Friday, 31 January 2014

Film Introduction Part 2: The Silence of the Lambs

The introduction to this film is again similar in portraying key conventions which can help to establish the atmosphere of the it immediately and get a feel for what movie may be based around. Isolated settings are generally key in creating suspence and gradually building up the tension; forests in the horror genre are common, as are elements such as eerie music. This aspect has additionally been used to emphasize the potential danger the woman may be in and nicely links in with the titles. The text displayed over the background image give the audience clear and easy description of the cast/producer etc., which the colour connotes a sense of awareness and importance, but also feels sinister and foreboding. These components almost create the base of the film and can be used to develop the meaning and tone/mood of the movie itself by gradually revealing parts of the story. The Silence of the Lambs introduction seems more subtle as if the story builds up to something big later on. This has inspired me towards the intro to my film to focus more on the increase of unease and instead concentrate on the more thriller aspects of mystery.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Film Introduction: Memento

The introduction to the film Memento uses a variety of conventional sounds and use of mise en scene to give significance to the genre. A focus around guns and drugs is bold in the opening, bringing it into the Crime/Thriller category. Here the opening credits use distorted sounds and eerie music to build up the tension. The faded black text upon a white background helps the viewer to easily read the titles, but also establish a sense that the film is going to inevitably be quite dark and atmospheric; the material (ash-like) of the text is effective in creating a dark and sinister look. There is also clever cuts between the titles themselves and a related story in the background which later reveals itself to be significant towards the events happening. During the opening titles of the film, there are various key components which I find could be used effectively for the 2 minute introduction of my film, thus the reason for me analysing it and finding parts which may inspire me or help create any ideas. With the mirror like effect and strange music, Memento immediately feels rather creepy and un-nerving, whilst later on during the intro. the editing is used to create a backward motion event whereby a murder is displayed in reverse. This could similarly indicate a relation to the film's narrative and again helps to give meaning for the audience. Most parts have fast forward elements; a feel of time in this film seems important.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Storyboard - Draft

The image below is a draft of my storyboard plan for the 2 minute introduction to a film. The features include the script and main plot/pitch of the intro.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Preliminary Task

Below is a video showing a 50 second film clip of our preliminary task, which incorporates the 3 key aspects: Match on Action, Rule of Thirds and Shot Reverse Shots. It is based around the story of a lost Rudolph trying to find his way back home to Santa.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Theorists - Roland Barthes

Action and Enigma Codes:

  • Barthes' interest in narrative derived from the concept of the use of visual codes
  • Enigma codes are images/sequences that control how much we know in the story, engaging and holding audience interest. They present puzzles which demand to be solved
  • Action Codes are those images/sequences that work as a form of visual shorthand making complex ideas immediately apparent and carrying the story forward
  • The following are some of the key components of this theory:
Restricted/Unrestricted Narration:
How much information do you release to the audience

The compression of time within a film

The 'because' of the story


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Theorists - Tvetan Todorov

States/Changes of Equilibrium:

  • As a rule, conventional narrative has 5 stages, though this can be rudimentary broken down into 3 stages
  • The text below displays the 5 key features of a film's storyline:
The Beginning - Where the story starts out as the audience can gradually establish where the film is set and its characters involved (state of equilibrium)

Disruption - Where the Villain creates a dilemma and enables the hero/s of the story to act upon it (usually harming innocent people and therefore grabbing the attention of specific people, for a particular purpose)

Middle - Where the story is unbalanced and the hero is fighting off enemies as he/she tries to find out a solution to the problem at hand (state of disequilibrium)

Resolution - The part of the story which finds the hero/s revealing a way/s in which the villain can be destroyed

End - Everything is back to normal and they can go back to their everyday lives (mostly ending with a unexpected cliff-hanger: State of new equilibrium )

Equilibrium: A state of balance, normality in which the characters find themselves at the beginning


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Theorists - Vladmir Propp

7 Spheres of Action:

  • Prop's study of Russian Folk tales has been applied to film in order to suggest that while narratives may appear very different, there is a shared character structural feature
  • The examples below include the 7 alternate modes of character within film:
Hero: Individual(s) who's quest is to restore the equilibrium
Villain: Individual(s) who's task is to disrupt equilibrium
Donor: Individual(s) who gives the hero(s) something, usually being advice, information or an object
Helper: Individual(s) who aids the hero(s) with their set task
Princess/Prince: Individual(s) which need help, protecting and saving
Dispatcher: Individual(s) who send the hero(s) on their quest
False Hero: Individual(s) who set out to undermine the hero's quest by pretending to aid them. Often un-masked at the end of the film

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Theorists - Levi Strauss

Binary Oppositions:

  • Claude Levi Strauss focused on how meaning is created within a film's narrative
  • He argued that Binary Oppositions create meaning and further the storyline via these oppositions clashing with one another
  • These take many different forms and are very genre dependent. The following are just some examples a variety of films have in their storyline:
Man vs. Woman - Mr & Mrs Smith
Hero vs. Villain - The Dark Knight
West vs. East - Hurt Locker
Science vs. Nature - The Happening
Young vs. Old - Harry Brown
Human vs. Alien - Alien/s

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Exam Revision - TV Drama

                   C - Class: Clothing, Cars, Jewellery, Brands
                   A - Age: Old and Weak/ Young and Strong
                   G - Gender: Beauty and Relationships (female) or Physique and Power (Male)
                   E - Ethnicity: Representation of darker skinned men/women or Asian
                   D - Disability: How they are represented (their abilities)             
                   S - Sexuality: How it is constructed (Reference to Gender)
4 Minute Extract: Technical Aspects and Representation
1. Discuss: Analyse and articulate why
2. Construct: Technical Codes                    Representation + Reaction = Full Understanding
3. Representations: Class, Age Gender etc.
P - Point                                                                                                Camera Shots
E - Evidence                                      3 - 4 varied points                     Editing
E - Explanation                                                                                     Sound
                                                                                                              Mise - en - Scene

Denotation: The common sense/obvious meaning                         
Connotation: The associated meaning that link/relate to signs        
Semiotics: Signs (deciphers what is being represented)

  • To look like or resemble
  • To stand in for something

Monday, 6 January 2014

Editing within the Horror/Thriller genre

Similar to the effects of which cinematography has on the audience, is alike to that of editing. The main focus and emphasis on specific key components is used via this to interlink scenes and create a continuous flow within the film, which prevents any disruption towards the audience watching. The list below details a range of editing techniques:
  • Shot Reverse Shot - Used commonly in conversation scenes to give perspective of a character and therefore allows the audience to feel immersed in the film
  • Continuity Editing - Enables a smooth transition and flow of shots between scenes developing meaning and continuation, especially within action shots or chase scenes
  • Establishing Shot - Allows the viewer to see where the film is set and general background surrounding the characters; associated with a "bird's eye view" or shot from above
  • Jump Cut - Leaves out specific parts of action to "jump" or skip to another shot; maybe for relevance in the story
  • Match on Action - A cut which joins 2 separate shots together, having similar elements, helping to create a strong continuation
  • Transitions - These occur between each scene in order to move it forward: dissolve, fade and wipe
  • Sequence Shot - A longer take which continues for an extended period of time, where there is only one shot without editing
All of the above editing techniques can be used in a variety of genres varying from an action film to a Sci-Fi, however they can still be used similarly within the Horror/Thriller genre to establish an atmosphere and tension.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Cinematography within the Horror/Thriller genre

As expected within any film, there is a variety of shots ranging from Close Ups, for dramatic facial expressions to establishing shots which help convey the setting and location for the audience. It is common for the horror genre to include a few other types in order to emphasize tension and fear:

  • Birds Eye View - Usually associated with the establishing shot, this helps to illustrate the setting whether it is an isolated forest or a creep, abandoned house the tone of the film can generally be set through this type of shot
  • Wide Shots - Useful for showing an enlarged image of the location and sometimes used when the "villain" can be seen in the distance, whilst the character upfront remains unaware
  • Point of View - Films such as Doom have established this shot (in this films case to act as though it were a videogame) to portray the events happening through the eyes of the character, making the audience feel as if they were immersed within the movies' environment
  • Pan - Paranormal Activity has seen to use a few of these, when the camera moves from left to right showing the room, whereby the pan is used, when the entity suddenly appears the next time the shot is shown; useful for making you jump
  • Tracking Shot - Also used in a lot of action films, this is sometimes used in a chase scene, which can emphasise tension through anxiety of whether the character will get caught (or for the horror genre, be killed)
  • Zoom - The final piece of cinematography is a zoom, which is useful in projecting a distressed or surprised look on a character's face whether it be them dying or hiding from inevitable death

All of these different types of shots (or at least most of them) can be included within the 2 minute introduction of my film in order to raise awareness of its tone and atmosphere. The few we attain to include will be the shots which establish a location and add detail to the character to get a sense of what the story's about and who is in the film (their role.)