Thursday, 1 December 2011

Film Deconstruction.

Jennifer’s Body
The opening shot of the film is the camera moving over a garden toward a house. Within shot there is a tire swing attached to a tree which suggests that there were or are young children in the house. The garden is dark as it is night and this gives a creepy feel to what might otherwise seem like a nice family home. There is instrumental music playing in the background and what sounds like someone heavy breathing. During this shot there is the ‘fox presents’ titles and lasts about ten seconds.
 This shot changes to a close up on a girl scratching her arm whilst the scary music continues.The colours used are dark, blues and greys. This makes the flesh of the arm stand out and also create a creepy ambience. The same instrumental music is played but this time we can hear the diegetic sounds of a TV in the background and the sound of her scratching her arm, this sound seems exaggerated as it is very clear and louder than it would be in real life.
From this we seem to continue on from the first shot as the camera moves through the garden, getting closer and closer to a window, this is the only window in the house that shows light from the room meaning that we are focused on this one, and also giving the rest of the house a deserted look. The music continues but this time instead of breathing it almost sounds like footsteps running.
Then it flashes back to what we assume to be the person from the second shot, but this time it’s a close up on their mouth as they chew their hair. From this shot we can draw assumptions about this character, it seems the character is a girl because of the shape of her lips and we also assume her to be quite young as most adults don’t chew on their hair. Again we can hear the sounds of the TV so this reaffirm’s that it is the same character. From her actions we can tell that she’s quite calm and relaxed.
The next shot is of the camera moving, more slowly this time, up to the window. From the flashes between these shots we can assume that the girl is inside the room that the camera is moving to. We also get the feeling that we are getting a perspective shot and that the camera is actually someone who is sneaking closer to the window and consequently the girl.  Through the window we can see the TV that has been playing in the other shots and this helps up put the two different locations together.   
The sound of the TV continues as the screen flashes to black and then the title of the film ‘Jennifer’s Body’ fades in as the camera tilts upwards. As the camera tilts the black fades away and we see that we are at the end of the bed in the room. We first get a look at the back wall of the room, which is painted light pink, there are two laps on either side of the bed, but only one is on and there is a collage of pictures stuck between the posters of the bed. From this we can again draw assumptions, based on stereotypes, that the character is a girl and not yet adult. Then the camera moves over the bed and we see the character fully for the first time. Here the male gaze may be used as she is lying on the bed wearing long socks and shorts, the camera moves over her slightly and we see that she is not really watching the TV but focusing on something in her hands.  As assumed it is a girl who seems to be in her late teens. We then get a close up on the TV that has been playing and see that it’s some sort of work out program, this adds some light comedy and also contrasts to the next shot.
Suddenly the sound of the TV disappears and there is a loud, non-diegetic, noise that kind of sounds like an explosion or a gun. This is very surprising and makes the audience jump. Simultaneously the camera jump cuts to a side-on view to the girl on the bed, who now looks like she is asleep. The lamp has been turned off and this makes the scene darker. Also from this position we can see there is a face at the window, which we can guess is the window from the beginning. It is dark outside so we cannot see the face very well, but we can see that it is a girl with long hair, because of the lighting she looks almost ghostly. This shot only lasts about three seconds. 
The next shot is also a side view but this time from the opposite side. The character turns her head to face the camera as though she was looking at the window. There is then a flash to the said window but this time there is no-one there.  There is the sound of wind and the window rattling.
The shot changes back to the girl and there is a slow zoom onto her face,  a non-diegetic narrator starts talking and there are background sounds of girls laughing. Narrators are very common in movies such as Teen Drama’s and Rom-Coms.
Then, as the narrator continues the camera flashes to another location, as the camera zooms out and then tilts down we are in what seems to be an institute or prison of some kind, we can see this from the bars on the windows. As the camera continues moving down we see another character from behind, this one different from the other two in the previous shots. As the room has toys and books in and as she is wearing what looks like a hospital gown we can now presume that she is in some sort of medical facility, we also guess that she is the narrator. The camera moves down and across the floor of the room.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Main Task

Brief- The opening of a new fiction film, to include titles and to last no more than two minutes.

We have chosen to film a Teen Horror for our main task as we felt that this genre is not only appropriate to our age and interests but leant itself to low production costs and allowed us to demonstrate the skills that we have learnt whilst studying the course so far. We also thought that it would let us be more creative with camera shots, mise-en-scene and music whilst still looking professional. As well as this it also means that finding actors, locations and props to fit the genre would be easy.    

Friday, 18 November 2011

Media Evaluation

As part of our AS media studies course we were given a preliminary task to help us when creating our real one. The brief stated that we must film a person walking through a door, sitting down and engaging in conversation with another character, and exchanging a few lines of dialogue. We were also to demonstrate match on action, the 180 degree rule and shot reverse shot.

To plan our preliminary task we used a story board, where we drew simple pictures and included to notes to represent the different scenes, angles and shots we wanted to use and to show how the story would progress. Overall we managed to work with our storyboard and the finished piece is very similar. Although we did notice that we had to cut down scene lengths as we didn’t realise how long a few seconds actually is. We also used a few more different shots that we had initially thought because we wanted to keep it interesting and less static.

We used a mixture of shots throughout the piece so that we managed to show everything we needed to or to emphasis a certain point. Our first shot used was a long shot as this helped to establish the scene and the character. We then used a mid-shot of just the character to show the audience that this is who they should be focusing on. Close ups were used during the conversation to show the expressions on the actors faces clearly and to highlight what they are thinking.  We also used an over the shoulder, quite close up shot, of the envelope to show the audience what the character was looking at.  This meant the audience was able to follow the action as they understood what the character was doing. Although we used a tripod for all our scenes there are certain shaky bits where someone may have accidently knocked the camera or when the tripod was unstable, when filming our real task we will make sure that this doesn’t happen as it can take away from the overall effect.

Our Mise-en-scene was relatively simple as we didn’t really have a specific location for where the action was taking place, we just needed any hallway and meeting room. However we did keep a lot of things within shots, such as chairs, art work, and a plant. We thought that this gave it a realistic element because it looked like somewhere that was actually in use and not just a set or something. We wanted to keep these little details in as they added a lot to the scene. The plant in the meeting room was especially kept there as in almost every generic office room there is some kind of potted plant and so we were keeping to what the audience would expect. We chose our costume based on the characters we were playing, as character one is dressed to look bold the audience are not surprised when she disobeys the rules whereas character two is dressed smart but less bold to represent that she would be the stern, important one.

We used ambient lighting such as fluorescent lights in the ceiling and light from a window so that everything looks more natural and realistic. We made sure, before filming that there was enough light to clearly show all the action and so that nothing was lost due to poor lighting. If there wasn’t enough light we would have to had considered moving locations.

 For our task we used only diegetic sounds, which although suits or piece means that we will have to learn how to import sound on final cut pro later when we make our real one. We were filming in quite a public and busy place which unfortunately means that we ended up with a lot of background sounds that we didn’t actually want there. Although we didn’t mind some as it again, makes the scene seem realistic, there were some that were taking away from the scene. To ramify this we managed to mute some sounds in the editing process. I feel like this was very useful to know as it improved our knowledge of how to use the software and may come in handy when next editing. Although we first found it difficult to only mute one part without muting the other, we managed quite successfully.

In general our match on action was okay, at first we had one character walking past the same object twice but we managed to spot this and get rid of it so that it was much more continuous. However there are some parts that are not great, such as when the door is first opened it is opened slowly but when filmed from the other side it is quick, this is something we probably would have had to refilm. Unlike our brief we did not have our character sit down as we did not feel like they would in the situation so when doing shot-reverse-shot we had to make sure that we had an eyeline match and we did this by making sure the camera was pointed in certain ways, I feel like this was quite successful as it still seems like the two people are having a conversation and looking at each other. We also made sure to abide by the 180 degree rule.

One thing that we noticed during editing was that we didn’t have any leeway with our filming as we started action as soon was the camera was rolling when we should have left it for a few second before hand and  doing that would have made it easier to edit, however it is a good lesson learnt for when we do our real thing.

I think that our task was actually quite good, apart from a few small errors, and that it was a valiant first attempt. Mistakes that we made in the piece helped us learn about what we’ll have to do next time and also helped us to find a way around problems when they first seemed unsolvable!

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Watched Memento at film club, a highly confusing movie! Whilst I enjoyed it immensely, due to its complicated plot and un-chronological playing order Memento managed to leave me completely puzzled and made me want to watch it again almost immediately.  In the most simple terms the movie was about Leonard Shelby (Guy Pierce) who was seriously injured during the raping (and apparent murder) of his wife and is left unable to create new memories. As well as coping with this Leonard is also searching for the man who left him like this. He’s helped with this by bartender Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) and ‘Teddy’ (Joe Pantoliano) who both seem rather suspicious characters.  Leonard is manipulated and mocked throughout the film by various different characters and this creates a lot of sympathy for him. With twists that’ll keep you guessing throughout this has quickly become a favourite movie of mine.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan, (short story) Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Release Date: 20 October 2000 (UK
And just to prove how highly acclaimed the film was,
Nominated for two Oscars. Another 43 wins and a further 33 nominations.

Analyse the camera shots and movement, mise en scene and editing.

30 second film clip:, District 13, from 1:50 to 2:10
 1:50- (wide shot) This is a wide shot to show the audience the landscape and the horizon line so that they understand how high up the scene is and therefore create a sense of danger , excitement and also panic for the character. The use of a wide shot means that the audience can still see the character clearly and follow the action, whilst also being able to take in the surroundings. The bar used to climb up is almost central in the screen as that, as well as the character climbing it, is the main focus. However there is space left to the side for the character to run into. The rest of the shot is left more or less empty, apart from the distant houses and buildings in the background, again this emphasises the height at which they are and how far away they are from other places. Colours mostly used in this scene are dull greys as this represents the location, and doesn’t prove a distraction from the action. 
1:53 This is another wide shot, but this one showing the edge of the building, buildings in the background the sky and also the character jumping over the edge. This helps to highly stress the danger of the situation and wow the audience at the stunts. Again it also suggests the height at which this is taken place and how urban the surroundings are.
 To arrive at the next shot the camera follows the characters decent, so as soon as his head disappears from shot you see his quick fall and landing from another, where the camera almost lands with him. The editing between shots is so quick that it seems no time has passed and that you really are falling with him. This helps engage the audience with the story and make them feel at one with the character, as well as being more interesting than just a straight forward wide shot of him falling.
At 2:00 there is an aerial shot of the main character jumping the banister over a flight of stairs, although he is the main focus of the scene and is positioned in the middle you can see how dangerous this stunt is as there is a view of how far it is to fall. Then at of 2:04 there is another aerial shot down the stairs this time with a second character falling down them. This shows how far he has to fall and his slim chances of survival, it also means the audience get to see some of his decent from afar and this is highly entertaining. It then quickly flashes to a couple of shots showing him smashing into the banisters on the way down which keeps in flow with the high energy of the clip and captures the audience’s attention.
Throughout the clip there are many jump cuts with shots that don’t last very long. This helps to capture the speed at which the action is happening. There are also a lot of tilting and panning shots to follow the character and the direction that he is moving in. Hereby helping the audience to follow the action as its happening very quickly and it could be difficult to keep up otherwise. 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Preliminary StoryBoard.

So that our filming runs smoothly and to make sure that we all know what is happening when we have created a storyboard outlining the different shots we intend to use. For the storyboard we used basic pictures and written notes to show the different scenes, angles and shots.

Our storyboard is as follows:

Preliminary task.

The brief given to us for our AS preliminary task is as follows:

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 then exchanges a few brief lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/ reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

After reciveing this brief my group and I sat down and discussed ideas that would follow the brief but be entertaining as well. Following the discussion we wrote a script that incorpirated all of our ideas and edited it until we were all pleased, our final script is below.

Character one walks down the corridoor toward the meeting room, places hand on handle and opens the door.

Character one: Where have you been?
Character two: What do you mean?
Character one: I have been looking for you, for ages.
Character two: Oh, I see. I apologise. I was working on "the thing"
Character one: The thing is of great importance, I understand.

Character two slides a brown padded envelope across the table, the envelope is marked with a question mark, and gives character one a 'knowing' look.

Character two: I think you should leave now.

Character one departs swiftly.

Once character one is outside of the meeting room she turns the envelope over to reveal the words ' DO NOT OPEN, PRIVATE.' Character one then opens it and reveals that it is a cookie. The scene is ended by character one walking away eating the cookie.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Unloved

Watched The Unloved in film club on wednesday. Originally shown on Channel Four in 2009 and directed by Samantha Morton it was nominated for three awards and won two others. The story follows Lucy as she copes with living in care after being left by her mother and abused by her father. The film was very moving and thought provoking, especially as it's filmed to almost tell the story through Lucy's eyes, and due to her youth and innocence this is incredibly effective.