Monday, 31 January 2011

Jelly Baby Animatic.

Jelly Baby Animatic.

In our last lesson, we had to take pictures and make an animatic of a short scene, using jelly babies. In the next lesson, we will be using the animatic as a plan to follow as we will be shooting the scene using actors instead of sweeties. The animatic is a simple thriller story-line: one person enters the room and attempts to have a conversation with the other person, after the person is ignored, they begin to shake the other, who then falls on to the floor, revealing that they are dead. The other person then runs away, frightened. This is still in keeping with the thriller genre, as it is not clear to the audience that the person is dead until they fall on to the floor and the other one runs away, and suspense is built when they are being shaken.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Watching Documentary On Film Openings

When Thomas Sutcliffe says '' Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible'' he means to get the audience's attention immediately but its more important to maintain this attention in order to keep the audience sucked in throughout.
Grabbing the audience in the first 5min is Crucial.

However, according to director Jean Jacques Bendix there are certain risks of 'Instant Arousal'. If we firstly drawn to a big opening that hooks the audience it is a risk of maintaining this interest. For example we watched the opening of Casino which in my opinion was a dramatic opening. It included Robert Di Nero coming out of a ''hotel'' and going into his car. And as his starts the engine there is a great Blow Up.
This surely stunned the audience's. However if the rest of the film is not as great, its a big let down to the audience's.

'' 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 ''
Basically at this point we as the audience need to know more than the characters. For instance, in the film WE can see the lady getting stalked by the killer, but the lady herself doesn't know.
We need enough information, but not to much.

Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven was more effective because he gave the message of what its about straight away. There was no credits or name of actors shown. His purpose was to send the message right away. On the other hand Seven has an unusual yet very interesting opening. The dull colours and moving images struck me most.

Orson Welles wanted to go straight into the movie with no credits in the opening to the film 'A Touch Of Evil'. He intended to not have a title or credit just suspenseful music order to plunge the audience in.
Starting the film with the ending is what is meant by '' a favourite trick of Film Noir ''. A great example of this would be the title sequence of 'MOMENTO'


During the opening to the film The Shining you have the idea of a predator.
A high strong focus on a small object (the car) being followed discretely. As the audience we are presuming that there driving the wrong way ?

Looking into the audience...

In the process of making a film, you have to look at what audience it will aim at. Why? Because it needs to appeal to that audience! Also, it will help you to respect the BBFC guidelines.

But usually, you can guess. For example, you would know for sure that romantic films will NOT  get the interest of men. And you would know as well that Sci-Fi is not really a girl thing.

But when I go to the cinema, I generally see women and men watching Sci-Fi or a bit of romance!
 Well well well. It's true, and thanks to the studios! Today, most films tends to have several genres! For example, in every action movie you will have a bit of romance.  And that's because they want to have a wider audience.

 However, as we can see, there was only 31 Thrillers/Suspense movies in 2009 (UK) and 323 films in total. Weird, isn't it? But that's because they tend to mix the popular genres. Therefore, they are categorised as action movies.

52% of the bow-office in the UK, in 2009 was action, comedy and animation movies. This doesn't surprise me, as they are part of the widest target audience.

The BBFC have different ratings for films, according to their content in violence, sex or even the appearence of drugs or guns. This limits the target audience of films.

Fonts + Title sequences...

Today, our teacher showed us a very interesting website: The Art Of The Title.

This is a real web resource of film and television titles, from around the world. They analyze and discuss excellent title sequences, the way they have made it and discuss the font they have used.

The Fonts... That’s what we were talking about in our last lesson! Different fonts are used in title sequences, but they don’t just write a paragraph with all the names of the actors at the start of the film... No no no. They have to make it look good, so that the audience is already “watching” the film!

There are several kinds of title sequences...

A narrative title sequence is when the audience is immediately introduced to the location, the setting and the characters.


This is a classic narrative opening. I really like what they have done with the font of the titles! It tells us something isn't right, that something is not normal (The sense of "anormality" starts when the audience see the opening titles). It starts with an establishing shots of New York, followed by the introduction of three female characters. 

I think this opening is very effective because the way they have designed the titles (choice of the font, effects added...) It gets your attention directly from the beginning !

A discrete title sequence  is done separately from the film. The sequence is heavily edited and stylised, and they usually last for the opening credits and the title.

Wow, this is disturbing! The sound and the effects used are very creepy, and don’t make you feel comfortable. The effects added to the music emphasise this feeling. And the way the font appears, or keeps moving, doesn’t help! This is a very beautiful (if I can say!) opening sequence. A lot of work in the editing process made this title sequence very effective. However, I found it a bit "boring". Yes, it does make you feel uncormfortable but it is long! The fact that the title sequence isn't connected to the opening sequence makes it worse I think, it almost feels like it's another long wait before you can finally start watching the movie...

Or perhaps you would like a blank screen!
Some films show their opening credits over a blank screen, before introducing the image. Sometimes though, the titles continue to appear after the image has been introduced.

"Fonts convey an emotion without actually having to say the words"

This is why the choice of a font is really important in a title sequence. But before we can choose a font, we need to think about it carefully.

There are two types of fonts...
Serif Fonts - Such as Times or Courrier
They are more traditional and more formal. The word Serif describes the detail at the end of each strokes for each letters. 

Serif Fonts

 Sans Serif Fonts - Such as Arial or Trebuchet. They are more modern and less formal. The word Sans, taken from the French language, means "without" in english. So "Without the little detail". 

Sans Serif Fonts

Scott Pilgrim vs The World - The Art Of The Title Sequence
Let's see how do they do it...
I have made a little video for you! I thought it would be easier and better for me to analyze this opening... Straight on the video! So watch, relax and enjoy... (Although you will still have to read a bit more afterwards! Sorry...)

Video taken from The Art Of The Title

I found this opening sequence amazing, it was very well done!!! The opening credits were included in a very good way, the graphics are awesome and puts us straight in the mood of the film.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Introduction To Cameras

We were shown by one of the technicians a presentation of the Key Elements on How To Use A Camera..

It was an interesting way to learn, because as he showed us on the board what he was saying, he also demonstrated it to the whole class on the actual camera. 
Below are some of the main points I remember:

*How to use the tripod and placing the camera securely
*How and where to insert the memory cards
*What to do when the camera shows 'low battery'
*How to record a shot via many different techniques and skills.

To practice with these type of camera's we were given a short task in making a video to do with one of the following scenarios:
-The bag swap
-Reading the newspaper
-Playing cards
By looking at the list, you can imediatley tell how boring each scenario sounded. Thats why it was our job to make it interesting and better !! 

Title Sequence Analysis







Monday, 24 January 2011

The filming of "The Bag Swap" + Outtakes

We studied all the type of shots, angles, we watched so many openings, we had an introduction to the camera... Now, it's time to film for real! And I must say, it was a great experience!

Hanifah was responsible for the camera and Sharmin and I were the actors. We were given a sheet, at random, with what to do on it. We had to film a bag swap with a tracking shot, close up, mid shot and a point of vue shot. The aim of this exercise wasn't for us to practice our acting, it was more about the camera itself, how we could make this "boring" story interesting to watch. It was a nice challenge to do, but I still think we were quite lucky as other groups had to film someone reading a newspaper, for example!!!

So there we are, trying to find a location. At first we tried to film at the lower ground floor, in front of the drama place. However, we didn't succeed as the area was closed due to examinations taking place. We had to move further back, however the place wasn't very good. So we decided to change the setting, we went to staircase C.

Once we started filming, it was great! Sharmin and I tried to give Hanifah advice on how to film each scenes. But I must say, it wasn't as serious as you could imagine...

After that, we edited the video and added sound effects to our film. However, while browsing through the sound effects, some of them were too fast (footsteps). We weren't sure how to slow it down. When we asked our teacher, he said it wasn't the most important thing yet as it was just a practice...

The Bag Swap - Final

I think that the main problems were the number of shot we had: 48! Mostly due to our laughter and the change of location. We realised that it was too much, so we will have to try to keep it down next time.

Taking of laughter... Here's the outtakes!! The explanation is below guys ;)


  1. First shot, always a fail! I tried my best to stay serious but I just couldn't!!
  2. I wasn't expecting Hanifah to come that close to my face, it looked so weird we burst out of laughter
  3. Guys, keep looking on the right!!! I was filming a point of vue shot of myself, walking towards Sharmin. However, I didn't notice we could see Hanifah in the shot!!! Hanifah, stop texting!!!! :-P
  4. While Hanifah was following Sharmin to flm the point of vue shot, she didn't put her hand properly and couldn't manage to film the scene properly... Stop zooming!!!!
  5. It was good enough, until Sharmin said "Shit!" 
  6. Then again, Hanifah doesn't seem to be disturbed by the filming and she's peacefully doing her hair!
  7. Over the shoulder shot of the bag swap... But I looked like I wanted to kill Sharmin!!! Sorry Sharmin...
  8. Same scene, Sharmin was trying her best not to laugh but managed to make me laugh!!!
  9. We were all ready to film, Sharmin gave us the signal... But actually, she didn't. She tried to wave to tell us to stop, she also tried to "shout"? But it sounds like a hamster!!! Hanifah and I burst out of laughter...
  10. Ahh, the bag swap again!
  11. Filming a point of vue shot while going up (or down...) the stairs is difficult, as the way we did it couldn't allow us to see where we were going...!
  12. Same again, my turn this time. Going down actually terrified me! I accidently (by reflex) looked down... Perhaps a bit too much!!!


During our last media lesson with Bernard, we were adding sound to our videos. It was a great chance to experience and try out different sounds/music to find something that works well with the piece. The MAC computers had a wide range of sound or pieces of music to chose from. Literally anything you thought of, you were bound to find it !! Which was a major advantage. 

At this point we were putting together some sounds we wanted to use in our shots. At the same time we watched the video too, so it was easier to see whether it worked well or not. Some of the sounds we chose were either to fast or slow. For example, we used the sound of ''Footsteps'' but as we watched the video it seemed like the footsteps were not on time with the video, it was at a faster pace. Although It WASNT as obvious! However we didn't take it into much consideration as this is just a ''practice run''. As long as we had some sort of sound added on our video, we were safe. 

Finally, after all the sound/music was added to our videos and there was nothing  else for  us to change, it was  time for us to upload our videos onto blogger!  Now In order for us to do this, we had to compress our video files so we were able to upload them without haven't to wait a long time.
However the whole process of compressing our files was very long and indeed CONFUSING. Even though we had a technician guide us through step-by-step in how to do this, I still got lost. 
At the end we managed to complete it and post it up on our blogs.  

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Editing//Camera Skills


On Thursday we set off to create ''the bag swap'' scene. It was by far one of the greatest experience I had filming with others, since the start of the course.

Myself and Max were both actors, while Hanifah was filming it all. Together we all pitched in our ideas and thoughts. And we werent shy to mention whether we thought something was wrong or wasnt working well. Thats what made it a success to film!

During the first few shots, it was quite hard to stay serious and focused. There was a lot and I mean a lot of Hiccups and Laughter!! There are many shots we would like to keep as 'outtakes'. Inorder to show our first experience in film making and acting. In success, we managed to include 3/4 shot types mentioned;
*POV Shot
*Over The Shoulder
*A Tracking Shot
We had a certain time restriction, so we never looked over everyshot we took there and then. Instead we waited till we got down to editing to watch them all.

editing our shots together
I Guess the downside to having many shots..48 to be exact! Is that It takes long to watch them all and decide which ones we are going to use. However the whole process of editing the shots we chose and putting them together, seemed very simple & straight forward.Maybe because there was 3 of us helping each other?.
Although we were the only group with an exceeding amount of shots and the last ones to get on the MAC and start editing. We actually finished putting out scenes together.


Practice 'Film Making' Task.. '' The bag swap ''

T H E T A S K-
After we had the 'introduction to camera', which by the way was very interesting. You had the chance to learn about new features on the 'Big' camera, which some poeple may have already known but still, it was fun to practice out filming, making the lighting correct, getting a shot without it being blury etc.
So we were given the task to create a short interesting clip with a minimum of 12shots to do with a specific theme. Our group had  'The Bag Swap' . It had to include 
Our first reaction   to this, well MY first reaction was- ''Okay that seems simple enough to make, it should be really easy!'' So we started planning , thinking about where we would film, what each shot would be about and who will be acting.  Bernard (our teacher) gave us a storyboard in order for us to draw each state of the clips. BUT  as  a group we decided that the storyboard wont help us much and that were going to improvise and make each shot as it comes because that works better for us, so we never filled it in!!

We Had Our Ideas Written Down..Just Not In Storyboard Form
'' As You Can Tell.. ''



At this point, neither of us could wait until the next lesson when we put our words into action !!

Thriller Sub-Genres.

My Definition Of Genre; 
--> A specific category of Art, Literature Or Music/Film. Genre has an open meaning, it can relate to many different aspects. Its much simple and easier when you know exactly what your researching. For instance I'm looking at '' Thriller '' Sub-genres which has various answers to it, the list could literally go on. Below are the most common ones: 

** Romantic Thriller - Twilight 
** Comedy Thriller - Lady In Cement
** Action Thriller - Death Trance
** Supernatural Thriller - Inception,What Lies Beneath
** Crime Thriller - The China Lake Murders 
** Psychological Thriller - The Sixth Sense
** SCI-FI Thriller - Infected


This video link is the opening of the French Thriller film ''He loves me, he loves me not''. Which falls under the Sub-Genre ''Romantic Thriller''. 
Even if I hadn't mentioned the sub-genre, anyone could immediatly guess, judging by the first appearence, images,colour and the mood on the character. The pace also gives the answer away. 

We are first drawn to a slow start on red roses, a big bunch of them. Then It slowly zooms out to show more bunches of different flowers/roses. At this point were given the calm, peaceful feeling of romance. And the fact that the character is introduced with a cheerful face and smile, were told its 'happy love' and not anything devastating.  

Moreover, there is an interesting Mid-Shot of her carefully choosing a single rose out of the bunch. Which shows that the person recieving the rose is extremely important to her and 'deserves the best'. 
I guarantee now that you've watched the video link, your thinking how this is to do with 'Thriller' right? That was the reaction for many people at first but then you come to conclusion and think maybe that was perposly done by the director. 
In order to hook the viewers and make them think '' Oh I wonder what will happen next?..''

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Introduction to camera

On Bernard’s lesson, we were introduced to the cameras. 

I couldn’t wait to get hands on the camera and learn how to use it... 

This lesson was very interesting. The technician came in to show us all the relevant functions of the camera and how to fix it on the tripod.

We started off with the basics, such as how to install the battery, the SD cards, switching it on, how to record and zoom. We were then told how to fix it securely on the tripod, and how to safely move around with the camera and the tripod. After that, the technician explained to us more advanced features, such as manually focussing the lens.

Finally, we finished the session with some safety rules. We were told that students once filmed on railway lines, which is prohibited by law. They were risking their life, while doing this, and the examining board decided to reject their film. It is really important that we know what we are doing, and make sure we are in a secure environment. We were also told that the cameras worth more than £2K... Which actually made us realise, how careful we will have to be when filming. I don’t think I will have much trouble using the camera, I am pretty confident. I can’t wait to film our opening!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Title Sequence Analysis - "Momento"

 The production / distributing company is Newmarket. It was introduced by their jingle, then by “New markets presents...”. This allows the distributing company to present themselves and be recognised by the audience (certain audience have preferences over the distributing company, as certain ones are better for certain genres).

 In this title sequence, the following is shown, in this order:
  • Distributing company
  • Team Todd Production
  • Stars
  • Title - Appears on the screen longer than anything else.
  • Actors
  • Casting Director
  • Music by
  • Costumer Designer
  • Editor
  • Production designer
  • Director of Photography
  • Co-Producer
  • Co-Executive Producer
  • Executive Producer
  • Producers
  • Screen play + Author of the short story (which the film has been based on)
  • Director - The most important person is shown last.

The title of the film appears after a few names of stars. It stays on during the transition between the black screen at the start of the opening sequence.  It’s appearance is a lot longer than any of the preceding or following information that appear on the screen.