Codes and conventions of film posters


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Codes and conventions of short film posters to accompany my main short film production.

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Codes and conventions of film posters

  1. 1. Codes and Conventions of Film Posters A film poster is used to advertise a film.
  2. 2. Film Posters One film may even have several versions of the film poster with variations with size, content and the country of production of the poster. A film poster usually contains an image with text, over time this has evolved and posters used to be image-free billposters but are now highly visual. The text tends to contain the film title, written in large lettering and often has the names of the actors on the poster as well. It most likely will also contain a tag line with the name of the director and names of characters and the release date etc.
  3. 3. Truth in Journalism The actor’s name is running along the top of the page which is a way of trying to entice people to watch the films as if they like him they might want to see a film he stares in. The positioning of the name at the top will attract the audience to see the short film due to the fact that when looking at a film poster, our eyes go from the centre to the top. A film poster usually contains an image with text. The image on a film poster will always reflect the narrative of the film that it is promoting. Truth in Journalism mixes pop culture into storytelling with a pure 'Pop Art‘ poster making clear the film genre the film belongs to. The colour scheme in this poster is black and white relating to the crime or film noir genre; connotation associated with good and bad. To display a larger title that is easily read. Most film posters are read from about 8 ft away which means it is crucial to make the text legible. Director and Producers’ name might be displayed too attracting the audience if they like the work of the particular director or producer.
  4. 4. Analysis • The ‘Truth in Journalism’ poster contains a mid shot of the main character. In addition the image has turned from a bitmap photo into cartoon like vector images. This style is a common to the crime drama genre. In addition the background of the image is in a similar vector style however depicts the main character’s shadow on a brick wall with stalks trying to entangle him suggesting a city jungle. Furthermore the character is depicted in full costume and holding a badge and a camera hanging from his neck again reinforcing the idea of a journalism. These are also common conventions of crime drama as well as the city location. • The title is printed in a rough, worn looking sans serif font and reminiscing of a newspaper lettering. The title is placed at the bottom of the poster and placed over the image of the character. This reinforces the fact the character is integral to film and in addition the character profile is one that you would commonly find in the genre of the film.
  5. 5. Future Assassin Symbiotic links are a comment convention of film posters. These allow audiences to piece together the promotional material and allows them to understand and recognise key elements about the film that they are wishing to go and view. Films, which have more posters everywhere, help to capture the attention of a wider range of audience. Film awards add prestige to films as it is there, at film festivals where they can acquire distribution rights for their work and win acclamation and acceptance of audiences. Mainstream audiences often follow the buzz created in the film circles. Age certification usually displayed. It is important that the posters are not overcrowded with information and different images as it is hard to digest and difficult to read.
  6. 6. Analysis • • • • • • There are often a range of different film posters released just for one film, as it shows different aspects of the film. These posters feature an image and the name of the film, and sometimes a range of characters are used. Although all the posters are all different, a similarity is always kept through the typography or structure. The first ‘Future Assassin’ poster’s primary characteristic is the backdrop of scenery which features two vehicles, a police car and a civilian car presumably abandoned suggesting conventions of the action or crime genre. The title give us more clues to piecing up the storyline as an ‘’assassin’’ is someone who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person while ‘’future’’ is the indefinite time yet to come telling that the plot probably will tell the story of the main character becoming an assassin. The title is secondary to the image as it blends into the background however the tag line in the upper half of the poster is very eye catching because of the red colour palette used in it raising importance to ‘’nothing is what it seems’’ leaving our own ideas ambiguous to what it means. The second ‘Future Assassin’ poster has a centralised close up of the main character of the film, presumably the ‘future assassin’’. However the actor isn't looking at the camera. This shows the character to be powerful and in control of characters presented in the lower half of the poster. This character profile is common to the codes and conventions of drama based films. The artificial light in the darkness proposes the idea of coming out from the darkness or him being caught out by the law enforcement and being thrust into the spotlight of the law. The title of ‘Future Assassin’ is in a bold serif font and takes up a large proportion of the poster. In addition the title is placed at the top of the image and doesn't overlay on to the main image of the character. This makes the title stand out much more and is much easier to read and recognise.
  7. 7. The Production company’s name above the title assigns the importance to the previous films they have produced however, the text is smaller than the rest as this information may entice people who have enjoyed the other films to watch it, but is not the most important part of this particular film. Margaret A tagline is usually evident on the poster. Studies show that you only have 11 seconds to grab the attention of your audience which may only give them the time to read and digest the title and the tagline. This means that both of these features must me punchy, simple and easy to read and understand; they have to relate to the film in some way, or suggest its genre or tone. The main credits are placed at the bottom of the poster, usually in a white font. This is called the billing block and shows the directors, producers, actors and actresses in the film. Iconography suggests the film genre as the weapon , blood and the presumably dead body are connotative of a horror genre to the target audience. Also colour red symbolises death, danger, death and murder which further develops it into the subgenre of slasher films which portrays graphic acts of murder. Important text such as the release date and website is placed at the bottom so the audience will be able to take that information away with them, fresh in their minds as it is the last thing they will see.
  8. 8. Analysis • • • • The text and colour used in the poster for ‘Margaret’ helps to presume the genre. The blood, firearm and a brutalised victim are designed to invoke the horror genre. It give a very strong inside of the storyline and should attract the right type of audience. The framing of the body in the high angle shot is quite disturbing as the woman is wearing a white dress, possibly a wedding dress which signifies purity and innocence but it is stained with blood suggesting dishonour and madness. The presentation of the woman with her eyes open and symbols drawn on her forehand reminiscences of Japanese horror with its thematic themes of possession, exorcism and shamanism. It fits with the focus on psychological horror and tension building, particularly involving ghosts . Also the title and the tag line are centralised on the character of ‘Margaret’ as it the largest font that has been used to pull focus on from the image to the capitalised lettering. The tag line ‘’a hunting affair’’ has many meanings but something definitely worth killing for such as a matter causing scandal, a sexual relationship between two people who are not married to each other or unfinished personal business of someone with a vengeful vendetta though it might be a red herring giving the audience wrong clues which are intended to be misleading.
  9. 9. Conclusion • All of the posters contain images of the main characters in the film. Generally the main character is positioned centrally in the poster. Furthermore the lighting, colour scheme and position of the actors is a reflection of the characters in the film. Also the codes and conventions of the film genre are reflected in the layout, font choice and title positioning of the poster. • To make a good film poster I would use one main image related to the film itself. I shall also use large lettering showing the title of the film and maybe the actors in the film as well. My poster might also include a tag line to tell the audience any extra information.