Monday, 28 February 2011

Scary Shot Types

I thought that it would be useful to look at some scary shot types used in thriller films before we began filming, so that maybe I could use some of these shots to make my thriller opening sequence more thrilling.


Long Shots-

Long shots enable the audience to see the surroundings as well as what'sin front of them. This creates tension as we are anxious whether something will happen.


Medium Shots- 


                                        
Medium shots show the character, but also it gives a chance to see the surroundings of the environment which relate to the scene.For example in Psycho we can see the stuffed birds in the shot.


Close Up Shots-

  

Close up shots bring the audience closer to the character , the intensity creates suspension as we can clearly see the characters expression.


Extreme Close Up Shots-



Extreme close up shots create a lot of tension as the audience is made to focus on one particular points for example someone's eyes or a match at the end of a cigarette which can be very effective when shown on big screen.


Over The Shoulder Shots-

Over the shoulder shots also create tension as the audience know something which the character is unaware of.

Planning Our Pitch

In order to start filming  as a group we had to create a Pitch to present to the class and teacher to show them our ideas and plans for the thriller openings.we had to include various information including the title of our movie and a treatment. We named our movie 'Demented' as during the film the audience gets an insight to a life of a insane  woman, showing her criminal activity and the struggle of Sylvia a head of Police department where the woman's last criminal activity has been reported, to catch the criminal . The main character is Kathy Miller a 30 year old divorcee who suffers from depression after the miscarriage of her baby. She takes a revenge by pretending to be the perfect nanny and after gaining trust from a family, she kills the baby and leaves without a trace.


Locations we planned to shoot were my house and a little park , we also had to include all the props costumes and other parts of mise en scene. For our filming we had to use a wig, glasses, mascara , mirror and a baby doll..

Before we could start filming we also had to create a story board including the title sequence.we designed the order of shots and flashback we want to use and the order of names appearing for the title sequence.The pitch also had to contain a production schedule where we had to plan what and when we were going to film.
We had to plan our film time carefully as we had the camera for only 4 days and we had to make sure we can get all of the filming done in the time available.We also had to include a risk assessment where we had to include all the possible risks, for example the risk of raining  when we were out filming, to avoid this we had to make sure to take an umbrella to protect the equipment.

Finally we had to plan the institutional details where we had to think of a company that would produce our movie and how that would affect our production, distribution and exhibition . We chose Paramount pictures as they have already produced some successful thriller films such as The Italian Job or Vertigo.This would affect our production as we would receive better financial backing from a conglomerate this would able us to be more creative and the movie would later be worldwide promoted and exhibited.

Title Sequence Inspiration

After studying the opening sequence of 'What Lies Beneath' I was inspired by the water effect background use in the opening of the film ,which created a lot of suspension while watching.
We wanted to make our opening sequence reflect the dark atmosphere of the movie. On Live Type we found a texture for background which looked like the water effect used in What Lies Beneath. We changed the colour from light grey to dark for a more of a scary effect.For the sequence where the title appears we changed the background colour to a darker grey to create suspense as the title of the thriller is quite freaky.

















Above are  images of the What Lies Beneath opening sequence and screen shot of our title sequence:

Friday, 25 February 2011

In lesson, we learned about match cut and the 180 degree rule, which we used in creating storyboard using jelly babies as planning for a prelim of a short thriller footage. Match Cut and the 180 Degree Rule is important as it teaches you that the camera is the viewer, so you have to stay on one side because if you cross the 180 rule then you will be confusing the audience, this will be much help for when we film our final sequence thriller.


MATCH CUT-  Transition between two shots in which an object or movement at the end of one shot closely resembles an object or movement at the beginning of the next shot.


THE 180 DEGREE RULE- The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line.









Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pitch further notes

The film name "Demented" was chosen as it suits the mental state the protagonist is in. The film will cover the genres identity/psychological/espionage. The skills we have learnt have included editing video and sound. We have identified risks that could occur such as rain and equipment. To avoid these risks we will make sure to use equipment properly and use an umbrella if there is rain. Mise en scene such as a mirror will be used to show the main character changing her identity. This technique has been seen in many thriller films such as The Stepfather. 

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Structure of Thriller Openings

While looking at different film openings I noticed that they all use different structures .


The 3 main structures used in film opening are a narrative opening where the titles appear over a film, a discrete title sequence,titles over a blank screen .

the one I would like to use in my thriller opening sequence are titles over a blank screen. I would like to link the title sequence to the one use in What Lies Beneath. For the title sequence I will create font use a stylized background and crate a soundtrack.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Half Term Filming

During our half term we met up two times and started filming:




Suspenseful moments from The Stepfather

While watching the Stepfather I noted down some examples of suspenseful scenes from the movie.

1.
What happens in the scene?
First suspenseful moment is where the old lady enters back to her house and the cat suddenly jumps in front of her. This is called the false plateau, when she closes the door and no ones where we though something bad was going to happen. this build up tension as its a build up to a scene where something bad is actually going to happen, this also makes the audience anxious as they want to see what will happen to this character.


2.
What happens in this scene?
Another suspenseful scene from the movie is when Michael is looking through his stepfathers stuff,while he suddenly comes back. Michael carries on searching. Its like a race against time as the audience feels anxious whether Michael will leave in time. This makes the audience  watch the movie with involvement as they want to see what happens to Michael.This scene not only creates a lot of suspense but it also make the audience more interested in watching the movie.


3.
What happens in this scene?
Also another scene which i found very suspenseful is the scene where Michael is looking through the cabinets in the basement again its a race against time. Also when he drops his phone this makes the audience a bit irritated a they like the character and they feel as if something bad is going to happen to him soon and again involved in the movie a they watch. In this scene tense music has been used for example drums and violins to create a tense and scary feeling for the audience.

Examples Of Good Psychological Thriller Films

On the internet I have researched and looked at some of the best psychological thriller films, in order to get inspiration and some ideas for our thriller movie. I also looked at their openings to see what kind of opening sequence titles were used for psychological thrillers.

Here is a list of some of the psychological thriller I found most interesting:
















 Psycho (1960) – Alfred Hitchcock directed this film which made people everywhere nervous about taking a shower. Anthony Perkins stars as Norman Bates, a lonely young man with a very unhealthy relationship with his mother.




 Vertigo (1958) – A retired cop with a fear of heights (James Stewart) is hired to keep tabs on the wife of a friend and discover the cause of her recent erratic behavior. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it is often considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made.
















The Stepfather (2009) – Michael returns home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend. As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand.




















Memento (2000) – Guy Pearce plays a tormented man looking for his wife’s killer. Plagued by chronic memory loss, he tattoos any clues he finds onto his body. A bizarre whodunnit that’ll keep you guessing until the final frames.












Black Swan (2010)  A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Prelim Evaluation

'The Confrontation involves a confrontation between two characters which leads to a murder.The film starts with a person walking into a room. The camera follows the door character opening and closing the door with medium shots and some close up shots, we used this to create tension as a follow up to the murder scene.The film follows with a dialogue between the two characters  which results in a murder. The dialogue is suspenseful making the audience anxious as they they don't that this dialogue will lead to a murder.The sound created using soundtrack pro creates tension and the high pitched violin sound creates a spooky feeling to the film.

While filming we paid a lot of attention to the 180 degree rule , because we used over the shoulder shots for the dialogue we had to make sure that we film from one side and don't change sides.The shot reverse shot used in the dialogue is very effective as we can see each characters expression as it changes during the dialogue making the audience more tense every time the shot changes.The sudden change from shot reverse shot to a high angle shows that the dialogue is about to stop and that something will happen which makes the audience even more tense and anxious as to what will happen.

The opening title sequence is successful creating suspense as the background has a water effect making the film seem mysterious .Also the sharp edged of the letters make the opening title sequence more serious and tense.

As an improvement we could use more close up shots and extreme close ups as they make the audience focus on one point therefore create more suspense. Another thing we could improve on is make sure not to film when someone is passing by, as during the filming process and editing we didn't notice someone swearing on one of the clips used. We have tom make sure that we don't use any clips with  useless background noise in our final thriller opening sequence.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Prelim Evaluation

The Confrontation is what the title is called, because it's about identity. The opening clip starts with a nameless character walking into the room, reveals the other characters identity then soon after the clip finishes with the nameless character killing the one that was already present in the room. The way the video was filmed was accurate as it conveys the match cut and 180 rule being used correctly, which created suspense and tension in the room. Dialogue used is suspenseful making the audience think- what the reason was for the killing.Moreover the sound used, using soundtrack pro creates tension and the high pitched violin sound creates a spooky feeling to the film, and when the character gets stabbed you can hear a slashing sound, making the audience feel emotions conjuring for the character.

The opening title sequence relates to What Lies Beneath; creating suspense as the background has a water effect making the film seem mysterious .The font is simple and sharp making the film opening look classic.

Things need to improve on: 



  • Make sure we count 5 times before and after so no voice or swearing is recorded.
  • To use more close ups to extend the feeling of suspense.
  • To have more variation shots. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Preliminary footage Editing

This is the footage we shot, and we uploaded it on to final cut. Then we started editing it using the in and out to pick the best parts of the footage we shot. 

Monday, 7 February 2011

Preliminary footage Editing

Today in lesson we uploaded our preliminary footage and started to edit. We did this by transfering the clips from a memory card reader to our groups video drive. We then imported the the footage into final cut pro and began placing them in sequence ensuring that our clips made sense and also cutting clips where nesscary .

Preliminary footage-Filming

In our three hour lesson we began filming for out preliminary exercise.We had to repeat several shots several times to ensure that we got the required shot/reverse shot, match cut and showing and understanding of the 180 degree rule by not breaking it

Evaluation of "The Confrontation"

The sequence we have created called "The Confrontation", involves a confrontation between two characters. This leads to angered dialogue and a murder. The sequence overall has a sinister atmosphere to it, this is due to the music and dialogue. The opening credits are effective in creating suspense as the music is dark. The criticism could be that the credits are maybe too long. The opening scenes are effective as jump cuts/match cuts have been used, this creates a sense of urgency which plays into the storyline. The over the shoulder shot draws the audience into the storyline and introduces the room well. The shot reverse shot between the character's is effective as it places importance to the dialogue between the characters. The high angle shot used adds a different perspective to the characters which seems as though it is notifying the audience something sinister will occur. The sound aspect creates suspense and fits with the scenes. Overall I believe this sequence is effective despite it's short length. What could be improved is the lack of close up shots, close up shots are essential as they focus into the emotions of the character. By completing this prelim activity, we now understand which shots are effective and which are not.

Final Prelim- The Confrontation

video


This is our final Prelim which we called The Confrontation. This is the one with the sounds and texts. We are going to illustrate individually of how uploaded and inputed the sound on to the video.

How To Use Soundtrack Pro

As part of our small preliminary preliminary project we had to create a a soundtrack for the clip.
At first we thought that creating a sound would be complicating and complex but as we got to experiment with using Soundtrack pro we discovered it was quick and easy.


We first looked at different sounds effects and different instrumental sounds to get an idea where to look for specific type of sound or effect. Then as a group we chose sounds that we thought were interesting and went well with out footage,but we first had to export the footage to the Soundtrack Pro from the video drive. We placed them on the time line of the footage and adjusted the volume and length  for every sound to make some louder and dominant and others quiet so they fade in the background.We found a similar sound for the opening credits used in the openings for 'What Lies Beneath'.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

How To Use Livetype

As part of our prelim exercise we had to create a text for the footage and import it to the Final Cut Pro and place it i  its correct position.

First you type your text in the left hand side of the screen in the small box on the right and it shows up on the screen so you know what it looks like and whether its the right size. The text cannot go over the green box on the main screen.Then you can choose you font , there are many types of fonts you can choose and experiment with the text. To make out text seem more formal we used the font called Copperplate Gothic Light. Then we looked at different textures for the background we found one that relates to a thriller we studied -"What Lies Beneath". After choosing the texture or font you have to apply what you've chosen to the track to make sure it works.

Then you can experiment with different objects appearing on the screen , we chose to keep our opening simple and used effects like fades. We made the text float away to make it look mysterious.

Match Cut and the 180 Degree Rule

A couple of lessons ago we got a task to create a storyboard using jelly babies as planning for a prelim of a short thriller footage. We had to use the following ; match cut and 180 degree rule to prepare us for filming our final thriller sequence.

MATCH CUT- is a cut between two objects, or characters , where the two shots match used to establish the continuity of action of linking different shots. In out Prelim we used the match cut for the shots of door closing.

THE 180 DEGREE RULE- Is a rule that states that two characters in the same scene should always be shot from the same side. The camera must not cross over to the other side.We used the 180 degree rule in the scene where our two characters were sharing a dialogue.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Plan of Shots for Preliminary Exercise

Before we began filming our preliminary exercise we made a little plan of shots we want to use to give us an idea of what to do when we are filming.

1. Close up to the handle and a hand opening the door.

2.Match Cut to a close up of the door closing with a close up to the handle.

3.Shots of one person walking towards the table where the other person is sitting at the table.

4.Shot reverse shots of two people during a dialogue.

5.Birds eye view of the table and the two people (with the scissors on the table)

6.High angle shot of two people getting up from chairs and one waling toward the other.

7. Shot of the person falling.

8. A shot of the person who killed the other person walking away.

The Confrontation with Title Sequence

video

After editing we then added a title sequence to our existing footage

The Confrontation

video


This is the first edit of our preliminary exercise which we named "The Confrontation".

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cinema Audiences

How many suspense films were released in 2009? 
31
How many films were released altogether last year?
882
Action, animation and comedy account for 52% of Box Office in the UK in 2009. Why do you think these genres are so popular?
These genres are accessible to more of the film audiences, this due to their variety and incorporation of other genres. These genres also often do not have mature ratings and can be viewed as being family friendly. These genres place their target audience as being all ages and so cater to all of them.
Why do you think Thrillers account for quite a low proportion of UK Box Office takings (4% in 2009)?
Thriller is a very niche genre and is geared towards it's small target audience. The genre is not accessible to everyone as it often does not incorporate other genres.
Looking at the 'genre by gender' diagram , what information can be derived about Thriller audiences and gender?
Thriller audiences are more likely to be women than men.
Look at the age certificate for 10 of the films featured on the teaching blog. What does this tell you about Thriller audiences?
Thriller films are not aimed towards young children.

'Watching' - Documentary on film openings.

As a class we watched a documentary on film openings. It gave us a brief information on the ideas and plans the directors have for film openings and what makes good openings.We were given a set of questions to answer and think about while watching the documentary.

1) What does Thomas Sutcliffe mean when he says "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction , the temptation to go for an instant arousal is almost irresistible".
- He means that they need to interest the audience not giving to much at the beginning or getting their hopes up too much and later disappoint them.The opening has to be like a taster to temp the audience to carry on watching.

2)According to director Jean Jacques Beineix , what are the risks of 'instant arousal'?
-Jean Jacques Beineix believes that the suspense must be built up gradually making the audience more interested as the film progresses and not to start strong and the  leave the audience feel disappointed.

3)Explain why "a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet,and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little "
-If you start very strong you have to top that later on in the film. If they don't know enough they want to find out more , not knowing enough makes us more interested.

4)What does critic Stanley Kauffmann describe as the classic opening?
-In the opening the audience is making an adjustment to what kind of movie it is and whether they are interested or not, and the director is establishing many things at once. Stanley Kauffmann describes the classic opening that the film began with an establishing shot , then a close up of a building camera going up the building to a window, the in the window taking us through the characters and their occupations.The journey of the camera let the audience know all that they need to know at the opening of the film.This is what Kauffmann calls the simple classic opening.

5)Why is Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven so effective?
-It was designed to tune in and wake the audience up and get them ready for whats going to happen, the title sequence introduce the audience to the character and the psychotic feel to the movie becoming the first scene of the movie. The title sequence was so effective it was more influential than the movie.

6)What did Orson Welles want to achieve with his opening to the film A Touch Of Evil? What did Universal Studios do to it? Why?
-Orson Welles wanted to create a opening sequence with a evil side creating tension, without credits wanting to plunge the audience into his story.The universal studios put the credits and title music losing the effect Welles wanted to achieve.

7)What is meant by "a favourite trick of Film Noir"? What is the trick?
-The trick is that the film starts with the end, then throughout the rest of the  film we are shown how a character got to that particular event which we were shown at the beginning.

8)How does the opening to the film The Shining create suspense?
-The opening of The Shining creates suspense as a view of a helicopter shot of the camera fixed on that object pursuing the car like a predator suggesting that evil is upon this in the car.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

'Watching' - Documentary on film openings

1) What does Thomas Sutcliffe mean when he says "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction , the temptation to go for an instant arousal is almost irresistible".


He meant that the film needs to grab the audiences attention within those five minutes or less of the opening of a movie- because audience are easily distracted and critical.  

2)According to director Jean Jacques Beineix , what are the risks of 'instant arousal'?


He says that suspense needs to build up throughout the movie or it needs it needs a highpoint at the end before breaking it; because if you start with a strong suspense in the beginning then the audience are going to lose interest during the film, instead of building interest. 



3)Explain why "a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet,and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little "


He states that you can't give away the plot in the beginning of the film, he says that you need to get the audience thinking they need to catch up, because if knew what is going on then they are going to just assume that they know what's going to happen throughout the movie. So you need give them little information and expect them to figure out the movie as it progresses.

4)What does critic Stanley Kauffmann describe as the classic opening?


Stanley Kauffmann describes the opening: classic opening that the film began with an establishing shot , then a close up of a building camera going up the building to a window, the in the window taking us through the characters and their occupations. This classic process you are told where it is going to take place. when the camera goes in the window we are revealed to the hero character. 

5)Why is Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven so effective?


The title sequence tunes the audience in, it is descriptive. The movie Seven's sequence told the story better than the movie itself. the movie psychotic the title sequence was so effective it was more influential than the movie.
6)What did Orson Welles want to achieve with his opening to the film A Touch Of Evil? What did Universal Studios do to it? Why?


He wanted to create a opening sequence with a evil side creating tension, without credits wanting to plunge the audience into his story.The universal studios put the credits and title music losing the effect Welles wanted to achieve.

7)What is meant by "a favourite trick of Film Noir"? What is the trick?

The trick is that the film starts with the end, a good movie has to always have something to reveal. 

8)How does the opening to the film The Shining create suspense?The opening of The Shining creates suspense as a view of a helicopter shot, the Mise en scene conveying big mountains and trees, but the camera sets its views fixed on the little only man made object- the car. This builds suspense in the viewer as it gets you thinking why this car is so important and is it safe in its surrounding.