Monday, 21 February 2011

Making the thriller- day one

Today, after 4h of solid filming we finished our first scene in the kitchen!!!! So we've done most of the work now. At the end of the day I was triple tired, but happy we've done so much. My legs were killing me after 4h of basically standing up, I hope it will pay off with good movie!

We had a storyboard with us and we looked at it in order to know what will happen next, but we mostly figured out shots as we went along. We filmed the same scene many times, just to get the best clips. This time we took it more serious, we still laughed but not so much as eg when we filmed in college. This was very independent work and we could only rely on ourselves because there was no teacher to help us. Luckily we coped with this well and did a great job.

This is the clip I made with pictures we've taken during filming with soundtrack and storyboard, enjoy:

day one- making the scene

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


We had to make a pitch to present to the class and at first we divided the work up so each person does what but we found out that completely didnt work we then did it in one lesson. We were given a guide to follow on what to present your work on here they are:
  1. the title
  2. outline of the movie
  3. subgenre of our movie
  4. location
  5. Mise en Scene
  6. storyboard
  7. sound we'll use
  8. when we'll film 
  9. risk assesment
We worked quick on this and turned out great. While the reset of the group started on the pitch i started on the storyline but knowing that we might change a couple of things to suit with our limited props.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

getting ready for the pitch

Last lesson we were getting ready for the pitch. We planned everything we'll present to the class and the teacher. We've thought of:
  • the title
  • outline of the movie
  • subgenre of our movie
  • location
  • Mise en Scene
  • storyboard
  • sound we'll use
  • when we'll film 
  • risk assesment
We did it in a presentation form, hopefully our pitch will go well!Our presentation will be presented on a powerpoint, when we'll screengrab each slide and upload in on blog.

Planning of the Thriller!

In one of the lessons we started gathering ideas of what our 2 minute opening could be based on and a little storyline that can be developed within that opening. Well and truly me and the guys were completely blank!
After a while we cam up with a few ideas but they weren't really ideal for an opening.

(ideas what the thriller coudl be aboout)

(The final idea of our title sequence)

We then got some help from our teacher who gave us two really good ideas and we decided to go with one of them. You'll see the idea in the next  i do it will include our "lovely" presentation!!

After doing that we had to plan out what we're going to be filming and the location and when we would actually start filming. We just have to plan this out, we also had to do something called a pitch. So me and my group had to create a slide show with our idea and our production schedule and stuff like that, and within the next lesson we will be presenting it.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Plannig the thriller movie.

We've seen enough, done enough. Now's the time to (finally) get to think about OUR movie. So me and my group have done planning, where we dropped the ideas we had and diccsussed them. This took the entire lesson, as it was a serious desicion. But we finally decided what we'll do. For each idea, we had to think about about would it be possible for us to make, where we could film this and so on. For example, we considered doing the opening backwards, like in Memento. But, we decided it's impossible to do for us, as for this we need action, something big to happen like an accident. For this, normal scene played backwards would be boring, and we want to avoid this. So this idea didn't work. Each of us came up with different idea, we had to listen to each other and remember that other people might now like our idea, as well as we might not like theirs. I've given up many of my ideas (I guess as other people in my group did), but that's for good, because we should create something, we can all enjoy.
Our ideas about the thriller we could do

our ideas about the opening we're going to do.
Ok, so once we picked our idea, we developed it and thought about how we can actually make this, we already know how it will start. And other things that will happen, they're not in order however (not just yet!). We also know how the credits will appear on the screen. We decided our thriller will be a narrative opening.

So now, that we have some ideas in our head we need to get ready for The Pitch. We still need to think about:
  • title
  • location and location shots
  • props, costumes + Mise en Scene
  • sound
  • risk assessment
  • storyboard and animatic including titles

Introduction the Camera and Tripod!!

I know this is late but better late then never!!!

Before actually handling the camera  we had an entire lesson dedicated to learning how to use them and what kind of responsibilities we had while using them! the first one to definitely keep in mind is if it gets lost or broken in any way, everyone in that group is responsible for it, and there may be the chance of paying a big fine!!!!

We learnt about the right way of inserting and taking out the memory card. Also we were shown different shot types and how we do them using the camera.

The tripod!! without it there would be no beautiful smooth shots!! So.. the tripod helps to have nice smooth pannings, steady shots of a scene and so on!

jelly babies actual film

Ok! so we've finally got our film uploaded on this thing..... and now i can talk about it!!!
The lesson where me and my group were actually filming what we had planned with the anamatics (jelly babies) was a bit to the point of being extreme and we didn't have enough people in our group to act out the scenes, so we had to think of another idea!

So we came up with something which included a chip worth thousands (a memory card) and a bag full of money (abde's college bag with books). We had to continue our editing by adding sound effects in another lesson, which was quiet fun.

Okey dokey enjoy the video!!!!! The Exchage!!

suspence in the music video

I've watched the video clip by Richard Ashcroft, a lead singer of the band- The Verve. The song is called 'A Song for the Lovers'. And in my opinion, the video clip is great as it creates suspence throughout. In the end, we get what's called fake plateau, but while watching I wondered what might happen. The song appears to be digetic and non digetic at the same time, it sound like it is non-digetic, but the artist eg turnes it down and then up so it looks like it's digetic. 

Suspence is also created when Richard eats and we see toilet light flashing behind him, so again- we're know more than the character, which creates suspence.

This is the video clip, E N J O Y !

The Exchange

We finished our short movie, we called it EXCHANGE. While editing, I finally learned how to save the project and then convert it and upload it to blog. Let's hope I won't forget it, it's quite complecated process!:) I need to make sure I'll practise this.

In terms of the outcome, I have no idea why the dialogue is so quiet, as it wasn't like this when we watched it on Final Cut Pro.

However I also know how to add writing, we practised that and have a little play around with it.

the clip can be seen in the previous post

Friday, 11 February 2011

scary shots

This is the list of "scary shots" used in thrillers very often:

  • ECU, to emphisise something, put it in focus, bring attention to it. Also used to convey emotions.


  • Long shot, so the audience can see the surrounding and possibly what's happening around the character.

  • POV shot, to get audience involved and see something from character's prospective.

  • Low/ high angle shot, used to show status, emotions, create fear or power. Low angle shots can be used to emphasise how big something it.

high angle shot

low angle shot

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Creative Filmmaking for the creatively challenged.

I just red the article called Creative Filmmaking For The Creatively Challenged by M. Ramey, and I found it useful as it gives many tips. This is the "list of ingredients that will make your films creative":

First of all, the rule is :
No person in a hoodie in the college corridor, running after someone else captured in a long shot.
  • We need to think about the genre of the movie we're making. Thriller... so we probably should consider: lighting (low key, high contast), camera angles, and shots: close-ups and jump cuts.

  • Remember about 180 degree rule, keeping the camera on one side, otherwise it will get the audience confused as they will not know who's talking to who, and what direction are the characters looking. Here's a quick tutorial:

  • We might try to challange some basic rules such as: instead on knife and gun as a killing tool, try to use something different such us pencil or bags. Or even instead of having fast-paced and non-digetic, try to use calm music. It may turn out to be really succesfull.

1. Script: for a 2 min movie, we shouldn't have very long script (at least one page). Try to avoid overlong dialogue... it will make the movie boring to watch for the audience.

2.Storyboard: Once we know our story, we can try to figure out how we can show it. "This allows the director and the crew to now start planning the actual film-shoot, as well as looking ahead to the editing.

3. Mise-en-Scene: key props such as clothing, setting. It really does make a difference when watching a movie, unneeded probls will make the movie unproffesional. Avoid that!

"Uncreative work is invariably unplanned!"

The story can be taken from our personal experiences, it can make the the filming easier as we know what we want to get. But that's just the back up plan... When it comes to actors, it'll be helpful if we used drama students who are keen to act in front of the camera. It will also make the film more prossesional. 

Adding Sound

So last lesson we worked on Final Cut Pro and added sound. We didn't finish, we need to add few more sound effects and mute some of it or turn the volume down, add fade in and out and maybe add some writing. So.. still a lot to do, we'll blog our film soon!

Last lesson we've added sound but we had problem with the Mac, so it took time. So far we used:
    Turning down or up parts of the soundtrack
  • footseteps
  • heartbeat
  • doors opening
  • doors squek
  • doors shutting
  • telephone ring
  • non digetic music (Two types of music).

I also learned how to turn the volume of the sound (usually music) down and up, for example we had a music playing, and then the dialogue started. We still wanted the music to play, but we couldn't hear what the characters are saying. So we learned how to make the music play lound, and then turn it down so it plays on the background.
This is the screen
I also learned how to mute the orginal sound from the video, or even mute some bits. For example we had someone saying "Should I stop this now?", we didn't want to mute the whole thing, just the little bit and we know how to do this! 

There are milions of soundtracks + effects on the Final Cut Pro, and I think looking for the right one takes the most time. I found adding sound much more interesting than the editing, and I enjoyed it more.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Jelly Babies- Filming


Making of the POV shot
 We finally got to film our jelly babies story. It turned out we went too crazy with our story, as we needed more people than we had in our group, so it was immposible to film. Our teacher told us to come up with another story, so we did. At first we only had two people to film so it was very hard to do anything, but we did what we could and when 3rd person came in we finished filming. In the meantime, we planned EVERYTHING we need to do, every shot and every angle, so our filming was really quick- we just looked at the sheet and we had everything written down. It was very helpful. I must say that filming is my favourite thing, I really enjoy it! 

editing a match cut

So, we edited our piece and FINISHED ON TIME! Which we always seem to stuggle with. We used so many different shots and angles. It was very fun thing to do, we also needed to have a match cut of doors opening in our film, I also think we did that well. Editing is my weakest area, I always get confused with the clips and where to cut something in the right time.

Next lesson, we will add sound and maybe some writing to our film. Can't wait to see the outcome!

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Art of the Title sequence

This the title sequence of Edward Sissor hands

The title sequence includes the actual title, the stars of the film, the person who created the cast, production designer, the person who created the screenplay and the director. 

Looking at the title sequence it uses Serif fonts, which suggests an olden day theme, or even something that's part of the film is left behind in the old days and everything else has moved on. Also the colour of the font is all white, shows a kind of dullness and matches the snow that's falling in the background.

The images behind the titles are kind of suggestions of what the story may hold, and also what kind  of atmosphere it might be in. Also the colour of the images, are like a white and blue, they are like cold colours, so it kind of suggests that its not going to be such a "la-di-da" kind of film. The images consists of scissors, different shapes biscuts, an old man, and a sort of robot body. Not such lovely pictures.

Its got like close ups of the images.

What makes it appealing to me is the simple style of the font and simple everyday objects being magnified as something weird.

Filming and editing

From the previous lesson, we had done a plan of a short clip using jelly babies, and we were also told that with the following lesson we would really act out what we had planned. However the plan that we did was too difficult to act out and so we decided to plot a different story line.

I ended up coming in late, and my group had to start without me, and so they shooted scenes that i had no part in, but after I came in we started filming the scenes where I had a part in. After filming those scenes, we had an hour to edit them. Then we were told that in the next lesson we would be able to put in a music track.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The opening structure

There different openings in different films however there all fit different categorize of opening structure.
  • A narrative opening- Which is used commonly known is when a film goes straight to the film no black background it goes straight into the first scene. It would start to get to know the location of where the film sets and the characters that are included in the film and the setting. 
  • A discrete title sequence- is when the opening has nothing to do with the narrative the plot but its in the same theme of the film. They are mostly full of edits throughout the sequence.

  • CREDITS OVER BLANK SCREEN- This is more basic to do as it all it is a blank screen that start with title rolling its often has a soundtrack or sound effects.
  • STYLISED EDITING-  These are not easy to do as they take a lot of time to make in post production. They are heavily edited and amazing to see.


Fonts drag the consumer attention to go seeing the movie in cinema or buying a DVD. Fonts are used in different ways for example most modern is 3D texts that stands out.

 The crazy imitation of earth and its colourful 3D fonts is eye catching makes you feel you want to watch and it interests you.
However, BOLD titles have been going strong for years attracting different types of audiences. Famous titles like rocky have attracted a lot of attention.
  There are also different types of fonts which are:
  1. Serif Font- traditional, more formal. A serif is the extra little detail at the end of each stroke of every letter.
  2. Sans Serif Fonts- modern, informal, 'friendly'. Without extra details.


To make a successful film the first thing we have to think about is whos going to watch it who would be the audeince. Every film has its significant range of ages or even gender to decide what kind of film or what type of genre. We have to think about what age and this can be seen in our mise en scene or music but the story its self would determine what range of age group that is acceptable.

Gender in some cases is used to who would watch what film however stereotype could also be involved in some peoples opinion. As you can see here females mostly go for romance weres males weould recomend sci fi movies.
 Age rating systems labels are shown each movie to suggest any restriction to minors. Each country has it own age rating systems.


Intertexuality means that a similarity in certain films. There are scenarios or aspects seen in one film than another. This would bring a highlight to the film and most of the time its the "best bits". Things like music (sound) or the camera angles or the mise en scene these would be seen on other films that were successful. Films like Psycho which that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock were later seen in other movie but they weren't entirely the same but there was things that were related.

Like what lies beneath uses the same sense of filing when the actor Carry's a female actor in to a bath which the film was created in 2000 the film psycho in 1960. 
Also, the stepfather which was released recent as 2009 and it had the exact idea of went the stepfather chases the widow around the house into the bathroom which he smashes the door open and she stabbed him in the neck he then slips and falls into the bath creating the scene from psycho.

The Art of the TITLE SEQUENCE (font analysis)

click to enlarge
The sequence uses sans serif font, the writing is in bold, orange colour to link to Halloween. The titles show usual title sequence: where we get to know the director, producer, execuutive producers, cast, director of photography and so on. The title of the movie (Halloween) has been written in serif font, probably to set the creepy mood.

There's a black screen and titles apear on it, so it's an example of "titles over black screen followed by a narrative". There's a pumpkin on the left hand side, at first it's a midshot, and the camera slowly zooms in to a ECU.

I think, that the tense and high pitched music, orange font and pumpkin with candles lighted up inside create a sense of a tension, and in some way set the feeling of the movie. I haven't seen the movie, but I guess it's a thriller about something that could happen on Halloween. The use of orange writing and candles in the pumpkin attracted me the most.


Serif Font- traditional, more formal. A serif is the extra little detail at the endo of each stroke of every letter.

Sans Serif Fonts- modern, informal, 'friendly'. Without extra details.

ROCKY used sans serif font. The letters are big, bold and in black. It fills the page in, the writing on the top. This links to the theme of the movie, as the writing itselef connotes something strong (in reference to the fighter).

Public Enemies.
the font and colour (gray/metallic) looks very solid, immovable, masculine and strong. Again, linking to the theme of the movie. Michael Mann, a designer of the font, says that holes in "B" look like a bullet holes. In order to create a font for the movie set arounds '30s, he looked at posters for Roosevelt's New Deal. (good idea to look for inspiration)

"Fonts Conver an emotion without actually having to say the words"

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


When producing our own movie, we have to consider the audience we'll aim our movie at, this way it's easier to figure out what out what their interests might be and what they're likely to watch. About 700 movies were released in 2010 (every website says someting different). Out of 700, about 50 suspense movies were released.
 Action, animation and comedy takes up about 52% of the box office in the UK. This is because these genres appeal accross different age and genders. Similarry to as animation, where it primarly aimed at children, who are likely to watch the movie with their parents. Also there are many adults who still like animation. (Good for them!)

This table shows, that female are more likely to watch romance and period (male are not interested in happy endings and movie-love), rather than male, who prefer action and sci-fi.(Female aren't interestes in robots, aliens and crime). Comedy, horror and suspense are likely to be seen by both genders. (wide viewership).

Some thrillers take up quite a low proportion of UK box office (4% in 2009). This may be because that many thirller movies are rated +18.

For making my own film, I'm considering rating it +15, through this it will be seen my more people.

The Opening Stracture

Movie openings are devides into specific stractures.

1. A NARRATIVE OPENING with titles running through, where the narrative (the story) starts straight from the beging. We get to know what happens, we might know the characters and setting. Over this, we have title sequence running through. Classic opening usually have a narrative openings, for example The Panic Room.

2. A DISCRETE TITLE SEQUENCE, where we have seperate title sequence and opening, so in other words: the opening in not part of the story. It should still link to what the movie will be about by giving us hints and clues,introducing the movie and its theme. But still, it's not part of the narrative. For example Seven is considered as most effective opening. It creates sense of mission, murder, mystery and precison. The music is creepy with strong beat and is very unsetteling. This is the opening:

3. TITLES OVER A BLANK SCREEN, FOLLOWED BY NARRATIVE OPENING. So really, it's just screen with titles and then the narrative starts. Persinally I don't think these are very effective in a thriller movie, because they don't create tension. Also, in different movies where the titles run for so long I sometimes get bored, because I just want to watch the movie.

4. There is also another group called STYLIZED EDITING, where everyting depends on the editing, usually about speed ups/downs. I think this metchod is usually used in action and crime movies.
Example: Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

Planning and Editing- JELLY BABIES

So today we had to make a story and plan it... this time, instead of writing it down on a story board, we used  j e l l y   b a b i e s !!

It was really fun, we could get different shots and make the scene, go crazy with it (well, not too crazy because we're going to be filming it next lesson!). It was hard to get some shots, such as close up because the camera would go out of focus and we couldn't take too much close ups. BUT we've taken few long shots, over the shoulder, two shots and so on.

We took many pictures and then unloaded them on Final Cut Pro, to place them in order and colmplete a story. We could even add sound it it, but we've run out of time.

Placing the pictures on story line was easy, because we didn't have to cut the clips and place them in the right order and right place. We just chose our best shots, and then placed them on the time line, so I quite enjoyed that.

I'm also really excited about filming and Im looking forward to it.