EVALUATION OF OPENING SEQUENCE KARISHMA PATEL ‘SOPHIE ’
Using, developing and challenging forms and conventions of a thriller opening. CAMERA WORK A technique often used in thriller opening sequences is framing the shot so that the face of the protagonist is cut out. We used this to build up the tension for the audience and present the character as more mysterious while she was colouring. We combined these shots with extreme close ups of the character’s eyes (which we then sped up in post production). These close ups provided a contrast to the regular mid shots that were used, as well as presenting the sinister side to the character.The establishing shot we used was of the ballerina spinning in the music box. Usually, the establishingshot of a thriller opening sequence is a extreme long shot, panning around the surroundings, but ourshot introduces the audience to the theme of innocence of the film, as well as giving them some contextof where the sound is coming from.
Using, developing and challenging forms and conventions of a thriller opening.MISE-EN-SCENELocation 1 Location 2 For the bedroom scene, we chose to use a pink, cream and We chose a section of the forest where although it was dark, there white colour scheme. We added fairy lights to the bed to was natural light that could be picked up on camera to provide create more of an atmosphere and provide opportunities to shadows. This lighting combined with the ‘night mode’ on the create shadows. We also lit mini candles all over the room camera produced a dull, washed out effect. We used the same to aid lighting. The props we used were childlike, mostly Barbie doll that we used in the bedroom scene but we melted it toys and dolls. We wanted to present a stereotypical 10 and cut its hair to present a disturbing image of a regular child’s year old girl’s bedroom – although being a familiar location toy. We also used a piece of rope to tie the doll up with, along with for our audience, it has the opportunity to be fairly sinister. ripped out pages from the colouring book we used earlier on. We changed Sophie’s make-up so she had darker eyes, and messed up her hair more.
Using, developing and challenging forms and conventions of a thriller opening.TITLES The font of the titles that are used in thriller openings are conventionally representative of the themes or ideas that feature in the film, (for example, the font used in the Saw films appears to have blood dripping off it). We challenged this convention in the sense that we chose a more classic font to fit our theme rather than fitting the thriller element. The font reinforces the childlike quality of our sequence, adding a sinister touch to the final product. We also challenged the conventional order of titles used, for practical reasons. Many of our clips were short cutaway shots, and so we didn’t want the sequence to be overcrowded with too many names for the audience to read, so we chose the most important titles and used them.
Representation of social groups. We used two locations to differentiate between the separate lives of the main character. The audience are introduced to what seems to be an innocent 10 year old child playing with dolls in her bedroom. Mise-en-scene was something that we focused on in detail to present the audience with a typical child’s room (pink and cream furniture, fairy lights, dolls etc.) When the main character is seen walking through a quiet forest, we wanted to present her sinister side in the most subtle way possible. We decided to keep her wearing her pyjamas to remind the audience of the supposed innocence, but we changed the props from a normal Barbie doll to one that was melted and distorted. The intention was to create a stereotypical 10 year old child, but to hint on the idea of her having the capabilities of being something much more sinister.
Media institutions that might distribute ‘Sophie’ HOW SIMILAR FILMS ARE DISTRIBUTED: Cinema DVD Television Internet1) High budget films 1) Audience have 1) Available to a wide 1) Cheap and easy to2) Money made from to wait some audience access ticket sales at the time before 2) Publicity e.g. adverts 2) Can be downloaded box office release date 3) Replayed on channels or streamed online3) Publicity e.g. 2) Can be watched such as Sky Movies 3) Watched worldwide posters at bus stops, over and over 4) Can be purchased at Sky outside cinema, film 3) Continually Box Office, or sometimes trailers in the popular, even free on demand cinema after the film4) Film shown for a has been limited period of released for time depending on years its success Many amateur film directors could use websites such as YouTube and Vimeo to upload there work. Creating an internet buzz nowadays can lead to much bigger things and is a free platform that could be used for this.
Media institutions that might distribute ‘Sophie’ Warner Bros. Pictures could be a possibility for distributing our film, mainly because they have distributed many successful thriller films in the past, including House of Wax (2005), and the inspiration for our sequence, Orphan (2009). The gross revenue at the box office for Orphan (2009) was $78,337,373. This means that Warner Bros. Pictures have been hugely successful in distributing psychological thriller films in the past, which is why they would be the perfect media institution to distribute ‘Sophie.’ The publicity used for Orphan (“There’s something wrong with Esther”) was a successful way of drawing people in to see the film, and would be particularly relevant in regards to the publicity of ‘Sophie.’
Media institutions that might distribute ‘Sophie’ Film London Microwave are a company who specialise in distributing ‘micro-budget’ films. This company would be the most realistic way of distributing our product, apart from the websites YouTube and Vimeo that I mentioned earlier. The company not only help with funding and resources needed, but have experts who have knowledge in marketing and legal aspects of film distribution.
Target audience for a thriller opening. Gender Age Film Generally, both genders enjoy thriller films. Our target age group is 15 and above, mainly Certification However, with our main because the film may Looking at films thatcharacter being a 10 year be slightly have similar themes old girl, I think it would uncomfortable for to ‘Sophie’ such asattract more of a female younger viewers to Orphan and audience. Despite this, watch, especially with Paranormal Activity, the fact that there are the violent and we decided to certify theelements of violence and haunting elements it film as a 15. The filmaction means that a male includes. contains mature themesaudience may also enjoy and has a psychological it. aspect that younger viewers would not understand fully.
Attracting/addressing the audience.• The vagueness of the title, ‘Sophie’ would draw the audience in, and make them want to find out who Sophie is and her story.• The opening sequence quickly introduces the horror theme, rather than developing the idea of innocence. This gives the genre away to the audience, which is appropriate and would address the audience more than fooling them into thinking it was an innocent story about a child.• The camera shots we used were an attempt to include the audience – for example the opening shot of the music box means that the audience can quickly determine where the background music comes from, and instantly introduces them to the childlike quality of the film.• We didn’t overcomplicate the location and mise-en-scene, so that the audience could familiarise themselves with the two surroundings and understand what they represent character.• When promoting our film, we would use a technique like the use of the quote “There’s something wrong with Esther” in advertising Orphan. This would attract audiences, and address them so that they would be aware of the genre of the film.
Understanding of technology from the process of constructing my product.Camera Equipment LogoThe camera and tripod we were providedwith were very easy to use, and weended up being able to film a variety ofdifferent angles with a good quality ofimage. We were also successful inproducing steady shots throughout thesequence.On the day of filming, we discovered We planned out the logo’s on our‘night mode’ on our camera, which storyboard and went on to use awashed out all the colours in the room, combination of Photoshop and Paintand produced a more authentic quality to create them. We then addedof film which matched our genre. imported them as images to AdobeWe would have liked to have used a Premiere Elements and added themcamera that had a focus adjustment, but to our sequence.we managed to use the lighting on theday to create the same effect.
Understanding of technology from the process of constructing my product. Editing ProcessWe used Adobe Premiere Elements 5.0 toedit our footage. The fact that we had usedthis software before was useful as we didn’tneed to spend any extra time learning howto use it, but we did discover a lot of newaspects of the programme that we weren’taware of previously.This was the first time we used text in our editing,but it was easy to insert text and layer it on top of We also discoveredour film. The problem we did face was timing the new effects andcredits so that they faded in and out in time with transitions we couldthe clips. We also wanted to make the sure each use to give ourcredit stayed on the screen long enough for the sequence a moreaudience to read it, but not too long as to bore professional look. Wethem. experimented with many effects such as ghosting, blur, wash fade and sharpen.
Understanding of technology from the process of constructing my product. Editing Process After we found the music box tune that we could use as the sound of our opening sequence, we had to time it with each section. The most problematic section was the very end, when the main character walks slowly towards the camera, and then speedsup until her face is the main focus. We had to find a point in the music where it built up, toadd to the drama of this moment, this involved cutting both the music and the film until wefound a place that matched.
Progression from preliminary task to full product.Pre-ProductionDuring the final task, I learnt the importance of detailed planning and storyboarding.When it came to filming, our storyboard made it much easier for us to get started, andthe fact that we included the exact positions of where the credits would be meant thatwe could film appropriately.I also produced a successful camera plan for the final product, which meant that I couldthink about a risk assessment for our actor (for example, finding a suitable area for thecamera to go in the forest scene). The fact that I did mini mind-maps for each aspect ofthe planning e.g. location, mise-en-scene and camera work meant that I could developmy original ideas into something more substantial.The research that I did into the conventions of opening sequences also gave me a cleareridea of direction when it came to filming.The use of a production schedule allowed us to organise our time more efficiently, withclear targets for what we wanted to achieve by the end of each lesson. Although wedidn’t necessarily stick to the schedule exactly, it definitely gave us more of a direction forour production.
Progression from preliminary task to full product.ProductionI think that my camera skills have noticeably developed since the preliminary task. Thefact that I have learnt more techniques gave me the confidence to experiment with ideasand develop them as I went along.A large part of the development of my skills has come from the research I did intoopening sequences – watching various openings inspired me to try some of the ideas aswell as to take risks and produce something original.During the preliminary task, I mainly concentrated on techniques such as match on actionand shot reverse shot, whereas I thought a lot more about framing in my final task.Framing can be the difference between a shot looking amateur and giving it aprofessional edge, and the opening sequence definitely gave me the confidence to trysome different framing ideas.I feel that I now have the ability to create more of an atmosphere to a film than I didbefore, by using mise-en-scene and sound. With the help of effective lighting and props,we were able to create tension, and the sound gives the audience a clearer idea of whatthey are watching. The preliminary task seems very basic when it comes to theseelements than the final product.
Progression from preliminary task to full product.Post-ProductionAlthough we used the same editing software for the preliminary task and the final task,(Adobe Premiere Elements) I was able to experiment with more advanced editingtechniques in the final task, by exploring the effects and transitions that are available.The transitions we used were appropriate to the thriller/horror theme of our film – theuse of blurring and ghosting particularly. The ‘time stretch’ element was also a veryuseful aspect to our editing, as it allowed us to speed up and slow down footage toproduce haunting images.The success of the post-production, was in my opinion, down to the detailed pre-production stage. The fact that we planned out transitions and fading techniques in ourstoryboard meant that we could feel comfortable with using these effects. We wereconscious throughout the editing stage as to not overcomplicate the transitions, (e.g.excessive speeding up/slowing down of footage could end up looking like a spoof video)but it was good that we were able to take certain risks, and in my opinion they definitelypaid off in the final product. The preliminary task however, had no extra effects added –we faded in the start and fading out the end, but that was it.