Friday, 19 March 2010

Evaluation draft deadline mon 22nd 9am, final deadline mon 29th 9am

Thriller Film Opening Sequence Evaluation - 1500-2000 words
PowerPoint uploaded to moodle

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge conventions of real media products?
What conventions of professional products have you used in your own film? (narrative conventions, character conventions, genre, camerawork, sound, editing, special effects, mise-en-scene? Use screen grabs of your own sequence to illustrate each example where you have followed conventions or gone against (challenged) conventions. Also use images from the films that have influenced you where relevant.

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? (gender, age, ethnicity etc.)
Compare a character in your sequence to a character in a professional film (use images). If you have included a villain/victim character, does the character follow conventions of characters in professional films. For example, is your villain male? Is your victim female? Therefore how are you representing gender?

3. What kind of media institution would distribute your media product?

Discuss similar professional films and their production companies (use images of the films and logos). Which production Company do you think would distribute your film? (if it was professional and if you had made the full film).

4. Who would be the audience for your media product? (BBFC and target audience) Use images from a similar product with a similar target audience. Remember that target audience is not the same as classification.

5. How did you attract/address your audience?

Refer to Significant moments in your sequence where you have tried to generate a response from the spectator (a close up to encourage identification with a character, music that encourages the spectator to feel suspense, tense, visceral reaction etc.) What techniques have you used to encourage the spectator to want to see the rest of the film? (Clues about narrative, character, etc.) Use screen grabs of your own sequence.

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

(blog, camera equipment, editing software – Final Cut Express, istopmotion, Garageband etc.) Use screen grabs/photos of all these things. Be very specific about tools/effects/techniques learnt not just ‘I have learnt a lot about the software’

7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to your final product?
Discuss your second preliminary task that you did in a week before starting Thriller. Discuss what you have learnt since then about construction of micro elements in order to create meaning, how to use different techniques, practical skills etc. How have you built on your knowledge that you learnt from the prelim task? Use screen grabs of your prelim task and your sequence where relevant.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Response to Feedback

Here are our thoughts on the feedback we received from our peers:

Group S2-50: We agree with the fact that the edited version of our thriller (rough cut 2) was far more effective than the original (rough cut 1). We also agree that the shot change between Lydia in the car and walking to the location, could be smoother and better executed, maybe cutting it slightly earlier or later and by using a fade? The fact that some of the shots did not seem relevant to the sequence was intentional to disorientate the viewer.

Group S2-51: We agree with their opinion on overusing the "bad TV" effect. However we disagree with their point of the car scene being longer and more sinister, since the film is already rather long and we cant make it too sinister as Lydia is meant to be portray a vulnerable character. We also disagree with having the car scene in colour, since we believe that having the entire sequence in black and white gives it continuity.

Group S2-52: We agree with the majority of the feedback from this group yet we are uncertain on what to do about the 'Looks like someones been killed' dialogue at the end of the sequence. This group has pointed out that it is too obvious which is a really good criticism as we hadn't seen this and we will most probably modify it but we have yet to decide how.

Group S2-53: The feedback from this group was not as constructive as we would have hoped and we disagreed with the majority of it because of this. Although we have a similar theme to the 'Blair Witch Project' we have done a lot differently, for example the heavy editing and the figure in the background. We could have made the story we told more interesting but that could have taken the focus a way from the sequence itself.

Group S2-54: This groups feedback was all positive which we were really pleased with. Especially the fact that it made a one of the group members jump and this was the exact desired effect for that part of the sequence. We also like the point they made about using the hand held camera because again, this is the response we wanted to achieve from our target audience.

Overall we were very pleased with all of the feedback, positive and negative. The positive shows us that we are heading in the correct direction and the negative gives us points to improve on and helps us to look more critically at our work.

Rough Cut Feedback

S2-50 Feedback:
We prefer the edited version of your sequence because it is more effective. The beginning soundtrack was good because it sets the scene. The setting is appropriate for your sequence and the build of suspense throughout the sequence is really effective.
We think the shot change to Lydia in the car could be smoother and more continuous and some of the effects didn't seem to link in with the rest of the sequence.

S2-51 feedback:
Narrative is good and original, convincing acting and clever use of hidden people to play the antagonist/thing. Very little negative feedback, a possible improvement is more jump cuts and less use of the effect which splits the screen into two. Not a massive variety of shots but obviously this is a desired effect. The car scene could perhaps be a little longer and more sinister. Would be interesting to see the scene in colour?

S2 52 feedback:
Story line is extremely well thought, developing the 'blare witch project' idea was done well creating tension at certain scenes. use of diegetic and non-diegatic sounds especially with 'MJs THRILLER' soundtrack. The lack of music added well to atmosphere. Little negative feedback - we thought the 'it looks someone died' dialogue was too obvious?

S2-53 feedback:
We think it seems like a horror not a thriller. its too much like The Blair-Witch Project. We like the scenes were the page and video is cut in 2. We thought it looked stupid Fil putting just his leg out. We only watched rough cut 2. We thought the scary story u told was ordinary. Good editing

S2-54 feedback:
it's the best one we've seen :) and it made me jump which is good because it really built tension. we like the way that the camera work is all hand held because it made it seem more realistic. we dont think it needed a sound track because the dialogue is so good. congrats.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Our Two Rough Cuts of 'The Hurst'

This is the first rough cut of our thriller, this version has most of the original footage and is not heavily edited. The second rough cut below contrasts the first by being edited significantly and it includes many effects.

Our Questions To You...
1. We would like to know which one you think is the best version?

2. We would also like to know which one, out of the two rough cuts, you think would gain the most marks?

3. Our last question would be your general opinion on the micro and macro elements of our Thriller?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Target Audience and Certification

A target audience is the the type of the viewer that you expect to see and like your film. This can be age group, social group or just to do with common interests. For our thriller: 'The Hurst', we think that our target audience would be largely males between the ages of 15-30 who enjoy other thriller films also.

When putting a certificate to a film there are a few to choose from, including: U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18, we believe that thriller films would fall into the range between 12 and 18.

If the BBFC was to classify our film, we think that they would give us a 15 certificate because our film has thriller and suspenseful elements to it which younger viewer may find distressing but it does not include gore and disturbing images so it does not deserve to have a higher certificate.


Monday, 8 February 2010

Test Footage

This is our test footage of the different shots we are going to use in our real opening sequence. We have not edited this piece because we are just experimenting with different shot types and actng skills.

This footage is shown below:

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Below are the deadlines we need to follow and work to:

Thriller Project Timings & Deadlines

11th Jan to 15th Jan: Thriller introduction.

18th Jan to 22nd Jan: Analysis of real and student examples/ Production logos.

25th Jan to 29th Jan: Planning and delivery of pitches.

1st Feb to 5th Feb: Storyboarding, shot lists and other planning.

Cameras are available from Friday 5th Feb at 4.10pm until shooting deadline of 9am Monday 8th March. Students can have 2 overnights or one weekend to film. There are three weekend slots available ( 6th & 7th Feb, 27th & 28th Feb and 6th & 7th March).

8th Feb to 12th Feb: Filming.

15th Feb to 19th Feb: HALF TERM. NO CAMERAS OUT.

22nd Feb to 26th Feb: Filming and editing.

1st March to 5th March: Filming and editing.

8th March to 12th March: 8th March Shooting deadline. 2nd lesson of this week is Rough Cut Deadline. Third lesson of week, rough cut feedback.

15th March to 19th March: End of second lesson of the week is Final Cut Deadline. Last lesson of the week, feedback on final cuts and re-introduction to Evaluation questions.

22nd March to 26th March: 9am 22nd March is Interim writing deadline. Lessons this week are for feedback on interim drafts and revisions/writing.

9am 29th March: Final writing deadline.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Storyboarding - Lesson 2

We have now completed storyboarding the shots for our thriller opening sequence on post-it notes and have also decided on an appropriate order to shoot them in. We just need to copy these onto a proper storyboarding sheet to finalise them.

Here is a camera shot list, with photographs, and an explanation of each shot:

  • Medium close Shot
This shot will be filmed from the front seat of a car looking back onto the girl filmmaker peering out of the window. A short conversation will then strike up between the boy film maker and the girl.

  • Long Tracking Shot Forward
This shot will be filmed from behind the girl walking to the destination. As we are using a shaky cam style it will look a bit creepy, as if someone is following the girl when actually it is just her friend. This may also disorientate the viewer as they will not know the location and they will only be able to see the girl in shot.

  • Close Up
The next shot will be a close up of the girl's face talking normally to the boy filmmaker, again the viewer does not yet know the location of the girl so this may be a bit unnerving for them.

  • Track Backwards
This shot will quickly follow the previous one to finally reveal the location to the audience whilst the girl talks about the project and surrounding area.

  • Mid Shot
The sequence will then cut to a shot of the surrounding area, the first one being a tree. This will introduce the audience to it but it may also make them feel as if the cameraman is searching for something, so it creates a mysterious atmosphere.

  • Extreme Long Shot
To view the surroundings better, we have decided to use an extreme long shot of the area. Within in this shot you can vaguely see a black figure in the far distance. This may confuse the audience as they do not know whether it has been noticed by the cameraman or not. This could also unnerve them slightly.

  • Fast Track Sidewards
This fast track sidewards may be a clue to whether or not the cameraman saw the black figure, but there is still uncertainty. The track moves back to the girl who continues to talk about area and project again.

  • Mid Shot
This shot is of the girl continuing to talk but the black silhouette is visible yet again and distracts the cameraman slightly.

  • Zoom Forward

  • The distraction of the cameraman leads onto this next shot, which is a zoom forward towards the black figure to see whether it is actually real and there and if so what exactly it is.

    • Pan
    Although the cameraman student is very scared, he still wants to catch whatever he has seen and heard on camera so pans the area whilst the girl is begging and begging him to go. This piece of dialogue between them builds a lot of suspense and most of all tension.

    • Mid Shot
    This is the last shot of the piece, and it is back to the girl and the black image is directly behind her, but you cannot see its face, just the shape. The duration of this shot will be very short so it frightens the viewer and leaves them in suspense and with a mystery to solve.

    The opening sequence will end with a black out immediately after the last shot.

    Monday, 1 February 2010

    Planning for filming


    The two main characters will be wearing normal clothing for people who are going to a rural area to film a school project, such as hoodies, shirts, jeans, perhaps boots or wellingtons.

    The"antagonist" will be wearing very dark clothing and something to obscure his facial features, such as a large coat or hood.


    There will very little to no props, and if we were to include any then it would only be something that the "antagonist" would have, such as a weapon for example. however i very much doubt we would include this, since we would like to have a certain air of mystery surrounding him, an therefore the inclusion of a visible weapon would be very un-subtle.

    Lighting-effect + equipment-

    Since the entire sequence is to be flames outdoors, there is very little we can do about our lighting conditions, though we would prefer for it to be reasonably bright, since it would not realistic if the student filmmakers chose to film a wildlife program in the dark. Since the film is in the found footage shaky cam style, we will only use the tripod in once instance, which would be for the "wildlife film" portion of the narrative.

    Make up/ hair-

    As Josh is playing a dark and mysterious character we have decided to darken his face to keep his identiy hidden and give a fiflthy and un groomed look so the audience belive that he has been hiding out for how every many months or years an gives a almost tramp like impression.

    List of equipment

    • Camera
    • Tripod
    • Tape
    • Battery
    • Spare battery

    Times + dates you want to film, including a back up plan.

    We are going to be filming on the 6th which falls on a saturday. We have allocated ourselves a 2 hour filming slot and think this will suffice to get the shots we require. If these plans dont go to plan our back plans are to film for the following day, the 7th with the same time schedule as before.


    We have chosen our location carefully to find an open area that would be appropriate and suited to the type of opening we will be filming. The area is a patrially wooded, partially fielded area in the small village of Little Downham. The location we have picked is also easily accesible so there will not be the problem of getting there to film.


    We have chosen for Lydia to play the protangonistic character becuase conventionally women are seen to be the more vulnerable and desirable in thriller films so by making Lydia the object of the opening sequence then we are following this convention. This also sets the film up quite well to keep the viewer insterested.


    Fil, will be the camera man both in real life and for the opening sequence. From previous projects we have seen that Fil is the best with the camera so he was chosen to film and therefore he fell into the role of the camera man in the sequence.


    Josh will be playing the mysteroius antagonistic, cloaked character within the opening sequence and we think he will be suited to this role well as he is good at acting so can move well across the frame to create a mysterious character.


    Production roles- camera, actor, directors, producer, production, co-ordinator etc


    Actors- Lydia and Josh

    Directors- Fil and Josh

    Producers- Lydia and Fil

    Editors- Lydia, Josh and Fil

    Sound- Lydia, Josh and Fil

    Test photos/footage.....

    Sunday, 31 January 2010

    Storyboarding- Lesson 1...

    Last lesson we started to storyboard the shots for our thriller opening sequence, after deciding on the narrative the lesson previous.

    To help to put our idea into different camera shots and angles, we first of all drew the images inside each of the frames on a post-it notes for the whole sequence. We then used smaller post-it notes underneath each drawing describing the shot types and information about the particular shot and moment. By using post-it notes before drawing up the final copy, you can move the shots around and decide on an order freely without worrying about changing the whole storyboard once drawn.

    Our first lesson on storyboarding was very productive as we were able to settle on the shots for the first part of our opening and the sound/dialogue for them.

    Thursday, 28 January 2010

    Analysis of the Opening Seqeunce of 'The Village'

    The film ‘The Village’ released in 2004, and directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan is a thriller- horror as it has some horror elements to it. The opening sequence of this film is of a high quality and is quite conventional of a thriller. The sound, editing, camerawork and mise-en-scene represent this.

    When analysing the sound, the first piece of music heard is a composition of long, relatively high pitched, single notes which sound like they are played by a panpipe or woodwind instrument. As these notes are high pitched and long in duration they create an eerie and creepy effect, especially with the motion picture they are played with. Since the instrument playing these notes creates quite a soft sound, when the title of the film flashes into the frame and a loud drum beat is played it makes the viewer jump which can create tension within the audience and this will help to build up suspense for the rest of the sequence. Building up this suspense is a typical convention of a thriller. A fainter more continuous drum beta is played alongside the panpipes and then later violins. As these layers of instruments and sounds are built up and the volume of the music increases, the suspense builds up rapidly and dramatically creating even more tension for the viewer. This may make them feel very on edge yet wanting to see the result of this build up. Once the crescendo has been reached the drum beat and panpipes disappear leaving the violins which are played at a slow tempo which creates a sad melody for the beginning of the film itself where a funeral is taking place.

    All of the sound within the opening sequence up until the first character speaks is non-diegetic.

    The credits within the opening sequence fade in from the background of the frame and though the trees in the shot, this may give the audience clues to the narrative as the credits could resemble something, maybe a supernatural creature, that is hidden in a forest or wooded area but is striving to get out. As mentioned when analysing sound, the title of the film is edited well so that it flashes into the frame as the first drum beat is heard. At the very beginning a fade in, is used with the shot of the trees. This fade is very slow, gradually revealing the outlines of the trees to the viewer, this can be slightly disorientating for the audience as you cannot quite make out what the outlines are to start with. Low key lighting is also used making them frightening and very dark in both instances. When the viewer works out what they are, it is then a mystery what the significance of them is, again creating an unnerving atmosphere. Throughout the opening sequence the editing cuts from a slow pace to a much faster one, which may confuses the viewer slightly and could give clues to the narrative that the storyline is not straightforward but has twists and turns in it. This is another convention of a typical thriller film.

    The continuity of the editing is very good however is non-linear throughout the credits but then changes to linear when the actual film begins.

    The camerawork in the opening credits for ‘The village’ is quite simplistic but very effective at disorientating the viewer as it is one continuous, low angle, tracking side wards shot. By showing the trees from a low angle makes the viewer feel intimidated especially because they are tall and spindly without leaves. This feeling on intimidation, again, could give clues to the narrative that the forest itself is alive and scares the people living in the village or that something living within the forest is very scary and intimidating. This shot also makes the forest seem extremely daunting and creepy.

    When the opening credits fade into the actual film and the narrative begins, a track forwards is used from behind a crowd of people and over their shoulders to focus on a man lying of a coffin, crying. This shot seems to represent the point of view from the crowd as it slowly edges forward, like the crowd may if they want to give the man support but still give him space as they care about him. This shot is soon contrasted by the next, which is an over the shoulder shot of the crying man at a canted angle in a handheld camera style. This shot looks as if it is from the point of view of someone who is not part of the crowd and does not have much respect for the man or the funeral, someone who is peering in but is not welcome. The shaky cam and the canted angle could show that this person is the protagonist with a flaw because these camera angles and styles are not conventional and quite right. However is could show the antagonistic character, as being the evil one and trying to peer in on a situation where they are not welcome.

    The mise-en-scene can be studied most easily at the end of the credits where the narrative begins; all of the characters in the shot are wearing old fashion, dull coloured clothing and look a bit like an Amish sort of community. This seems a bit strange as the film is set in the modern day. The fact that they are all standing a significant distance away from the man with the coffin also comes across to be strange and not the stereotypical funeral set up. The grave near the coffin seems to be the only one present and there is a statue of the Virgin Mary near the coffin and the grave. All of these aspects appear to be out of the ordinary and quite surreal but could also give clues to the narrative. In the shot after the funeral scene all of the people are sitting at long wooden tables, the adults are separate from the children. All the facial expressions are very solemn. This makes the viewer think the death of the young boy was a very morbid one and one not to be spoken about.

    Overall I think that this sequence is a very successful one in terms of meeting thriller conventions. However the horror elements within it do challenge some conventions but because it is not very morbid or gory, which it sways it more toward a thriller film.

    Tuesday, 26 January 2010

    Pitching our idea and feedback

    Today we pitched our idea for our opening sequence to the entire class. We thought the pitch went well as the class seemed to generally like our idea however we could have discussed more on the editing of the film.

    Our peers gave us some good feedback and constructive comments, which has drastically influenced the way we are going to approach the film. The first major comment we received was that they thought having a conventional title sequence after the filmed footage would ruin the atmosphere that we created previously.

    We agreed with this, and decided not to included the title sequence. but instead chose to plan out out shots meticulously, therefore we could include various shot types, as well as using the shaky handy cam style. This means that we would not only maintain originality but also meet the requirements for the film.

    Next lesson we will discuss how to meet this criteria and the editing that will be used.

    Monday, 25 January 2010

    Macro and Micro Planning for Thriller film.

    Macro elements:

    Characters- In our thriller film we plan to use our real names whilst footage is being recorded and by doing this it makes it more natural for us as actors. Our characters are student filmmakers, the boy (Fil) is filming, while the girl (Lydia) is the "presenter". Another character in our piece is a heavily cloaked individual, (Josh) who appears on camera only twice in the filmed footage, from two different angles, one from far away in an extreme long shot and the second a considerable amount closer in a mid shot. He seems to be the antagonistic character in the film, but in the later context of the thriller (which we won't be filmed for the opening sequence) he is actually a friend of the filmmakers, playing a prank and the real antagonistic character is to be revealed.

    Narrative- The two main characters are student film makers, going to a desolate area to film a wildlife piece for their school project. They are filming themselves talking and bantering because the camera man wishes to make a "making of" piece, for extra credit. They then film the opening of piece needed for the project, during which the antagonist is slightly visible at different points, but only to the viewer. After this, the girl naturally tells the boy a creepy story to do with the area, the cameraman (boy) then notices the antagonist whilst filming and is in disbelief when he seems to disappear, but then the antagonistic character (Josh) quickly reappears right behind the girl, the sequence abruptly cuts at this point. The rest of our opening sequence will consist of credits which will include music and various camera shot types to continue and advance on the mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere created.

    Atmosphere- We would build a very realistic atmosphere (mostly helped by the Shaky camera style of filming) which will create a suspenseful ambiance for the audience as they will feel more involved, and it also makes the whole piece really seem like "Found footage" and this heightens the tension felt, as the events occurring feel very real to the audience. Suspense would largely be built by dialogue between the girl and boy, when the girl tells the boy a frightening story and since they have very worried voices when the boy spots the antagonist, . Music would only be included in the title sequence, in which it would be very minimalistic yet unnerving.

    Micro elements

    Sound- For the handy cam style part of our piece, filmed at the very beginning of our opening sequence, only diegetic sound will be heard as we need to keep to the theme of found footage for this part and adding music through editing would be inappropriate. However at the very end of this filming, as the scene abruptly cuts, a sound effect such as a loud boom will be heard in order to make the audience jump and feel on edge.

    For the opening credits, after the filmed footage, music will be used which will follow the sound effect. To begin this, we thought of using a single monotonic note, which again, we hope will make the audience feel slightly disturbed and unnerved. We have found a fitting instrument from the software, Garage Band for this sound which is a shimmering flute. Depending on the time limit and how we split our time up for the filmed footage and credits, will determine whether or not we decide to include a melody for the credits as well.

    Editing- We have decided to use continuity editing for this piece and we will also edit our footage that we film a lot to create the suspensful effect we are looking for and to also add credits, fades, dissolves, music etc.

    Camerawork- As previously touched on, we will be using a handy cam style for the filming of the first part of our opening sequence. This will be created simply by Lydia and Fil acting as student filmmakers with Fil holding the camera to shoot the documentary. This will be a very natural process for both Lydia and Fil as they will not have to act as anyone but themselves, with a lose structure to the dialogue and narrative which will be followed.

    In contrast, we will be using various camera shot types during the opening credits of our piece which will have clean cut editing. These will include: Panning, close ups, extreme close ups, long shots, extreme long shots, head shots etc.


    We have chosen our location carefully to find an open area that would be appropriate and suited to the type of opening we will be filming. The area is a patrially wooded, partially fielded area in the small village of Little Downham. The location we have picked is also easily accesible so there will not be the problem of getting there to film.

    Lydia: In the sequence Lydia will be playing the part of the student filmmaker presenting the wildlife project video, so will be wearing either jeans or combat style trousers with a sweatshirt and a body warmer.

    Fil: In the sequence Fil is playing the camerman as well as being the actual camerman. So he will be dressed in casual clothes maybe in dark colours such as black and white and a woolly hat. (Cameramen stereotypically wear warm hats as they need to keep warm when shooting)

    Josh: In the sequence Josh is playing the mysterious figure seen by the viewer and creates an uncertainty about the whereabouts and welfare of the student filmmakers. As it needs to be kept a mystery on what the figure is, Josh will be heavily cloaked and all in black.

    As 'Filmed Footage' is the basis for our thriller opening sequence added props will not be need. If the want for props arrises we will use ones found within the location to make the film as natural as possible.

    Sunday, 24 January 2010

    "Found Footage" Genre.

    The found footage style of filmaking is a genre in which all or a major portion of a movie is presented as an edit of "recoverd" footage, often left behind by the missing or dead protagonists. The events onscreen are seen through a camera of one or more of the characters involved, who often speak offscreen. The actors usually do the filming themselves as they recite their lines, and shaky camera work (handy cam) is often incorperated to maintain realism.

    We are going to use this genre as a major point of inspiration, since it ties in perfectly with the shaky camera we are going to incorperate, and there has not been very many thrillers using this style, and therefore it is a fresher and more original approach to the film making. The conventions of a found footage film usually include major events in the film occuring off screen, awkward camera angles when action is going on to maintian realism (i.e, a person running would not run holding up a camera to maintain a perfect shot). Within the group we have not yet decided the detials of the film we are going to make, but probably we are going to make it clear to the audience that the film is found footage with a title saying so before the film begins proper.

    Films which are a part of this genre include:

    Blair witch project



    paranormal activity

    diary of the dead

    REC Opening sequence analysis.

    "REC" is a spanish supernatural thriller and is part of the "found footage" genre. The opening sequence begins with a medium close up of a women with a microphone, she seems to be in some kind of hanger, with many firetrucks behind her. She begins by introducing a TV show, but halfway through pauses and seems uncomfotable, and asks the cameraman if diffrent parts of her body are visible. She continues to say the intro, pauses, then tries it again. The effect of having her repeat the opening over and over again, and the way she pauses and seems uncomfotable is both confusing and ominous for the audience. The way she looks uncomfertable for seemingly no reason makes the audience uncomfotable, and creates an unsettling effect from the get go. Also this adds realism, which makes the scarier scenes later in the film have much more impact.
    The scene then cuts to a policeman standing outside with the camera trained on him, and the women from the last scene is standing next to him. She walks over to the camera man and whispers in his ear that if the interview does not go well, then he should cut to save tape. She then goes on to interview him about how the firemen are organised. the way that the scene does not begin with the interview, and the fact that the footage has obviously not been edited again adds a dimension of realism. The negative dialouge in this mini scene seres the same perpose that the awkward pauses in the last one did, which is to say, that all is not somehow well, and that people are rather aggresive towards eachother, which ties into later narrative since people begin to be very distrusting of eachother and the authorities view the main characters as expendable.
    All the sound in the sequence is diegetic, which makes sence considering that the entire sequence is built around making the footage seem as real as possible which is a major covention of the found footage genre. The opening includes no titles, credits, or a a conventional opening of any kind, all for the sake of realism.
    The shots that the sequence includes are:
    Medium close up.
    close up.

    Friday, 22 January 2010

    Indent Production

    In this particular lesson we were meant to make an animated logo for our group with sound, unfortunately our photoshop made logo would not load onto final cut due technical difficulties.

    We intended to animate, by the image of the eagle head fading into the foreground and then the words doing the same one second later. We felt that this would create a professional yet simple effect. Especially with the black and gold colours which were also simple yet looked professional.

    For sound we would have had a bird squarking sound effect as the eagle head appears. This sound effect would be subtle but go with the theme of our production team logo.

    You can see the image version of our logo below:

    Thursday, 21 January 2010

    Further Planning - Inspiration

    After discussing our ideas in a production meeting with our teacher, we have shared ideas and developed others to come up with the basis for our opening seqeunce. We have decided that we want to use a handycam style for the beginning of our opening sequence to build suspense and introduce the film to the audiecne before the initial credits. We have a rough outline of the structure and what we would like the handycam section to consist of but nothing is final at this stage.

    As insipiration for this idea we looked at openings to thrillers and 'The Blair Witch Project' directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez was one of these as it uses handycam style throughout and we liked this idea but did not think it was suitable for the whole of the opening sequence. So this is why we have decided to use it as an introduction. This film is made up of footage from a group of amateur film makers creating a documentary and this is the sort of theme we would like to follow but without replicating it completely. So this film mainly gave us the idea for the use of handycam.

    The second inpsirational opening seqeucne we looked at was taken from the film 'Taking Lives' directed by D.J Caruso, it introduced the thought of putting a seqeucne of film together before the credits to give clues to the narrative and introduce characters. We really liked this idea because the suspense of this piece of film will engage the audience immediately so they will want to watch the rest of the film and find out what happens. It keeps the audience hooked right from the beginning.

    This idea will need to be developed and planned further, to consider location, apporiate clothing and a solid storyline but we are pleased and happy with what we have thought up so far.
    To view thethe openeing sequence of 'The Blair Witch Project' follow the links below:
    (unfortunately the opening sequecne of 'Taking Lives' could not be located)

    Monday, 18 January 2010

    Marking a Previous Student's Thriller Opening

    The first point of the construction marking scheme is met straight away as there are shots that are held steady where but also hand held camera in conjunction with these. A variety of shot distances are also used within this as there are close ups of grave stones and long shots of someone running within the opening. All of the shots scene ate based around the theme of a church; inside the church and outside at the graves.

    Mise-en-scene is considered at some points, for example costume such as a hooded character seems mysterious complying to thriller conventions. Low key lighting is also used within this sequence which adds to the opening and creates a appropriate atmosphere. 

    The sound was not as suspenseful as it could have been as it was just a collection high notes which were repeated throughout the sequence.

    The titles were good and appropriate as the colours were black and red which are conventional of a thriller, although, you could not see the black titles clearly. 

    Overall we would give give this group a mark of 36 which is a level 3.

    To see this video follow the link below:

    Saturday, 16 January 2010

    "The Shining" Opening Sequence Analysis

    "The Shining" is 1980's Stanley Kubrick film. While many people think the Shining as a typical horror film, i belive that it is mainly a thriller, since the viewpoint that the events of the film are of supernatural origin is merely a point of view, and the film deals with many psychological elements.

    The Sequence begins with a huge establashing shot of a lake, and the mountines all around it. The shot is nearly a birds eye view and is at a canted angle. The camera then tracks past a small island on the lake, and speeds towards one of the mountines. During all of this, eerie, very subtle music is being played. All these elements within the first few seconds of the sequence has an instantanious effect, which is to give the audience a good idea of the themes and content of the film, since the beginning shots give a sence of an ominous force which surveying the area, and the very desolate, isolated area also shows the audiance that the charatcers in the film are going to be very cut off.

    The shot of the lake then fades away, and is replaced by a birds eye view of a car driving along a deserted road surrounded by very dense woodland. The camera follows the car as it drives, and it is intresting to note that in this BEV the car seems extremly small, and the audiance really have to concentrate to make it out amongst the woods. As the camera tracks the car, it slowly moves closer and closer towards it, giving the audiance a gradually clearer view of it. the shot then cuts to another BEV, but this time the camera is much closer, and the scenery has changed from woodland to a kind of empty brush area, and the effect of this is to show the audience that the car is travelling a very long way, since they have passed what seemed like a huge section of woods. This part of the sequence also gives many clues to the narrative, since it gives the sence of the car being followed by a large malevolant force which is much larger and more powerful than them, and it is hunting them like a predator hunts its prey, and this links to the narrative because the "Overlook hotel" is seemingly possesed by a powerfull force which looks down upon Jack and his family. Also, this opening sequence mirrors a later sequence in the film, when jack is looking down at a model of the Overlooks garden maze, and the camera cuts to a BEV and makes it seem like Jack is looking down on his wife and son while they walk in the real maze. All this makes the opening sequence very prominant, since it gives not only clues to the audience, but parts later in the film reference it.

    The music during all of this becomes gradually louder and much more menacing, with layers being added to it. Conversley to the rest of the sequence, the music follows much of the conventions of a thriller opening, since it includes typically "scary" sound effects, such as women screaming and chanting, while the rest of the sequence is much more ambiguous about the films nature, since the opening does not introduce any characters, and does not show the aftermath of a crime, both of which are very common conventions of a thriller. There is no Diegetic sound in the opening, and i belive this adds to the un-nerving quality of the opening, since including no "real" sound makes the sequence seem almost otherwordly.

    The Sequence ends with a long shot of the Overlook and its mountinous surroundings, and this, combined with the continuation of the music, makes it clear to the audiance that this is were much of the action is going to take place, and that it is a place to be feared, since the use of the longshot shows that the overlook is completly in the middle of no-where, and is cut of from other people, setting up the lonley mood of the film, and creating another layer of suspence for the audience.

    Overall i belive that the opening sequence for "The Shining" is extremly effective in creating mood and atmosphere, since it does not introduce any characters it can concentrate on setting up themes and symbolisism, making the audience try and decode what is going to happen in the film, and while it includes almost none of the stereotypical conventions of a thriller, it still maneges to be more effective than most other openings, even today.

    A List of shots in the Opening sequence are:
    Establashing shot.
    Birds eye View.


    Friday, 15 January 2010

    CapeFear Opening By Saul Bass

    The sequence begins with an extreme close up image of a body of water. This is possibly a reference to the "Cape" of the title, which is a expanse of water. Throughout this shot, refletions are seen in the water, however, the audiance cannot distinguish what they are. This creates an air of mystery, since the water is both Dark and, seemingly, deep, and you cannot clearly see the reflections. This makes the audience feel vulnerable, since it gives the effect that they are looking at things happening behind them, through the water. The clearest image in the water is that of an eagle, which swoops down and disappears from sight. This gives clues to the narrtive, because an eagle is a bird of prey, and people in the film are being stalked by a predator. The colour red is present and is shown in the opening sequence, this connotes danger and blood, which is a convention of a thriller since it gives a clear mystery to the audience.

    Sinister music is plated throughout the sequence, this consists of string instruments. It begins softly, with dramatic parts at the beginning, which gives a "creepy" atmosphere, this becomes louder towards the end, which builds up the suspense. The only diegetic sound heard in the sequence is that of water rippling.

    The camera work mainly consists of a stationary shot of the water, which occasionally changes into a side view. This forces the audience to concentrate on the water, but also creates a jarring affect, since they cannot see anywhere around them, again creating an effect of vulnerability.

    Analysis Of Vertigo opening sequence by Saul Bass

    The sequence begins with an extreme closeup of a persons mouth. the camera then tracks upwards and rests on the eyes. The persons eyes seem scared and restless, looking from left to right. This, included with the fact that the opening music starts of both loud and unsettling, creates a feeling of both suspence and fear, since the camera is only focusing on one part of the face at a time, which creates an air of mystery since the audiance is wondering who the person is and what they are afraid of. the camera then zooms in on the persons eye and the camera turns a dark shade of red, and slowly coloured spirals come out of the persons eyes and slowly spin their way towards the camera. this intensifies the air of suspence and creates a very stereotypical thriller atmosphere, since the red connotates blood and murder, and the spirals and very intimate portrayel of the eye seem both supernatural and makes the audiance think of a person in some kind of distress, respectivly.
    The eye then fades away and we are left with the image of the coloured spiral getting larger and larger as it spins its way towards the screen on a black background. This segment also gives clues to the narrative, since the spirals give a sense of falling, and the film deals with themes of Acrophobia. These spirals continue for much of the sequence, and their changing colour, shape, and consistancy gives the audiance the feel of a never ending fall, and it also has an hypnotic quality, which is in keeping with the films thriller theme.


    Thriller Opening Sequence Analysis

    Analysis of the opening sequence of 'Vertigo' by Saul Bass

    The first image that you see is of the side if the face if a woman (shown below). In thrillers women are seen as quite vulnerable characters is this may indicate that people with vertigo feel very vulnerable. The fact that the camera then moves up to the woman's eyes and i think that eyes are a symbolic image as people suffering from vertigo can only suffer from it if they can see. The other images that the audience are subject to are spinning spirals and circles, to me, this represents falling which is a fear of a vertigo sufferer. It also makes the viewer feel slightly dizzy whilst looking at it so it kind of puts them into the shoes of someone with vertigo. These spirals are in all different colours but red is used most frequently and this colour connotes danger and is a convention of a thriller because of this connotation.

    Music is played constantly throughout this sequence and it sounds very sinister, a piano is used to help create this effect. As it progresses the music becomes more jumpy, as it this the soft sounds of a piano one minute and the the sudden dramatic sounds of violins the next. These two sounds mix in the middle of the sequence showing the height of suspense. Suspense is also an important convention for a thriller, i think that the music in this sequence mainly builds it.

    The camerawork is only simple in this opening sequence so all shots are just still apart from one at the beginning where the camera tracks sidewards to the womans face and then up to her eyes. The fact that the camerawork is simple means that the viewer will concentrate just on the images within the frame.

    The opening credits appear in conjunction with the dramatic parts so it draws the attention of the viewer. The words are never shown in the centre of the frame or if they are then they will just be small words so the circling image is kept central and is focused on most of all.

    Overall i think is connotes thriller but some of the main conventions are not included and i do not think that as a viewerr, you would be able to tell that the genre wad thriller just from the opening sequence, the only aspect that would give it away would be the colour red that is used.

    Thursday, 14 January 2010

    Thriller Analysis of The Dark Knight!

    The Dark Knight is the second Batman film made in 2008 by Christopher Nolan. It is classified as a thriller so conventionally is should be suspenseful, have a slightly dark side and a mystery until the end. It ids based on the character named ‘The Joker’ who is one of batman’s main enemies. The film begins with the joker leading a raid of a bank.

    From analysing the sound in the opening sequence, you can immediately tell that its going to hold suspense from the music played at the beginning. It consists of a long high pitched monotone which is very sinister. At the end of the there is a bang and shattering glass of a window, this is the first bit of diegetic sound that is heard. Most of the diegetic sound heard in the sequence is made up of banging of doors and guns. The large bangs make the audience jump and may make them feel on edge creating tension. In the first part of the opening sequence screams can also be heard alongside the gun shots, screaming is very conventional of a thriller. Violins are used to create a sinister atmosphere and as this music increases in tempo the heist of the bank proceeds. Throughout the raid of the bank a ticking noise can be heard as an undertone in the music this shows the race against time, like a time bomb and again makes the audience feel on edge. At the very end of the sequence who can hear police sirens so it is evident that that a crime has happened.

    Continuity editing is used throughout, the zip line sequence shows this as there are several shots of the burglars setting up the zip line and then going on it and landing on a roof. Spatial editing is also used widely during this sequence, cutting to many places consecutively and this shows the complexity of the plan and the fast pace of it. For example, it cuts from robbers in the lobby to reaction shots of the manager. All of the editing is of a very fast pace with smooth cuts, this shows that the plan is very witty and efficient because of the speed at which it is completed. Linear editing is used as well, as the heist of the bank is all shown in chronological order. Cross cutting is used in one particular part of the sequence and this shows that the characters shown in each shot are connected.

    Within this sequence there are a lot of shots and the duration of each shot is not very long which again, demonstrates how quickly the crime was done. All of the shots below are incorporated in the sequence:

    • Track forward
    • Mid shot
    • Low angle
    • High angle
    • Over the shoulder
    • Close up
    • 2 shot
    • Long shot
    • Medium close up

    The establishing shot is track forward to build up suspense and mystery, the shot is only of a building so it leaves the audience in the unknown. Mystery is one of the conventions of a thriller. There are many over the shoulder shots and this shows the point of view of the character. The characters that this shot focuses on is the ones committing the crime because they are each doing a different job within the heist so it shows the audience what each robber is doing, again this shows the complexity of the plan. Tracks are used a lot to follow the robber and by following them which builds tension and makes the viewer feel as if they are there, which could make them feel tense also. Handheld camera shots are also used to follow the robbers and this shows the viewer their point of view.

    All of the robbers involved in the heist are wearing clown masks and clowns can be seen and quite a creepy and un-nerving image. The masks also mask the identity of the robbers and may make the viewer feel uneasy especially because they have no facial expressions. These clown masks contrast with the suits of the bankers so you can distinguish between the bad and the good guys. Most of the props are guns and holdalls containing money and different gadgets which is stereotypical of a bank heist.

    From the opening sequence of The Dark Knight, you can see elements of the genre, thriller but it is not really obvious that this is what it is. From my point of view I would think that it is an action thriller which is more of a sub-genre.

    Wednesday, 13 January 2010


    Previous to the research, all three members of the group had thought up their own ideas for the narrative of our thriller.

    Lydia had thought of: an obsessive stalker targeting teenage girls and tormenting them, the opening sequence would consist of many black and white photos of young girls scattered on the floor and pinned on a wall of a room. Many of these photos would have red crosses through them but the one lying in the middle would have a big red ring around it. During the sequence the camera would cut to short scenes of a gril looking behind her as if she was being followed. Each one of these would be the same but in a different location and each time they are shot they become shorter and the editing increases in speed. The music also increases in tempo with the editing building up suspense. Whilst this is happening credit will also flash up on the screen. To end the sequence the music had reached it optimum and then goes completely silent and then a big boom sounds and all the viewer sees is an extreme long shot of a man dressed all in black standing dead still in the middle of an empty field staring straight at the camera.

    Fil had thought of a classic "Haunted House" storyline, in which a group of individuals stay in an abandoned, perhaps derelict house. They then begin to experience seperate, seemingly paranormal events, such as voices in the walls, and writing appearing from nowhere. The title sequence would consist of large, open shots of the house, making it seem both large and imposing. the titles would also introduce the main characters, but only peripheraly, with the mian focus on the house. Alternitavly, to simplify things the opening could be within the house, showing it as a large, scary place, with the camera focusing on some of its main features which would appear later on in the film. While the premise at first sounds like a horror film, this film would be more psychological, in the vein of "The Shining", which deals with seemingly paranormal events but that may have its rootings in insanity.

    Josh had thought of a teenage boy who was drink driving and and crashed with an ex police officers daughter in the passengers seat. The male survives but sadly the female is killed, after a years spell in prison the boy is released, and the father makes it his out right duty to avenge the death of his daughter! The opening sequence would consist of flashbacks of the two before they entered the car out on the clubs having fun and then have quick and blurry shots of the two of them in the car driving home with the subtitles flashing past like passing traffic.The final shot would be of the boy leaving the police station,and you would get an over the shoulder shot of the father with the boy in his sights. The music would be eery and slow paced to create tension and a a nervous atmosphere.

    To help us decide which idea to use for our thriller, we are going to arrange a meeting with our teacher for advice and guidance on which idea would work the best.

    Josh,Fil And Lydia.x

    Tuesday, 12 January 2010

    Analysis Of Disturbia Opening Sequence!

    The trailer im going to be telling you about is "Disturbia" produced by D.J Caruso, starring Shia LeBeouf as a teenager who faces 90 days under house arrest and begings spying on his neighbours thourhg his window and becomes convinced his neighbour is a serial killer.

    The first shot is a close up of Kale, the main character having a house arrest tag fitted,and we see a formal women telling him that he is all set to go nowhere meaning he cant escape,it then fades to a shot of the highcourt and a stern voice once agian reminding him that he is under house arrest as though he can't shake it off and those words are fixated in his head. It then fades back to him erecting a sandwich tower due to the boredom he is facing showing he desperatley needs something to do,It then cuts to a hammer slamming down and the music begins to big up in volume and the bass kicks in as the story line thickens. We then get an establishing shot of him walking the garden with a voice over of the conditions of the house arrest and then, the same as with the hammer the shot rapidly cuts and a gnome slams down on the to the lawn in time with the music making you jump.

    We then see Kale with a pair of binoculars watching his neighbours which is typical of a thriller film with the charcters always beeing spyed on.At first all he seems to spy on are young women in there bikins but after being caught out spying by a fellow victim she arrives at his door and we then have the other character. You then get a tilt shot of a couple going through the door and it the camera then tilts up to show them expressing there love. You then get a rapid amount of quick shots measuring only about a second or so of various nights of spying on there nieghbours, the music is upbeat and then suddenly a loud noise erupts and the music dies down as you hear a splat and see blood splash across a window they were spying on.

    There spying then gets more serious with close ups of high tech camera equpment and an over the shoulder shot of Kale setting up the tripod for his camera and then we zoom in from the O.T.S to see the image on the video camera of a man holding a knife.The music at this point is very jumpy and puts you on edge,and as the camera zooms in on a blurry image of a woman a scream begins to build up and then blare out and you and Kale jump back. The last few mid shots are all very dark relating to the dark story line and sets the scene for something else to happen. the music is very quiet and loud sound effects are used such as screams or cars breaking to add atmoshpere.

    The trailer creates a great deal of tension and really makes me want to go and see the film, it is very effective and makes you jump at certain points and gets you involved in the film instantly. Heres the video for anyone else who wants to watch it:



    Defining a Thriller

    A thriller includes a lot of suspense and most of the action and happening within the film are based around the theme of suspense. The micro elements also follow this trend such as sound, editing, mise-en-scene and camerawork.

    The genre thriller is often confused with horror, but there is a slight difference. A horror is made up of a lot of gore, dark images and thoughts and it usually includes one or many deaths from the beginning. Whereas a thriller builds up to a murder or crime and it does not actually happen and this is where the suspense in created.

    Sub genres of a Thriller
    Supernatural Thriller- e.g Paranormal Activity
    Sixth Sense

    Sci-fi Thriller- e.g Star Trek

    Crime Thriller -e.g Seven

    All of the below are called hybrid genres as they are a mixture of two genres;

    Drama Thriller
    Adventure Thriller
    Action Thriller
    Romantic Thriller

    Josh,Fil And Lydia.x


    Conventions of a Thriller:

    The conventions of a thriller usually include:

    An enigma- this is a clue given to the audience but remains a mystery, usually solved by the end of the narrative.
    Narrative- often complex, with an unexpected twist.
    Characters- There is an Antagonist (the main villain or force) and a protagonist. the protagonist often has a flaw or weakness which they must overcome.
    Sound- It is often contrasting, and includes an elaborate musical score. suspense tension and silence are also features of the sound.

    A thriller usually combines these conventions to create a scene of suspense and danger. A classic thriller opening also usually includes a crime of some sort, which is never explicitly show, but it is a clue to the narrative. The characters are also often introduced in the opening, with the flaws of the protagonist being hinted at. There are also often similarities between the antagonist and protagonist characters (e.g- Seven, where both the head cop and villain are both shown as methodical and organized). Stereotypically female characters are shown in a sexual and vulnerable manner, they are designed to be sexually attractive to both the characters and audience, therefore making them desirable.

    Josh,Fil And Lydia.x

    Welcome Guys!

    Hey guys!.This our latest blog all about the thriller opening sequence we are going to produce,We will keep you up to date with our inspirations and latest ideas and how we are getting on in class. We hope you enjoy yet another JLF Production.

    Much Love.

    Josh,Fil And Lydia x

    Our Prelim Task!

    Hey guys here is our pre-lim task!:

    We decided to shoot our prelim with the intention of the boy coming across as a confident teenager who happens to meet a girl whom he once spoke to at a party.They then they depart for a coffee...

    The first shot is an establishing shot as he walks through the automatic doors and turns left at the double doors,we then have a close up of his hand on the door adding suspension to the scene as we don't know whats behind the door. The two then begin to hit it off in the conversation shot and as they remember they know each other we get a reaction shot of the two stunned faces. We then see the cocky yet confident character perch himself on the table and the two begin to speak more.The next shot is a long shot of the couple walking off into the distance hand in hand. Finally we have a close up of the main character turning and winking as he succesfully has scored with the female character.

    Tuesday, 15 December 2009