As media studies evaluation

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As media studies evaluation

  1. 1. AS Media Studies Evaluation Scott Kirchgaesser
  2. 2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Upon making our opening sequence for a thriller film ‘The Brief’ we used, developed and challenged forms and conventions of real media products.We made sure that we kept to the key concepts and conventions of a action thriller genre yet also challenged forms through our development ofour final piece. We made sure we did this so that the audience would receive some familiarity which is important yet not receive something that isto repetitive and cliché.Before attempting to film and make our opening sequence, I explored intoopening sequences of similar real media products analysing the use ofcamera, sound, editing and mise-en-scene. By doing this I gained a furtherunderstanding of the typical codes and conventions action thrillers have. A goodopening sequence I analysed was ‘Salt’ where I noticed the use of the coloursblack white and red for the titles. I noticed similar formats in other thrilleropenings and therefore applied it to our own piece giving us a genericconvention for a thriller. [See 0:52]In addition to this, with my research into mise-en-scene I found examples used toconnote certain meanings. For example in the movie ‘Defiance’ Russian spies areshown to be frequently wearing specific types of hats which the audience willassociate with Russian people. We therefore thought it would be good idea totranslate this into our own opening sequence showing similar mise-en-scene.Furthermore, this adds to the form of generic conventions by the way Russiancharacters are presented. [See 1:25]
  3. 3. In other cases however, our opening sequence subverted the forms and conventions of real mediaproducts. An example of this would be the presentation and editing of the title of the film. Afterlooking through various thriller openings I found that the title of the film would almost always slowlyfade into the middle of the screen and then hold and slowly fade out. Despite this, we used adifferent editing effect where the title splits into 4 pieces going out in different corners. Even thoughthis is challenging conventions, we believe that this doesnt take any suspension away from ouropening or effect our product negatively. Instead we believe that it gives our product a uniqueoriginal look. However, the choices we made whilst filming and editing reflect heavily on the genre of our film. Through the use of codes and conventions it indicates a action thriller. This provides familiarity to the audience as we are using key concepts form already existing media products. This is clear to see through the use of mise-en-scene, content, editing, titles and camera work. Firstly, our content reflects our genre as it covers a familiar feature of a thriller and that is the use of a Russian protagonist. Audiences would be able to recognise this providing evidence of repetition in our thriller. Our editing also reinforces this as at [0:44] a pre recorded non diegetic sound of a Russian voice emphasizing that the protagonist is a Russian spy.The mise-en-scene also indicates that it is a action thriller as when the male protagonist is looking over hismission brief a machine gun is shown to be by his side representing danger and action. The titles also addemphasis to the idea of a action thriller as they are a tinted red mixed with a shadow effect black. The use ofthe colours red and black add to the tension as they resemble ideas such as death blood and thrillerconventions. The titles also were positioned carefully to not draw much attention away from the shot inhand. The camera work also helps to add tension and create ideas of an action thriller. This is done bycreating a over the shoulder close up shot of the security cameras at the train station at [1:42].Overall, I believe that genres are always evolving and by subverting to the conventions slightly we arekeeping the genre alive. This would gain a positive response from our target audience as theyexperience typical representation of a Russian character adding familiarity. I believe that we weresuccessful in using and subverting from conventions as our research will prove. Despite this, I feel as ifwe could have gone more into depth with our portrayal of a action based thriller genre.
  4. 4. How does your media product represent particular social groups?Throughout the making process of our opening sequence our group continuouslyfocused on how particular social groups could be represented in order for theaudience to gain further understanding. Our first shot [0:17] presents gender in astereotypical way as the mise-en-scene allows the reader to see just a male characterpositioned centre of the screen dominating the scene. This idea of power anddominance is also re-enforced through the use of mise-en-scene where immediatelyyou can see a machine gun positioned to his left. Despite this, the use of a white t-shirt the male protagonist is wearing represents background information ofinnocence and purity, this is used to create controversy as if we where to make theentire film the protagonist wouldnt go through with his mission but go against theRussian secret service. By having the all black machine gun in the same shot as themale protagonist wearing a white t-shirt , stereotypical representation of gender iscontrasted.Gender is continued to be presented this way as the male protagonist continues towear the white shirt throughout the opening sequence. Despite this, as the maleprotagonist approaches the train station he wears a black and grey coat over the topof his white shirt which is still slightly revealed [1:25]. This re-enforces our intentionto allow the protagonist to turn good later on in the film as the black and grey coatsymbolizes emotionless, efficient and sinister which his mission brief requires him todo, however his own conscious is always still their connoting innocence through theuse of the white t-shirt.Overall, our opening sequence alone portrayed a mostly stereotypical view of aRussian male protagonist therefore allowing audiences to familiarise themselves withour thriller.
  5. 5. In addition to this, the use of starting the opening sequence andending the opening sequence with the same male protagonistemphasises the overall dominance of males in comparison tofemales within this genre. In our research few opening sequencesof real media products just included one character, despite this wefelt that our story and content only needed one character for it towork and it allowed us to further convey key conventions of whatour male protagonist was meaning to convey to the audience. [see 0:16] [see 1:51]
  6. 6. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?In the process of trying to decide what media institution that would distribute my media product, I looked at films withinthe action thriller genre and found out what media institution they belonged to. I firstly looked at the film ‘In Bruges’ andfound out that they were produced by Film4. In Bruges: Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hit man Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. (www.imdb.com) Similar The mise-en-scene lighting shows the us of guns Film4 productions is a connoting to be a typical action British film production ideas of an thriller convention company owned by action thriller. channel 4 television corporation. The company has been responsible for producing a large number of films made in the united kingdom.
  7. 7. Die Hard: John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. (www.imdb.com) The use of a still image has been taken toThe use of a machine Dark lighting be used represent a particulargun rather than a when portraying the ‘bad scene in the film. Thispistol portrays the guy’ makes the scene morecharacter to be evil iconic and well known.and dangerous. 20th Century Fox, or 20th Century Fox Pictures, is one of the six major American film studios. Located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, just west of Beverly Hills, the studio is currently a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
  8. 8. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?Based on my research of thriller films, I believe that our film could potentially fit into two different production companies. One optionis that it could be made into a British film through the production company of Film4. Our reason for this is that Film4 usually producelow budget films that target a smaller audience. Despite this, the action thriller ‘In Bruges’ produced by film4 gained high popularitywith many people watching it. And because our film is similar to this, we believe Film4 could be a suitable choice to distribute our film.Furthermore, we also believed that our film could also have been distributed by 20th Century Fox. By doing this our audience wouldbe based on a much larger scale gaining a greater amount of viewers. 20th Century Fox has distributed many films similar to ours inthe action thriller region, such as ‘Die Hard’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Independence Day’. Therefore 20th Century Fox could also be a good companyto produce our film as it has distributed similar films in the past and due to its reputation will gain a larger audience.In addition to this, we also decided that our film would be based in Cinemas rather than just online due to the our research saying thatmost thrillers have come out in the cinema first. By producing this only through the internet would massively decrease our potentialaudience and due to only few people familiar to downloading films on the internet we would be decreasing our profit margins andtarget audience.
  9. 9. Who would be the audience for your media product?We have decided that our media product would be targeted at the certificate 15 market due to the themesand issues raised in the text. This is shown through the dangerous intention that our protagonist portrays tothe audience. In addition to this, we believed that our action thriller film would not fit into the 18+ region ascomparing it to my research I found that our film if made professionally would most likely be a certificate 15.Furthermore, due to our protagonist being similar yet slightly older to our target audience we feel as if ourtarget audience would be able to identify the characters with meaning more easily. Despite this, gender onthe other hand may be more biased towards males than females. This could be because our film is primarilydominated by a male character who shows little to none female aspects that some women could relate with.Furthermore, because our thriller raises issues of typical thriller conventions such as a Russian spy, thisfamiliarises the audience with the content and genre of the film. Therefore, audience’s that continuouslyseem to enjoy thriller movies are more likely to like ours maximising our audience.Films that we believe to be similar to ours can evidently be linked to ours such as ‘Salt’ and ‘Defiance’. As thefilm ‘Salt’ was a Hollywood film audience’s ranged widely due to the large target audience and was a popularfilm around its release. Despite this, ‘Salt’ was rated PG -13 where as ‘Defiance’ was rated R. Therefore webelieved that due to our film being similar to both ‘Salt’ and ‘Defiance’ we would take aspects of both filmsand collaborate them to make a rated 15 thriller. Further research on the BBFC website also helped me withour judgement whist deciding its age certificate.
  10. 10. Target audience feedbackIn order to fully evaluate our final product, we created a survey using Google survey to help us design the questions. Below aresome comments from our audience feedback: Do you want to know what happens next? Why? “yes, I found the opening sequence engaging to the viewer and I wanted to know what happens after he gets off the train” Would you say the representation for the character was correct? Why? “yes I believed that the character was a Russian spy of some sort going on a mission to London” Did you like the music? Why? “yes I thought it fit in well with what was going on and I like the bit at the end where the train doors shut and the music matched it” Did you like the titles? Why? “yes I liked how they were both red and black as it fit into a thriller type film. I liked how it was slightly different from normal titles as well” The graph on the left shows the results from the genre of the film question. As you can see the highest score without a doubt was Action. This therefore proves that we have successfully created an opening sequence that fitted our targeted genre which we wanted our audience to believe. Our audience ranged from ages 15 to 35+. This gives us a clear understanding to what all age groups think of our thriller. Overall, as most of our feedback was positive I think that most people enjoyed our opening sequence.
  11. 11. How did you attract/address your audience? By using a over the shoulder shot looking down at the protagonist’s book the audience is drawn to what the character is reading. By having a close up of the By having many different props all location the protagonist is going in one shot the audience (London) the audience is further automatically tries to identify each included in the narrative. object and there significance, attracting the audience. By naming our thriller ‘The Brief’ audiences should associate this with a mission brief which is most commonly seen in action thrillers to which we were trying to convey. By having a close up over the shoulder shot of a security camera, the audience immediately associatesBy introducing our protagonist with a long shot, the audience can it with crime and action. The use of the over theidentify the location. This involves the audience as they are shoulder helps the audience engage with the characterincluded in the narrative. as they see what he sees.
  12. 12. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?Throughout the process of filming and editing our action thriller, I learnt a variety of differentskills with the camera and editing software in order to present our media product in the bestway possible. In comparison to our continuity task we as a group achieved a lot more workdone in a more efficient manner. Throughout the process of making our thriller we plannedeach shot and idea carefully so we knew exactly what we wanted to film when we filmed it,to which we did not do as well in our continuity task.After doing various different tasks such as the continuity task, anamatic and our thrilleropening sequence I have developed skills that allow me to use a digital whilst capturingvarious shots to connote meaning. An advantage of being able to use the digital cameraswas that it allowed a great amount of independence to our group allowing us to film what wewant with effective and high quality equipment. One slight problem we faced whilst usingthe cameras however was the use of the zoom. It took quite a few attempts to get the shotwe wanted whilst using the zoom effect due to it not always zooming at a continuous speedor keeping the camera still at the same time.Furthermore, throughout the process I also gained experience of using the tripod to which Inow have a good understanding of how to use. This allowed me to film steady and a differenttypes of shots adding variation to our work. At the beginning of this process I did not acquirethe skills that allowed me to do this, now however I feel confident and able to use theequipment correctly. One shot that I felt looked the best was the over the shoulder shot. Aproblem I had to face whilst performing this was getting the tripod set up at perfect height sothe shot wasnt uneven. Despite this, I felt as if I was able to perform this task appropriatelyand the shots came out good.Finally, during the editing process I learnt how to use the software Adobe Premiere Pro.When I first attempted to use this software I didnt know how I would put our film togethernor did I no how to create any effects. Despite this, with the help of teachers and practice Ikept getting better at using the software and now can use it with ease to create a product.This software allowed me to cut certain clips to the exact point I wanted and createtransitions and effects on the titles.
  13. 13. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a roomand sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines ofdialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.Main task: The titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes. All video and audiomaterial must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from acopyright-free source.Looking back on our preliminary task, I feel that I have learnt a lot in many aspects that helped to create andfinish our final product. With the in depth research and planning I learnt the importance of organizationwhilst trying to put together a media product. Researching into the specific aspects such as genre, framing,sound and editing all proved to be very important and valuable to our final product. If I was able to changeanything I would most likely focus more primarily on the codes and conventions, as I believe that we couldhave had a few more typical elements of a thriller included in our opening sequence. Another thing I wouldtry and focus more on would be the storyboard. This is because if we had a storyboard that we spent a greatand careful amount of time on our final product would reflect the hard work we put into our storyboard as welearnt early on that a strong storyboard leads to a strong product. This is because our storyboard didntaccurately predict how long each shot would be and looking back on our storyboard now a lot has changed.Overall, I feel confident that I have progressed a great deal since the start of the year and am able toeffectively use all the equipment and software to there fullest. I feel as if my progress can be seen from thedifference in the continuity task and our final product. Here for example, after the protagonist leaves the shot the camera holds for longer than it is needed to and finishes shaky. In our final product we made sure every shot was edited smoothly and cut appropriately. [0:51]
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