Evaluation of A2 Media Studies Coursework Charlotte Gerrard
Question One: In what ways does your media product use, develop of challenge forms and conventions of real media
A typical teaser trailer is around a minute, a minute and a half long. It doesn’t really express a chronological narrative and shows only a glimpse of the actors, in order for the audience to get a hint of what the film is like, without giving to much away. However teaser trailers usually establish genre which then establishes the target audience. These are elements we wanted to incorporate into our teaser trailer, in order for it to have the potential to be real. We only showed a few seconds of key moments, e.g. quick shots of the actors, blood and setting. One Horror film that inspired us was The Blair Witch Project, it helped establish the genre, use of handheld camera work and create a sense of mystery.
Click here to see The Blair Witch Project teaser trailer
When considering genre for our teaser trailer we looked at various aspects that would influence our decision. The success of a film lies in the audience, if a film has a good audience backing it is more likely to be a success. Therefore one aspect that was a crucial influence was the questionnaire that we did at the start of our research. This revealed that majority of young adults liked the horror genre the best, therefore we decided to centre our teaser trailer around this genre. Horror films strive to arouse emotions of fear, tension and terror.
These emotions are brought on by using typical conventions which are as follows:
The music is normally used to build
tension and the lighting is normally
Our Teaser Trailer When planning our teaser trailer we took all the typical conventions in to consideration, we knew that in order to create a good horror trailer we needed to incorporate a lot of these elements. We set our trailer in the woods, which is a typical setting for a horror trailer. The horror scenes where filmed in the dark and where only lit up by torch light, to create a typical dark atmosphere, while this was difficult it created a great effect. It gave a sense of the fear of the unknown and it also conveyed the teenagers entrapment. We also used parallel sound, where by the music was used to build tension and allow the audience to gain a sense of panic at fast paced moments. We also show aspects of blood, however it is only a teaser trailer, therefore we only wanted to show a few seconds of this.
G. Burton describes genre as a ‘type or category of media product’, it gives the audience a guideline of what a film will be like. There are lots of various sub-genres, ‘sub–genres’ are also known as a sub-category of a main genre. Horror consists of many sub-genres, the one we chose to look into for our teaser trailer was stalk/slash. The plot usually portrays the lives of teenagers, who are in a situation whereby they are picked off one by one, this is something we wanted to incorporate into our trailer, as it was shown to the be the most popular in our questionnaire.
In traditional stalk/slash films such as; Halloween and Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the killer’s are strong males, however in recent years the killer has been someone less unexpected in order to add the shock aspect to the film. We decided to cast the killer as a child, we wanted to reveal this slightly in the trailer, we did this by using props such as; a teddy and an ice cream van. We also experimented with cool edit, which enabled us to record our voices and distort them, change the pitch and the pace in order for it to sound childlike, but scary at the same time. How we varied from the typical
To compare my magazine cover and posters to real products I uploaded them onto flickr.com and anotated them . Click on the links below and hover over the picture to reveal the annotations:
A Typical Magazine Cover Our Magazine Cover
Typical Film Poster Our Film Poster
Typical Film Poster Our Film Poster
Annotated Teaser Trailer
Using YouTube I annotated our teaser trailer, this gives you a better insight into the conventions we used and what techniques we used and why:
Annotated Teaser Trailer
For all of our products we wanted to keep a lot of typical conventions related to the horror genre, due to the fact that audiences, like to keep to their comfort zones to a certain extent and we wanted their expectations to be fulfilled, however tweaking our products, for example; the use of the little girl helps to differentiate our products from others. The questionnaire that we conducted at the very beginning, helped us come to conclusion about what our target audience preferred and helped us develop our products into something that would appeal to the them.
Question two: How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary tasks?
With films today, audiences have so much choice that a brand image is necessary. Constructing a strong and a consistent brand image for films allows audiences to identify that posters, trailers and other promotional aspects are derived from the same film, it allows the film’s image to be reinforced and have a strong presence. Elements which help to construct a brand image for films include: the use of iconic characters, the title, the colours, use-mise-en scene and catchy taglines that share some relevance to one another.
At the end of our teaser trailer, you see the shot of the little girl, this is one of the longest shots of the teaser trailer, the fact that it is used at the end and is used twice, conveys its importance, it is probably the most memorable shot of the whole teaser trailer, therefore we took this as a still and used it for our magazine. When a film is advertised in a magazine or when film posters are created, the protagonist(s) is normally used; therefore we wanted to adapt this to our tasks. This also helps to form the brand image, as it links a key character from the trailer to the posters.
The colours used in the writing also helps to add to the brand image. We used the basic colours of red and white. Red connotes blood and danger therefore; we thought it was suitable to use it for our tasks, due to the fact that our film comes under the horror genre. We decided to use white as well, because it looks good with the red and both colours stand out well against the black background.
The font you choose for your title is obviously another important aspect when constructing a brand image, this will feature on all of the products therefore it needs to stand out. We wanted to pick a unique font therefore it would be more recognisable. We think we have achieved this, the use of capitals drags in the audience’s attention. It also looks distorted, the red helps to make it look bloody, we wanted the audience to think about these words when considering our film. The title ‘playtime’ connotes children, which is a big part of our film, as it links with the girl character and the song at the end. Therefore we think the title as a whole, is a good resemblance of our film. Font
When considering our taglines, we wanted something that had relevance to children, as our film is set in the woods, we thought it would be good to incorporate the song ‘a teddy bears picnic’ for our film trailer we used Cool Edit to distort our voices, to sound like children, when the trailer cross dissolves to the shot of the little girl, you can hear ‘if you go down in the woods today’. The slow pace and the distorted voices make it sound menacing. We used this song for the ancillary tasks, by incorporating it into our taglines this helped to build the brand image.
Setting and lighting
As you can see from all three of our tasks torch light, against a black sky, is used evidently throughout. We used it first in our teaser trailer, then realised for all three tasks to look similar we had to use torch light when taking our images. Torch light reinforced the horror aspect and helps to create mystery and the fear of the unknown. The setting, an isolated woods, is also typical of the horror genre, we based our trailer in this setting and in order to enforce a consistent link with our products, we used this setting when taking the pictures for our ancillary tasks.
Overall I think that the construction of all these elements have allowed there to be a strong brand image between all of our products. However the only thing we could probably change is, showing the girl a little bit more in the trailer to build a stronger link between the tasks. However as she was the killer and the trailer was only a teaser we didn’t want to give to much of the film away.
Question Three: What have you learnt from Your audience feedback?
How I gathered my audience feedback
I gathered my audience feedback by using various methods, before starting the project we did a questionnaire for our target audience, we asked teenagers the set questions, this helped us decide which path to go down and what techniques would be popular. For the audience feedback that we did as a group at the end, we decided to film our class, we screened our teaser trailer and then asked them the set questions, for example; does anything make it different or does it stand out from the typical? After filming their answer using one of the college cameras we uploaded it onto imovie, exported it as a quick time file and uploaded it onto the blog. When gathering my individual audience feedback, I asked my friend Alice the set questions about both the ancillary tasks and the teaser trailer, recorded them on my iphone and uploaded them onto YouTube and embedded them onto the blog. I then used the social networking site Facebook, I posted the ancillary tasks to a friend and print screened her answers and posted them onto the blog.
When real products are made they are usually test screened to a focus group, given feedback and sometimes elements are changed if necessary. However due to time constraints we were unable to do this, overall I am very happy with the feedback we received, the audience had hardly anything bad to say about our products, the audience also agreed that they would go and watch the film, which is a bonus as this is the audience we are targeting our products at. If we had a bit more time, we could have gone back and looked at using the girl a little more in the teaser trailer, to make a stronger link between the products, but excluding that I am very happy with what we have produced.
These are the print screens that I took from Facebook, to view them in full see my blog.
Question Four: How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Research and Planning
Media technologies have helped us all the way through our coursework process. When we where researching what type of teaser trailer to do and what techniques to use YouTube was our first port of call. YouTube meant that we could search for different trailers of different genres and within seconds, you were given loads of options to choose from, we could then embed the videos onto our blog in a post and write about them, allowing a reader to see what we were talking about. Google also helped us research. When looking for inspiration for our posters and magazine covers, all we had to do was put what we wanted to search for and we where given various options, when you clicked to see the image in full size you where able to access the website it had come from, which was helpful in gaining additional information about the poster/magazine covers.
The example teaser trailers, posters and magazine covers that we accumulated from YouTube and Google images, reinforced the fact that we wanted to produce our products in the horror genre. They also gave us tips on how to structure all our products.
When wanting to show location shots on the blog, we used still cameras
from college, to take pictures of various location shots, it was then very
easy to save to the computer and upload onto blogger.
Blogger allowed us to access our work wherever we where, therefore keeping organised and on top of what we needed to do was easy. For blogger we had a specific, email and password, therefore all our work was secure. By having all our work online in various posts, made it easy to locate certain information, we where also able to put our names on the posts making it easy to check who had done what work.
Our teaser trailer was filmed on a Canon video camera that we borrowed from college, it had a built in screen which allowed us to view our footage there and then to make sure we had got the right shot.
When producing our teaser trailer we used a programme called Final Cut, Final Cut allowed us to upload all our taped material. Instead of cutting the shots up, as imovie did, it clumped them together, which was an advantage, as it meant that we had a permanent copy of all our material, instead of one copy of the original shots being used for the timeline, if we made a mistake, we were able to go back to the un tampered shots.
Final Cut also gave us various filters we could place over our shots. For our teaser trailer we wanted half of it to look like it was filmed by a handheld camera. There was a filter which placed a box around the shot and had a recording tab in the right hand corner, which made the shot look more realistic. Some shots we wanted to slow down to build tension and others we wanted to speed up to create anxiety, we were able to do this easily using Final Cut.
We also wanted to place static noise in our trailer. Filming this from the TV using the camera was very difficult, but Final Cut allowed us to import a static noise clip off YouTube.
The music track we were using was too long and in parts did not fit the shots. We were able to place the track on the timeline and cut it up and place various bits with various shots and when it played together, it still flowed. Final Cut also allowed us to place transitions, e.g. cross dissolve, between shots and blurred effects on the first shot of the girl in order to give it a hazy effect, to make the shot look unrealistic
When creating parts of our audio we also used a programme called Cool Edit, this allowed us to record our voices, distort them and change the pitch, this helped it to sound like a child’s voice, but at the same time adjusting the pace made it sound menacing, which was just what we where after.
We used Photoshop for all of the ancillary tasks. We really benefited from this because it allowed us to cut out the image of the girl and place it onto a different document. We were also able to play around with opacity of the image, to make her look more ghost like. It also gave us a lot of colour options, so when we where choosing the background for the magazine we could be more specific and pick the right shade of grey that best blended in with the image of the girl .
When gathering audience feedback, I was able to post a video clip we had recorded of our class straight onto our blog. I recorded my friend answering the questions using my iphone and then uploaded them onto on YouTube and embedded them onto my blog. I also used the social networking site Facebook, to gather audience feedback. Posted my ancillary tasks and questions into a message to my friend, she was then able to answer the questions using the same message, meaning that all the information was together, I then print screened and posted the feedback onto my blog, all the technologies I used for my audience feedback where easy to place into the same post on the blog, to make sure someone who is viewing it
YouTube allowed me annotate my teaser trailer, with speech bubbles, this meant that the person watching it had a good perception of what skills were used and why. Fickr.com allowed me to do the same for my ancillary tasks and compare them to real products. I hope this will make my evaluation more visually interesting and effective . YouTube and Flickr.com My evaluation is in the form of a power point, with links going to YouTube and Flickr, Slide share has allowed me to place the power point onto the internet and then embed it onto my blog, keeping all my ideas in one place. PowerPoint and Slide share Media technologies have enabled me to keep all my work together and get across work easier to my audience. As you can see I have used a variety of media technologies and not one of them has caused me a problem.