A2 Media Studies<br />Coursework Evaluation<br />
“HOODIE”<br /><ul><li>‘Hoodie’, is a short film based in the action thriller sub genre which uses and challenges the conventions of the typical short film and also those that appear frequently in films of this genre.
Films in this sub genre usually merge portions of high octane action with slowly paced sections of great tension and suspense.
In ‘Hoodie’ we aim to emulate this blueprint, although we stray away from his at times to create a unique product which challenges and develops these codes.</li></ul>Action in <br />‘I Am Legend’<br />Suspense in <br />‘I Am Legend’<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /><ul><li> Our main production uses and challenges the established technical, symbolic & written codes often used in short films and in particular those used in the action/thriller subgenre to create product which offers a unique take on this genre, Whilst filming we used a variety of camera shots, movements and angles to promote different reactions amongst the audience but mainly to develop the confrontation between the main characters as the film progresses while making sure the audience does not anticipate the twist the film produces.
The technical codes of a thriller usually include fast paced segments merged with gritty tense sections. These fast paced passages are created through the use of quick cuts between shots and are maintained through sequences made up of tracking shots and other camera movements.( see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahHcsH_e_rk) Throughout the production of our short film we attempted to imitate these classic conventions in order to create tension and anticipation amongst the audience.
In particular we used cross-cutting techniques to construct the fast paced sequence where the different camera shots, mostly medium shots and close ups, where put together without transition to help maintain the speed. A fast paced score is also vital to help uphold the speed of a film and this is another common convention we adopt.</li></ul>Click to play video<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /><ul><li>The gritty, tense sections in thrillers are mostly made up of extreme close ups, usually of a characters face to show the strain he/she is under, and are set in places with very low lighting.
While my sequence attempts to mirror these conventions I also challenge some of these due to the fact that my tense sequence is shot in broad daylight which contributes to the high level of light. I believe this scene is just as effective even though it strays away from the common conventions which can be seen as a development of this classic convention. However still used slow motion and extreme close ups in this sequence, so although I altered it I still used the conventional blueprint of thriller films.
At these positions in the film the score usually takes up a slow, low pitched tone or loses the score altogether which is key in terms of slowing down the sequence and bringing about a feeling of suspense among the audience. Despite this common convention in the genre, in our production we carry on with the same fast paced score and simply lower the volume. This works well due to the fact that the diegetic sounds can now be heard above the score adding to the suspense and the realism.</li></ul>Close up in ‘The Strangers’ contributing to the suspense<br />Click to play video<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /><ul><li>In terms of symbolic codes action-thrillers can be set anywhere from crowded cities to rural countryside’s, with large chunks of the film being set at night. The mise-un-scene of the characters can also vary significantly but they usually include a white, smartly dressed male as the “good guy”, while a white male in dark clothes is usually presented as the “bad guy”. A key prop of great significance is also usually present in a film of this genre.
My film is set in the suburban area of west London which is an unusual area to set an action-thriller to say the least while it is also set in broad daylight. The mise-en-scene of the characters in my short film also differs greatly from the mise-un-scene of the characters that usually appear in such films. The costumes the characters wear are commonplace among this genre but the fact that both characters are black, even the successful “good guy”, proves to be a major challenge of these common codes. Nonetheless I still use much of the common symbolic conventions such as the use of a key prop, which is a very significant inclusion, as well as the body language portrayed by the characters throughout the film is typical amongst films of this genre. I believe the use of a young black male as the protagonist in my product can be viewed as an updating of the conventional codes used in films in general as it is more representative of society which is now essentially multicultural.</li></ul>‘James Bond’, classic protagonist <br />Villain in ‘Hoodie’<br />Villain in ‘Casino Royale’.<br />Good Guy in ‘Hoodie’<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br />In the majority of media productions the title appears at the beginning of the film along with some names of key actors and directors etc. The written codes in my production both develop and challenge the typical written conventions which appear in these films. This is essentially seen by the fact that the title of the film appears right at the end following the entire sequence which is unusual for a short film. This is followed by very brief credits. I feel this way of doing the titles is unique and works successfully in terms of the way the film is allowed to develop and the fact that the film is allowed to progress without wasting time. I feel this is very important in a short film simply because they are so brief and time shouldn’t be wasted.<br />Title at the end of the film (4:27)<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /><ul><li>The common conventions of a film poster include; a large image usually of the main character, the title of the film, a tag line and a credit block. My film poster contains all of these main conventions making it a typical film poster, however what makes my poster differ from most other posters of action thrillers is the fact that my poster contains bright, vibrant colours in the background. Posters of film in this genre are usually made up of dark colours with shadows whereas the yellows and the blues present in my poster give off a different effect. I believe this way of creating a poster can be seen as a development because it can be used to attract a different type of audience who wouldn’t usually be attracted to watch thriller films, however it can also deceive audiences. Also the font used in our title is a rounded, bold font which again differs from the eerie, sinister fonts usually used in action thriller film posters.</li></ul>Shadows<br />Sinister font<br />Dark colours<br />
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /><ul><li>Film magazine reviews differ significantly depending on who they are addressing yet the conventions that appear in these magazines remain similar in general.
They are made up of ; a section title, a headline, a strap line, an introduction, subheadings/breakout paragraphs, columns, pictures, graphics and logos, breakout boxes and issue information.
Our magazine article is typical in the sense that most of these common conventions are present in our article, however what makes our magazine article different is the use of a background image behind the article which gives it a less professional look. This is coupled by the fact that the background colour of the article is not the conventional white but grey.</li></ul>. <br /><ul><li>In particular I chose not to develop or challenge the established conventions of the magazine layout due to the widespread success of it. The layout is so easy to interpret and understand that I felt it may confuse the audience if I was to switch this format around. </li></ul>TOTAL FILM<br />PRESS REWIND<br />
HOW EFFECETIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN & ANCILLARY TASKS?<br /><ul><li>When creating both the main and ancillary texts of my production I felt it necessary to show a common theme throughout which would appeal to the age group of 15-19’s. I felt this was important not only because this was my target audience but also because I didn’t feel it would make sense to have different texts which would be observed differently.
What I believe makes the main product appeal to the teenage age group is simply the action packed theme of the film. It is a story base on anti-social behaviour, in particular ‘hoodies’, making it a topic which would interest people of this age group regardless of one’s race or gender. This is reinforced by the fast paced hip-hop style score which again appeals to this age group. Moreover the purpose of the film is to entertain, so there is an inclusion of certain comical moments which occur throughout the film such as when one of the characters trips over.</li></ul>Click to play video<br />
HOW EFFECETIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN & ANCILLARY TASKS?<br /><ul><li>I feel these themes can also be seen both in the films poster and the magazine article. The main picture on the poster, of a young male, along with the vibrant colours can be used to catch the eye of the potential target audience while the tag line suggests a more humours, less serious side to the film. This is re-emphasised by the rounded, bold font which again hints at a comical side to the film. Meanwhile the shadows and the seriousness of the characters facial expression in the photo reinstate that the film is first and foremost an action-thriller, and this shouldn’t be neglected.</li></ul>Bold, rounded font hinting at a less serious side to the film, also seen by the inclusion of the tagline.<br />Young male & the vibrant colours to attract the target audience.<br />Shadows & serious facial expression maintain that this is first and foremost an action/thriller<br />
HOW EFFECETIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN & ANCILLARY TASKS?<br /><ul><li>In terms of the magazine article, the large ‘action-packed’, image again emphasises the fact that the film is an action-thriller as well as making sure it appears appealing to the teenage target audience. However I feel this is less obvious in the magazine article, simply because of the large amount of text in the article and the lack of images and graphics which may put off 15-19’s while appealing to an older, educated age group. This can make the overall combination feel somewhat disjointed. However this is not necessarily a bad thing due to the importance of reaching a wider audience group, which is vital especially in the context of this particular film because the message it attempts to portray is one that can be grasped by all. I believe that the combination of the three texts in terms of portraying the genre is very effective while it also reaches its target audience as a whole.</li></ul>Large amount of text, with little images or graphics appeals to an older audience<br />‘Action packed’<br /> image to appeal<br /> to the target audience<br />
HOW EFFECETIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN & ANCILLARY TASKS?<br /><ul><li>When talking of the narrative effects of the three products, I don’t feel that the magazine article nor the film poster gives the audience a chance to anticipate the huge twist that occurs towards the end of the film while they both portray the film simply as a typical action packed thriller. The fact that the film is in the action-thriller sub-genre is portrayed more successfully in the magazine article due to both the action packed image as well as the description of the film in the article. I quote; “the tense, action packed nature of the film is enticing to say the least”. The narrative structure of the film meanwhile is somewhat straightforward so it is not necessary to read the article to understand the plot or purpose of the film.
While in the production phase of the film we were able to incorporate screenshots from the film into both the magazine article and the film poster due to the fact that the photos we took were not suitable for our initial ideas. We were also able to combine elements of the film into our ideas of the film poster in terms of the setting and costumes which complemented the colour of the poster nicely.</li></li></ul><li>HOW EFFECETIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN & ANCILLARY TASKS?<br /><ul><li>From an institutional point of view the importance of the relationship between the products is reinforced due to the need to target the specific age group of 15-19. In this instance the magazine article and particularly the film poster are an essential part of the films marketing and distribution. However the fact that the magazine article strays away from the target audience reduces the effectiveness of the marketing while the film poster remains a successful way of reaching the target audience. Consequently from a film production company’s point of view both the significance of the film poster and the article are increased because the poster can attract the target audience while the magazine articles positive review can draw another audience entirely.
Also while the poster is created and accepted as a form of advertisement from the film production company and is likely to be seen as a subjective piece of text, the review is independent of the film company and provides an third party opinion on the film and is understood by the audience as being objective. From the film production companies point of view both texts are important in terms of promoting the film as they serve different purposes to the audience.
Overall I feel that the combination of the three texts is very effective due to the fact that it reaches the target audience, while showing the audience the genre of the film without giving too much away in the narrative. </li></li></ul><li>WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM YOUR AUDIENCE FEEDBACK?<br /><ul><li>Audience feedback is an essential tool when creating any type of media product. It gives the developer/director the chance to see how his/her product will be received by the target audience, while any shortcomings or suggestions to improve it can be heard.
In terms of my main product I conducted a group feedback session where I handed out a questionnaire containing questions such as; ‘is the purpose of the film clear’, and ‘does appeal to its target audience’, which gave me a clear indication on how my film was received by my target audience. The feedback I received was mostly positive with the audience saying the film was ; ‘appealing to the age group’, ‘it is funny’, and ‘it is entertaining and has a message at the end’. One main point which came up following this questionnaire was that the message of the film is one which can be taken up by an older audience so the initial target audience could maybe raised, or another potential audience can be added.</li></li></ul><li>WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM YOUR AUDIENCE FEEDBACK?<br /><ul><li>However some negative points did occur, particularly concerning the audio of the parts of the film which contained dialogue. The man complaint was that the speech of the characters could not be clearly heard and was often drowned out by the wind or traffic. This was due to the to the limitations of the technology we were using, a basic DV camera, so there was not much we could do to alter this problem.
With regard to the ancillary texts we again adopted the idea to produce questionnaires after showing people of the target audience, as well as a few who weren’t, the initial ideas on the film poster and asking which magazine designs they preferred as well as colour schemes and which photos we should include. We also asked them which tagline they felt was more effective and into what format we should write the magazine article. We took these into account when producing or ancillary texts and we used the most popular ones when developing both the magazine and the poster.</li></li></ul><li>HOW DID YOU USE TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION, PLANNING & EVLUATION STAGES?<br /><ul><li>While researching short films we were shown a variety of productions form different genres put together on a DVD to give us a taste of short films. However most of the research and planning phase consisted of using the internet to find out about how to effectively create short films while we used the BBC film network website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/)and YouTube.com (http://www.youtube.com/) to view examples of short films which was key to our research. The internet gave us an almost limitless place to research and find data and facts as well as common conventions from existing media products. (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/downloads/pub/Guidelines/BBFC%20Classification%20Guidelines%202009.pdf)
In terms of publishing our research we created a blog on blogger.com where we could show our findings. We made these more effective and user friendly by utilising the interactivity of the blog by posting photos, videos and links to other websites making the blogs easier on the eye and more interesting. (http://binchris.blogspot.com/)</li></li></ul><li>HOW DID YOU USE TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION, PLANNING & EVALUATION STAGES?<br /><ul><li>During the production phase of our project we encountered various limitations when using the standard DV camera. The main problem we were faced with was the lack of sound clarity, which was pointed out to us during the audience feedback session. This was simply due to the fact that we didn’t have a microphone to record sound through making the audio quality somewhat crackled. The picture quality was also grainy and lacked brightness however due to the nature of our film this actually benefited us by giving the product a gritty, more realistic feel to it which was an unanticipated success. We also used a mobile phone with a sharp 8 megapixel camera to take photos which is an example of the extent of technological convergence. We used it to take photos of the location of the film and also for the film poster and magazine article. The Bluetooth technology built in to the phone made it easier to transfer the photos straight onto the computer.</li></ul>Where ‘Hoodie’ was set<br />
HOW DID YOU USE TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION, PLANNING & EVALUATION STAGES?<br /><ul><li>While in the post production phase of the film I used Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 to edit the footage we captured. Using this piece of editing equipment I was able to use special effects such as slow motion and colour correction which enabled me to make certain scenes appear more effective. The program also allowed me to successfully merge clips together using cuts and transitions, giving the sequence more sense. I was also able to add a suitable score using this program which I faded in and out at the necessary points. However the program did offer some limitations, in particular the fact that I wasn’t able to convert the sequence into the QuickTime format, for wider distribution, without losing a significant amount of the image quality.</li></ul>I produced both the magazine article and film poster on Adobe Photoshop CS4 which again meant I could use a variety of effects, such as using the magnetic lasso tool to crop out an image. The fact that I was using Adobe Photoshop meant that I could freely take photos and test them out in the poster background to see if they were suitable with the format of the poster. However on problem that I encountered with this program was the lack of spell checker while I was typing, particularly when I was typing up the magazine article, which meant I had to be extra careful when spelling words and with my grammar. It also meant I had to manually check over my work after typing it to check for errors which was an inconvenience.<br />For the evaluation I used Microsoft PowerPoint which has allowed me to incorporate images and links into my work again leading to better viewing and helping me get my points across more effectively while also allowing me to show the sources of my research. <br />