Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Evaluation of Main Task

The task was to create a film opening within two minutes.
Our film established its main characters by using a black and white freeze frame with their name displayed on the screen, along with upbeat music. The aim of this was to make the opening look more stylish to engage audience.
In Crime thrillers, a convention is that the film focuses on the criminal, rather than a policeman, so we decided to develop this and focus on two criminals; Mikey and Ricky.
We didn't show the identity of Mikey right from the start to keep the audience engaged, as if they want to find out who it is walking towards his motorbike. We did this by using certain camera angles which don't show the face; such as a close-up of Mikey's feet, a long shot of him locking the door with his back turned toward the camera.
Central topics of crime thrillers include, robberies, murders, shoot-outs and double-crosses. So we decided to include these for our film, however, they don't appear in the opening of the film because we didn't want to give too much away.

Our film represents particular social groups through clothing, music, props and camera angles.
We presented Mikey as being powerful through his motorbike; something that Ricky doesn't have.
We wanted Mikey to appear to be intruding, we did this through his dialogue, "Cool, I'll be there in five minutes". And also through his movement; entering Ricky's house without ringing the bell. This retained the hierarchy between the two characters which was previously established earlier on.
We wanted to present Ricky differently from Mikey, in order to prevent repetition. We wanted Ricky to be represented as a much nicer person, we did this introducing him to the audience when he was relaxing at home (sitting on the couch with a cup of tea). This makes the character seem more relaxed, and potentially more likeable.
We also wanted Ricky to seem fairly wealthy; he lives in a three-story house, the furniture looks quite expensive and he has a stack of money lying in his draw.

We used a lot of -possibly too much- music for the audience to relate to the characters, creating a sense of identity. We should have stuck with one particular piece of music for each character which would have been more simple and much more effective. The diverse music range almost made it seem too amateur-ish, as it was only a film opening, and it made it seem like we were trying too hard. -Taking into account of the fact that most films use only one soundtrack in the beginning, for example, The Departed. The volume switches gradually from low to high; reflecting the 'action' on-screen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxoEJck55OM

We decided that Film4 seemed like the likely candidate to distribute our film, because it is meant to be a typically-British film, and Film4 is a pioneer in British cinema. Our film isn't meant to be a blockbuster, which is what Film4 didn't originally focus on broadcasting, they focused on home-grown cinema such as This Is England, Trainspotting, Hallam Foe and Enduring Love.

Also, Film4 has made and distibuted a film which coincides with our chosen genre; Sexy Beast (which can, however, arguably be a form of black comedy), so we decided to carry the Crime Thriller genre on.

The audience for our film varies from the age of 15-30, audience feed-back seems to agree on this. Our film appeals to the older end of the scale through the household and lifestyle aspect, meaning they can relate to the surroundings (home). Also, the more experienced viewers may appreciate our use of the still-frame-shot which was inspired from Snatch - Guy Ritchie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXfdOgTWoxM (example at 3:56).
Our film also appeals to the younger end of the audience through the continuous build-up of tension (i.e. music) and through the brief release of some of the tension (i.e. Ricky picking up phone, then the sudden change of pace - reflected through transitions, speed of characters' movement, music etc).
One way we attracted audience was through the point-of-view shot on the motorbike, and the handheld shot of Ricky rushing down the stairs. These shots emphasize action and movement - something which the audience said they enjoyed.
According to the audience feedback, the main aspect which attracted/addressed them was the tension that was being built up by the frantic movement of Ricky, which was mirrored by Mikey travelling fast on his motorbike - combined with tense music. This technique of mirroring the action proved to be very successful, as it flows with the opening of the film and the audience is engaged by it. This shows that I can repeat and develop this technique in later projects.

We also engaged audience is by the tense silence when Mikey comes through Ricky's door, we included the sound of a creaking door to add to this tension - not to relieve it.
We tried to address the audience through the clothes the characters wore; Adidas, Nike, Topman etc. The aim of this was to let the audience relate to the characters, which also appealed to the younger end of the audience.

During the construction of the product, I have learnt a vast amount of editing techniques while using iMovie on a Mac. This software is simple to navigate the essential tools for editing, however, I sometimes found myself unable to find more advanced tools.
Since the start of the editing process, I have learned how to trim clips (we did this many times because the film was too long), adjust the colour and sound balance (black and white freeze-frames), how to do voice-overs ("Cool, I'll be there in five minutes"), how to add music and titles and also how to add advanced transitions into the film - such as 'fade out'.
This software has been very helpful in my understanding in the long process of editing a film. I can use the techniques i learned in my next project, this means I will spend less time on trying to find certain buttons.

Looking back at my group's preliminary task, it is clear that I have learned a lot about about how to make a film. I learned how to make transitions flow with the piece; for instance, if the scene involves two people in different places and it contains a lot of action, it is more effective to make the transitions between the two locations very quick and upbeat. This mirrors the action which is happening in the scene which engages the audience. Therefore makes for a better viewing.

In our preliminary task, there were a points where the camera was shaky when it was supposed to be steady - this took away the effect we, as a group, were going for.
I also learned that if you use hand-held camera movements, it emphasizes the action which is currently taking place. For instance, When Ricky was rushing down the stairs, we used a hand-held tracking shot, this makes the scene more enjoyable for the viewer.

Our main problem we came across while editing the footage was that we couldn't include everything that we filmed; we had another two scenes which were originally going to be included in the film.

However, I am very proud of what Elias, Jack, Conor and I have achieved and found the whole process very interesting and enjoyable.

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