ReviewingConventions andComparing ‘Paralysis’with real textsBy Tim Loe
Auteur and Genre Theory(Recap)• After research and planning we established that our product was a mixture of both the genre and auteur theory. This was because we wanted to be creative and apply our original ideas, however we thought it would be best to emulate generic conventions as well, in order to make our product successful, and portray the genre effectively.• Evidence of the auteur theory in our production is the use of focus pulling, and evidence of genre theory in our production is the use of lighting , colour(desaturation and blue tones), conventional character types (the supernatural, the vulnerable victim) and use of camera (regular close ups).
Conventions of a Horror Film Are they in Paralysis? (yes = )Iconography Characters Narrative Setting Colour/lightingBlood Antagonist - Endings are usually Woods Desaturated supernatural left ambiguousKnifes, axes Protagonist – Narrative always Graveyard Blue tones vulnerable revolves around the concept of deathThe supernatural Expert During the Castle Low key lighting is protagonists quest mostly used, even she will be exposed if the protagonist is to extreme present (usually to isolation. However imply that the the help of an antagonist is expert is usually watching them). required. (e.g. Psychiatrist)Solitude African American HouseAnti-religious Bimbo CountrysideideologiesReligion Sceptical person Empty school The survivor Places of solitude
Use of Titles Our text screens meet convention, which we thought would be best to emulate since it is proven to be successful. We used a grunge texture as a background, which is similar to ‘Sinister’ and presents a menacing tone, and the background’s texture adds depth to the frame. Our titles also had a conventional animation. We key framed the position so that the title would zoom in. Overall our use of titles meet convention.
Use of Logos• The institutional structure I followed is based on conventions of the relationship between the distributor and producer for a horror film. Firstly the production company is usually small and independent, whereas the distribution is usually mass market, an example being paranormal activity 1 (production company - Blumhouse productions, and distributed by Paramount Pictures).• I thought it was sensible to expose this in the trailer, which is why there is a ‘Sinister Pictures’ logo at the beginning. This suggests that I have followed convention, as the production companies logo is usually displayed in a horror trailer, whereas the distribution company is not.• (Note: production company is not relevant to the magazine front cover, which is the reason the logo is not on there.)
Technical form• Our trailer was uploaded at 16:9 aspect ratio, matching the industry and it adds an element of professionalism to our product.• Also due to the small amount of dialogue it meant that ADR could be used, this gave our trailer crisp and clear dialogue, and made our audio sound a lot cleaner, which is vital due to the substantial role of sound in the horror genre.
Camera• The camera played a vital part in allowing us to meet conventions, the use of the 50mm lens enabled a shallow depth of field for close ups, which we felt was necessary to exploit, and is the reason for the regular use of close ups (as well as to meet conventions, and also to connotes anxiety, and exposes the distress of the actors. (see slide 12 for theory analysis).• To enable a contrasting light, we had to change the exposure and aperture on the camera so that more light was let in, and we could fully manipulate our shots with artificial light. This use of light connotes intensity throughout the trailer.
Conventions we have rejected• In order to follow our research, we needed to reject some conventions to follow the auteur theory.• This was firstly done by a regular use of focus. (out of focus to in focus). This connotes disorientation, and helped the audience to determine the boy as being vulnerable.• The use of optical flares in post production also reject convention, since they do not contribute to a colder look (although they look more aesthetically pleasing).
Conventions we have followed• We also had to follow conventions, since in our research we stated that a mixture of the auteur and genre theory would apply to us. The conventions we followed are:• Colour – Desaturated blue colour grade• Characters– vulnerable child, caring mother, expert, supernatural antagonist.• Narrative – The mother is on a quest to cure her son’s condition, and is forced to do it in solitude, when no one can help her.• Shots -regular use of close ups. This establishes characters expressions more effectively, which is vital for a horror• Lighting – ambient lighting used for outdoor scenes, artificial light used for all indoor scenes, and positioned to create a contrasting light on the actors.• Sound -stings, atonal score, atmospheric sound• Location – The woods is conventional of the horror genre since it connotes isolation, a house has also become conventional with the rise of the domestic horror.
Connotations • A wood was chosen for one of our locations, as not only because it was conventional but the vast landscape connotes loneliness, and entrapment. • Low Key Lighting was often used, to connote the antagonist’s presence and also feelings of sadness, and suspense. • Composition and camera were often manipulated in order to present solitude. An example is the research scene where the mother is on a laptop, and she is composed to the right of the shot in order to emphasise the space in the frame, connoting her loneliness. The over the shoulder shot also connotes she is being watched, which builds suspense.
Similarities with Insidious• De-saturated, blue colour grade – the blue tones have connotations of coldness and the desaturation presents a feeling of intensity.• Conventional establishing shot of location (house)• Conventional narrative, which is portrayed in order to build enigma in trailer (two out of the three stages of Todorov’s narrative theory are used - equilibrium and disequilibrium). The third stage of his narrative theory is not shown in the trailer, since it would give away too much information, and also there is not always a new - equilibrium in the horror genre.• Conventional progressive pace of a horror trailer – both trailers build up to a final sting at the end.• Both products include a shot at the end, after the text screens – A conventional device to provide the audience with one last scare• Similar text screens – both have textures behind them• Suitable variety of Locations• Conventional soundtrack and scores used (atmospheric and melodic, which emphasise the intense atmosphere of the trailer.)
Things we could haveimproved for our trailer• The 5th shot breaks the 30 degree rule, which makes the trailer look a lot less fluent.• The rule states that every cut requires a 30 degree angle change for the cut to be smooth.• I felt the atmospheric score was not quite right for our trailer. It was adequate, however I feel that we could have found a more suspenseful, violent atonal score.• In some shots colour correction is needed for continuity. An example being the shot at 1.15. The contrast between the colour of these shots make the cut seem less smooth, and disrupts the continuity of the scene.
Theory and Conventions• Sarris compares the auteur theory to three premises; the outer (technique), middle (style) and inner (interior meaning) circles. We considered this during the production of our trailer. An example is pulling focus, which is the technique (outer circle), and is a trait associated with us as directors (style), and finally connotes the disorientation of the boy, which was necessary in order to fully expose his vulnerability. This is the reason we defied convention, as it strengthened the product, which is what Sarris’ theory explains.• Bazin states that the popularity of a genre is based on how the product approaches dominant ideologies of the time. This was the reason for our choice of domestic horror, which I feel was a successful decision. However this also meant that the genre theory was refuted as the postmodern popularity of domestic horror plays with genre and audience expectations. Therefore our product is not a conventional horror, which means we did not fully follow the genre theory in this sense.
The Poster• For coherency our poster closely followed the themes and iconography present in the trailer.• Colour – similar desaturated and blue colour• Mise-en-scene such as costumes (pyjamas), lighting (low key, contrasting light)• Composition of the shot – Using the rule of thirds the antagonist is emphasised.• Editing – grunge textures and gradients• This required coherency meant that we would also be using conventions in our poster. (Conventions already listed include colour, lighting, costumes, composition of shot). Other conventions are:• Location – portrays a sense of solitude, and connotes the boy is possessed or in a dream since it is behind his bed.• Characters – the vulnerable boy in the middle of the shot, with direct address connotes that he is the protagonist, and presents his unawareness and vulnerability.
Conventions of A Horror Poster Are they used in our poster? yes= )Colour and Lighting Use of Locations Character Camera Colour Scheme and TextLow Key Lighting Woods (lonely location Characters showcased A convention shot for Font usually looks that features in film) are sometimes the a horror poster is a CU quite menacing, and antagonist and almost / XCU sinister. It usually has a always the protagonist texture to add depth to itDe-saturation A location is usually The antagonist is Use of dark coloursBlue Tint used on a horror usually placed in a such as red and blackHigh Contrast poster (alternative to a place to make theVignette coloured background). protagonist look Blue is used to This is because it helps vulnerable. (e.g. compliment the image present an element of behind him) – The rule (if it has a solitude. of thirds is usually conventional blue considered when tint), and contributes doing this, since the to the cold effect of antagonist would the poster typically be placed in an intersection of two lines or along a vertical line of the frame.
Use of Vignette to connote a sense ofIsolated location in entrapment.the background, Vulnerable Contrastingconnoting the protagonist – light –solitude and direct address connotesvulnerability of the Menacing shot of intensity and isboy. house, with a conventional light use for a Desaturated blue horror poster. colour, connoting a cold atmosphere. The antagonist in our poster serves a similar function to the eyes in the insidious poster. They portray enigma to the audience. Grunge texture blended into title. Giving titles a menacing look suitable for a horror film.
The Magazine• The magazine has similar features to the poster. Here is a list of what has been included for coherency:• Text colour scheme• Colour grading of image• Texture on the Paralysis title• Direct address of the protagonist, connoting his unawareness and vulnerability• Low key lighting and use of black gradients to connote a sense of entrapment
Conventions of a Horror Magazine Are they used in our magazine? (Yes = )Use of Location Colour and Lighting Character Camera Text and Colour SchemeA location is usually Low key Lighting The antagonist and Conventional shots The font of textnot featured in the protagonist are include: Close ups , usually follows housebackground. Instead usually displayed. If Medium Close ups, style of previousthere is usually a only one character is medium shots editions of asolid colour, and then showcased it is magazine.a texture to add usually thedepth to it. antagonist.Background will Desaturated colour, Colour of text such asusually be a black blue tint cover lines, andsolid with a texture general colourfor depth, and a scheme can beblueish light to add changed. Thecolour to the conventional coloursbackground. of horror are used. E.g. black, red and dark blue.
Horror iconography used. The colour redconnotes blood, clarifying the horror genreof this product. Background is never a solid Low key lighting – connotes colour. It is the antagonist is present usually used to emphasise the main image. The dark blue colour of the background connotes a cold tone. Antagonist is present, which is a common feature of magazines since it builds enigma. The images are very minimal, which is conventional for horror products, as it connotes solitude and The images feature the conventional colour emphasises the vulnerability of the grade for a horror, which is a blue tint. This protagonist. connotes a cold and intense atmosphere.