Sunday, 20 May 2012

This is the most fabulous drawing in the entire world.

As you can tell i'm clearly an artistic genius. Or protege. I don't really know what the word to describe my work is but one thing I do know is that I have talent. I mean this drawing on Paint is just...amazing. The reason I have it posted on my blog (besides a chance to show off my abstract art) is because this beautiful piece is going to be in my animatic for my music video to "Half inlove with Elizabeth" by Mystery Jets. It's not at all what you think. I've finished my storyboard now all I have to do is piece together the video using the very highest of technology Windows Movie Maker and google images. Oh and this fine piece of art.

I expect nothing but praise in the comments.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Case study work.

Case studies
View more presentations from HWillcocks.

I decided after going through my blog that I was going to make my case studys work much more easy to access. The way I had it written up was scattered and messy so I put it all into this slide. There is an explanation at the end of the slide but I wanted to make sure I explained on here as well incase the examiner didn't understand. :)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Looking back at your prelim project how have you progressed from then to now?

Looking back at my Prelim is weird because I can't believe how much we've changed (editing-wise) in that time. It's a huge step from our soul-selling-for-jaffa-cakes film to Esther. But how did we progress?

There is a massive difference in the amount of technologies used in our Prelim to our Final Project.

Prelim technologies - Sony bloggie (Ralph the camera), the Mac in HRC and Final Cut Pro. We used Ralph to film with (and it was really strange filming our prelim because we weren't used to the cameras. And we filmed our prelim before we needed to and ended up not liking it. So we refilmed another and that's the one about Sarah selling her soul to me for jaffa cakes.), The Mac to edit because it had the editing software Final Cut Pro on it. When they went to HRC (I've explained in my last prezi about why I couldn't go) they were going for a tutorial on how to use the Macs and to edit the whole Prelim together and although I wasn't there they kept me up to date on what was happening and my input still counted.

Final Project technologies - Sony bloggie, the Mac in the Cam Room, Final Cut Pro, Paint, Microsoft Powerpoint, Midi Keyboard, Input device, Microphone and Garageband. Again we used Ralph to film (we owe it all to him! he was FAB), the Mac in the Cam room to edit it all together because it too contained the editing software we needed. We also used the Mac to research for our Satanic Ritual. Final Cut Pro was what we used to edit it all together, we put all the clips together in order and then added effects/rapid cuts/transitions/colour corrections later. Paint was going to be used in the making of our Production sign as we originally wanted it to have moose antlers on it however we changed our minds half way through our production as we felt the antlers were too much and the edited production sign wasn't needed. Microsoft Powerpoint was what we actually used to create our Production sign. We chose the font and the colour of the background and then we converted each slide to HTML so we could use them as pictures. The effects you see on the production logo were on Final Cut Pro and placed over the top so that they'd move. The Midi Keyboard was where we recorded our original music, The input device was what we used to connect up the midi keyboard and the microphone. Garageband was what everything was recorded onto.
This is a picture of what Garageband looks like and how it's used. The blue, green and purple lines at the top are the recorded sound/music. The larger purple line is a close up of whichever line of sound you've chosen so you can be more specific if you choose to cut any of the music.
We used more technologies during our Final project because we wanted to make it look more professional and more advanced than our Prelim. We wanted it to feel like a real film opening whereas our Prelim was just a tester for all the camera angles we could use later.

We had a wider range of cinematography in our Final Project than our Prelim as it was longer and even though the whole point of our Prelim was to use a variation of camera angles we used twice as much in the death sequence alone.

Camera angles in the Prelim - Long shot, close up, tracking shot, two shot, over-the-shoulder shot and zoom.

Camera angles in our Final - High + low angled shots, close up, extreme close up, tracking shot, panning, mid shot, establishing shot, wide shot and long shot.

We wanted our cinematography to convey what we were representing or trying to represent in our film so we used more of a variation in our Final than we did our Prelim.

Other aspects of our prelim - We broke the 180 degree rule as we didn't know what it was at the time we filmed it. Infact I think it was the lesson after we filmed it that we learned what this term meant and how to use it.

Other aspects of our Final - We used the 180 degree rule because we remembered that it's important to stick to it this time.

Our Prelim was the first time we'd ever tried editing so it's awful compared to our final. Our final took us months to edit together so you can see that alot more precision was involved. The prelim was edited together in one day and put on our youtube that same it's not at it's best.
An example of a gap between shots in our Prelim.

Editing used within the Prelim - Plain/Simple cuts, No adding of effects or filters and there's gaps of darkness where the transitions are.
Stop motion blur in Esther
Editing used within our Final - Rapid cuts during the death sequence to build the tension, use of filters in our abstract dream scene such as stop motion blur and bad film and colour correction used in the opening shots because they came out really bright (which doesn't fit in with the conventions of Horror).

You can tell when looking at both our Prelim and our Final that more care was taken during the Final editing process. We wanted our piece draw people in and stand out from everybody else's. We didn't want to do a typical horror and we figured that we could show this through our use of transitions and filters when we edited it all together. By the time we edited our Final Project we were much more confident with Final Cut Pro and had sussed a lot of the technologies (I said a lot of because there were some we just couldn't get) we wanted to use by the time we were editing it together.

In our Prelim we didn't focus much on the mise-en-scene and put alot of our concentration into getting the cinematography right. We didn't think about how the colour of our costumes, the lighting, the make up, the props, the setting etc would effect anything within our Prelim because it was a task based on camera angles. We took a different view of this in our Final.

Mise-en-scene used in our Prelim - No artificial lighting was used. It was all natural, the colour of our clothes weren't taken into account however they do actually match what we're trying to convey, We used one prop and that was the jaffa cakes.

Mise-en-scene used in our Final - Mostly artificial lighting or colour correction, Plenty more props such as the pentagram and the book, we put alot of thought into the lighting especially during the death sequence and we used more than one location.

Mise-en-scene was a huge priority for us in our Final. We thought carefully about costume and lighting as those were the aspects that were quite important to our production. We saw Jess in lots of dark clothing to show how she was corrupted by
Esther (who is also seen in dark clothing near the end to show that she is showing her true colours) and Sarah wore flowery clothing and dresses to represent her innocence and naivety to Jess's mental disability. The lighting during the death scene was homely and warm so it signified a sense of normality in Sarah's life and in no way give away what happens next.

There was no consideration of sound in our Prelim. We didn't see it as relevant (much like mise-en-scene) because the point of the task was to show 5 camera angles. However we did use a conversation to show this. Our Final Project has a lot more use of sound and music played a huge impact in our opening.

Sound used in our prelim - only dialogue picked up by Ralph, we didn't think of the quality of the audio on our camera and  we made up what we were going to say on the spot.

Sound used in our Final - Use of voice overs in dream scene, created and used original music in the death sequence, we adjusted sound levels of the room (such as the TV) to suit the shot, scripted dialogue that we'd all thought out together.

Esther would have been nothing if it weren't for our use of sound and music. The voice overs were used to keep in with the conventions of a Psychological Thriller in our dream scene and a horror as we used effects to make them sound creepy, we composed our own tensious music to go behind the death scene and found some on a creative commons website for the dream, we took into consideration other devices making sounds in each shot so that they didn't distract from the goings on and scripted alot of our dialogue so it was clear and concise. Unlike our Prelim where everything was rushed and decided on the spot. It didn't matter too much what we spoke about as long as we got it on film.


What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Monday, 7 May 2012

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

An apology for lateness.

So I made a promise to myself today that i'd get all my media work done. It seems that if you don't sleep the night before because sleeping round your best friend's house makes you uneasy then you fall asleep in the day while getting your media notebook to do the coursework. Then you wake up with a spliting headache and want to throw things around the room. Le sigh. This is my life.

I will however be getting all my current works in progress (yes I have actually had a good start on them) all up on Wednesday and today depending on the ones I finish in these next few hours. Tommorow is my day off because I have my drama exam. So it's not really a day off. A day off from Media? Yes. A day off from school? No.

Just thought i'd let whoever is interested know and apologize for my lateness. There is probably tonnes of grammatical errors in this post and most of it probably doesn't make sense. Oh well.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

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

For our project we were asked to create a 2-3 minute opening to a film of any genre of our choice. We chose the genre of Horror because we're (Me, Jess and Sarah) all huge fans of t.v programmes and films within the Horror/Sci-fi genre such as Supernatural. There were many inspirations behind our film but Supernatural was one of our biggest influences.This was shown through our use of the Satanic ritual as Supernatural is focused around the idea of demons and Satanism is often brought up because of this (Satan himself is also brought up in this programme but that's irrelevent). We wanted to do something quite dark and mysterious as we wanted the storyline to be interpreted differently for individuals watching. This is why we haven't actually established whether my character Esther is real or not because we wanted to leave it to the audience's imagination.

We wanted our project to be original so we tried not to conform to the stereotypes that we see used in most Horror film openings - hence our idea of Esther's reality/non-reality not being established. However there are still some aspects of our film that would usually be shown to signify Horror within a typical Horror Film. How many times have I used the word Horror in that paragraph? It doesn't sound like a real word anymore.

Props we used that are often associated with Horror - Candles, Mirrors/Broken Mirrors, A rocking horse, Old books or a book and the Pentagram.

I know it sounds silly but candles are often used within Horror Films. Usually this is to give the characters within the film a sense of security as the lights have all mysteriously gone out and they can't find any other source of light. This may also be used to trick certain members of the audience into thinking everything will be okay because of old/current fears of the dark that individuals within the audience may have and the light symbolises security to them. But as is the case in most Horror films we (should) know that it's not safe when the candles come out because that means someone or something has shut off the power in order to sneak up on a character or to seperate the character from their friends because one of them/or the character themself decides to be heroic and try to figure out what's turned the lights out. However in our opening we challenge (I suppose) this use of Candles by having the Villain Jess use them rather than the Victim because it is a part of her Satanic Ritual.

Mirrors/broken mirrors.
This may be an obvious one but Mirrors are one of the most common props used in Horror Films. There is even a horror film called Mirrors about a girl who was possessed finding a way to rid herself of the demon by encasing it in a Mirror. In this film the Mirror is used as a way of containing somebody else's soul (like the Bloody Mary legend) though they can be used as a metaphorical or literal way of reflecting a character's soul (who's looking into the Mirror) or revealing what is inside their soul to the audience. Though you cannot see what Jess see's when she looks into the mirror because the scene shot isn't angled towards the mirror it is safe to presume that she can see something horrific/frightening about herself or maybe even Esther looking back at her. :OOO

A rocking horse.
Though we didn't intentionally add the rocking horse to our film as a way of signifying horror it is another common prop used within horror films. I think we just liked the creepy sound it made so we decided to use it but let's pretend that it was intentional. I think the use of the Rocking Horse in horror films could be used for three things:
  •  As a sense of security for audience members/the characters like the candles as it reminds them of childhood when you were told by your parents that monsters weren't real or could perhaps remind people of a time when you could just call and your parents would come rushing in to reassure you that everything is okay.
  • It could have the opposite effect and be used to horrify the audience that something so innocent and pure could be part or involved in something so terrifying. That in turn spoils this idea of innocence and youth and for some may become a subconscience reminder of horror for both adults and children when they see a rocking horse in real life.

An old book/old books in general.
I wasn't sure if this prop could be considered as stereotypical of most horror films but horror films that usually have an aspect of the supernatural tend to include a magical agent of some kind. The magical agent usually takes on the form of a book. In our film opening we can see Jess reading a SATANIC RITUAL  (effects on the words satanic ritual are courtesy of Harry) from an old book that kills off her best friend.

(Note this is not the book we used during filming. This is a book I found on google images.)

The pentagram.
Pentagrams are associated with black magic and Satanism which is why they’re used in most horror films with storylines linked to religion. So it was the perfect prop for our film. Though ours is made from cello tape it still had a massive impact on our setting as it not only added to the realism of Jess being a normal girl (apart from her satanic personality) who can't afford an expensive set up for her witchy rendezvous but also gave our scene more of a paranormal/eerie feel to it which was what we wanted. Much like most of the horror films pentagrams are featured in our pentagram was used for a sinister ritual rather than any other purpose so instead of challenging conventions of real media products we have used them within our piece pentagram-wise.

Another aspect of our film that challenges the conventions of real media products are the characters themselves. Our main character is Jess. A 16 year old girl who looks harmless but turns out to be a crazed, satanic killer. By using Jess as our main character we have challenged the conventions of most horror films because it is out of the ordinary for the killer to be played by a teenage girl when generally the killer would be played by a grown man who's out for revenge after a freak accident or in some cases young children who have been taken over by the devil. Films such as 'The Omen' for example.

Similarly the character of Esther within our film challenges the coventions of real media products because she is also young and seemingly harmless. Even the way her character comes across is quite naive and innocent (well she acts innocent) which goes against the usual conventions of horror. Whereas most villain's are potrayed as vicious and blood thirsty, Esther is potrayed as someone who is trying to look out for her friend rather than to corrupt her. This is shown when she says: "We can't afford accidents Jess. Do you want to get caught?" which suggests she is genuinely concerned for Jess even if she has led her astray.

We used a variation of lighting in both scene's of our final project. The death scene at the beginning shows two different settings so we had to use two different lighting schemes (?). For the Satanic ritual scene we used minimal lighting, the only lighting we did use was from the candles surrounding the pentagram (we have done a health and safety post on the candles so don't worry!) because we wanted the atmosphere that Jess was in to represent her inner darkness or the darkness of what she was doing which is used quite often in horror films. As mentioned above in my paragraph about candles people find security in having a scene in the darkness is like a signifier that something bad is going to happen. For the death scene we wanted the lighting to be more naturalistic so we tried to make the scene look really home-ly. We didn't make the room too bright as we still wanted to show it was night but we kept the kitchen light on to reflect into the living room where Sarah was sitting. We also had brief flashes of light coming from the television to establish normality as she's sitting at home watching television like an average girl would. I would have said that we've challenged the conventions of real media products through our use of lighting in the Death scene because most use dim/dark lighting as (like the Satanic ritual scene) the darkness is signifying the evil in the film and in our Death scene we've used warm lighting (i'm not sure if this makes sense so I will try and find another word to describe the type of lighting we used later) that doesn't tell the audience that anything is going to happen so when it does (had the scene not been accompanied with flashes of Jess's satanic ritual) it's unexpected.
The scene where we've challenged the conventions of real horror films the most is in the dream sequence. Our dream sequence involves a lot of natural light because it was filmed at Cedars Park but we added artificial, high-key lighting during the editing process to give it an unnatural glow. The reason we did this was not only because we wanted to show it was a dream but we wanted to show Jess's memories of her and Sarah as really happy as their friendship was a high point in her life (shown through high saturation) and almost to show the purity of her life before she met Esther. Everything was bright and shiny and then Esther appeared and her innocence began to fade. Another shot during the dream sequence we also used to show this idea of Jess's innocence fading is when Esther and Jess are mimicking each other's movements. We tried to show this by having Esther completely immersed in darkness whereas Jess still has patches of light surrounding her to show that Esther is manipulating/perishing Jess's mind but she still has some sense left in her. An example of this is when Jess throws Esther out of the room as an attempt to recapture some of her sanity. It challenges conventions of horror because dream sequences usually have low-key lighting and are dominated by darkness as if the dream is a warning of the things yet to come.