Close-Up Low medium shot Extreme Close-Up The close-up is used here to show a lot of detail of the candle. This is to emphasise the importance of the signifier. Cinematography This shot is crucial, since it is one of first shots of the production. The connotation for the low angle is power and importance. The medium shot helps to show some detail, but still maintaining the sense of mystery. This shot is decisive, since it’s an extreme close-up. This is applied to connote the danger and suspense of this image, which it is meant to portray.
Semiotic Analysis of Shots
Close-up – Shows all the signifiers in more detail to show emphasis of the importance of them in the opening. The pencils are shown to portray the sense of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) the character has. It also shows the deadly side of him, since all the pencils are sharpened to resemble knives. The candle is at the corner of the shot to show the main light source. It connotes the sense of mystery. The movements of shaving the pencil are crucial in characterising the man. As he has the blade very close to his nails, it portrays the sense of his lack of fear and general grotesque nature. The audience may feel a sense of fear by seeing this. The black-white editing is to connote mystery and style, since the point of a psychological thriller is to be stylish and mysterious. This is employed throughout the production The pencil shavings are collected together to continue to show the OCD factor of the character, which is crucial, since generically the antagonist usually has some form of OCD in a psychological thriller. Hopefully, this will be obvious to the audience. Preferred Meaning – The audience will see shots, such as this and feel a sense of fear, as it shows the cruel, grotesque nature of the character. This will hopefully ensure a successful psychological experience The location is a small room, with a table, two light sources and some signifiers. This is to portray to the audience that the character is anti-social and prefers to be alone in the dark playing around with dangerous objects. This creates a sense of fright and suspense.
Medium close-up – This shows the signifiers and hands in quite a bit of detail. It helps keep the continuity of close up shots on the table to keep the mystery element going. The hands being shown in an open motion shows that the main importance of this shot is regarding the hands. The pencils being placed in this position are to keep with the continuity of previous and later shots. The hand gel is a useful signifier, since it continues to remind the audience that the antagonist has OCD. This may help enhance the movie’s credibility, as generic psycho villains have some form of obsessive disorder. This could also make the audience feel there’s something sinister behind all this, since there’s continuous emphasis on the OCD factor The fact the pencil shavings are no longer on the table shows that the antagonist likes to be clean. Preferred Meaning – This shot is meant to show the fact the character has OCD and likes to be bacteria free. We anticipate the audience will gather that this person is a mysterious and sinister being, who still wants to remain as clean as possible. We also hope that we were able to keep the enigma coding by not giving too much of the character’s background and intentions.
The character is sweating quite heavily. The sweat represents the pressure and anxiety of the character. Though the character seems like he is genuinely sweating, we actually used water to give this effect. By doing this we were able to guarantee sweating being involved without waiting for the actor to actually sweat. Extreme Close-Up – This shot is to create an atmosphere of suspense and add to the fear factor of the opening. Preferred Meaning – The character is in a tense state of mind, which is shown from the perspiration trickling down his mouth. Lighting – Chiaroscuro used to give emphasis to the upper lip region.
Analysis in relation to Audience Theories The movie intends to open a psychological thriller in a conventional, yet unique way. While producing this, there were some audience theories we used as support, so we had expertise to refer to if we were struggling. We also had a look at a couple of theories after completing the movie to see where it lies in terms of a successful media production. Uses and Gratifications (Blumier and Katz) : Information – Due to the Enigma coding, we didn’t give away too much information, but still enough to keep the audience engaged. Entertain – This is of obvious importance to us, since there’s no point in making a movie without entertaining the audience. We realise that psychological thrillers are not for everyone, but that the target audience, who do love movies of this genre, can enjoy our finished product. Escape – As movies are generically meant to be a form of escapism from the real world, we have constructed a stereotypical stalker figure, who the audience can feel afraid of, but realise that it’s entirely fictional. Utopian Solutions (Dyer ): Boredom/Excitement – All successful movies are good at creating an exciting atmosphere, so we have created an atmosphere of this quality to give the audience a sense of pure excitement. Isolation/Community –This movie should bring the audience, even isolated people, together in some way because we want the masses to discuss and debate the happenings. Only then we will be certain that a psychological thriller is the perfect title for a movie, such as this, since it has got the public talking about the shocks and thrills. INADEQUACY Boredom Isolation SOLUTION Excitement Community
Our opening is heavily enigma coded, which makes the audience much more active in the opening.
From our research into psychological thriller genres, we found that the most used technique is by enigma coding it.
The difference between enigma coding and action coding is what the audience cannot see, in our case we have decided to conceal the character’s identity and just show extreme close ups of his facial parts. We also concealed the overall location, meaning that the audience have no idea where it is taking place.
In our first film, we made it extremely action coded, we told too much of the story, leading to the audience being passive.
This was not what we had experienced when researching psychological thrillers, as nearly all of the openings we viewed were very ambiguous, leading to the audience being very active at the beginning.
Whereas in this shot specifically, it gives far too much away, something we didn’t want.
Propp ‘villain’ – props
Propp’s narrative theory stated that films were based around 7 broad characters, for example, a hero and a villain.
In our two minute opening, we used the one character and from the props in the opening (Stanley knife), the audience assuming he is the ‘villain’.
This shot establishes that what possible storylines may follow, as well as giving the genre straight away.
Evaluation of Audio Decisions
Examples of Diagetic audio from the film is the scratching of the pencil, the pouring of the drink, the hiss of the photo burning and the sizzling sound when the fire is put out.
The Connotations of the scratching pencil show us that he doesn’t follow the normal trend using a perfectly sharpened pencil instead of one he gouged out with a knife the scratching noise indicates a feeling of uncertainty and mystery.
When we see the flame engulfing the photo we automatically think of hell, evil and deceit. It makes us feel uncomfortable and out of our place to be thrust into watching this.
When the glass of drink is being poured the audio track reaches suspense right near there. It’s almost like a cooling down period after watching this intense piece of film to let us know it’s almost over. The connotations of this are maybe he is now a bit more relaxed.
The connotations of the candle being put out and where we can hear the sizzling of the candle are that of unease and discomfort, this sound also anchors the opening part of the film making sure when it is carried on that part will stay in the viewers head.
In our film we had to use non-copyright audio which means we were not allowed to take any audio tracks off the internet or from CDs which we did not have the permission to use by the author. We managed to get a hold of various CDs published by KPM Music. All have different tracks from varying genres such as Horror, Thriller and Comedy. The Audio found on these CD’s are not sound effects but accompany the film.
We looked at 8 CDs published by KPM. These are Horror Mystery and Imagination part 3, Horror Mystery and Imagination part 2, Dangerous, The Darkside part two, The Science of Uncertainty, Orchetronics 1, Human Nature 1 and The Dark and The Light. We finally settled on Horror Mystery and Imagination part 3 for track number 32.
Track 32 on part 3 is a assortment of light high pitched strings and low clunky piano keys. The audio track gradually builds throughout the opening until the end where it finishes on a high note and ends with a fade out. We had to adjust the audio levels of the accompanying track so we could still notice the sound effects.
Evaluation of Title Slides
We have used title slides in the opening of the film to show the Title, the Actor in the film and supporting companies. In the Title slides we have used a font called Rough Typewriter The reason that we used this font is because we thought it looks slightly old fashioned and worn. It also goes against conventions of movie fonts using fancy curly writing. We think it looks anarchic and it suits the genre and the overall image of the film.
In the supporting companies section we have used different font usually conveyed with low budget 60-70s horror films. This is showing the name of the company and the role that they had in making the film.
Screenshot of Audio Track Track 32 on part 3 is a assortment of light high pitched strings and low clunky piano keys. The audio track gradually builds throughout the opening until the end where it finishes on a high note and ends with a fade out. We had to adjust the audio levels of the accompanying track so we could still notice the sound effects. After the first 45 seconds we have split the music to cut out a section which we thought did not go well with the film, it was a very slow section with depressing notes and during the time when that was on we needed a high sounding suspense sound. We have also had to make it shorter so by cutting this section out we have made it the perfect length that we think is appropriate.
Development from preliminary to full task As a group, we have significantly improved our understanding of filmmaking from our preliminary to our final production. The development from our preliminary to our final movie is of massive proportions, since the preliminary was very basic and didn’t have any serious thought put in, whereas the final production has almost all the conventions of our chosen genre, psychological thriller. Our group made three films instead of two, since we experimented heavily before doing the final task, as we were still unsure how to make a successful opening for a psychological thriller. After ‘Film#1’, we assessed the negatives and decided to totally change our ideas, remaking the entire movie in the process, so it would consist of conventional features of a psychological thriller, such as enigma coding, more careful cinematography and a faster paced edit.
From Preliminary to Final Production
“ The sharp sounds along with the mysterious background music gives an eerie feeling to the video, you don’t quite know what’s going on but get an insight into the persons world with the small yet intense actions. The use of the acute camera angles keep this mysterious feel to the video only revealing a small amount of information to the viewer although the close ups have small details into the story line with its still eerie feel.” Male, 18 “ I think that ‘The Journey’ is a very well made film. The way it has been edited keeps the feeling of suspense throughout the whole film and never finding out who or what the person is planning is a good idea. The black and white aspect adds to the tension and gives the film a better cinematic feel.” Male, 16 “ I thought the film used close up shots effectively and from different angles; I particularly liked the final shot where the candle gets snuffed out. I did find the narrative a little slow at times however, it did set the scene for a thriller successfully through the use of atmospheric music as well as by concealing the identity of the antagonist.” Female, 21
“ I believe that the opening was very creative and also clear to the audience as the implied threat and feeling of the character was displayed to the audience even without the use of dialogue. The use of amplified sounds also created an eerie feeling to the trailer, instantly giving the audience an idea of what this film is going to be about. I believe the use of black and white compared to colour film worked really well as it made it obvious to the audience that this film is not going to be your usual mythical, escapist story, but rather a much darker tale. Frequent changes of the shots also ensured that the trailer was able to keep hold of the audiences’ attention.” Female, 18 “ The journey is a well constructed 2 minute opening, with a good variety of camera shots and camera angles. It has been designed to detail and realism as the audience I felt well interacted and the clip has been interested about what will then happen next. The font of the writing helps set the scene further as the text was a mysterious font with no capitals. I like how it was shown in black and white as this is also quite mysterious giving that thriller sense as you feel the tension building up using the shots and music featured. There was a clear sense of what’s happening, so it was easy for the audience to follow and be more engaged. This piece overall is a high standard of skilled work, looking professional and looks like a real feature.” Female, 17