In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? The witness is a typical thriller, and sticks to the basic conventions of a thriller. The conventions of thriller films are, Fast tempo camera cuts, hidden plot, cliff-hangers, twists, murder, high action and suspense. We used most of these techniques in the opening sequence of the film. We cut between each shot quickly as it helped to create suspense in the story line. We create suspense by cutting between the killer and the photographer showing parallel action, this makes the audience believe the characters will meet but they don't know when. We have about 4 shots of each character before they meet, these shots show the audience what type of characters they are, the photographer is represented as an average joe type as his scenes are peaceful and bright so the audience can guess he’s not a ‘bad guy’. The killer’s shots are quite different and show him as a dark character and dangerous, we have achieved this by darkening the shots and making him look nervous as he keeps looking around. This creates tension, as the audience knows they will meet. In order to hide the film plot from the audience we used hermeneutic codes, the main code we followed was the native enigma this is great as it forces the audience to ask questions, why has the killer killed a man? Why is he burring the body? And the main one, will he meet the photographer? The film plot is based around the burring of the body as this throws up all the questions as you don't know why and you don't see the murder take place. This is one of the basic conventions of a thriller, with out it it wouldn't be one. Through out the whole film we build up the suspense, this all culminates in the foot and car chase. In the foot chase the killer gets closer and closer he dives for the photographer creating more suspense but he misses but the suspense is built up through the car chase.
Our characters are constructed through mise-en-scene as we have no dialogue. We have three characters, a photographer, a killer and a dead body. The photographer is constructed as a general family man ( average joe). We decided that this would make him an easier character for people to identify with and attract a wider target audience. Creating the character was easy as we did it though costume, the clothes were plain and unbranded and had no distinct features. Getting the costume right was very important as I was playing the part of a 30 year old, so we tried to make me look older. The costume was a plain leather jacket, light jeans and walking boots. I still looked young so I wore some glasses and they with the costume made look older. To construct our killer we researched the costumes worn by killers in other films. We came to the conclusion that the killer’s outfit should be one colour and quite plain. The outfits where also quite baggy like boiler suits and trench coats. We opted for a blue boiler suit for the killer. We didn't set out to represent the killer a certain age or from a certain social group so it was a lot easier to construct him. The same point can be made about the body, he just wore some old clothes and a bag on his head as he didn't represent any one or any thing. Our character construction can also be seen in our choice of cars. We used a 2007 ford fiesta and a 1989 ford escort. The photographer has the fiesta as it represents his social group, the fiesta is a modern safe and reliable car. This represents his social class and his higher moral standing. The killers car is the escort, we didn't clean it so it looked dirty which is stereotypical of killers in films, as it shows the killer as not caring on his appearance. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? I believe that a small low budget company could produce the Witness. I believe this as we have shown how easy it is to make a fairly good looking film on almost zero budget. We have shown that complex car and foot chases can be done on the cheap. A low budget company could also give the film a feel that is seen in thrillers. Although if a big budget studio where to pick up the film they could add a lot more to the film. A more elaborate car chase could be made involving other vehicles and in a more realistic environment like a big city. Other obvious improvements would be high profile actor, better cars and props, but this would only be achieved through the huge budgets of Hollywood blockbusters. Looking at distribution a small company would have to create a direct campaign targeting the specific target audience for the film. Where as a large company could saturate the market. The small company would have to focus on certain newspapers and magazines, specific locations and specific tv shows and times. A great example of this would be cipher films a small independent production company behind Adulthood, their target audience was inner city youths aged 15 -25. They used a lot of direct advertising for the film as they had a very small budget. Over all a small distribution company would struggle to market Witness as we have a huge target audience and they wouldn't be able to afford to advertise to every one resulting in missing some of the target audience. A large company would use their dominance in the market and create a mass marketing campaign reaching as many people as possible. Because of their huge budget they can advertise almost everywhere, all the newspapers and magazines, radio, tv ads huge billboards, websites and many more. This would be similar to the scale of quantum of solace the latest James Bond film. The film was distributed by sony one of the industries leading media companies. For QoS they advertised with coca cola , Barclaycard and car companies. This type of advertising would best suit Witness as it has a large target audience.
<ul><li>Before we started producing our film we carried out some market research to work out what genre of film we should go for. We handed out questions to students in our year ( 16-18) students in the year below (12-15) and teachers (25+) another member of the group also put a poll on his blog. The results we received were very positive and what we predicted. The results showed us that action was the most liked genre, we researched some action films and came to the conclusion that filming an action film would be fairly hard. We did abit more research and decided on making a thriller as we felt we could achieve this genre of film. We knew that we wanted to have a car chase in the film as this would attract our target audience, so we worked around the car chase coming up with the story line that leads to the chase. The scenes that lead up to the chase are very stereotypical of the thriller genre this was a good choice as our audience love the chase. </li></ul><ul><li>We identified our target audience as.. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Males </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age 15-30 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Any social class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aspirers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explorers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We have showed the film to a lot of people who fit the target audience and all the feedback has been very positive. We also showed our parents and family members who would be out side the demographic and they were very positive about the film. </li></ul></ul></ul>Who would be the audience for your media product?
<ul><ul><ul><li>The main way in which me targeted our target audience was simply the car chase this is because it is a common theme in action films. And as I have said action was the most popular genre for our target audience. For the car chase we needed drives as me and sam are the only ones who drive the job feel to use. I worked out well as we were the perfect characters. For the car chase we watched a few films that are based on car chases the films we looked at were, fast and the furious, Death car and gone in 60 seconds. We got a lot of ideas from these films and storyboarded the chase straight away. We didn't want the chase to be just a boring chase we wanted some thing to happen or for some thing to be happening so we decided to have the killer attempting to run the photographer of the road. The chase has lots of swerving and is action packed making it more entreating for the audience. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To attract our target audience by creating a facebook page that is very successful as we got 187 members in a month, we made a youtube page , photbucket page and a slide share page, we used all these mediums to upload our work and progress. We made podcasts to update members on what we were doing we alos create production diaries so members on our sites could see what we were upto, this create a lot of anticipation as people couldn't wait to see our film. Our target audience uses these sites so it wasn't hard to attract attention. Advertising to our target audience would have been almost impossible as no one would of known what we were doing. Because we can upload content showing every part of our production it helps people to become familiar with our product. </li></ul></ul></ul>How did you attract/address your audience?
<ul><ul><ul><li>The last 4 months have been a huge learning curve. I have never made a film before id never even held a video camera. When we started the course I thought making a film was going to be impossible but from planning to the final film I have learn so many new skills. Before we started I imagined we would just start filming I had no idea in the planning involved. But I have learnt that planning is key to producing a good film. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When we starting filming we were very lucky as one member in our group has his own HD sony camera it was amazing to think we could record in HD at first I was a bit daunting but once we got used to the camera it was impressively easy to use. As we became more confident filming we started to add bit to the camera, we used a direction mic and a wide angle lens that helped give the film a better quality. The HD camera worked really well with what we wanted to achieve as the lower quality DV cameras start to blur at high speed which wouldn't of worked with the car chase. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Through out editing we used apple mac’s which deserve a huge credit as their superior power, speed and media compatibility really helped. We made every thing on the mac’s our podcast, slideshows and editing was done on them. Me and Oli are both Mac users so unlike other groups we got straight into using their amazing features. We were going to edit our final piece in final cut express but ended up doing it in imovie 09 as it was a lot easier and quicker to use. We were able to add titles and credits into the film in sted of using keynote like our class mates who found final cut express hard to use. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Here’s a list of every thing we used .. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>FILMING </li></ul><ul><li>Sony HDR-SR7e </li></ul><ul><li>Miranda pro tripod </li></ul><ul><li>Gorillapod </li></ul><ul><li>Sony mini tripod </li></ul><ul><li>Editing </li></ul><ul><li>Macbook </li></ul><ul><li>Macbook Pro </li></ul><ul><li>Imac </li></ul><ul><li>Imovie </li></ul>The main thing I have learnt from making the film is the use of the camera and the tripod. Over the course of filming I have grown more confident in using the camera and positioning the tripod to obtain the shots we wanted. We used a tripod called a gorilla pod which helped us to get some great shots the pod has bendy legs meaning it can be wrapped around and positioned almost any where. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? The stage we are at now is a world away from the preliminary task. The shots are shaky, poor quality and the sound is terrible. A lot of lessons were learnt from the preliminary task. We didn't plan it very well and spent most of the time looking for a room to film in, we storyboarded it but didn’t make sure any rooms were free meaning we had to find a room that was free, when we did it was locked so we had to find a key. When It came to filming our final piece we had learnt from this a spent a weekend location hunting for the film. This paid of as it meant when it came to filming we turned up and got on with it. In the preliminary we only really used one defining shot which was a shot reverse shot that isn’t very hard to do. In our finale piece we have a huge range of different shots, to name a few, depth of field, deep focus, high angle, close ups and an extreme wide angle shot. this means our composition is very varied giving the film a professional look. I think another thing I learnt was the use of a sound track that goes with the footage, in our preliminary we used the song green onions which didn't have any relevance to the images on screen. In the final piece we created our own score that was made solely for the on screen action, the music changes in tempo and key when events are happening on screen. This again makes the film more professional and shows how much we have progressed since the preliminary task.