Foundation portfolio evaluationPresentation Transcript
Foundation Portfolio Evaluation Lucy Warriner
Codes and Conventions of Horror/Slasher Films
Vulnerable characters being chased or killed – commonly a young girl to seem more vulnerable.
A killer that is usually a stalker or someone who is creeping up on or chasing their victims.
The killer is usually disguised in black or in a mask.
The lighting is low-key to build atmosphere.
Diegetic sound is quite minimal at the beginning of the film to build tension.
Non-diegetic sound is used – such as music to create tension.
A well recognised character/figures associated with death as the killer.
A hero or heroine who survives and kills the stalker/killer.
The titles and credits create connotations of death and horror.
The conventions we followed when filming our opening included a victim being chased – however the victim in our opening is shown to be running through the woods before the killer is shown, so that the audience is unaware of who she is running from to start with.
We also used the convention of eerie music to build the scary horror film atmosphere, this also helped identify that the victim is running from something dangerous/scary before actually showing it.
We used a vulnerable-looking character of a young teenage girl as the victim who is being chased. As shown by the screenshot below, the character follows all the stereotypes of a typical victim in a horror film – young, blonde haired, realistic clothes.
Also shown on the screenshot are
an example of the titles of our film. As
most horror films do, we used the bright
bold red writing to connote blood and
death. Our film logo was also in-keeping with the
horror/slasher genre as we downloaded fonts from
www.dafont.com that reflected those used in horror
films. We also changed the colours red and silver to
Reflect the colours of blood and the metal of the axe.
We used the two axes to represent the production
Company logo “Axe productions.” The audience
Would be aware they are watching a horror film as
Soon as this logo is shown at the very beginning.
We also used the mise en scene of a knife ( a generic convention) and the costumes of the victim and the killer to establish the slasher/horror genre.
The black cloak we used for the killer symbolises death
and the knife creates an iconography of the horror genre
so that the audience know they will be watching a
violent/gorey film as soon as it starts.
Diegetic sound was kept to a minimal and
the only sounds that either of the characters made were
screams and gasps of the victim to emphasise the fear.
We used sound effects and added them onto our film
to create these sounds ->
The sounds used to emphasise the appearance of the killer was non-diegetic sound of the scary music. Other diegetic sounds we used were the natural sounds of the birds in the woods and the footsteps of the victim running.
Conventions we challenged include the lighting, although we used relatively dark lighting, it was not as dark as horror films usually are to begin with. We needed to film in the light to get a clear picture as the equipment we used was not specialised enough to film in the dark.
We also didn’t include any gorey or violent scenes within our film opening, as we wanted to build up the anxiety and for the audience to wonder what will happen to the victim after she goes back to sleep, it keeps them gripped.
Another convention we challenged was the fact that the killers are usually male, although you can not see the face of the killer we used very well it is still distinguishable that we used a female. This was to give a twist to the plot and would make the audience wonder why she wanted to kill the victim – whereas if it was a male killer the audience may just accept he was a murderer.
Social Groups our Media Product Represents
Social groups represented within our film are young adults/teenagers. We used a young girl as the victim so that the audience that are most likely to be watching could relate to her.
We also used a character that was very stereotypical of a victim in a horror film, a young blonde teenager. In the media and films blondes are very stereotypically “dumb”, therefore the audience watching will feel the victim has little chance of surviving.
The vulnerable character is on her own in the woods as soon as the opening begins, the audience are unaware of why she is there. This situation will keep them on the edge of their seat as it is unusual for a young girl to be running through the woods, this also exaggerates the vulnerable side to her. Young females watching will be able to put themselves in the character’s shoes therefore will engage and relate with the character.
Media Institutions Distributing our Product
Our product is a film therefore it needs to go through the production, distribution and finally the exhibition – which is when the final product is shown in a cinema or on a DVD. Film products are also broadcast on digital satellite and terrestrial TV.
Before the exhibition of the final product, it needs to be copied and distributed, this stage is where the United International Picture distributing company would decide whether the film would be distributed
nationally, internationally, whether the film would be
distributed in cinemas or go straight to DVD.
As our film was low budget – it would probably not be distributed in a cinema and would most likely to straight to DVD.
Also as our film was made in the UK it is likely to be released in the UK only, as the cost to make enough copies for the worldwide audience would likely make a loss rather than a profit if it was released all over the world or in the USA.
Audience of our Product
The audience for our film would be a young adults and teenagers, so around the ages of 15-25, possibly up to 30, due to the age of the characters.
Horror films usually appeal to male audiences more than females as the themes of violence and death is quite masculine, such as the mise en scene of the knife and the character of the killer.
Therefore our media product is more likely to be viewed by men. However the main character of the vulnerable victim is more likely to be relatable by females as they might recognise themselves within the character.
We addressed and attracted our audience by using a thrilling plot line that has twists and unexpected turns which the age range of our audience are likely to enjoy watching.
The equipment used to create the film sequence were: digital camcorder, tripod.
Whilst filming we discovered we needed to use the tripod to hold the camera still and to get a more professional-looking frame which was more steady.
We also had to decide what sort of camera angles to use to create a certain effect. Such as close ups – for emphasising the emotion and expression on the victims face which engages the audience. Also, the high angle shot of the killer created a sense of power which in turn made the victim look more helpless.
Other camera angles we used whilst filming were low angle to make the victim look more vulnerable and weak and the dolly shot and a long over the shoulder shot – both of which give the sense of the killer chasing the victim and help give a point of view of the killer so the audience can see where the killer is in relation to the victim.
Additional camera effects included the downward tilt at the very beginning, followed by the slow pan through the woods. A slow pan was also used when the character wakes up to slowly create anticipation and reveals the twist at the end of the opening and will shock the audience when finally revealed.
Over the Shoulder Dolly Shot
After filming, we used the programme iMovie to edit. The first task was to cut the frames that were not needed and to cut any jumps that would have affected the smooth continuity. We also needed to make sure that all the frames were in order so that the film sequence made sense, as we did not film all the frames in the chronological order.
Some frames we edited to create a slow suspense, and in contrast we also sped up frames to create the effect of the killer character being faster than a “normal” person like the villain would run. Which makes the audience feel scared for the victim as it appears she will not escape.
Frame – Slowed down
Next we added the sound effects and the music. Here is an example ->
The music was added to create
atmosphere and suspense. We chose music that was similar to music used a lot in horror films, so the audience would recognise the genre as soon as the music starts. The music also has sudden bangs that we used in moments that would make the audience jump.
Sound effects such as screams and gasps were
added where the victim needed to emphasise her expression. We added these as we did not have a microphone to make the diegetic speech loud enough as the sound on the video camera was weak.
Some of the transitions between frames we edited such as the fade to white screen to make it more obvious that the chase sequence was a dream.
We found that we had to film our sequence in the light and edit the lighting afterwards to make it appear darker like generic horror films as the video camera we used was not sufficient enough to film in the dark.
The location of where we were filming made it quite hard to stand the tripod flat as the ground was extremely bumpy, therefore a lot of the frames were hand held to make sure that the frames were straight and not slanted.
The final task when editing was adding our titles and credits. We found that we had to make sure they were placed in the correct places – as in they didn’t cover actors faces or get in the way of any important expressions. We added the date at the very beginning of the film as done in Halloween II, as this convention is also generically used in horror films and especially the sub genre of slasher. We used the specific date of “13 th ” as the number 13 has negative connotations of bad luck – which in this films case could be that the victim does not survive.
Fade to White The first title
From the preliminary task and the progression towards creating the final product we learnt that thorough planning – such as the storyboard including all the camera shots, timings and characters actions helped us organise the main task when filming.
We also found that because we had not researched into a particular genre before filming the preliminary – that a specific genre was not used. Therefore before filming our main task we did thorough research into our chosen genre horror and the sub genre of slasher.
Although we had planned what shots to use where and the order of the sequence on our storyboard, we learnt that making a storyboard helped develop the film whilst we were filming as we could chop and change camera shots or angles that didn’t quite work as we thought they would. E.g. we changed the establishing shot from a sweeping pan inside the woods to a downward tilt to set the location.
The Establishing shot – high angle downward tilt .
We also found that during our preliminary task we didn’t use much variation within the use of camera angles, and although we followed rules such as the 180 degree rule when the characters were speaking and the match on action shot to keep continuity, we did not use advanced camera shots to create effects. For example, when filming our final product we used shots such as extreme long shots to emphasise the distance that the killer was away from the victim – yet still watching.
The comments we have received from people that have viewed out film have all been very positive in contrast to the comments from our preliminary task – which proves we have improved out skills through planning, practice and developing ideas.
The contribution to the planning was very equal as both I and Holly Whitaker did the research, storyboard and decided upon the plot and camera shots together.
Whilst filming the main task, I filmed the sequence whilst Holly was the actor of the victim. Although I filmed, we discussed the shots, action, angles and locations of the each frame together before filming so that they were a joint decision.
Editing was also a joint effort as before either of us made any changes to sound or lighting etc, we discussed what we thought would work well and evaluated together after each change whether we thought it worked or whether we thought it needed changing further.