Sunday, 24 March 2013

Evaluation Question 7

'Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?'

Evaluation Question 6

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

At the beginning of the media course, I knew absolutely nothing about filming, editing, or even Mac computers. Over the course of the past few months, I have acquired the skills needed to produce my own piece which I am proud of.

The strengths of the camera equipment used were that they allowed us to do everything we needed to get our footage filmed. This also enabled me to learn how to use new equipment and put it into practise straight away. In order to produce steady shots as well as hand held shots, I used a tripod for the majority of my shots. For example, when filming the panning scene, my teacher and the Media technician  advised me of a trick with a rubber band that allows the tripod to move more freely but still smoothly. This resulted in a great panning shot, that beforehand I was having difficulties filming. Weaknesses of the camera equipment were trivial, but prolonged the editing process. On one of the cameras used, the footage had to be converted before t could be imported into Final Cut which was a waste of time but had to be done else the footage was wasted.

The filming process was a great experience. I have never done anything like it before, other then my preliminary which in comparison, I now realise was shockingly bad. The first problems to arise was with Nikita not being able to stay in character and keep a straight face which resulted to many takes having to be filmed of the same shot which turned out to be very time consuming. In the end, we took the shot for a lot longer then needed so if she laughed or moved when she was not supposed to, we could cut the shot to the length we needed. Other problems included some of the initial footage being of poor quality, resulting in us having to go back to the set and recreate it so that we could re do some of the shots. Although, as we already knew how to use the equipment this did not take as long the second time round.

The editing software I used was Final Cut Express. For starters, I realised just how long it takes to edit together the footage. Considering it was only two minutes long, it made me realise how long the procedure must be for an entire film. I learnt so many things on Final Cut, from how to import my footage and cut it down to the required length, to putting it together on the timeline in sequence whilst slicing my titles in between shots. I then added in my soundtrack onto the audio timeline to see if it fitted with the footage which it did. Then I was in the media pod by myself and I wanted to know how to turn the footage black and white so I started searching the internet for tutorials and taught myself how to do it. It involved going though the effects to 'desaturate' and dragging this over the clip I wanted to turn black and white. After this I had to learn how to enhance the colours of the lipstick and the dress. This is something I did not even realise was possible on the software so I was really happy when I realised it was achievable. This was a long and frustrating process using 'Colour Correction' and 'Chromer Key'. It involved highlighting the section I wanted to enhance which was difficult because if I went to enhance the red lipstick, it would pick up all the other red fragments in the scene, so I had to find the right settings and keep going over it till it was perfect.

This picture shows me using Final Cut Express to finalise parts of my footage. Here, I was faking a Pan to give the shot some movement. You can also see my soundtrack and footage on the timeline, and the 'bin' that has all of my footage in it.

Finally came the extension of the soundtrack. I went onto Garageband to create a sharp and suspenseful piece for the introduction titles before the original piece started playing a few seconds into the film. I had used Garageband before in the lower school for music but had no recollection of how to use it so it was essentially starting again from scratch. Considering the piece of music I was using had been made by my friend especially for my film, and recorded in the music studio, I did not use Garageband that much. But when I did use it, it allowed be to create a separate piece of music taken from the existing piece. Finally, the non diegetic sound at the end was recorded in school with a metal hanger swinging from a door, so it literally emphasised the sound the hanger in the footage would make.

This picture shows me on Adobe soundbooth converting the music I made on Garageband, ready to import into Final Cut Express.

Even the little things like screen grabbing on a Mac are things I could not do before but now find really helpful for taking pictures to include in blog work. Lastly, by having a blog, it has opened my eyes into the capabilities of YouTube, as before this evaluation work, I did not know how to make voice overs or add annotations to YouTube clips.

This picture shows me working with the camera and the tripod, setting up for the next shot. I had never filmed with a tripod before so it was very different, but the finishing results were great, it's so much easier then handheld.

This picture shows me holding a light above the camera for the scene about to be shot, and the board we used to make sure we could organise our shots chronologically, and also so we could keep track of how many times we had re done each take.

Evaluation Question 5

'How did you attract/address your audience?'

Door scene has been removed

Here is a recording I made of myself responding to the feedback I received:

Evaluation Question 4

'Who would be the audience for your media product?'

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Evaluation Question 3

'What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?'

Door scene has been removed

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Evaluation Question 2

'How does your media product represent particular social groups?'

The first character that has similarities with my main character is Betty Grable in the film I Wake Up Screaming. Her character Jill Lynn is the woman whom Frankie (Victor Mature), a man suspected of murder, hides out with and eventually falls for. This coincides with my main character, an attractive woman who receives lots of male attention, but who uses this to her advantage to ultimately take what she wants from them. Appearance wise, they both wear red lipstick which is a common aspect of costume for women portraying a seductive role in films. A noticeable difference between the two characters could be hair colour. Most Femme Fatale actresses have blonde hair which fits into this stereotypical female role. However, our character has dark brown hair. Although, both Grable and the character in my film have curly hair, which is also a common feature amongst Femme Fatale characters.

Another Femme Fatale character that shows signs of similarities to my main female character is Ann Savage who plays Vera in Detour. Similarities include dark hair which is not very usual with Femme Fatale characters, and also smoking cigarettes. This is also a key iconic feature in Film Noir films, which gives an indication of the period in which the film is set. Furthermore, both women manipulate men to get what they want; our character manipulates then kills the millionaire who won the lottery and Vera blackmails Al in Detour when he presents himself as Haskell, the bookie who tried to get too friendly with her when he gives her a ride. This shows that women do not always have to be the powerless victims in thrillers, which is why having a Femme Fatale was interesting to portray.

Finally,  there are some similarities with Glenn Close who played Alex Forrest. Various references were made to Glenn Close in my thriller opening, including a scene from  Fatal Attraction and the poster on the wall which my character was then seen copying. They are both wearing white dresses which ironically contradicts their characters as both of them are seen to go to extreme lengths and carry out acts of craziness.

Here is a quote from 'Film Noir City' which gives an introduction into Femme Fatale as a character and how they fit into the Film Noir genre.

''The soft smell of infatuating perfume, blond tresses contrasted with unlit bars, and faint traces of liquor and tobacco; or fresh perms and the smell of a home cooked meal?
Without a doubt, the women in film noir play a central and recurring theme in the genre.  Perhaps as a statement of the obsessions that move a man:  money,  liquor and women.  The femme fatale (“ or the deadly woman”) is an ancient and popular character in western (and indeed world) texts. Generally, the femme fatale is shown to be a woman who exploits the weaknesses of men to her own advantage.  Perhaps the interpretation that the construction of the femme fatale is ultimately a product of a patriarchal and largely inequitable society is itself an outdated interpretation.  The femme fatale has become a movement of fashion and interest in modern society, and is a symbol of class.''