Monday, 10 November 2008

Adam Hearn Thriller Evaluation Draft

Thriller Evaluation Draft

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our thriller opening sequence is structured around the typical conventions of a thriller. Our sequence consists of a mixture of abstract and realist shots bound together by the strong rhythm of the soundtrack. As a group we where highly influenced by the opening sequence of the movie Se7en. The fast pace of the images and music coupled with the abstracted nature of the images displayed created a very interesting sequence. Our opening sequences features shots of objects and locations inspired by the opening sequence and the thriller conventions.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our group’s thriller would appeal to many regular cinemagoers but I believe that because of the nature of the storyline the film should be rated certificate 15. Our group’s thriller is about a detective who turns to drugs to try and relive the pressures he is working under.

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

Our Media product is not meant as a cult film but as a mainstream film, this would therefore call for a more mainstream cinema. For example our media product would suit a cinema like Cineworld rather than a smaller cinema like the picture house. We see this as the best option for the film because it guarantees maximum exposure of the film and could result in a more profitable film.

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Due to the nature of the story of our media product our target audience is aged fifteen and above viewers. We have chosen this to try and appeal to the widest possible audience without compromising the content we wish to feature in our media product. This is important to ensure the success of the presentation.

How did you attract/address your audience?

We intend to attract our audiences by sticking to the thriller conventions to make a very defined thriller. This will make the genre very identifiable. This is very important to capture the attention of the audience and keep it throughout the presentation.

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

We used many different programs, techniques and pieces of equipment in the production of our product. For instance we were given a Camcorder and tripod to film the shots. I personally do not own and rarely use a Camcorder. I found it very rewarding to be able to use this piece of equipment. It was very interacting trying out different shots to create different depictions of the storyline.
We also used a wide range of software to edit and the footage we shot and turn it in to the finished media product. To create the soundtrack we used the program Garage Band which I have had experience with before so I could transfers the skills I have learnt outside collage and create something that really has an affect on out final product. I also learnt how to use Final Cut to edit the product. I also used Photoshop in the manufacture of the titles.

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

I believe I have learnt a wide range of new techniques for using software and the cameras. As a group we wanted to create something that had a strong quality to it. To achieve this we went about trying many different techniques and software types to try and make our final presentation stand out and be more recognizable. For example we employed many different filters, shot types and editing techniques to give our product a more professional feel. This is apparent when making the music for the sequence. Went composing I tried to keep a strong consistent beat and melody. Many of the other groups wanted their music to change dramatically during their sequences. I didn’t want this because I wanted to create a piece of music that would get stuck in peoples heads so therefore in repeated the main melody to help people remember it.


Thursday, 6 November 2008


After shooting all of our sequence we uploaded the film to our computer. We used Final Cut Express to edit our thriller opening sequence. We had 14 minutes of filming and this needed to be cut down and edited to up to 2 minutes of footage. This meant we had to select the shots that were of good quality and appropriate to the genre. This took a lot of time as shots not only had to be chosen but also cut down and filtered to have a good outcome.
We used the River Rock Studios Day for Night filter and colour correction to change our shots from daylight to a false night time effect. This proved quite difficult as the colour correction filters duplicated when were copied aspects of a shots to another shot. This took a lot of time in our editing lessons.
The titles were created by hand and then captured on camera. These were then uploaded and edited in Photoshop were the backgrounds were made transparent. These were then added to our final thriller opening sequence. We are very pleased with our final outcome, and have learnt a lot from the experience.


Monday, 3 November 2008

Thriller Evaluation

  1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

As a thriller opening sequence our media product follows the typical thriller conventions in a number of ways. Throughout our sequence we have a very fast camera movement rapidly changing through transition of several different objects and places. The speed movement gives a genre representation - Fast pace is associated with thriller films. In our research we found that the typical thriller opening sequence would have a highly packed action scene where for instance someone might get killed e.g. Face off, slow motion shot when the young child dies. Or, there could be a fast sequence of meaningful shots (objects, people etc.) in a rapid succession. e.g. Se7en, where shots of books and photos where shown. Our opening sequences consists of objects and places in which gives the consumer an ominous feel. For example, we have a fountain in our sequence which has been dyed red. The colour red connotes blood and death and many other negative connotations. Other shots consist of chains connoting and representing torture or prison, guns (death), smokers and drugs (typical to gangsters). These shots are typical of those that one would see in a thriller film, thus allowing easy genre recognition from the audience. Throughout the trailer there is a mysterious feel through use of enigmatic shots; the consumer may not understand what some of our shots mean which grips them and allows us throughout the film to partly reveal certain answers they may be asking. We felt that our music was an important part of making the opening sequence fast paced and dramatic to represent the action. To give a professional feel our music moves in synchrony with the action; this makes the sequence flow and emphasises dramatic effect in each frame. This aids in drawing our consumers in to the film immediately.

  1. How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our thriller storyline represents niche social groups that fit and compliment the thriller genre. Our basic storyline is about a man who is in imprisonment and has become exceedingly mentally unstable. The character is involved in aspects such as guns and violence, drugs and smoking, and Gothic graffiti that artistically portrays the character's mental instability. This represents the minority of people that are in some way a threat to society, which also allows the audience to make parallels to such social groups and therefore gives a more realistic feel to the thriller.

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

Media institutions that are commonly known for distributing films of a thriller genre are most likely to distribute our media product. For example New Line Cinema is quite common with thriller films. Popular media institutions that represent popular thriller movies will attract the audience and gain more viewers therefore making more money. If unfamiliar institutions distribute the film who are known for genre such as Comedy then the film wouldn't attract as many viewers and the institution would be highly unlikely to distribute the film.

  1. Who would be the audience for your media product?

Our target audience would be headed towards 15+ viewers, and there are several reasons for this choice.

Firstly we want maximum viewers. In order to gain maximum views we have to make it appeal to a wide audience, so as many young adults can go see the film but also older adults won't think it is too childish. 15+ is a very good rating as it allows violent scenes to be as flexible as we want, but not overly violent so that it becomes a horror film, e.g. Saw, which protrays a high number of extremely graphic murder scenes. If we had opted for a 12a for example the film would clash with several limitations in terms of action,dialogue and drug use. For example, drug use (such as cocaine abuse that is featured in our film), would have to be cut in order to lower the certification to a 12a and certain action scenes featuring guns and fights would also have to be shot in certain ways. Secondly, in order to make maximum profit we have to think about the certificate rating in a certain manner. Adults and young adults who are most likely to watch our kind of film don't want to be patronised with a young certificate rating or get the impression that the action will be mild, thus having lttle effect on the viewer or not challenging their ethical views in any way. The most prominent reason we decided against an 18 rating was that it would limit the audience significantly. Very common viewers are 15+ year old's and most thriller and the most successful thriller films (face off, memento) have a 15+ rating due to this reason. Due to these reasons, even though there would be younger teenagers that would want to watch the film , a 15+ rating is perfectly placed and much more suitable.

  1. How did you attract/address your audience?

There are a number of ways in which we attempted to attract our audience with our opening sequence. Firstly, we needed to enable easy audience identification and as mentioned before, genre recognition. These two factors are important to capture the attention of the audience quickly and effectively. This is important because fans of a particular genre (in our case Thriller) can take an immediate liking and attraction to the film. We also wanted an effective audience identification so we have our target audience (15+) instantly attracted. We felt this was an important issue as in order to make maximise profit and maximise views, we need our audience to have an instant attraction.

  1. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?

We used many different electronic products to maximise the professionalism of our product. When it came to shooting our footage, we were given a Camcorder and a tripod. Through experience and experimentation we found ways of using the camera in a less of an amateur way and in a more professional manner. We also found the tripod to be a very useful tool. Tripod set-up was very quick and efficient and allowed us to have great control over shots. As well as being great for steady shots, the lever was highly useful as we could do tracking shots, pan shots, high and low angle shots with ease, but more importantly improved the overall quality of the shots.

We also used a range of software using an Apple Mac. These softwares mainly consist of Garage Band and Final Cut. I thoroughly enjoyed using these softwares as it allowed great flexibility for us, and it allowed us to create our own personal soundtrack and edit our footage in any way we wanted it to be perceived. I learnt a lot using garage band such as using mixes and transitions, adjusting volume for any sound you want and sound overlay. I managed to utilise all of these effects throughout the making of our soundtrack to help create an expressive sound. Final Cut was slightly more complex, but it was very enjoyable learning how to edit our footage in a more advanced way. I learnt how to make filters (fade, colour and correction for instance), manipulating speed to create many effects, motion manipulation such as blur and cutting shots to fit with the music. We also used Adobe Photoshop to create our title sequences and import them to Final Cut and to do image overlaying .


Evaluation Questions

1. Our media pojects inlcudes some aspects that would be related directly to a thriller. These are conventions. Our opening sequence includes conventions such as fire, darker images, shadows and it is quite fast paced in some places therefore relating to some of the conventions we talked about. The thriller opening sequence does not challenge any conventions and is quite obviusly a thriller opening. These are used to create interest to the audience through variety and also by drawing thier attention with unexpected images. They are also used to help set the scene for what is later to happen.

2. Drugs are shown in our opening sequence, implying that our main character has a drug problem. Related to this we created almost a sterotypical image of drug users using dirty aparatus such as the large sink and smoking a hand-rolled cigarette rather than a pre-rolled one and laying out lines on work documents showing the desperation of the drug user to get thier fix. We also made footage of symbols on a wall which is something that may often be associated with the mental state of a drug user. It shows the darker, sterotypical side of what may be seen as a dirty addiction to drugs rather than the glamorous one often seen in Hollywood.

3. A film company may use our product as an introduction to a thriller film. They would do this as it is based on being a thriller sequence and would therefore be inapropriate for a childs film or a comedy. As our sequence inlcudes many conventions of a thriller film and introduction it would make sense for our piece to be used in this way and i think it would be difficult to use it for any other perposes.

4. The audience for our media project would probably be older teenagers to younger adults. This is due to the drug references and the story line of our film which would be confusing to younger children and not of interest to the older population.


6.. I have learnt to use many of the programmes we were introduced to in much more detail over the course of this project. It has allowed me to experiment with sound and editing film footage to the limits of what some of the programmes can do. It has broadened how I view films in general aswell as I am more aware of what goes in to making a good piece of footage.

7. I feel I have practiced what i learnt in the preliminary task and that if asked i could do some things without too much contemplation or questioning. I have also learnt many new things such as applying filters and how to use the add on programme day to night which is a filter system we had added to our programme so we could alter the colours of our images so we got a darker overall effect. I have also learnt how to use the music programme better, using more layers and different sounds to create a stronger overall track at the end.


Evaluation Questions Draft

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our Thriller opening sequence develops the thriller theme by adding conventions that state this genre. Conventions such as darkness and suspense. The suspense is trying to work out what is going to happen next and this leaves the viewers wanting to continue to watch the film.

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Our character represents how even people with authority of the law can break the law, in this case drug use.

3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
A filming studio would most probably produce our kind of media institution, for example a Hollywood studio. A top studio like this would produce this film as Thriller is a popular genre and a lot of money could possibly be made.

4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
The audience would most likely be people ages over 12 or 15, these are the estimated certificates I would put on this film. It is possibly for the audience to be more for the male gender.

5. How did you attract/address your audience?
By showing violence and the suspense involved in the film you could attract your audience, possibly attracting the male gender.

6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?
That filming and editing are not as easy as it comes across. Every little detail must be thought about, such as lighting, positioning, props. There are so many editing ways that it takes ages to get the perfect shot.

7. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
That everything takes time and nothing should be rushed as people can tell and mistakes will be apparent. Planning is a must as this will act as a sort of diary for everything that takes place.


Friday, 24 October 2008


Thursday, 23 October 2008


Although we created a storyboard for filming we did not completely stick to what we had planned. We filmed extra shots that were not included originally, this is because whilst filming we saw shots that we thought would be effective and relevant to the thriller theme.
When planning for filming we had to think about our health and safety and asses any hazards we may encounter. This included setting alight to a newspaper article. We made sure we were in a safe place, off college property, and in the worst case scenario we had a bucket of water.
We ensured we used the tripod in all shots as this made sure the quality of shots was higher and they were steady in the frame.
Some parts of our thriller sequence were more difficult to film than others for example the crossing of the road shot. This was partly because we only had four people and at the time of day it was difficult to find other people to shoot as lessons were commencing.
As we needed shots that were not available in or around college grounds we took the camera home with us to shoot shots such as writing on the wall and doors opening and closing.
Overall we believe that our filming went well and we have produced some interesting and relevant shots. We hope that our final piece comes out well.


Thursday, 16 October 2008

Group T1-28 shot list
shot number shot type Action location and props
1. tracking shot tracking shot up hallway hallway
2. close up pages of book being flipped book
3. close up lighter being flipped zipo lighter
4. close up slow zoom on cigarette cigarette, lighter
5. extreme close up person writing in a book pen, book
6. close up Polaroid close up Polaroid
7. close up close up of bag of cocaine bag of cocaine
8. establishing shot markings on wall wall
9. high-angle mid shot sink sink
10. mid-shot gun on desk gun
11. low-angle mid shot feet walking N/A
12. extreme close up figure blowing smoke N/A
13. close up pages of book being flipped book
14. long-shot door opening door
15. close up book being closed book
16. mid-shot computer screen computer monitor
17. close up lines of cocaine on a table cocaine
18. extreme close up person smoking cigarette


Monday, 13 October 2008

Feedback on Animatic

Our class watched our animatic film and gave feedback. Points included
  • how the music fitted really well with the shots
  • Mise-en-scene is clear and appropriate
  • very evocative soundtrack which does not seem at all out of place in the opening of a thriller
  • the variety of shot types is impressive and sets up various enigmas and questions
  • very effective use of arrows to indicate action and camera movement
  • all the pictures seemed to make sense and went well together
  • the action got into it straight away


Thursday, 9 October 2008


Animatic First Edit

This is our first edit of our animatic for the Thriller Opening Sequence.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Props List

Zippo Lighter for a cigarette being lit.

Rollie to show the he smokes.

A polaroid picture of a crime scene showing his line of work.

Folder for writing and work again showing the line of work.

A small plastic bag containing 'drugs' (flour) showing drug dependency and the way his life is at the moment.

A gun for his job.

Computer, again for his job.


Monday, 6 October 2008


Our opening sequence is explaining the life of an inspector who's line of work has driven him to insanity. The sequence shows a present day inspector involving drug references, general addiction and an unstable state of mind. The opening is fast paced and disjointed symbolizing the mind of the inspector. The rest of the film if being shot would go on to explain and show how and why this has happened to our protagonist. This would include flashbacks of his earlier days in the force showing him in his prime. We believe that this film would most probably end in the death of the inspector.


Thursday, 2 October 2008


Thriller Opening Sequence

An IMPACT-TWO Production Presents
A FireFly Film
Paul Bettany
James Mathison
Victoria Harrison
Costume Design by Katherine Walker
Art Direction by Adam L. Barker
Production Design by Stephen H. Aldridge
Casting by Amy Ziff
Film Editing by Philip R. Garrett
Cinematography by Robert Richardson
Original Music by Scott Man
Produced By Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Directed by Joe Wright

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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

anaylisis of face off a thriller

We decided to watch and analyse the opening sequence of the film 'Face Off" to see what universal thriller conventions we could identify. this is what we found:

The opening sequence consists of an action sequence mixed with the titles, unlike films that have separate sequences like the James Bond films. In the sequence Nicolas Cage's character shoots John Travolta's character accidentally killing his son. The conventions we identified were the apparent good guy/bad guy theme. Also the dark lens filter creates a negative mood which is a fundamental convention within the thriller genre.
The slowed action sequence before the gun is fired accentuates the tension leading up the the gunshot. The gunshot is of course the point at which the tension is dispersed and transformed into an instant reaction of shock.
the other apparent convention we noticed was the presents of the flash back at the begining.


Analysis of Past Student Work

We watched a final thriller project from last years AS work.

Whilst watching we considered the mark scheme and how they applied to the project. The overall impression of the sequence was fairly poor, as it included unsteady hand held camera work showing that the tripod was unused. They also failed to show many of the aspects related to the Thriller theme, such as violence, being fast paced, and misinformation. On the whole the opening did not set the scene for the rest of the film as it did not form questions in the viewers mind. The setting was acceptable but could of been improved as there was no use of shadows, lighting, or darker shades to suggest project theme. A flaw in costume occurred when the "killer" was shown putting on grey gloves and then after wearing black gloves, this is a failure in continuity.
There are, however, some good aspects to this sequence, they showed a variety in shot distances including a close up of the bathroom door handle and a gloved hand coming around and a long shot of climbing the stairs. Through editing the meaning has been kept apparent, and is able to be understood but the theme is still questionable. The introduction titles were used appropriately and were clearly readable. The music was applicable to the theme with an overall eerie sound, although the music did not always link to the actions within the project.


Friday, 26 September 2008


Monday, 15 September 2008