very full!


Once we had cleared a suitable space in the garage, we decided to add some more things to make the set seem more like there were children living there. From reports we had read, we remembered that Elisabeth had pictures the children had drawn on the walls of the cellar. We went inside and began to draw childlike pictures, even writing some German words onto them!

I also burnt a DVD of an Austrian news report on Fritzl, to play on the television in the cellar. This is the video I used..

After a day at school and an afternoon/evening of preparation we decided not to start filming tonight, so our first day shooting will be on Friday, when we all have plenty of time! I also need to prepare my costume and dig out an old television for the cellar! We're all really excited and can't wait to begin.