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  • 1. G321 FOUNDATION PORTFOLIO REEPHAM COLLEGE MEDIA STUDIES : SEPTEMBER 2012-DECEMBER 2012Brief forVideoProduction:THE OPENINGSEQUENCE OF ANEW THRILLERFILM (INCLUDINGTITLES ANDSOUND) TO AMAXIMUM OF TWOMINUTES.All video and audio Health Warning: • We will be monitoring all written and practical components.material must be • Students are marked individually for written work.original, produced by • Any student not contributing adequately to planning, shooting and editing their production will have marks deducted.the candidate(s), • Irregular attendance will also be penalised in the assessmentwith the exception of process. • If students come across problems with deadlines they mustmusic or sound seek support immediately.effects from a • If there are problems within a group please seek tutor advice without delay so that problems can be quickly solved. Thesecopyright-free matters can be discussed with me in confidence.source. • If students fail to complete the written and practical components to an acceptable A Level standard, it is likely theirTOTAL MARKS AVAILABLE = 100 examination entry will be reviewed.50% OF FINAL AS GRADE • If students do not pass this coursework unit, it is unlikely that they will pass AS Level Media Studies. continued on page 2RESEARCH AND PLANNING: 20 marks CONSTRUCTION: 60 marks EVALUATION: 20 MARKS• Research into the thriller genre. • Short continuity editing task. • “Director’s Commentary”.• Research into audience consumption of • Maximum of 2 minutes of edited moving • A response to 7 compulsory questions films. image footage (including sound and titles). about research, planning and evaluating your thriller opening.• All pre-production materials.
  • 2. Important advice ••••Keep to deadlines. If there are problems inform me immediately. Persistent problems with meeting deadlines can result in students being asked to leave the course. Parents and the Sixth Form Management Team are informed if students do not keep up with their work.•Marks are deducted pro rata if students let down in their group during the planning, shooting and editing process. Marks are awarded for quality and individual commitment to the project.•Research and planning is individually marked. ALL students must post all elements of planning onto their blogs.•Avoid chopping and changing ideas.• Keep ideas simple, plausible and possible.• Avoid over ambitious/far fetched over complicated plots and reliance on dialogue. Particularly avoid plots which represent characters and action which are unfamiliar to you.•Remember you are shooting the OPENING to a thriller film thus you will want to hook the audience, you are NOT shooting a whole story nor are you shooting a trailer.THE SOUND TRACK – a vital component of mise en scène.•The musical soundtrack is a vital part of the production; it sets the atmosphere and may connote aspects of a particular character and place. Once the narrative is storyboarded and all elements of mise-en-scène are planned (characters, locations and costumes) begin to research appropriate music for your soundtrack.Students may do the following:•It is an OCR requirement that any soundtrack must be copyright free. It must therefore be over 50 years old, released under a Creative Commons license or written by yourself, therefore research is a timely business. Useful websites include mobygratis.com, ccmixter.org and freesound.org (for sound effects). All require free accounts. For more complete songs, try www.freeplaymusic.com . Students can also use jazz, classical music or any popular music written before1959-1960.•Students may compose their own soundtrack.Students may wish to use music from unsigned artists (email artists and askpermission first though).
  • 3. Definition of a thriller film SOME CLASSIC THRILLERS Thriller and Suspense Films Are types of films known topromote intense excitement, Marion Crane in thesuspense, a high level of shower (Psycho ,anticipation, ultra-heightened Hitchcock 1960)expectation, uncertainty,anxiety, and nerve-wrackingtension, menace/danger. If thegenre is to be defined strictly, agenuine thriller is a film thatrestlessly pursues a single-minded goal - to provide thrillsand keep the audience cliff-hanging at the edge of theirseats as the plot builds towardsa climax.The tension usually arises whenthe main character(s) is placedin a menacing situation or Hit men Vince and Julesmystery, or an escape or (Pulp Fiction, Tarantino,dangerous mission from which 1994)escape seems impossible. Lifeitself is threatened, usuallybecause the principal character characters with dark pasts, Generic locations in Thrilleris unsuspecting or unknowingly psychotic individuals, terrorists, films: Dimly lit often wet narrowinvolved in a dangerous or cops and escaped cons, hit men/ urban streets or alleyways, lifts,potentially deadly situation. women, fugitives, private eyes, staircases, basements, largePlots of thrillers involve drifters, duplicitous individuals, featureless exteriors (reflectingcharacters which come into people involved in twisted moral vacuum of centralconflict with each other or with relationships, world-weary men characters No Country for Oldoutside forces - the menace is and women, femme fatales Men), shower cubicles, toilets,sometimes abstract or shadowy. (dangerous and or deviant phone booths, bank safes, women), psycho-fiends, drug interior of cars, top of aGeneric Characters in Thriller addicts, and more. The themes of skyscraper, shores with tidefilms: Characters in thrillers thrillers frequently include coming in or muddy river banks/include convicts, criminals, greed, envy, jealousy, terrorism, canals, scrap yards, derelictstalkers, assassins, down-on- political conspiracy, pursuit, or factories, tunnels, and manytheir-luck losers, innocent romantic triangles leading to more.victims (often on the run), murder.prison inmates, menaced women, MORE CLASSIC THRILLERS “The purpose of a thriller is to put their (audiences’) toe in the cold water of fear to seePost war racketeer Harry Lime Gilda, classic femme fatale (Gilda, what its like."trapped in the Viennese sewers Charles Vidor (1946) Hitchcock. (The Third Man, Carol Reed, 1949)
  • 4. Planning: Opening to a thriller feature filmDeadline - Friday 26th October 2012 •••Please note that understanding aspects of the thriller genre, and individualresearch into thriller films (lead by Mr Stiles) should be reflected in all aspects ofplanning. Each student’s blog should include the following:1. Brain storming details of initial-to-final ideas.2. A brief synopsis of the plot. No more than 100 words.3. Story boards that are readable and contain image, colour, camera positions/shot types, any dialogue and soundtrack.4. Planning edit: For higher marks students should include details of transitions from one shot to the other so that editing is planned. For example jump cut to…, or fade to black…, or cross dissolve etc.5. Locations: Annotated photographs/sketches of locations are important. Decisions need to be justified and relate to genre conventions, if students challenge the thriller generic blue print then they need to explain this.6. Costumes, props and objects: All ideas should be annotated.7. Characters: Brief background details of the nature of the characters are important. Characters can have names that may give a clue to their personalities or their fate.8. Casting of characters – brief explanations of casting decisions. Some student hold auditions for roles and include pics or notes related to auditions. Avoid casting 6th formers who are meant to be hardened gangsters otherwise the film will be unconvincing. Casting should be discussed with course tutors. You cannot take anyone out of lessons.9. Soundtrack: Ideas for soundtrack which must be evaluated. Explain purpose of final choice and likely influence on atmosphere within mise-en-scène. Students can upload ideas for soundtrack onto their blogs.10.Equipment list: Digital camera (students must include name of camera), tripod, lights, microphones, filters for camera etc. Details of any special effects.11.Shooting schedule: Organisation of time (dates when going to shoot), to include locations and names of actors required, and props.12.Evidence of the individual contribution to the planning and individual responsibilities during the shoot and edit.13.Some of you may wish to produce an ANIMATIC STORYBOARD (see WEB or STL for further info). Inter textual references: Student’s ideas need to be explained, 1) Reasons for choice of ideas. 2) Source of ideas with explicit or implicit references to thrillers you have researched. This could be through location, costume, character, action, shot type, soundtrack. This is HIGHLY IMPORTANT. Important: Identify the type of thriller being planned. Example: A psychological thriller like ‘Sixth Sense’; gangster thriller ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, ‘Essex Boys’; Mafia thriller ‘The Godfather’; comic thriller ‘Snatch’; or incorporating elements of a futuristic/action thriller, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘The Matrix’; film noir thriller such as ‘LA Confidential’, ‘Jackie Brown’.
  • 5. Construction: The ShootDeadline - Friday 16th November 2012 •••• Lending Policy (cameras) To borrow a school camera or other school equipment students MUST BOOK AT LEAST ONE DAY IN ADVANCE THROUGH MRS OSBORNE IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY .• Responsibility with borrowed equipment: Students must check the camera in with Mrs Osborne every two days if you need it for a longer period than this. Students who flout these rules will be denied access to school equipment on future occasions. Students will be charged for any equipment which is damaged or lost.• Students must inform course work tutor prior to going out on location to shoot their films.• Equipment available includes: camcorders, stills cameras, tripods and dolleys• If you return equipment late you will lose ONE mark per day per person from your final coursework grade.• Using time effectively: Students will be given media lesson time to shoot and edit their films. During the shoot and edit students can only use the practical lessons for construction. No other media or other subject lessons are allowed for the shoot and edit. Students will also be expected to use free periods and after school. Guidelines for shooting film.• Shooting the action: Students are strongly advised to: • take multiple shots of the same action so the most effective shots can be selected for the final cut • hold shots steady where appropriate • frame shots carefully including and excluding elements as appropriate • shoot material that is appropriate to an opening to a thriller film. • use a variety of shot distances appropriately • carefully select mise-en-scène, thinking about colour, figure, lighting, objects and setting.• Camera angles: Students are advised to use an appropriate variety of camera angles and movement, in order to add to the appeal of the film.• Close up shots: Students are often reluctant to use close ups, but these shot types are most effective in drawing your audience into the action.• Lighting: Some student productions are too dark and are thus unreadable. Though you may wish to achieve noir lighting effect make sure the action is decipherable, professional directors use non ambient lighting to achieve noir or chiaroscuro effects. Therefore make sure that your action is well lit; when looking at the rushes/raw footage and the lighting is too dark then students must re shoot the clip.• Revisions to original ideas: If students shoot action which is different from the original planning (story boards, character etc), any revisions can be briefly redrafted and explained on the blog.• Raw Footage: Students should have at least 9-10 minutes of raw footage to allow for cutting during the edit.• Do not put health and safety at risk, do not use pretend weapons in public.
  • 6. Construction: The EditDeadline - Friday 7th December 2012• Always check with course work tutors that your allotted computer is available.• Each group is allotted a computer for the edit. ALWAYS USE THE SAME COMPUTER.•Downloading raw footage: Once the shoot is complete you need to download the footage from the camera onto your allocated computer using a firewire cable to link the camera to the computer.In Final Cut/iMovie click the ‘capture’ button at the top of the screen. This will load up a window which will help you to control what video and audio you upload from your camera onto the computer. It is wise to download no more than about 8-10 minutes of your best footage, which then has to be edited to approximately 2 minutes of film. Further technical information on editing will be given to you on a separate sheet.•Selecting what shots to keep: Once students have raw footage, make an editing list of what shots you want to keep and where in the narrative your selected shots are appropriate.•Soundtrack: When students have chosen the sound track it must be downloaded and saved on your computer.•Using post production time effectively: Editing can be done in course tutor media studies lessons, during free periods and after school.•Titles: Titles should be included immediately the narrative begins.•If students wish to work independently and use their own editing software make sure it is compatible with the school computer system by checking with the Ms Webb or Mr Stiles. Important guidelines:• Edit so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.• Use varied shot transitions and other effects selectively and appropriately, for example jump cuts, cross dissolve, fade to black, slow motion etc.• Use sound with images, and titles appropriately. A note on the EVALUATION• Your evaluation will be lead and instructed by Mr Stiles with a 2 week deadline once the editing is completed.• It will take the form of a director’s commentary - a voice-over that answers the 7 compulsory questions (including a Q&A with the director).