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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
• 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.