Monday, 31 January 2011

Pre-Lim Film

On the 28/1/11 we had to start filming for our pre-lim films but unfortunately there were not enough group members on the day. Therefore me and Eda teamed up with Stephanie, Tahmid, Sakib and Edit to help film. We wanted to create a suspenseful atmosphere by having the lighting really dim; we didn't think it through very well though, as once we got to the editing suite we realised it was too dark and couldn't see anything so we went back out and tried again. However, beside this mistake we worked efficiently as a team, and used quite a few varied shots throughout the sequence.
I learnt from doing this that we need to consider all aspects whilst filming including the lighting as it might not turn out the way we considered.

Jelly Babies- Animatic

We had to plan how we would form our Pre-lim film through using Jelly Babies in an Animatic as a practise for the real film. Our story was about one of the Jelly Babies planning to kill themselves because they couldn't take life any longer. We had two other Jelly Babies trying to stop him in the background which we heard during the soundtrack. In doing this animatic, it helped me to visualise how we would construct our real pre-lim film. We used Soundtrack Pro to enhance our voices which we then put over our video on Final Cut. I enjoyed doing this exercise as it gave us guidence as to how we would film the real thing. However, in our animatic we forgot to clear the background of everything, therefore, in some of the shots we have pieces of paper or someones elbow in the background which ruined the shots. This taught us that next time we have to make sure that the background is clear in order to make the animatic look more professional and plan much more efficiently. Unfortunatley, we didnt get to demonstrate our pre-lim idea as we had to team up with Group 42 on the day.

Plan for A Thrilling Read

On the 14/1/11 our group were given a brief: To make reading a newspaper thrilling. We had to use 12 varied shots and plan thoroughly, in order to gather our plans together . Our story was about a stalker woman who wanted to get revenge as we see in the end of the clip she places her hand on the girl and thats where it ends. Once we had finished filming we all went to the editing suite and used 'Final Cut Pro' to edit and put together our video. From doing this trial run it helped me gain a better understanding of how to organise and construct our opening for our final piece.

RESEARCH: Who Watches Thrillers?

503 films were released in 2009. Only 31 of these were suspense movies which was 4% of the year's box office.

Action, Animation and Comedy account for 52% of box office in the UK in 2009. This is because they have a wider age range and have the family appeal.

Thrillers in the UK are generally accounted for quite a low proportion of box office takings (eg. 4% in 2009) because there are not many Thrillers being released in the UK. For example, 'The Godfather' was never shown in the cinemas in the UK it went straight to dvd sales.

Looking at the 'genre by gender' diagram above, I have noticed that Thrillers are not on the chart. Although, I think it would be placed between suspense and horror as it seems that it would come under that umbrella. I would presume men would watch more Thrillers than woman because they prefer action and scary anticipations more than females in general.

All Thriller films range from the age certificate of 15 and 18+ which suggests that Thrillers are mainly aimed at these age groups as they wouldn't be suitable for the younger generation. Which is also another reason that the Thriller genre is not as accounted for in the UK, because only a certain age group can watch them.

SKILLS: Soundtrack Pro

Soundtrack pro is a programe which allows you to create your own audio from a range of instruments and other edited sounds to add to our openings. It has two main modes:

  • Multitrack Mode- allows you to arrange the instruments and sound effects with the video track to create a professional sound track.

  • Audio Editing Mode- allows you to edit individual audio clips and helps you to identify any audio problems, which you can fix later.

I found using Soundtrack Pro quite difficult because I'm not used to composing my own music. Therefore I feel much more practise is needed for me to adjust to using this tool.

SKILLS: Livetype

Livetype, is a programme which allows you to create a certain style of title for your opening sequence. There are many varied styles of fonts and effects that you can add to enhance your title sequence and help make it look more professional. There are many features of this programme, for example: textures, objects, templates and others.  The main four windows are: The Timeline, The canvas, The Media Browser and The Inspector. Each of these contribute to finalising your fully edited font.

 On the left is an example of the Media Browser which is where you begin to form your fonts and play around with some ideas that could work with your titles.                                                                                                    On the right is an example of The Inspector Window which allows you to change the effect of how your font will appear on screen
As this was my first time using this tool I found it quite easy to use. I enjoyed playing around with the different types of fonts and came across some that I think would be quite suitable for our opening. 

Research: 'Watching' Documentary on Film Openings

Thomas Sutcliffe says in the documentary "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". In saying this,  he means that film openings should give a taster of whats to come in the beginning without giving away too much information to draw the audience in. For example, the film Casino instantly draws us in whereas The Shining is much more suspenseful.

According to Jean Jacques Beineix the risks of "instant arousal" is a huge problem for directors. This is because if you start off too strong without a glimpse of suspense then the questions that follow the opening will be answered; he thinks it's best to keep the audience guessing.

"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" This means, that first impressions are everything to an audience. Therefore, a good beginning should capture us and then draw us in to make us feel as though we "Want to see more".

Critic Stanley Kauffmann describes the classic opening as: beginning with an establishing shot, then a close up of a building, then zooming into a window etc. This works because it "teaches us how to know its suroundings" which draws us in and lets us feel as though we are in the characters world.

Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven is effective because it immediately sets the tone for the audience without giving any narrative. We are introduced to the main character's twisted world instantly. In doing this,  it foreshadows what will happen in the film and sets us up for whats to come.

In the opening of Orson Wells "ATouch Of Evil" he wanted to "plunge the audience into the storyline, without giving them time to prepare themselves" Therefore,  he wanted to leave the sound track and titles out until the end. However, Universal Studios wanted their soundtrack accompanied by the logo at the start of the movie. This led to Wells writing as 58 page memo which then turned into a court case, unfortunately he lost.

The term "Film Noir" means "Dark Film" in literal translation. This means that the film is usually filmed at night with many use of shadows and is quite stylised to create tension and build suspense. The trick of "Film Noir" is to start at the end then unravel the story back; detective films often are created in this style.

The opening to the film: "The Shining" creates suspense effectively through showing us a merely picturesque setting. Then we gradually realise that the helicopter is following the car, like a vulture following its prey. The director says "Everything is telling us that these people are going in the wrong direction".  Which intrigues the audience perfectly as we anticipate for whats to come.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Black Swan

I went to go and see the Black Swan on the 28/1/11 because I wanted to see if it could give us some inspiration on how to construct our own opening. Therefore,  I wanted to explore all the possible aspects of the Thriller genre. 

The Black Swan was about a ballet dancer desparate for the main role in Swan Lake. Little did she know that the irony of playing both the delicate White,pure Swan and the Black, evil swan would cause her too lose control over her life and sanity.

This film was Psyhcologically based and had the use of many false platau's to keep the audience intrigued throughout the movie. I loved the pshycological genre as it got me questioning the context of the movie continually.  I loved the use of camera shots throughout, as it built tension in the most significant moments of the movie.

The poster drew me in as it looks dark against her pale skin which instantly attracts an audience to wonder what it could be about. The font is also in black to emphasise the name of the movie boldly. Furthermore, the image of Natalie Portman with a crack down her face suggests the movie is not as straight forward as we might think.

I actually really liked the movie overall, as it made me jump at certain points and kept me intrested throughout. Initially, I didnt think I would enjoy the movie because of the dancing aspects but I've been proven wrong and I think it was an exemplary performance by Natalie Portman, possibly the movie of her career. 

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Black Swan

On 28/1/11 I went to the cinema to watch Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. The trailer was interesting and I had read somewhere that it was a psychological thriller which is my favourite thriller sub genre, so I decided to watch it.

The film is about a ballerina, Nina Sayers (Portman) desperate for the role of the lead, the Swan Queen, in the well-known play, 'Swan Lake'. A ballerina is needed to play both the delicate White Swan and the evil Black Swan. When she gets the role she is over the moon, unbeknownst to her, the stress of the role will lead her losing her senses. She starts off as delicate as the White Swan but she slowly loses her mind and begins to see things that are unreal, becoming more and more like the evil Black Swan. 

The film was fear-provoking, it tricks you into believing that something is real but then show us that it is merely her imagination. It does this so many times that eventually we cannot tell what is or isn't real. This questioning of reality is mainly caused by the false plateau's which are used several times throughout the film.

I enjoyed the film, it was thought-provoking, bizarre, sophisticated and it made me jump in many scenes. The camerawork was great, mainly handheld which increased suspense. It is a film that makes you question reality and does not impart you of any easy answers, even in the ending. I liked the way they presented Nina as a tortured soul trying to make professional and personal choices, these elements made it appealing and made Portman's performance a gripping one. I will intertextualize with this film and take certain elements for my groups thriller title sequence.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Marathon Man - Analysis

In the beginning of the clip we are shown the ident, paramount. By using this logo it shows the audience who the production and distribution company are without overpowering them with text. It is also a professional and common way of starting a movie, which effectively lets the audience know the film is about to start. We are then shown the producers names by using white text on a black background for emphasis (letters are all lower case). The text slide effect is like a fast fade away, which starts the opening off at a fast pace, linking to the film title "Marathon Man".

There is then a 20 second break from the opening titles, showing a short black and white clip, of a man running a marathon. This clip introduces sound to the movie. A crowd is cheering as the man sprints to the finish line. As he does, he lifts his arms above his head. The sound begins to die out and the image is paused. This pause makes the image seem very symbolic to the storyline, and gives an insight into what the film could be about.

This image then gradually fades into another clip, showing a man running. However, this time there is mysterious music played along with some deep breathing and fast pace footsteps (like someone running). The mystery is also continued as we are only initially shown the shadow of the man. The titles are then played again, using the same white font to show the five main actors/actresses. All names appear seperately but each name is shown moving slightly to the right of the screen. Even though we are not watching the text move across the screen it still feels as if we are, again linking to the idea of running or movement. The main title, "Marathon Man" makes it's way across the screen at a fair pace and the runners legs are finally seen. As this happenens, the background music sounds quite distorted and sqeeky; which begins to build tension.

The director then intercuts a clip of a man opening a locker, used to draw the two storylines together and create tension. There is a close up of a mans hand opening the locker with a key and taking out a large box. This continues the idea of mystery, and engages the audience as they want to know whats in it. It then cuts back to the man running again, where we finally see his face; which could show that he is the "good" character. This shot also shows the setting, which is a city. Three co-stars are then shown in the bottom left of the screen, again using the same white font. 

The rest of the clip continues in the same sort of style, using louder more disturbing noises along with close up's to create tension, although the main mystery music continues.

Preliminary - First attempt

Here is our first attempt of our preliminary but after we had finished editing, our teacher told us that it was too dark and that we should film again, so we did. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Structure of Thriller Openings

There are three specific structures of openings typically used in films, such as:

    •    A narrative opening with the title running throughout
    •    A discrete title sequence
    •    Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening
An additional opening: Stylized Editing.

In narrative films we are introduced to the location, setting and then the characters with the picture in the background and the titles running over it:

Discrete openings are heavily edited, overly stylised and support almost all of the opening credits and film:

Titles running over a blank screen often have sound effects before introducing the image:

Stylized editing is all done in post production. Therefore, if we wanted to achieve this we would have to be well planned and organised:

Out of these particular structures, I found the discrete opening in Seven the most intriguing as it built suspense perfectly through the quick editing. It gives us small clues to interpret what the film will be about, which has given me inspiration for our own opening. I think in order to achieve a thrilling sructural opening we will have to be well organised and plan thoroughly.

Thriller Audiences: RESEARCH

Box Office charts for Suspense/Thriller genre

In 2009 there were 31 suspense films released and in total there were 503 films released. 52% of  Box Office in the UK were accounted to the action, comedy and animation genres, the reason being that they are suitable for a wider range of audience and they have the family appeal. I think that the reason why thriller films account for a low proportion of Box Office is that you have to be over a certain age to watch them and the age range is small compared to most other genres.

Genre by genre diagram

By looking at the 'genre by gender' diagram I can see that the suspense genre is prefered more by women. The genre that men mostly prefer is sci-fi, whereas the genre that women mostly prefer is romance. However we can see that both men and women enjoy comedy equally.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Research: Art of the title

The title sequence that really appeals to me is the opening to the film "The Number 23". To begin with, the names of the stars are typed across the screen behind a creamy tea stained background. After this, there are numerous facts about the number displayed on screen, which hints to the audience the genre of the movie as the most significant words are presented in red. Then gradually, the titles emerge behind a blood stained piece of paper with number 23 typed out continuously. Furthermore, in doing this, the genre is established immediately and sets the audience up for the rest of the movie. The typed out images where the titles are placed over create suspense as we anticipate what is to come right from the very beginning. However, there are not many types of shots used throughout the sequence apart from the use of medium close ups and extreme close ups to emphasise the letters on the piece of paper. In effect, this does make the sequence much more suspenseful as we only see certain words on the piece of paper. The sequence appeals to me because i like the way the titles are not predictably presented on screen. For example, the letters being typed out on screen and the blood seeping through the paper suggests the psychological genre. Its unique and has inspired me to think about how our titles will be displayed within our opening through a discrete tittle sequence.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fonts That Inspire Me

The production poster for the film 'The Number 23' appeals to me broadly as it grabs my attention immediately. I find the font quite eerie and creepy as it's in white against a dark background and the number 23 is shining brightly out of the poster. Clearly, the film is centred around this number as the writing scribbled across Jim Carrey's face gives us a clue of the type of genre it could be as well as the numbers significance within the film. The psychological thriller is displayed perfectly through the mise en scene and font on the poster. I loved the use of shadows behind the white font as it drew my attention to the poster and appealed to me instantly as I it got me wondering about the film and its content. This poster inspired me as it provoked thought about how fonts can really make the difference to how your film comes across to the audience.

Font Analysis

There are many types of fonts used for different types of films during post production and marketing. The type of font that you use to draw the audience in is quite significant as it helps to make the film appear more appealing to the audience.
There are two basic types of fonts:

  • Serif fonts- such as Times and Courier
  • Sans serif fonts-such as Ariel and Comic Sans
The fonts used in the production for the 'Pearl Harbour' film  are in Platino which can suggest many hints on the genre of the film. Such as, the font looks as if it could have been typed up on a typewriter which could connote the time period of when the film was set. As could the costume and plane from the mise en scene of the front cover. Also, the fact that there is a woman in between two men could connote a sub-genre of love within the movie. 

The fonts used in the production for 'Rocky' are in Franklin Gothic Heavy. This particular font is bulging out of the frame which immediately catches our eye as it is so bold. The black against a white background also helps to make it stand out and appeal to the audience. The mise en scene of this film suggests a violent and romantic genre for the audience; the man is clearly a boxer who is holding a womans hand which displays his softer side as well as establishing his tough exterior.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Introduction To Cameras

Before we began filming our "Thrilling Read" we had to have an induction on how to use the cameras. We were taught the main specifics of how to use the cameras with care and efficiency:

  • Always ensure the memory card and battery are securely in place.
  • Never touch the lens as it can leave finger prints and ruin any shots we have filmed by making them appear blurry.
  • Ensure the focus is set correctly
  • Try to keep the camera out of the rain through using an umbrella
  •  Store the camera in a safe place to keep it from getting stolen or damaged.
  • Only touch the necessary buttons required eg: Zoom in/out, on/off button, focus button and play/stop.

We were also introduced about the use of Tripods and how to use them correctly:
  • Make sure all the legs are facing outwards and stable.
  • To keep the tripod balanced use the Tripod compass for guidance
  • Always check that the camera is on securely on the Tripod as it could fall off if not applied correctly
  • In order to take the camera off, press the red button in, make sure the lever is pulled the away from the camera, and then slide it out slowly with a tight grip on top of the camera.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Response to 'Watching' Documentary: RESEARCH

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 irresistable", he means that films need to not give away too much at the beginning, and that they should instead give them a little taste of what is going to happen and encourage them to continue watching and be in a "long term commitment" with the film. He is also saying that it is tempting to give away alot of information at the beginning and go for "instant arousal". Casino is instantly arousing whereas The Shining has a much more suspenseful beginning.

According to Jean Jacques Beineix, directors have problems as a result of 'instant arousal' the risks of 'instant arousal' are that the question of what to do next is raised and if you start strong you may not answers the questions.

"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". This basically means that it is important to provide the audience with enough information to keep them engaged without giving too much information. It gives the audience the decision of whether they should continue watching.

Stanley Kauffmann describes the classic opening as beginning with an establishing show, then into a close up of the building, then zooming into the window, then going into the window and so on. It works because it leads the audience into the story being told and it shows where it is taking place. You get an introduction into the characters' world and see it how they see it.

Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven is so effective because it sets the tone, which wakes the audience up and gets them ready for what is going to happen. It introduces us to the weird nature of the films main character and foreshadows what will be in the film.
In the opening of A Touch Of Evil, Orson Welles wanted to "plunge the audience into the story the story without giving them time to prepare themselves". He did this by jumping straight into the film and not using a soundtrack or a title.

A Film Noir is a film that has a very dark perspective. Film Noirs are usually made in the night and use shadows to create suspense. The trick is to start at the end and unravel the story back.

The opening to The Shining creates suspense because it is "merely picturesque", the screen is full of omens. The camera acts as a predator that is following the car, as the narrator says "everything tells us that these people are travelling in the wrong direction".

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Structure of Thriller Openings

There are four structures that are used for openings of films. The following are examples of each of those four structures:

1. A narrative opening with the titles running throughout
The Shining


2. A discrete title sequence

3. Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening
Donnie Darko

4. Stylized editing
The Taking of Pelham 123


The structure that interests me is the 'titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening' structure. The reason being that it is more suspenseful as you do not know what is going to appear after the blank screen. The music is very important in an opening scene as it sets the tone of the film, it tells you the genre of the film. The font of the title and credits are also very important as they contribute in telling you the genre of the film. For example in the Seven opening sequence the music is eerie and the font is childlike which is chilling, everything about the opening sequence tells us that this film is going to be scary and prepares us for what is going to happen.

Font Analysis


There are two categories of font:
  • Serif fonts A serif is the extra bit of detail at the end of each stroke of every letter. This type of  font tends to be more formal than sans serif fonts. They are usually more traditional.
        For example: Times and Courier
  • Sans Serif fonts This type of font tends to be more informal, more contemporary and more 'friendly'.
        For example: Ariel and Verdana

Font Analysis

The 'Palatino' font used in the promotion of Pearl Harbor reminds me of a typewriter which suggests the date that the film is set in. This poster uses the mise en scene to its advantage, hinting the story of this film. The uniform and the plane suggest the genre of the film, as these props connote action, violence and war. The font is a serif font which adds a more sensitive touch to the poster, it suggests that alongside the violence there may be love involved, so the font contradicts the genre of the film.

The 'Franklin Gothic Heavy' font used in the promotion of Rocky suggests the boldness and the strength of the main character as the font itself is bold and strong. The fact that it is a sans serif font, which is supposedly a 'friendly' font, is a contradictory factor as the film is about boxing, which is a violent sport. The black font stands out amongst the white background. This poster also uses the mise en scene to its advantage, it shows that Rocky is a boxer, he is tough and violent, but the fact that he is holding Adrianne's hand suggests his sensitive side, which suggests love as well as violence, just like the Pearl Harbor poster.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Evalutation - A Thrilling Read

There were many aspects of our opening that displayed various mistakes yet, in saying this, we worked efficiently as a group. The fist thing that drew my attention after viewing our sequence again was that we lacked a variety of shots. Mostly, we used long shots rather than adding in different types of shots. On the other hand, I think we had a more diverse range of shots towards the end of our sequence than in the initial beginning. However, our clips flowed quite well and made sense to the audience. Furthermore, we did have an unwanted object in one of the frames, the bottom leg of the tripod stand, which made us realise that we should pay more attention to whats in our frame at the time of filming. We also, left out an over the shoulder shot that was necessary during filming. Overall, I think it was lack of planning thoroughly that led us to make these mistakes but now that we have had practise we will look out for these things in our actual opening.  

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Evaluation - A Thrilling Read: RESEARCH&PLANNING

On 14/1/11 my group and I filmed and edited our short sequences involving a newspaper. As a group we decided on what our story would be and how we could make something as simple as reading a newspaper thrilling.

We decided that Stav would play the role of the stalker, that Farhen would play the role of the victim and that I would be the director. We then got our camcorder, tripod, battery and memory cards and begun our filming.

Once we had finished filming, we all gathered around a Mac and used 'Final Cut Pro' to edit and put together our footage. By doing this exercise I have gained a better understanding of how to use the camcorder and 'Final Cut Pro' which will be very helpful for our final thriller film.

We worked well as a team as everyone contributed. The clips flowed well throughout the sequence and there was a good variety of shots towards the end of the sequence. However we used too many medium-long shots from the beginning of the sequence to the middle, so next time we will take the use of a variety of shots throughout the whole sequence into consideration.

In one clip the tripod is the frame, so we need to make sure unwanted objects are out of the way before filming. We also need to make sure the focus is correct. Moreover, we forgot to add an over the shoulder shot which was one of the requirements, so next time we will need to plan better and make sure that we use all the shot types that are required.

Apart from the minor lack of variety in the shot types during the beginning of the sequence, we used a fair variety of shots overall, such as; close ups, a wide shot, an extreme close up, long shots, a mid shot, a high angle shot, a birds eye view shot, a low angle shot and a point of view shot where the camerawork was handheld. So in my opinion, our short thrilling sequence went well, considering it was our first one.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


intertextuality is basically when they borrow scenes from other films and such. For instance many thriller films which are created now are based on other movies in order to create their own thriller movie. For instance a very good example would happen to be phsychos famous shower scene this happens to be a good example of intertectuality considering that many films now happen to intertextualize with it. This is because the famous shower scene from "psycho" has many good elements which can be yet used today still. As we can see that the use of shadow in the shower scene creates good suspense not only that but the fact that the close ups of the woman's body parts, for instance when her hands are trying to reach out to the shower curtains; this indicates the painful death that is taking place for her. As we can techniqally see that the step father does happen to reflect to psycho based on the shower curtain being pulled down by a injured person as they happen to fall down too. Overall the fact that it was shot in the bathroom indicates the intertextuality, not only that but the fact that a kitchin knife happens to be used in them both as well. There also happens to be a close up on the curtain rings breaking when he falls, this is also just like psycho too. Another film which intertextualises with psycho is scrubbus. Scrubbas refers to psycho considering of the idea where the victim is getting murder while in shower. Not only that but where there is no form of music at that time too however the only sound we get is the sound of the water while the victim is showering. Another film which intertextualises with psycho is for instance fatal attraction. Fatal reaction is based on the famous shower scene from psycho from the use of shadows which tends to add more suspense for the audience, there also happens to be a scene in fatal attraction which is a reference to psycho as well. Not only that but the fact that a knife is happen to be used in both films. 


Marathon Man

In the beginning of the marathon man, the first thing which us audience are shown in 5 minutes notifies us with many information. For instance it starts of with an ident of paramount pictures and also after written in text as well. The impact they get for showing the logo and such twice during the title sequence is several reasons. Firstly it is for brand identity as they are the attributions of funding. The other reason is so that the audience can happen to recognise the production and the distribution company of the movie. Meanwhile the movie is started of by showing who's movie production it is, which appeared to be a John Schlesinger film. After there happens to be a break in the titles where we tend to see a 20 second sepia affect footage of a man running the marathon and also crossing the finishing line too. After this the name of the main five stars of the film appear one at a time, with the view of the camera following the runner running the marathon with still the sepia affect. After the five stars names are appeared one at a time, it follows on previewing the main title name of the film which is "marathon man", the title of the film scrolls across the screen and there also is a 10 second break again to establish what's happening in the opening sequence. The effect of the title of the film "marathon man" scrolling across the screen puts an impact. This is because it resembles a runner which links to the film as well. Moving on from the break the name of the three co-stars are introduced and then leading to showing the names of the people behind the scenes but which was linked to producing the movie, such as the editing producer, music composer, associate producer, production designer and many more. Then it leads to another break which happens to be for 15 seconds, throughout this break it leads to showing a man who is acting suspicious, this leads to us in a suspense mode, as it keeps us interested in wanting to know what the man in the movie is doing. Then the scene shown before of the man running is shown again, with the information of the screenplay such as the names of the producer and the name of the director which is John Schlesinger. 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Soundtrack Pro is a program which allows you to compose music and edit audio. It includes over 5000 professional instrument loops and sound effects.

Soundtrack Pro has two main modes:
1. Multitrack mode
2. Editing mode

Multitrack mode
Multitrack mode is where you can arrange the instrument loops and sound effects in synchronisation with the video track. Narration and other external audio sources can be recorded also.

Audio editing mode
Audio editing mode is where you can edit individual audio clips and the waveform of the clips can be viewed. You can analyze the audio clip for common audio problems such as clicks and pops, then the audio problems that you may have discovered can be fixed.

Livetype: SKILLS

Livetype is a program which allows you to create animated titles for your video projects. There are many different font styles and effects to fit your purpose. Other features of the program include textures, objects, backgrounds, templates and others.

Livetype presents you with four main windows:
  1. The Timeline
  2. The Canvas
  3. The Media Browser
  4. The Inspector
The timeline is where you add text, objects and other graphics. The canvas is where the text, objects and other graphics appear after you have placed them on the timeline. They get placed onto a background that is transparent, enabling you to add your own video or animated background behind it. The media browser is where you get started. It contains fully animated typefaces called LiveFonts, a special category of visuals called Objects, and motion backgrounds called Textures. The inspector is used to create changes to your text through the five tabs. Such changes include; text properties like size, tracking and alignment, style properties like shadows, glow and outlines, attribute properties like changing the track's opacity, colour and rotation, timing properties where you adjust the timing, and effect properties where you can change the effect of text.

Introduction to Editing: SKILLS

After filiming our short thriller about a thrilling read, we had to use Final Cut Pro to edit our clips and put it together to form a sequence. Final Cut Pro is a program that allows you to edit, process and output videos to a wide range of formats.

Final Cut Pro presents you with four main windows:
  1. Browser
  2. Canvas
  3. Viewer
  4. Timeline

The browser is where you place your video clips for easy access and arrange them into folders called 'bins'. The canvas is where the video footage appears after you have placed it onto the timeline. The viewer displays tabs for each of the selected clip's audio channels and the audio's waveform can be viewed and scrubbed, and the volume can be keyframed. The timeline is where the clips can be edited together. You can crop the clips and alter the size of the clips, these are only two of the many settings that can be changed.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

An Introduction To Cameras

In the lesson before we shot our thriller openings about 'an interesting read', we were introduced to a professional camcorder, the JVC GY-HM100, and we were shown how to use it. This particular camcorder is very expensive and for that purpose we had to keep it safe, and in order to do so we had to follow these rules:

1. Insert the memory card and the battery correctly.
2. Keep the camcorder in a safe place where it cannot be damaged or stolen.
3. Keep it out of the rain, use an umbrella if necessary.
4. Do not touch the viewfinder as your fingerprints will remain on it and make the image blurry.
5. Return all of the equipment when finished as students from other classes will need them after we use them.

Also, in order to get the best quality possible, we should make sure the focus is right. If the focus is wrong the sequence could have really bad quality.

We also need a Tripod in order to stabilize and elevate the camcorder. It is suitable for panning up-and down, or side-to-side. They reduce camera shake and are good for attaining maximum sharpness. Here are the rules for using the Tripod:

1. Make sure you open the legs before you put the camcorder on it, as it could fall.
2. Use the Tripod compass to make sure the Tripod legs are even.
3. Make sure the camcorder is placed steadily and tightly on the tripod to prevent it from falling out of it. Pull the lever on the Tripod towards the camcorder
4. Take the camcorder off by pushing the lever away from the camcorder and holding in the red button whilst pulling it out.

A Title Sequence That Inspires Me: RESEARCH


A title sequence that inspires me is the title sequence in 1408, based on Stephen King's short story. First it shows the ident of Dimensions Films, then it shows the Dimension Films again but by text only and over a black screen which links it more to the film. A simple sans serif font is used for the credits and the title.

The fact that it is dark and raining makes the title sequence more intense and suggests that the place that the main character, played by John Cusack, is going to will be an intense place. By showing it twice it makes the audience familiar with the production and distribution company. It then shows the name of the producer, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, then it shows the name of the director, Mikael Hafstrom, before fading from the black screen to the video.

We hear the rain faintly along with the intense music and it fades into the video, both elements of sound build up which adds to the suspense. It then shows the names of the stars. There is a short break from the credits, until the main character enters his room at the hotel. The credits continue, accompanied by the intense, eerie music. I really liked this title sequence and will use some ideas in my groups thriller opening.

Intertextuality: RESEARCH

Intertextuality is taking ideas from other media texts and shaping them to be used in another media text. Psychos famous shower scene is a good example of intertextuality as many films intertextualize with it.  There is intertextuality with Psycho and; Succubus, The Stepfather, What Lies Beneath and Fatal Attraction.

Succubus has refers to Psycho with the idea of the victim getting murdered whilst in the shower and also there is no music or sound whilst the victim is showeing apart from the sound of the water, until the killer arrives and murders the victim. However unlike Psycho, the victim in Succubus is male and the killer is female.

The Stepfather refers to Psycho with the idea of the shower curtain being pulled down by an injured person as they fall down, and the fact that it happened in the bathroom shows the intertextuality. Also, a kitchen knife is used in both films

What Lies Beneath refers to Psycho with the idea of the victim being semiconscious in the bathroom. In Psycho the victim has been stabbed so she is semiconscious for a moment before she dies, and in What Lies Beneath the victim has been given a drug that results in her being physically paralyzed, therefore she is semiconscious.

Fatal Attraction refers to Psycho with the use of shadows which add more suspense. A kitchen knife is used in both films and there is also a scene in the bathroom in Fatal Attraction which is a reference to Psycho.

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Intertextuality is a term that is used to describe the borrowing of scenes from other films. Many thriller films today refer to other movies in order to create their own thriller . For example, the famous shower scene from "Psycho" has many elements that could be referred to in other movies today. The use of shadows creates the suspense and the close ups of parts of the woman's body, such as her hand reaching out for the shower curtain when she's dying, demonstrates her painful death to the audience. Furthermore, in "The Stepfather" there is a similar scene where the killer comes at his girlfriend with a huge knife but she stabs him in the neck with a piece of glass first. He then falls back into the bath and rips the shower curtain down with him to signify the sudden pain.  There is also a close up on the curtain rings breaking when he falls, as there is in "Psycho". Another example, is in "Fatal Attraction" where the woman charges at the man with a huge knife and the music gets louder when she tries to stab at him; similarly in "Psycho" the music also gets louder but we don't actually see the person who stabs the woman. Also, in "What Lies Beneath" there is a particular scene shot in a bath in which a woman is paralysed. This relates to "Psycho" as the scene is set in a bathroom and recognising the mise en scene, we anticipate that something is going to happen.

3 Moments of Suspense - The Stepfather: RESEARCH

My first moment of suspense was when Michael meets David in the dark basement. It is suspenseful because a basement is a daunting place as it is dark and in many thriller films the basement is where fear-provoking activity takes place. We know about David's history from the title sequence so we automatically assume that David might do something to Michael, which keeps us in anticipation. Also the music is slow and eerie. During their conversation there are over the shoulder shots and two shots which suggests that there is no superiority or inferiority, they are both equal. There is also a sense of challenge, which gives us an idea that they will face each other later on in the film.

My second moment of suspense was when David murders Mrs Cutter.  The part where the cat jumps out makes us jump, it is a false plateau. There is a Point Of View shot which suggests that Mrs Cutter is being watched, we assume that person is David which creates suspense and keeps us on the edge of our seat, waiting for him to jump out, and he does. When Mrs Cutter shuts the cupboard door and sees David standing behind her in the mirror on the cupboard door, then he grabs her. There is a low angle shot when Mrs Cutter is on the floor and David is holding her nose to prevent her from breathing, this shows that he has the power. Also in this scene they are in the basement which is dark, this makes the scene scarier. In addition the sounds make us jump, since they are sudden.

My third moment of suspense was when Jay visits and tells David that he knows that he lied about his college. He walks around the house while he is talking, pressumably looking for David who is nowhere to be seen. This scene is suspenseful as we do not know where David is and we are once again expecting him to jump out. Then Jay says "hey, you hearin' me?" and everything goes silent as David whispers "yep", then breaks a glass vase on Jays head. When he breaks the glass vase on his head we hear loud music as well as the sound of the vase breaking, the sudden sounds are alarming and cause us to jump. Also when David whispers "yep", he is shown in a close up which makes it scarier because all we see is his face suddenly.

Elements of how suspense is created in The Stepfather

Throughout "The Step Father" there were many elements of suspense created through Mise en Scene, Edit, Camera work and Sound; in order to make the audience jump and to keep us intrigued. However, the film counter intuitively let us establish the killer's motives from the very beginning. Therefore, we were kept in suspense constantly throughout the movie awaiting for when he would snap next.

The first piece of suspense created, was from the very beginning where we see him changing his identity and leaving the house as if everything was normal. The suspense was created through the initial first shot inside the house of which the camera panes across the screen showing his tools. Then there are a number of close ups on various parts of his body; mainly hands and face. For example, when he cuts himself with a razor and there is a sudden close up of the blood, this starts to build the atmosphere for the audience. Especially as he is casually changing his identity but we don't know why as of yet. Once he gets downstairs and turns the music on, Silent Night plays, which indicates a sense of calmness about the scene. Suddenly, we see a distortion of reality as the camera tilts to the side and we see a dead boy which then leads us to seeing three other dead bodies. This instantly sets us up for whats to come in the rest of the movie.

The second element of suspense that I found effective was when he kills the cat lady, as a false plateau is used at the beginning of the scene when the cat appears out of nowhere. This throws us off guard a little which builds suspense perfectly. Furthermore, there were many point of view shots as if he was watching her which sets us up for his attack. When she pulls back the door and his reflection is in the mirror we immediately jump as we know whats to come.

The third piece of suspense was when he kills his girlfriend's sister. I found the most crucial indication that built suspense was the use of pathetic fallacy. The weather was windy and rainy which helped to set the atmosphere as the sounds were quite loud and vivid. Moreover, when the umbrella fell into the pool it was another false plateau used to heighten our nerves. Then when he comes up behind her the weather gets more vicious as he strangles her. A close up shot of her face is used to show her strain of dying. In doing so, we instantly know that he will try and kill off the rest of the family next which leaves us anticipating more.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Analysis of Thriller Clip - Marathon Man: RESEARCH


The first thing that we are shown is the ident of Paramount Pictures and then it is shown again by text only (this time it is more linked to the film). The purpose of it being shown twice during the title sequence is for the audience to recognize the production and distribution company of this film and for brand identity as they are the attributions of funding. It then shows the directors name which is John Schlesinger.

After that we are shown a 21 second sepia themed archive footage of a man running in the marathon, as he crosses the finish line presumably in first place it pauses and the camera zooms into the still image of the victorious man. The still image then fades into a scene of another man running, this is where the names of the five main stars appear one by one, following this we are introduced to the title of the film, Marathon Man, which scrolls across the screen, resembling a runner which is appropriate for the film.

After this there is a 10 second break which is followed by the names of the three co-stars altogether rather than one by one as the names of the main stars were shown, the music composer/conducter, editor, production designer, associate producer and director of photography. Then there is yet another break that is 15 seconds long, during this break we are shown a man who is acting suspicious and hence easing us into the film and making us want to continue watching.

Then the scene of the man running is shown again, during which it continues to display the opening credits which are the screenplay writer, the producer and once again, the director John Schlesinger.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Analysis of Marathon Man

In the beginning sequence of Marathon Man, there is quite a lot of information given to the audience in just five minutes. For example, we are given the logo and ident within the first few seconds on our screen, then it goes on to tell us who's production it is. We are shown the ident yet again and then the film starts. Moreover, we are eased into the movie by the stating of who's movie it is, John Schlesinger. Then there is a break in the titles where we see a 10 second black and white clip of a man running the marathon and crossing the finishing line. After this, the names of the five main stars appear slowly one by one with the background view of the camera following a runner. The tittle of the movie then scrolls across our screen and there is a 10 second break from the tittles once again to establish whats happening in the opening sequence. Following the break, the names of the three co-stars appear and then we see the names of the people behind the scenes of the movie. For example, the music composer/director, editing producer, production designer, associate producer and director of photography. Yet again, there is a 15 second break from the titles back to the movie which leaves us in suspense as we want to know what this guy is up to. We then cut back to the clip of the man running, with the information of the screenplay, the names of the producers and the director merging onto our screens. Constantly throughout the clip, there is a build up of suspense through the tempo of the music and the constant cuts from the runner to the man looking in his box.