In what ways does your media productuse, develop or challenge forms and conventionsof real media products? • Overall my film ‘Beneath the Surface’ follows the several forms and conventions of real media products particularly those of my chosen genre (supernatural thriller). For example my opening sequence contains a typical chase sequence which creates an immediate tense and fearful atmosphere fitting of the genre. The opening contains an unknown pursuer which adds an element of mystery to the sequence. Mystery plays a important part in many supernatural thriller films and therefore this is conforming to my genre’s conventions. The use of a rural setting and basing the sequence at night in a modern time period is also used in many supernatural thrillers.
The title of the film• ‘Beneath the Surface’ is a title that is quite typical of it’s genre as it’s fairly ambiguous and therefore doesn’t give too much away to it’s audience. This adds to the film mystery and therefore adds to its appeal. It is also a fitting title for its time period as when you look at other films of its genre which were released at a much earlier date (e.g. Doppelganger 1993 film) you noticed that the titles are much more revealing of it’s plot.• The title appears at the end of the opening sequence after a particularly intense scene (a girl is supposedly murdered). Film titles generally appear either at the very beginning of a film or after the first significant event and therefore in this respect my sequence does not divert from this convention.
Setting/location • The sequence is set in a rural area which is very fitting for its genre as many film use this type of setting. This is because stereotypically rural areas are considered to be places of isolation and mystery and therefore are places where supernatural creatures/events are likely to be present • ‘Beneath the surface’ is set in modern times which is when many films of its genre are usually placed. This is because setting a film in modern times makes it more relatable and realistic to its audience and therefore increases the fearfulness and horror of the story as it seems more real.
Costumes and props• The costumes used in the sequence is fairly typical given the time in which its set. For example the character of the victim is shown wearing jeans, trainers and a hoodie which is characteristic of the teenager stereotype. However this subverts the image of a female victim used in many older films of its genre as generally they are shown to wear more revealing and feminine outfits as this adds sexual appeal for the male audience and also makes them appear to be more vulnerable.• In terms of props the sequence is fairly conventional as like in many films only objects of significance are focused on for example in my opening there is a lot of focus on the newspaper article as it gives insight into the plot of film. The photograph of the victim reveals to the audience that there is a relationship/connection between the victim and the other character present in the sequence (the mother).
Camerawork and editing• The shots used were fairly conventional, such as close-ups/extreme close-ups of the facial expressions of the characters , giving insight into their emotions at that time and cut-ins to show objects of significance. I also used a wide shots to show the characters’ current location. During one of the shots I used a handheld camera movement to create the illusion that the camera was the pursuer’s perspective.• I also used cross-cutting to foreshadow what was to become of the victim (mother looking sadly at photo indicating something bad/tragic is going to happen). Although is used in some films this is not a traditional technique used particularly during a films opening as it maybe confusing or disorienting for the audience.• During the editing process I lowered the lighting of the clips to add to the eerie atmosphere (as it was not possible to film in the dark due to visibility).
Title font and style• The font I chose for the title of my film was Orlando which I found on my video editing software (Song Vegas). The reason for my choosing is that its modern, legible and fairly simplistic.• I chose white as the font colour so that is could easily be seen against the black background.• I also used an editing feature to add a yellow glow to the font, making it further stand out and making the design more elaborate, therefore more interesting and memorable for the audience.
Story and how the opening sets it up • The story of the opening sequence is rather simplistic and typical of its genre. A chase sequence takes place between a female victim and an unknown killer. • The story is made clear to the audience in several ways, one of the obvious techniques is the shots of the victim running away franticly from an unseen source. There is also the role of the newspaper article informing the audience of the fact that there is a serial killer on the loose. Finally the use of cross-cutting foreshadows that the victim is most likely going to be murdered as it shows the mother of the victim looking sadly at a photo of the victim.
Genre and how the opening suggests it • There are many different elements of the sequence which indicate the genre of the film: • Typical chase sequence scenario • Rural setting • There is the conventional use of low key lighting and eerie music to add to the suspenseful atmosphere. • The presence of an unseen killer adding mystery to the plot • The newspaper article providing information on a malicious serial killer
How characters are introduced • Both the characters of the mother and the victim are introduced in similar ways: • First a cut-in is shown of the character revealing what they are currently doing (cut-in of foot to show the victim running, cut-in of hands holding photo to show that the mother is looking at it). • Close-ups are shown of the characters’ facial expression (victim fearful, mother sad) • Wide shots are also shown revealing the whereabouts of the chracters (victim running down country lane, mother sitting down in dining room) • The killer is never once shown making their identity a secret (and therefore showing that their identity plays a key role in the plot of the film)
Special effects • Making special effects for my film was quite limited due to the obvious issues of lacking a budget and short schedule in which to edit the film. However my video editing software did supply me with some simple effects. • For the shots of the newspaper article I added a black edge to add to the eerie atmosphere and draw focus to the key bits of information. I also added zoom and pan movements creating the illusion of reading the article. • For the title of the film I added a yellow glow to the font as well as a zoom out feature making it more interesting and memorable to the audience.