In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms andconventions of real media products?Researching media products has allowed me to discover the typical codes and conventions used which make these products such a success.To make sure that my products were just as professional as the others in the market, I made sure that I used as many of the conventions aspossible to ensure that my products were successful. Although I followed many of the conventions there are many aspects of my productsthat do not fit with the typical codes and conventions of media products so that they stand out in the media market.To make sure that each of my products fit the conventions of the other products in the market I have carried out extensive research for eachof the three different products including existing trailers, posters and websites. To make sure that the trailer would be successful I watchedmany existing trailers from production companies such as Warner Brothers and Lionsgate to find out the typical codes and conventions ofhorror film trailers. The average length of a horror trailer is 30-90 seconds. This gives the audience enough time to see what the film is aboutbut its not too long so that it gives the plot away. I found that when looking at existing posters and websites, the title of the film was writtenin large letters on both of these products. For the poster the title was normally written at the bottom of the poster whereas on the websitethe title was located at the top of the page.The genre I chose to use for my film is horror. Typical conventions for this type of genre include very dark settings which I have usedthroughout my media products to make them seem more creepy and scary. The darkness used in these products link back to the horrorgenre as the darkness means that the audience does not know where the character is. This makes it more mysterious as the dark settingssuggest the fear of the unknown as the audience cannot see what could be lurking in the shadows. The colour black also connotes death andevil which links back to the horror genre of the film.The antagonist that I have used for my products is a young girl aged around 12. The reason that I have used a young girl isbecause it is not what the audience expects as the connotations for a child are quite sweet and innocent. This innocence is thentaken away when the young girl becomes the antagonist and starts terrorizing the victim. In recent years it has become quiteconventional for children to become the antagonists in horror films. Films such as Orphan and The Unborn both use children asthe killers as it what the audience least expects and creates a sense of surprise to the audience. Although the young girl is theantagonist, we have dressed her in a pink dress and cardigan with her hair tied back. This challenges the conventions and theidea of her being a killer as she looks so young and innocent. However, to make her look scarier after the crash we did her makeup to make her look as if she was back from the dead.We chose to use a female protagonist as this is typical of a horror film. Existing films that have used female protagonists are filmslike Paranormal Activity and The Ring. Our film will be similar to these as they both include paranormal experiences.
At the beginning of the trailer it seems as if the young girl is the victim, however as the trailer goes on it becomes clear that the originalvictim is now the villain. This has challenged the typical conventions of a horror film as, from all of the trailers I’ve watched, no one has triedthis technique. This gives our trailer an edge compared to other horror films.The title of the film appears on each of the products I have made and so it needed to be suitable for all three types of media. The title ‘TheRetribution’ was chosen as the definition of retribution is; punishment that is morally right and fully deserved. The theme of the film is alittle girl gets killed in a hit and run and then returns from the grave to punish her killer. Although the punishment that the young girl carriesout is not ‘morally right’ or ‘fully deserved’, this challenges the definition of the title.The font used for the title is not a typical horror film font as they are normally very sharp and written in capital letters to seem as if the titleis being shouted or screamed. However, the font I chose looks as if it was written by a child to link with the plot of the film although I did editit so that it looks as if it has been scratched onto the product so that it seems scarier and makes it fit with the normal conventions of a horrorfilm font.Trailer When researching existing horror film trailers I found that they tend to start off at quite a slow pace and then pick up as the trailer gets scarier with lots of quick cuts of scary parts of the film. This is used to entice the audience to go and watch the film, so that it does not give away too much of the plot. As there are a lot of quick shots used the length of the trailer is only about 30-90 seconds long. Because the trailer is so short the shots used throughout the trailer need to be interesting to grab and keep the readers attention. To fit the codes and conventions of horror film trailers I made sure that I used a lot of quick cuts of the antagonist so that the audience can identify that the young girl that seemed innocent at first is actually the killer. However, as this is only a trailer, the audience will not know if the antagonist succeeds in her plot for revenge until they actually watch the film themselves. When researching existing trailers I found that either text appears or a narrator is used, mainly to show the film’s tagline or caption. However I found that on horror film trailers its not very conventional to use a narrator as many of the trailers I researched used writing to display the tagline to the audience. Therefore, when creating my trailer I kept that in mind and decided to add writing instead of using a narrator. The tagline we decided to use is ‘what goes around comes around’. This is because it is a general phrase used in everyday life, however as the phrase generally means that if someone does something bad then something bad will happen to them, this fits with the title and plot of our film. This gives the phrase a scary twist and whenever someone uses the phrase in everyday life it will remind them of the film. We used the same font for the text in that trailer as the font we used for the title of the film. This is also so that it seems as if it was handwritten by a child which makes it seem more personal to the audience.
To challenge the conventions of horror film trailers I started it off with a light setting with a young driving down a country road, this thenconfuses the audience to think that nothing is wrong and gives the audience a false sense of security. I then showed the antagonist as afigure of innocence, this also confuses the audience as at this point they cannot tell which of the two characters shown is the killer and whichis the victim as both characters seem too innocent to be a killer. Another way we challenged the typical conventions was by using a cheery,‘pop’ song at the beginning of the trailer. This is another thing that gives the audience a false sense of security as the music is very upbeatand makes the audience feel that nothing bad could happen.Apart from using the upbeat ‘pop’ song at the beginning of the trailer, the rest of the music and sound used is conventional of a horror filmtrailer. This includes sounds such as loud thuds and creepy crescendos. These sounds are used in many film trailers as the crescendo issupposed to build suspense so that the audience is ‘on the edge of their seat’. This crescendo is used when there are a lot of quick cuts in thetrailer as this is when there is the most suspense and t also increases the excitement and mystery.The thud is also used as it infers mystery and has an impact on the audience. We have used the thuds for many important moments duringthe trailer that should catch the audience’s eye. The first thud is used at the beginning of the trailer after the logo appears to ensure that theaudience gives the trailer its full attention. The next time a thud is used is after the car screeches when the girl has been hit. This has beenused to show that something significant has happened; in this case the young girl has been hit by the car. It is used again for the same reasonafter the news report informing the protagonist that the girl has died and also when she wakes up after the dream sequence where theantagonist is in the victim’s house. The last time the thud is used is at the end of the trailer when the victim sees the villain in the back of hercar via her mirror. The thud is used after the sound of the protagonist’s horrifying scream and before the film title is shown. The last part of the trailer shows that the villain is in the back of the victim’s car, which is then followed by a terrifying scream. This shows that audience that the protagonist is still not safe by the end of the trailer therefore they would have to watch the whole film to find out what happens. This is very conventional of a horror film trailer as these types of trailers are designed to entice the audience into watching the full feature-length film without giving too much of the plot away. The final part of the trailer shows the title of the film, The Retribution, and the date of release. It is conventional for this to be shown at the end of the trailer as if all the informative part of the trailer was at the start then the audience may become uninterested. The same font was used for both the title and the date. This is also the same font used for all of the other titles on my other media products so that they all link together. The music used for this part of the trailer is a young girl singing the nursery rhyme Ring Around the Roses. The way this song is sung is very creepy which makes it linkback to the horror genre but it also challenges the conventions of horror trailers as this is quite a cheery, happy song.At the beginning of the trailer the first thing that is seen is the production logo. It is conventional for horror films to use the logo at the start ofthe trailer as oppose to the end as it has been used in many film trailers such as The Descent and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This logo alsoappears again on the trailer right next to the website below the release date at the end. This has been put on very small as it should not standout too much so that it doesn’t catch the audiences eye. This is another convention of horror film trailers so that the production logo isfeatured as a credit.
The danger of the lead female was apparent throughout the sequences when the antagonist was watching her. This was mostly at nightwhen the setting was dark, however we also challenged this typical convention as the victim was also being stalked in her home in broaddaylight. This technique has been used in existing horror trailers such as Paranormal Activity 2 where a paranormal incident has occurredduring the daytime when the surrounding is bright. This creates an impact on the audience as it is not what they would have expected,therefore creating a false sense of security and making the audience feel unsafe.As most of the trailer is shot inside the protagonist’s house and car, this makes the audience feel more comfortable and safe as when you areat home is when you feel most secure. This also gives the audience a false sense of security as they trust that nothing bad will happen in thesafety of their own home. Once again his technique was also used in the Paranormal Activity trilogy.Our audience feedback shows that both following and challenging the typical codes and conventions of horror film trailers were a success.The audience appreciated the fact that following some of the conventions was necessary to make the trailer a success, however bychallenging the conventions there was always an element of surprise that the audience didn’t expect. We looked at all of the conventionsand made sure that we followed them correctly.WebsiteBefore the production of my website I looked at websites for existing films such as Resident Evil: Afterlife and Prom Night. After analysingthese websites I found out some of the typical conventions including what types of colours should be used and what pages should beincluded in my website. On my website I decided to keep a consistent colour scheme of red, white and black. This is because the colour redconnotes blood and danger which fits well with the horror genre, and black because it suggests darkness and mystery. I chose to use thecolour white as it stands out well against a dark background, this is because most of my website uses dark colours and images as this is aconvention of horror film websites.
Some of the features I used included rollovers, interactive images, embedded videos and web links. By using these features I can give mywebsite a more professional feel and make it more interactive. I made sure that similar text was in the same font, for example all of thebuttons on the navigation bar are the same font, size and colour.When choosing the images to use as the background of my website pages, I made sure that all of the characters and settings that were usedwere also featured in the trailer to avoid confusion among the audience. I have combined sound, text, images and moving images to ensure that my website fulfils the conventions of existing websites. I have made the website interactive as I have used click able items, for example buttons to buy the film, which once clicked will take the audience to an external website, via a link, where they can purchase the film. I have also included the use of buttons which link to social websites as well. This is so that if the audience wanted they could share the website with their friends via Facebook or Twitter. This is conventional of a film website as it is a good way to advertise the film through ‘word of mouth’ via social networking sites. The sound I have used for the whole website is the same song used at the end of the trailer, Ring Around the Roses. I did this so that the two products were linked together, also whenever someone hears the nursery rhyme they will be reminded of this film.When choosing the images for the background of the website pages I needed to choose images that were similar so that the pages werefluent, however I wanted each page to be different so that the audience stays interested. I did this by placing images on the either the sides,top or bottom of the pages and then fading them to the background colour, black, towards the middle. By fading the images to black thismakes the website look more professional also by keeping the centre of the page plain black this means that the audience will not bedistracted away from the content of the page.
When including the text on my website I thought about which type of font to use, therefore whenresearching existing websites I made sure to take a not of the type of font used. On each of the pages, thename of the page is written at the top in sharp, red capital letters. This is a typical font used for horror filmsas the capital letters suggest that it is being shouted or screamed and the sharp corners of the letters connotes a knife edge which suggestsviolence and danger. Also I chose to use the colour red as it suggests danger or blood which is another convention of horror products. On thefirst page, before entering the main site, and the home page is the name of the film in the same font as it appears on all three mediaproducts. This is so that all three link together and the audience can tell that they are all products from the same film. Once again this font isunconventional however it fits well with the plot of the film. I also made the website more interactive by using a cover flow style gallery of the cast and crew. This makes it more personal to the audience as they get to choose which member’s profile they would like to use via moving images. By including the trailer on the website this gives the audience a chance to view the trailer if they hadn’t previously. I found that this is typical of film websites as a whole and not just horror films.PosterTo make sure that I understood all of the codes and conventions of horror films I analysed and annotated three posters for existing films inthe horror genre. These posters were A Nightmare on Elm Street, Mirrors and The Uninvited. The things that I found were common amongstthese three posters were the layout, the lighting and the images.On all three of these posters the credits and title of the film were located at the bottom of the poster. Thisis conventional of horror film posters as the main attraction is the image. However, there was a slightdifference in layout with one of the posters. The tagline for the film was located at the bottom of the posteramong the title and credits on two of the posters although on one of them the tagline was at the top. It istypical of film posters to have the tagline at either the top or the bottom of the poster. I chose to put mineat the top as this way the tagline stands out and does not gets mixed up within the credits. Other film postersthat chose to locate their taglines at the top include films such as Orphan and The Strangers.
Typical lighting used for horror film posters is very dark as darkness is conventional for all horror products. This is because the darknesssuggests mystery and fear of the unknown which once again links back to the horror genre. After looking at existing horror film posters I have found that it is extremely common for the image to only contain one person. This is because if a person is isolated then this makes the audience wonder why this person is alone. Also because the person I chose to use in the photograph is a young girl, the antagonist, this also makes the audience wonder why she is alone as young girls are not normally isolated especially in a scary setting like the one she is in. The young girl is giving the audience a direct mode of address which makes it seem more personal to the members of the audience. The setting I chose for the image is amongst a lot of tall, thin trees which gives the poster a more eerie feel. To allow my poster to follow the codes and conventions of a horror film poster I needed to edit my photo using Photoshop so that it was more suitable for the genre. I did this by creating more shadows on the photo especially around the trees to make it look more sinister and scary as darkness is a convention of a horror film poster. I also edited the top and bottom of the photo to fade to black; this is so that when I add my text to the poster, they will be able to stand out against the dark background. To make the girl seem more sinister, I edited the colour of her dress so that it was a blood red as this makes her seem less innocent. The font for the credits is a typical font used for credits on film posters as it is thin and written in capital letters. The font used for the title of the film and the date is written in our chosen font that is featured on all three of my media products. Although, in my other media products the colour of the title was red, however on my poster I have made the title white so that it stands out against the darkbackground. Another reason I did this is because both the date andthe girl’s dress are both dark red, therefore I did not want the posterto have too much red as none of the text would stand out from therest and it would all blend into one. I have edited the font to make itlooked as if it has been scratched, this gives the effect that thecharacters in this film are not friendly and it makes it seem moreeerie. The production logo is included in the film credits as it is aconventional layout for film posters. Although you cannot see thelogo very clearly it is included on the poster as it is a typicalconvention on film posters.The tagline that I have decided to use is What Goes Around Comes Around. This is because the film is about payback and the revenge thatthe little girl plots. This is a common phrase used when talking about revenge and so it would be perfect as a catchphrase for my horror film.I have written the tagline in capital letters so that it follows the codes and conventions of a horror film poster. I have chosen the colour whitefor this text so that it stands out against the dark background.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?I felt that the combination of my main product, trailer, and my ancillary texts, website and poster, were successful. There are many reasonsas to why I believe this; however the main reason was because I kept a constant theme throughout all three of my media products. This was mainly because I used the same title for each of the products; this makes the title more of a logo as it represents the film. This then linked all three products together and allowed film recognition. This is beneficial for marketing purposes as the audience will recognise the title and associate it with the film.The colour scheme I used was consistent throughout my media products. This is because the colours I chose were conventional of horrorfilms as they suggest danger and mystery which link back to the theme of fear and horror. The colours I chose; red, black and white, alsowork well with each other so that my products look professional.When filming the trailer I made sure that I took pictures whilst filming so that the images were consistent and were relevant to the trailer.This would then mean that the audience would subconsciously link the products together. I used the iconography in the trailer of the younggirl standing alone without any facial expression to my advantage. This is because I have used similar images on both my website and myposter. I also included images on the ancillary texts that would relate to the setting of the trailer. This includes the trees where the young girlwas killed, in the wardrobe in the protagonist’s bedroom and on the stairs in the victims house.By including images of the villain on each of the products this then allows the audience to recognise that in one way or the other, this girl is abig part of the storyline.
The reason for making the ancillary texts is to advertise and promote the film. By using dark colours for the background of the ancillary textsthis means that the brighter coloured features would stand out more. This includes the title of the film and the tagline which were bothwritten in white so that this would grab the audience’s eye. I also edited the girl’s dress and the release date so that they were blood red sothat when the audience sees the poster they immediately think of blood and danger. This then allows the audience to subconsciouslyrecognise my other media products that are linked with the one they have seen.Another way I combined my media products was by incorporating the production logo on all three ofthe products in one way or another. This then allows the audience to link the three together as theyall include the same production logo; it also acts as a ‘seal of approval’ for the audience. To furthercombine my products I embedded the trailer into my website and added the website address onthe bottom of my poster. Therefore if someone sees one of my products then I have provided a way for them to view the others.To incorporate the plot of the film into my products I made sure that the font I used for the title lookedas if it had been written by a child. This is because the villain we decided to use is a young girl and thiswould link to the synopsis of the film. At the end of the trailer there is also music playing which is atypical nursery rhyme sang by a little girl. As this song sounds quite creepy we decided to use it in ourtrailer as this then relates back to the plot of the film.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?Before I even started creating my media products I had conducted a questionnaire to findout what features the audience would like to see in my film. This gave me a good idea ofwhat the audience would like to see in my products so that when creating my products Icould reference these questionnaire results and the typical conventions I found from lookingat existing media products. This allows me to use features that would please my audienceand use typical features for my products.To make sure that my products were a success I tried to gain as much audience feedback as Icould. For the trailer the audience feedback shows that both following and challenging thetypical codes and conventions of horror film trailers was a success. The audience appreciatedthe fact that following some of the conventions was necessary to make the trailer a success,however by challenging the conventions there was always an element of surprise that theaudience didn’t expect. We looked at all of the conventions and made sure that we followedthem correctly. Although, we also learned from our feedback that the audience did not understand the beginning of the trailer as they didnot know who was the driver of the car at the start and could therefore not identify each of the characters. Another problem the audiencefound with the trailer was that when the trailer became fast paced, the shots weren’t quick enough to sync with the music.To solve this problem we filmed some more footage to put at the start of the trailer to identify the driver of the car who is then later shownas the protagonist. This then allows the audience to recognise the victim later in the trailer. To make sure that the trailer was quick enoughwhen the pace started getting faster, I shortened the cuts so that it is in sync with the music and so that it creates tension and suspense withthe shots being shown at a faster pace.To gain feedback from the trailer I uploaded it to YouTube and sent the link to the other A-level media students. This allowed me to gain a lotof feedback without having to physically write down everybody’s opinions as this would be very time consuming. By posting the trailer onlineit also allowed us to gain feedback from other people from outside of the school. This was beneficial as by having random people view thetrailer who I don’t know, this means that the viewer can give me their honest opinion on the trailer as they do not know me and thereforetheir relationship with me cannot affect their feedback for the trailer.The feedback we got from the trailer shows that the audience likes the tension shown through the fast paced cuts towards the end of thetrailer. This shows that they like the suggestion of the thrill and excitement that the trailer suggests is in the film. This is another reason whywe sped up some of the shots used throughout the trailer.To gain audience feedback about my poster I asked the rest of the students in my media class for their opinions. From their feedback I foundthat I needed to add my film website to my poster. This allows the audience to then go onto my website if they wanted to find out moreabout the film. After I added the website name the audience thought that my poster looked very professional. I also sent the link for mywebsite to the other media students to get their opinions. The feedback I got from this was that the website was very interactive andprofessional, however I received some constructive criticism which was that I needed to add some music to my website.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research,planning and evaluation stages?I used a wide range of media technologies during each of the different processes. When researching and planning how to create my productsI based a lot of my research on the internet as this was the most useful resource available to me as it allowed me to view existing mediaproducts that were already successful in the market. To view each of the different types of products I used search engines such as Google tosearch the internet for existing media products such as posters and websites. To view existing horror film trailers I used YouTube as this sitehas millions of different videos available to the public including horror film trailers. I then chose three successful trailers to analyse andevaluate to give me a better idea of what features a successful horror trailer contained. By looking at these existing media products this hasallowed me to identify the typical conventions of horror film products which make them a success.Before creating the plot of the film I carried out a questionnaire to find out what my audience would like to see in my horror film, thereforewhen it comes to creating the plot, I will have something to reference to as well as looking at existing horror film plots. This gives me abetter idea of what type of horror film my audience would like to see and also allows the audience to have some input in the film whichmakes it seem more personal to them.When filming the trailer we decided not to use a tripod to steady the camera as we thought by holding the camera this will give the effectthat someone is watching the victim. This then takes the audience out of their comfort zone as they are used to steady shots, however wethought by holding the camera in our hands this would have a bigger impact on the audience.After we had completed the filming for our trailer all of the footage was transferred onto my computer. After importing the footage I foundthat the type of file the videos were saved as were not compatible with my chosen editing programme. As the footage file was .mov I had toconvert this into a .mp4 file as the footage was not compatible with the editing software. I did this via an online converter which thenconverted the footage into useable file types.The editing software that was chosen is called TrakAx. I chose to use this software as it was easy to use as I havent had much experiencewith editing film footage. However, as I was the only one in the group that had the software available to me and as I was the only one whocould use it, this caused problems as we had to find a suitable time for everyone to come over and edit the footage. This led to me having toedit the first and last parts of the trailer myself as the others in my group were sometimes not available to help with the editing process. Idecided not to use programmes such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie as I did not feel that these programmes would give the trailer aprofessional effect like TrakAx would.To make the trailer look more professional I used editing techniques that have been used on existing products to make my trailer a success.These techniques include fading and zooming into the image which I have used for the production logo at the start of the trailer. I also addeda monochrome effect over the dream sequence so that this sequence is differentiated from the rest f the trailer. TrakAx made it easy for meto replace the audio in some of the shots with sounds that are more typical of horror films. This includes adding loud thuds, crescendos, carcrashes, screaming and creepy music over the top of the original audio from the footage.
One of the problems I came across when creating my product was the sex of the antagonist. This is why at the start of the production of myproducts the villain in the film was referred to as a young boy as oppose to a young girl. We decided to change the sex of the villain as horrorfilm antagonists are usually male, however I decided to challenge this typical convention as I felt it would have a better effect on theaudience if they did not expect the villain to be who it is. Another problem I came across when creating the trailer was that some of thesounds did not sync well with the footage. I overcame this by editing the trailer further so that both the sound and image were in time witheach other. When creating the poster I had to take many pictures that could be used for the image on my poster. As the chosen actor for the antagonist was my sister, this made taking the images very easy as we could spend a lot of time trying different poses and settings etc. once I had taken my pictures and decided which image I wanted to use for the cover of my poster, I then edited it in Picasa 3 and Photoshop. The reason I chose to use these programs is because I have Picasa already installed on my computer at home which meant that I have experience with using this system. I used this program to darken and crop the image and make it fade to and from black at the top and bottom of the page. I then used Photoshop to edit the colour of the antagonist’s dress from light pink to blood red. I did this because I thought it would have a better impact on the audience and would make her look less innocent. I was quite confident when using this program as I had used it before for my pre-lim task for AS and had learnt how to use it when creating my products last year. When researching existing websites for horror films, I used the search engine Google to find the websites for existing horror films such as Resident Evil: Afterlife and Prom Night. I also researched different website navigation systems on websites for films such as The Descent and Insidious. After looking at existing horror filmwebsites and seeing what pages they typically include, this helped me when creating my own website as it allowed me to view the codes andconventions of a typical horror film website. I was quite confident when making my website as I am also studying A-level IT therefore I havehad experience with making websites before via Dreamweaver. However, I decided to use www.wix.com, an online website generator, as Ithought it would be easier and would give my website a more professional feel to it. To keep the consistency throughout my media productsI used the same theme for all three products. This then allows the audience to distinguish the connection between the products.I wrote up my evaluation in PowerPoint and then transferred it to my blog on www.blogger.com, via www.slideshare.net, along with the restof the production of my products. Whilst I was creating each of the products I made sure that I displayed on my blog what I did and why I didit when making my products. By displaying my work on a blog, this is an easier way for people to view my work and progress.