planning/writing my film review (day 3)

I have recently been introduced to a programme called InDesign on the Mac, which I haven’t used before. Since I’m not that informed about Photoshop anyway, I thought it was worth a try to test out a new alternative. Luckily it is so easy to use and I am well underway with making my film review.

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Here is what I have got so far, it has got the potential to look really similar to how I designed it. Luckily, InDesign has already got the conventional layout of a film review/magazine article set so it is relatively easy to type in the columns, keeping them an equal distance from each other. So far I have added the image with title, the ‘fact box’ and added extras at the top of the page to make it seem more conventional to Empire magazine’s layout (short film special etc.)

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I am really pleased with how it’s turning out so far. Although, there is one issue that is bothering me. I was really keen to have the title in a white, bold, sans-serif font, but it is not as clear as I pictured it (due to parts of the background being a light colour.) I have tried outlining the text with a thin black outline to make it stand out, however it merely appears amateur-ish and somewhat ‘tacky’ looking.

I also feel like I do not really need a tagline under the title as I already have the ‘chav. noun’ embedded onto the image and more white writing may look slightly over the top and confusing for the audience. I am aiming for an informal, easy-reading and witty article.

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planning/writing my film review (day 2)

Writing a seemingly professional film review with no experience is proving to be a challenge, and it something that must be done with extensive research. It’s the first sentence that must entice your audience to carry on reading the rest of the article.

In my research I have come across a review from Empire as an example, for the film Contagion, which you can probably guess is about some sort of deadly virus that spreads rapidly across the world. The article starts with the question “how many times a day do you touch your face?”, which may seem an odd question to be asking your audience, but the author somehow relates it back to the film stating “what if Gwyneth Paltrow left a surface-transmitted pig-bat virus teeming invisibly on every single thing she touched?” – drawing the audience in relating back to the content of the film, also sneakily name dropping a major Hollywood actress as well. Casual.

 

planning my film review (day 1)

As we are now well underway with the stages of post-production in between the first edit and the final edit deadline, the ancillary tasks can begin to take shape. I’m starting with the review, I’m set on the layout I want to have (image below), which arguably is very similar to the typical Empire layout, however I feel it could be very conventional to the kind of audience I wish to appeal to (large image to perhaps draw in a younger, more somewhat informal audience.) I have chosen to go with: a large image (a screenshot from my film) taking up about a third of the page, a ‘fact box’ (directors, actors, running time etc), the review in columns and a star rating/verdict to finish.

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I’m also rather keen to have a screenshot of the action as opposed to a posed photo, as I am really pleased with the actual quality of my footage – I personally think it could look rather picturesque. Here are a few potential screenshots I’m considering: (which could change if I alter these shots slightly for the final edit – e.g. positioning of text)

1. Picture 36  

I was drawn to this screenshot purely because of the ‘chav. noun’, as it states the nature of my film, with also a hint of parody as you wouldn’t usually come across a programme documenting a chav. The problem with this scene is that without the text present it could be considered as a rather boring shot, as the mise-en-scene isn’t visually appealing and not much action is happening in the shot – it is merely reliant on the overlaying text to be more interesting, which could be a problem as this may not exactly draw people into the review if they see that the mise-en-scene is a tad dreary.

2.Picture 37

I love the iChav screenshot, purely because of the comedic element and the good quality of the shot. However, this does not say much about the film altogether, it potentially could draw a young adult audience in from the joke relating to the iPhone. I perhaps need to ask some teenagers what they think this image would relate to to find out if it would be a successful image to choose.

3.Picture 38

This last image is in the midst of the conflict between the chav and goth, where the chavs are giving a deathly stare to assert their power. I do like this shot because it is supposed to be mocking a chav’s typical blunt facial expression to perhaps scare off other teenagers. Again, similar to the previous screenshot, it doesn’t exactly make a statement about what the film is really about.

In summary for the image. I’m more inclined to go with the the ‘chav. noun’ screenshot (#3) as it could say the most about what kind of statement I want my film to make. I could also change the colour scheme/filters to at least make it seem slightly more visually appealing.

from the first to the final edit…

After receiving 1-1 peer assessment feedback and 1-1 teacher feedback I have worked out what I am going to change:

  1. Add in more text definitions for the goth (similar to the chav – latin, known for etc)
  2. Double check dialogue to ensure it matches the visuals at all times
  3. Double check/shorten scene where the chav clenches his fist with anger
  4. The ‘chav’ captions should all appear in the same place. My teacher suggested having ‘chav:noun’ come up and then a second or so later having the Latin term appear underneath, then a second or so later have the characteristics appear underneath – as at the moment it is messily positioned which is unconventional for a documentary
  5. There is an unintentional jump cut after one of the boy’s shouts “oi oi”
  6. Shorten it! It’s roughly 20 seconds over
  7. My teacher has stated that we see the same shot of the chavs on the bench far too many times, which I definitely agree with. As in terms of shot type and technical skill it isn’t exactly showcasing my skills and wouldn’t get me many marks on cinematography. As without the voiceover the visuals could be considered rather bland. Following this point it was also suggested to add in another sub-group, perhaps a ‘hipster’, which I originally got rid of at the start as I was worried about time. I am concerned that if I remove a range of the chav and goth scenes and replace them it will appear rushed and I’m totally unsure of what bits of the script to get rid of.I am extremely worried about the time-scales of this as well. As if I re-film on a weekend when I am not working, re-write and re-record more of the script and edit it in. I’m concerned my final edit will not be complete in time for the deadline on the 9/12/13.

peer assessment of first edit

Today we peer assessed our first edits, which was really helpful, as I gathered a range of strengths and targets in order to improve before my final edit is submitted.

The feedback was divided into five different catergories: cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound and additional comments. These were each given a mark out of 4. 1 being minimal, 2 = basic, 3 = proficient and 4 = excellent. We also had the chance to add three seperate catergories that could be as specific as possible, so mine asked about the following:

Do I need music? I specified that this would only be subtle background music (perhaps strings), just to add more elements of a documentary in there

Is it too boring? A conversation with my teacher made me realise that people could actually find it rather boring, seeing as there isn’t that much action involving the chavs.

Do the script and visuals go together? I was worried that people wouldn’t exactly ‘get’ that I was trying to parody Planet Earth. My concern was that people just wouldn’t understand the kind of message I was trying to convey in this short film, it is supposed to be playfully poking fun at existing texts, not completely mocking them.  I really do not wish to offend anyone.

Now to get on to the actual feedback.

Cinematography: (e.g. framing and variety of shot types for specific effects)

I was worried about cinematography because I do not exactly have a variety of shots and this genre wouldn’t exactly sh0w off any filming/camera skills, it purely relies on the content. It wouldn’t be conventional to constantly have different angles in a documentary.

Strengths: “Love the documentary style, especially the beginning time lapse scenes, which are similar to most documentaries”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “More match on action?”

I was worried people were going to say this, because I don’t want to try and squeeze in all of the continuity rules for marks when it wouldn’t really be conventional for a documentary to focus on the camera work entirely, rather than the content of the film.

Mark for cinematography: 4

Mise-en-scene: (e.g. how suitable are the choices made, considering genre, audience and narrative?)

Strengths: “The stereotypical chavs match to what the narrator is saying”, “iChav is very funny!”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Make the goth look more.. gothier?”, “Is there any way the iChav text can look more professional?”

If I were to transform the goth’s look now it would mean re-filming the majority of my short film again… plus I would also need the chavs to re-film the conflict scene. I’m not sure of the capabilities of this as it would look extremely noticeable that I have re-filmed, especially as it happened to be raining at the time I filmed the first time. As for the iChav text, I quite like that it looks abit amateur-ish, I think it adds to the comedic element of the chav’s image, hoever I suppose I could try and have an experiment on FinalCut or LiveType to attempt to make the text look more professional.

Mark for mise-en-scene: 4

Editing: (e.g. is meaning clear to the audience? Have transitions, captions etc been used appropriately and effectively?)

Strengths: “The editing is good, no lack of continuity”, “The text used is very funny, ‘chavius TK-maxximus’ is gold!” 

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Speed up or cut the part where the chav is clenching his fist”, “Add some text/definitions for the goth”, “Add a different transition for the title”

I’m not too sure why this person wants me to cut the clenching of the chav’s fist, I’ll have to double check it to see if it is too long. I definitely think adding additional text over the goth scenes is a good idea also.

Mark for editing: 3

Sound: (e.g. music/dialogue/ambient sound/voiceovers – are these recorded and edited appropriately?)

Strengths: “The voiceover is really good, the content is very well written and the voice very much suits the role  v. David Attenborough”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Just double check all of the dialogue, sometimes it misses out the beginning of words”, “Theres a part where the dialogue comes from the actors, (OIOI!) could you perhaps get them to re-record it in a quiet room?”

I understand that I need to go over the dialogue to make sure it is as good as it can be. I didn’t think about possibly re-recording the “oioi” mating call, which was silly as it potentially could sound 10x better, as it would get rid of all of the diegetic sound from the town.

Mark for sound: 3.5

Additional questions:

Do I need music? “I think you need some quiet music at the beginning, a sort of theme song during the title”

Is it too boring? Please be honest. “No way!”

Do the script and visuals go together? “Definitely suit eachother! If possible, be as descriptive on the goth as you were on the chavs?”

first edit

Above is my finished first edit. I’m not hugely pleased with it, however there’s roughly 2 weeks left for improvement.

Hopefully this can be done through 1-1 peer assessments and by conducting audience feedback, which I am planning to do through a small focus group. I will show them my first edit in full to see their reactions and ask follow-up questions for any improvements/changes I can make and targets I can set myself for 2 weeks time.

editing day 4 (part 2)

I have finished my first edit. I have now added in text overlaying the visuals, especially over the chav scenes to make it more interesting for my audience. Having ‘proper’ definitions can also allude to documentary conventions. Although they have documentary tendencies, I am hoping my audience will find these added extras humourous and they will understand the message I am trying to convey through parody.

Picture 32 Picture 33Picture 34

I have added in ‘chav. noun’, ‘known for’ and the ‘latin.’ I specifically chose the Courier font in both bold and italics to appear almost dictionary like. I wanted the font to be white, so it was rather difficult finding the right background for my audience to be able to see the font. I also didn’t want to write too much over the visuals as with the script it could be rather overpowering for my audience to concentrate on.

editing day 4

I have nearly finished my first edit. It took a while to add in all my script and make sure it was all in time with the visuals. I have added in a title screen also, which I am very pleased with. All I need to do now is the additional text on screen over the scenes such as ‘recognised by’, ‘favourite sayings’ etc.

Picture 30

For the title, I sifted through hundreds of fonts to find one that somewhat mimicked the one from the actual Planet Earth documentary, it starts off as white sans-serif text over a black background, an image of the earth then fades into the background. I am really pleased with the outcome of this title, as the bright light in the background of the picture makes it seem more professional and more like a video rather than  an image.

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Although I am satisfied with this I am open to changing the font, as the original documentary has it all in lower case letters.

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I am also still debating on whether to add background music. I am concerned that having just the dialogue will make it seem boring, whereas with music, it may be too overpowering for my audience to listen to two things at once. Especially as the narrator is so in depth.
For my first edit, I will leave the music and ask for opinions on peer assessment about whether it needs it or not. If I do end up adding music, I need to ensure I gather more audience feedback before I hand in the final edit.

editing day 3

Nearly done! I have finally finished putting all of my clips together.

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I was originally worried about not having enough footage, I seem to have doubted how much footage I actually got, because all of clips together now reach a total of 5 minutes and 10 seconds. Although this is a slight issue now I am so pleased as I was extremely worried I was not going to have enough footage to fill 5 minutes! I am confident that the audience can remain engaged as a lot of events seem to happen (but not too many, I don’t want to fluster them with constant action.)

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All I need to do now is tweak the script slightly (as my previous one does not fit at all), record it and add it on. I will use my silent footage as a guidance for my actor to read the script to make it seem more natural and commentary like.

editing day 2

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I am currently underway with editing and am 1 min 15 seconds in my short film. I’m not sure if I’m too pleased yet, however I do still need to add in the script to obviously make it more interesting.

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I have also made sure to include typically ‘chavvy’ locations such as the kebab shop and ‘chicken express’, which both look very run-down. I am worried as it does look rather amateur-ish due to the dull mise-en-scene. Although visually it doesn’t look too appealing, it should hopefully fit into the type of environment a typical teenager would wallow in.

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I tried adding in my script used in my animatic, however as you can see I’ve had to cut out some of my visuals as the script was far too long (mainly the introduction.) So, for my first edit deadline this Friday I need to re-record my script (this time with the proper actor) and perhaps rewrite some parts to allow it to fit with the visuals successfully. However, it is pleasing to have at least some sort of narration to allow myself to visualise the final article and it’s given me confidence.