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Monday, 6 December 2010

WS - Prelim:Coursework

Preliminary Exercise: 

Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

Match on Action.

A match on action is a technique used in film editing. It is a cut that connects two different views of the same action at the same moment. This is done by carefully matching the movement done in both shots; this is to make it seem that the motion continues uninterrupted.

Shot/Reverse shot.

Shot reverse shot is a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off screen), and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. With the characters facing opposite directions, the audience assumes the two characters are looking at each other.

180-degree rule.

The 180-degree rule is a basic guideline to film making. It states that if there are two characters or elements in the same scene they should always have the same relationship as the first shot. However if the camera passes the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, this is called crossing the line. This new shot is known as a reverse angle.

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

WS - Conventions of Rom-Coms - Emma (Douglas McGrath, 1996)

Budget: $6,000,000
Box Office: UK: £4,405,459
                    USA: $22,201,883
4 minutes 20 seconds opening scene
based on Jane Austen's book

  • non diagetic voice over
  • peaceful, fairytale, happy music
  • stereotypically british - posh voices
  • clothing connotes upper class, formal wedding dress. shows time period - rural 1800s britain
  • mise en scene - flower arrangements and buffet tables add verisimilitude for the wedding
  • credits last 2 minutes 40 seconds with no actual characters or dialogue introduced. credits show painted characters signifying the time period again because there would have been no cameras
  • globe anchors the setting - Highbury, England
  • slow, formal music, slow dance music
  • sans serif font
  • globe is a prop in the first scene with the characters linking the intro together, showing main characters art skills, signifying a job or hobby
  • close up of face shows main characters true emotions towards the wedding - typical rom - com says one thing but means the complete opposite
  • fades in and out but is one complete shot of the wedding
  • zooms
  • two shots and group shots to show that it is a happy occasion of people together
  • pan around the garden showing the mise en scene

Thursday, 4 November 2010

WS - Analysing a film from 12A

The film from 12A that we were analysing was edited by Alex McCluskey and Sam Boyes. The film is about the kidnapping of a Princess and the search by two others to rescue her.

Incorporated into the film are a number of Propp's Character Archetypes: A hero, a villain, a false hero, a princess and a donor. Each have a key role in the film. The Princess is the prize at the end of the quest and the whole reason for the quest to happen. The donor gives the Hero the magical object to assist them in this quest, in this case the magic object is an apple. The false hero attempts to become the hero by rescuing the Princess in the end, but they are unsuccessful. The Villain commits the bad action, taking the princess, and is in the end beaten and the hero is the one who sets out on the quest and is successful.

Binary Opposition (Levi-Strauss) is represented in the film in the forms of male and female; good and evil.
Todorov's theory of equilibrium is also shown; the state of equilibrium is at start when the False hero is reading, then the Princess is kidnapped and we have a state of Dis-Equilibrium, before the hero rescues the Princess returning us to a new State of Equilibrium.

The film uses a large variety of shots. The shot used most often is the mid shot, although they use a lot of low angle shots, especially of the legs of the hero and the villain, building suspense because you can not see who the person is. The film also uses many shots when the subject is walking towards the camera. Hand held shots are used very frequently which gives the impression that somebody is watching what is going on. Towards the end of the short film, the group use two-shots and three-shots a lot, as well as using wide angled shots and close ups. The speed of the shots from the middle of the film to then end increases building up tension and suspense as the film becomes more flowing. An interesting shot that is included is a moving subject shot, and this stands out amongst the others as been more advanced and challenging.

The film doesn't include many transitions between shots; there is only one occasion where a transition is used, a fade in. Most shots simply cut to the next shot. However the film does incorporate other effects, such as a lightning bolt, non-diegetic sounds, slow motion shots and a shaky camera effect. The lightning bolt is added to show a change in the Hero and it happens when he receives his magical powers. The shaky camera effect is used in the same shot. The slow motion shot happens at the end, when the princess is saved, and it signifies some romance or a relationship between the Hero and Princess.

The setting for the short movie is natural because it was filmed in school. Most of it is shot outside with a small number of shots inside. The clothing tells us nothing about the characters because they are dressed as they are for school. They improvise with their hoods for the Hero once he has the powers and the Villain as well. Apart from the hood, there is very little to understand the characters from their clothing. There are two props that are used in the movie; a book and an apple.

Many different sound effects and music has been added to the short movie, but diegetic sounds are still the most frequently used. Throughout the film Diegetic sounds are dominant, but there are also quieter, less dominant non-diegetic sounds added. The sounds added are informative to the audience as to how they should react; at the beginning of the film the music is deep and scary, and tells the audience something bad may be about to happen. However, later in the film when the princess is found, the music turns very happy and tells the audience everything is good again, informing us of the return to a state of equilibrium. Non diegetic sounds added include a rewind sound, a lion growling, a thunderbolt and a spring over some speech at the end. The reason for these sounds is generally to add effect to the film that can not be added when filming for any reason, but generally because the sound effect is natural, but the group were unable to create it at the time.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

WS - Deconstruction Of Our Debut Film

Deconstruction of Our Debut Film

WS - Lessons from Micro Drama

  1. Get organized before starting filming. Prepare a proper list of shots I want to carry out, a call sheet and produce a script for the characters.
  2. Do not follow a conversation with the camera, take multiple shots if you want to cut between the conversation.
  3. Film the same scene more than once from multiple angles so that when editing, you have a number of shots to choose from as well as been able to cut from shot to shot of the same scene.
  4. Use a narrative or prompts to set the scene for the audience if it is at all unclear.
  5. Sounds can be added after so you do not need to worry about sound effects at the time of shooting.
  6. Music can be added at editing. This can be used to set the scene, inform the audience of the mood or for scenes such as chase scenes.
  7. Do not unnecessarily zoom in and out on shots. Only do this if it is required and thought through. 
  8. Try to keep the camera steady if you have to move it (unless it is a handheld shot). Try and keep movements smooth (no jagged movements).
  9. Think through before hand about Props and locations. Make sure you have everything you need.
  10. Parts of shots can be cut out so keep the camera running as "good bits" of the shots can be used for an alternate angle.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

WS - My 5 Fave Films

1. Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg)(1998)
    Budget - $70,000,000
    UK Box Office - £18,740,016
    US Box Office - $216,119,491

2. Casino Royale (Campbell)(2006)
    Budget - $150,000,000
    UK Box Office - £55,287,027
    US Box Office - $167,445,960

3. Lord Of The Rings : The Return of the King (Jackson)(2003)
    Budget - $94,000,000
    UK Box Office - £60,666,284
    US Box Office - $377,027,325

4. Step Brothers (McKay)(2008)
    Budget - $65,000,000
    UK Box Office - £6,355,081
    US Box Office - $100,468,793

5.The Godfather (Coppola)(1972)
   Budget - $6,000,000
   US Box Office - $134,966,411

Monday, 11 October 2010

WS - My Coursework Task


The mission is to carry out the following brief:
Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.
Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.
All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

The coursework is worth 50% of the AS (same at A2) and the marking (detailed later) is divided into 3 sections:

The Evaluation:
The Evaluation needs to be kept in mind at all times. Try and start blogging early to avoid stress and a rush towards the deadline. The task is to answer these questions:

  • In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 
  • How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  • What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 
  • Who would be the audience for your media product? 
  • How did you attract/address your audience? 
  • What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 
  • Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
How it's all marked:
When the marker marks this work, they must write a paragraph to the Exam Board explaining the marks they have given. Try and occasionally read the mark criteria to see what level I am at.
For each section of the work there is key components of the work that must be assessed as being one of the following:

If I feel I am working at Minimal or Basic, ask others or Dave how I can improve to at least Proficient.