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Evaluation Activity 7

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Evaluation Activity 7 for G321.

Looking back on your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?

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Evaluation Activity 7

  1. 1. Preliminary Continuity Task Final Product: Down in the Woods Evaluation Activity 7 Looking back on your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?
  2. 2. Camerawork  In comparison to the preliminary task, the variety of shots that we used in the final product increased dramatically. This is also true for the number of camera movements.  In the preliminary task there was one high-angle shot and one low-angle shot, but the rest were simply shot without a change in angle. However in our final product, we realised we could connote a lot about a character’s emotional/physical state through angles. For example when Ally is attacked by the Demon, there is a low-angle shot looking up at the Demon [from Ally’s POV] making him appear superior and dominant in the situation. There is also a high-angle shot [from the Demon’s POV] looking down on Ally, making her appear vulnerable and weak. We employed the use of a high-angle shot in the bedroom scenes, to emphasise her character’s vulnerability. We even used a canted angle at one point to show Ally being attacked by the Demon and emphasise the violence of the moment and help to engage the audience.
  3. 3. Camerawork  In terms of shots, there were very few shots in the preliminary task; they were mainly: wideshots, medium-shots and close-ups. The lack of more extreme framing meant that the final product was quite detached in nature: meaning the audience would most likely not engage with it.  However when planning out our final product, we ensured to utilise a wide variety of shots knowing that they would help us to engage and excite the audience and create something that was visually dynamic.  For example: ee used a lot of POV (point of view) shots to show things from certain characters’ perspectives, which helped the audience to connect with them. Also wide shots were used in the bedroom scenes to emphasise Ally’s loneliness and isolations. [Extreme] close-ups allowed us to show the audience character’s raw emotions.
  4. 4. Camerawork  Finally, there was absolutely no camera movements in the preliminary task, meaning it was very static and lacklustre. In the final product, we make use of a wide variety of movements which helps to increase the pace (or decrease, where necessary) of sequences and create something engaging.  For example we use focus pulls to reveal the Demon, which is visually exciting but serves as a plot device as well. Tilts are used in the bedroom scenes to slow the pace down, connoting Ally’s near-catatonic state. We use pans to reveal things and just generally gain a sense of movement.  We even tried using the dolly to add even more movement to our product, however we learnt that unless you are working on a smooth, level surface the shots that the dolly produces are far too shaky to be used. This was the case as we were filming in a forest using a very uneven path.
  5. 5. Camerawork  In terms of composition, the composition of our shots definitely improved from the preliminary task. Whilst in the preliminary task, the shots were framed very simply – they were also often too wide. This meant that the shot often lost it’s purpose or focus.  In the final product while the framing improved, there were still instances where it was slightly too wide.  Also something we included in the final product, that was missing from the preliminary, was depth of field. We used things like focus pulls to great effect. We found that changing the depth of field, i.e. what was in focus, was very effective.
  6. 6. Editing  The editing in our final product is much more sophisticated in comparison to the preliminary task. In the preliminary task, the events occur in chronological order – employing a linear narrative. As not much happens (plot-wise) in the preliminary task, the result is quite boring.  In our final product we use parallel editing to convey two storylines at once. Compared to the simple linear narrative structure of the preliminary task, the use of a more complex editing (and narrative structure) helps to intrigue the audience. We realised that we would have to explicitly emphasise the fact that the scenes with Ally in her bedroom and Ally and Tyler were occurring at different time, in order to make the parallel editing work. We achieved this mainly thought mise-en-scene elements. For example:
  7. 7. Here you can clearly see the differences between the two frames, thus making the parallel storylines clear. • LIGHTING: the lighting in the forest scenes is high-key, it’s very bright and connotes happiness and tranquillity. However, in the bedroom scenes, the lighting is lowkey; it is much darker. This connotes danger, grief and mystery. • COSTUME: in the forest scenes, Ally is wearing bright colours, and form fitting clothes. In utter contrast, in the bedroom scenes she is wear loose, drab clothes that are very plain, washed out colours (white and grey). This connotes that the Ally seen in the bedroom scenes is very different to the Ally seen in the forest. • COLOUR: (connected with lighting and costume) in the forest, Tyler and Ally stand out against the forest because of the bright colours they wear. However in the bedroom scenes, Ally stands out against her colourful bedroom, littered with photos and mementos, because of her plain dress. • HAIR AND MAKE-UP: in the bedroom scenes Ally wears no make-up and looks tired and worn. There is also substantial scarring on her left cheek. Her hair is tangled and messy. However in the forest scenes, Ally is wearing subtle make-up and her hair is styled.
  8. 8. Editing  In the preliminary task, the transitions used were very, very basic; in fact most of them were just jump cuts. We realised that jump cuts can be effective, but continuous use just creates something that is not very fluent, and actually quite boring.  In the final product, we used a variety of transitions. We used fades and dissolves and this gave a much more sinister effect; something that was vital to establishing our opening sequence as a supernatural thriller.  We also used jump cuts, but these were placed with care. We found that when used sporadically and in scenes with high tensions and fast pacing, jump cuts are very effective.  Another thing we experimented with in the final product, that we did not attempt in the preliminary task, was colour. There is a particular shot in the final product, from the Demon’s POV, were we desaturated the colour, so as to establish the Demon as a supernatural being.  Additionally, we used sound to a much greater effect on the final product. In the preliminary task there is a distinct lack of non-diegetic sound and we learnt just how much music contributes to the atmosphere and ambience that you want to convey. We also learnt that even when you are primarily relying on non-diegetic sound, it is very important to have diegetic or ambient sound underneath as well, even if it does nothing but increase the verisimilitude.
  9. 9. 180 Degree Rule  In our preliminary task, there was one shot where we broke the 180 Degree Rule:  I feel whilst producing our final product I came to understand the 180 Degree Rule much better: as a result in our final product the rule is not broken.  However I still found it challenging to be sure if we were breaking the Rule or not, especially when filming the over-the-shoulder shots for the shotreverse-shot sequences. Here the rule is broken because previously, throughout the sequence everything has been shot from the right-hand side of the line. However in this shot you can see the shot is more to the left side of the line rather than the right.
  10. 10. Match on Action  The match on action used in the preliminary task is rather rudimentary. It is also quite jerky, there are clear stop and starts – the action doesn’t flow smoothly. The problem for this mainly lay in the editing.  Whereas in our final product, the match on action is much smoother. Also we use a wider variety of shots for match on action, e.g. the sequence where Ally sees the necklace uses a POV close-up, extreme close-up and a medium close-up.  Smoother match on action increases the verisimilitude of our product and helps it achieve a higher quality.
  11. 11. Shot-Reverse-Shot  I feel that our use of shot-reverse-shot improved greatly, in the final product, from what we produced in the preliminary. For instance in the preliminary, the shots linger for too long (on each subject respectively) and the framing is too wide.  Also, the duration of each shot is much shorter – meaning the rhythm of the sequence feels right. Also the framing is much tighter, not only allowing the audience to be engaged, but ensuring the focus is on the characters.  However, there are some instances where the over-theshoulder shots could have been improved [in the final product] as at times the framing could have been tightened.
  12. 12. Shot-Reverse-Shot  Another issue we had with some of our over-the-shoulder shots in the preliminary task, was backlighting. Backlighting means that the subject of the shot is often darkened/silhouetted against the bright light shining behind it.  During filming for the final product we were wary of backlighting occurring – especially as we were working with very bright light in the forest scenes. We learnt that we had to be aware of the light source when positioning our characters. Unfortunately, there is one or two shots in the final product, where backlighting occurs. However, these actually have something of a dramatic effect.

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