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Monday, 21 March 2011

Most common positives and negatives, from the peer reviews.


Good shot variety.

Original/Creative Credits.

Excellent camerawork.


Crackling in the soundtrack is a little distracting.

Some animation on the production logo would be good. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Our Final Opening Thriller Sequence

Sonic Moodboard

This is our Sonic Moodboard for our Thriller
hi fer43a

Analyse two past student videos.

The video had a wide variety of framing of shots including a trunk shot.
The video also had varied shot transitions and flashbacks, The holding of the shots were appropriate to the storyline, for example the shots were handheld when there was a flashback.
However, the choice of music was slightly monotonous and there could have been a better choice of soundtrack.
We have agreed to give this video a level 4 - 48 marks.

This video used excellent techniques to emphasize the confusion of the situation in the clip.

The framing of the shots in this video are used to include key elements of the Mise-en-scene, the video also used a great location, the soundtrack used in the clip fitted well with the story line as it added to the rush of things.

Final day of editing

On our final day of editing we checked through everything, and picked out what we could improve. We decided to sort out the soundtrack at the end, and used a fade out technique so it didn't stop so suddenly.
We also edited some of the titles by readjusting them.

We showed Andrea the film and she was very complimentary of the film, however she suggested we change the colour of the last few shots, to adjust the mood of the film. we used colour correction to do this, and the finishing project looks good.

We are happy with our thriller film.

As we had finished the film, we decided to edit our blog and finish any outstanding bits of work. This included our sonic mood board.

Towards the end of the lesson, we exported our film and posted it on our blog.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Location Research

We decided to film our thriller project at Cameron's house and at a near by grave yard. we chose Cameron's house as it was close to interesting locations such as the church and grave yard and we had easy access to other interesting sites as we were in the centre of town. Cameron's house was also in a practical location for every member of the group to get to.
The grave yard we chose to film in worked well with the mystery of the film and made for more interesting mise en scene.

Plan of action

1. Complete soundtrack - At first, we used a soundtrack from a signed artist. However, we were not allowed to use this for a film for copyright reasons, so this means we need to constructs something in garage band.

This is all the feedback we got, and were complemented on the rest of the film.

Editing day 5

In this lesson we continued to edit our opening. We finished the titles and added sound to our production logo. Towards the end of the lesson, we showed our film to one of the media staff. Unfortunately he seemed to dislike our film. He told us what we had to change to receive a decent grade, and those things were:

  • Delete the rewind scene
  • Create our own soundtrack, not just use one from a CD
  • Add better titles (Emphasising on the directors credit) 
  • Change the story line slightly, to make it easier to understand
We started straight away and deleted the rewind scene. We were very put off by these comments as we had before received positive feedback from Andrea about the rewind scene in particular. We got working on the sound track straight away, but unfortunately we ran out of time that lesson. 

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Rough Cut

During filming and editing so far we have learnt and improved various skills. Our skills using programmes such as Final Cut and photoshop have improved. We learnt how to create more interesting titles in photoshop and how to add movement in Final Cut.

When receiving feedback on our Rough Cut we expect classmates to comment on our lack of a soundtrack which we are still making.

Class Feedback for the Rough Cut


"Good use of match on action and transitions. Quick paced editing towards the end, well placed and continuous"


"A lot of diagetic sound at the beginning, maybe some music as he's getting ready and biking to show emotion and characters feelings at the time..." 

We had a soundtrack but we couldn't use it, so a new soundtrack is being made now, and will defiantly be included in the final video. 

"...Production sound is appropriate to logo"


"Camerawork was good! lots of cool shots, seemed to have experimented with them a lot. Good use of low angle shots and detailed shots."


"Lighting was appropriate because it was naturalistic. Props = bike + lock + alarm clock = Standard every day use. Costumes were daily wear, makes it more interesting? not suspecting anything"


"Inventive titles on parts of the house, this was very effective. Plain titles with black background interrupted some parts."


- Protagonist and Antagonist becomes clear straight away. 

- A lot of questions asked but not many answers 

- Storyline is clear.

- The narrative is carried by ordinary situations where extra ordinary things happen. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Editing Day 4

We mainly worked on the titles and sound track today. Fergus editing the credits and titles, using photo shop and by importing the font from However, he did not manage to finish all the credits and titles in one lesson.
Cameron and I worked on the soundtrack. We collected a bunch of CD's containing thriller soundtracks and sound effects and listened to each of them finding the best one for our film. We were able to find one to match our footage, but were unable to attach it to our film in the lesson. However, we are ready to attach it next lesson.
We also chose a sound effect for our logo.

During the lesson, we asked Andrea to watch our clip. She commented saying it was very good. However, she mentioned how we should cut a few seconds of the end of the last clip. The clip shows Fergus in the graveyard, and the stalker (the filmer) walking towards him. Andrea thought the clip was confusing as when the stalker walked passed Fergus, Fergus had no reaction. We as a group agreed with Andrea, and decided to cut down the clip.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Editing Day 3

During our third day of editing, we managed to complete a lot of the tasks we wanted to. We continued to work on the titles and credits, comparing different fonts. We decided to use Courier as our font through out our opening sequence. It's simple but makes a big impact, and works well with the thriller theme.

We also worked on our ending shots, by adding a blink effect to add suspense. We had some difficulties due to the blink effect being too fast, but we managed to work it out in the end, and the effect works well.

Another thing we managed to do at the start of the lesson was upload some pictures that were taken during the filming days. The pictures are shots of Fergus, from someone else's point of view. We thought we would add these into our film to add to the idea that he is being stalked.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Editing - Day 2

On our second day of editing we continued to add to our time line in final cut express. We also used the help of final cut to reverse a section of our footage. This turned out very well and has turned out the was we first planned.
Towards the end of the lesson we began to worry that our film was too long for the time lim it given. So we started to cut our shots back, and use shorter clips. We managed to cut a lot of time, without losing essential shots.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Editing - Day 1

Day one of editing was successful. We all uploaded our footage from saturday, and we all began putting our time line of shots together, in Final Cut Express.
We managed to add our production logo at the beginning of the film, by converting it to a JPEG image. However, we hope to work on our production logo towards the end of the task once all the editing is done, as we think we can make the logo look more interesting by adding animation later on.
Once putting together a section of our story board we added the soundtrack, to see if the film and the music complemented each other, and we were happy with the results.
unfortunately, we were unsure if we were able to use the soundtrack we wanted to have, but we are hoping to find out next lesson if we can for definite or not.
We also managed to create our titles and put them in the film. We really liked our titles and the editing we did to put them in.

Filming day

We started filming at 12am on Saturday 12th of February. Me and Fergus arrived at cameron's house in cambridge and began filming straight away. We began filming in Cameron's room with the shot of the alarm clock and opening the curtains. We then moved on to shooting the other shots in the house. We had no problems with all these shots and everything else went smoothly.

We began filming the shots of Fergus on the bike. This created some difficulties as the dolly did not run smooth along the road. However we be think we will be able to still use it. We shot are final bit of footage at around 2pm. After this we shot are stills in the perspective of the stalker in around 10 minutes and they came out really well.

Fortunately, everything else went according to plan. We managed to film all of our shots successfully, we had good weather conditions and we all worked very efficiently together. I think next time we could improve on following our storyboard as we did make some slight modifications to the shot list. Overall, we think the filming went really well, and we are happy with the amount of editing time we have received from filming so early.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Thriller - Storyboard and Shot List





Click on the pictures to see the full versions, because it has cut them down a bit.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Strengths and Improvements

  • One strength of mine is punctuality. I normally arrive to the lesson on time, and am rarely late or absent.
  • Another strength of mine is my abiltiy to take notes and transfer them onto our blog. I manage to type up all of the groups notes and am able to write them up into proper sentences. This shows my organisation within the group is good.
  • I feel that i am able to handle the camera and filming well, without much difficutly. 
  • One thing i hope to improve on during the thriller task is my ability to use garage band and final cut. I am not comfortable to use these programs without assistance. 
  • I also want to improve on focusing more on the task, in the lessons.
  • Lastly, i think i could improve on my input in class discussions.

Strengths and Improvements - Fergus


  • I feel that i am comfortable and also have a good understanding of how to use both garageband, final cut and photoshop.
  • Another strength of mine is my punctuality, it is a rare that I am very late for a lesson.
  • I feel that i have a good eye for cinematography and hopefully i will be able to use interesting and exciting shots in the thriller project.

  • I think i can improve on being more focused on the task while in class.
  • Another area i could improve would be would be to keep on top of blog posts and also add more detail to my blog posts.
  • One other area i think i need to improve on is creating efficient and clear storyboards.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Strengths and improvements - Cameron


  • Editing is a strong point of mine as i am comfortable with final cut.
  • Sound - I have a good idea of what music will fit well with images and i am comfortable with the Garage Band software.
  • Creating a storyline - I seem to find my ideas have contributed to creating our groups story lines
Things to improve on

  • Adding more detail to blogs - possibly by using more media terminology.
  • Cinematography - When filming make sure to frame shots correctly.
  • Punctuality - Make sure i am on time to all lessons.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Our Top Two List

The two things we are wanting to improve on are:

  • Our use of props could defiantly be improved. 
  • We all agree that our titles could be more experimental. 
The two things we like about our film:
  • Our variation of shot types.
  • Our appropriate and good use of effects. 

Sam Miners - Children's Film Analysis

The Demo


  • Good use of soundtrack/sound effects to create a safe but interesting atmosphere for the audience
  • Varied use of shot distances, eg. close ups, extreme close ups, mid shots.
  • Good use of effects to transition the boy from reality into the video game - made it clear what was happening and was very effective
  • There could've been a more sophisticated use of mise-en-scene to make it clearer that he has fallen into the video game, eg. a prop for a gun, different costume etc.
  • The titles were appropriate but could have been more creative
  • The framing could have also been more sophisticated to really show the mise-en-scene of the game. 

Intended Film Dates

The dates that we would be able to film is the 12th of february, the estimated time it will take to film will be up to 3 hours.

We will need a Video Camera, also we are going to use a mixture of a tripod, a dolly, and some hand held shots.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Pitch Questions and Feedback


1. How long will it take to film?   We think our filming will take no longer than a day. 

2. What shot types are you going to use?  We are going to use mostly montage shots, and a range of point of view shots and close up shots. 

3.Why have you used that particular name? We decided to use the name Finch, as Finch is a bird and it will link to the Antagonists feeling of being trapped in a cage. Also the antagonist has a lot of finches. 

4. Who is going to play each character roles?  Fergus is playing the main character, and Cameron is playing the role of the antagonist, however, we will not see his face.

5. Are you using hand held, tripod, or dolly shots? We are using a mixture of all three.

6. What type of editing will you use?  We will use Montage editing. Montage editing is something we didn't use last time, so we intend to use this style of editing effectively this time. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Our film idea

Overall Idea - Our thriller is going to be a psychological thriller, the overall storyline is a young adult (protagonist) who is thrust into a complex chase, from a mysterious stalker (antagonist). As the film develops we find out that the protagonist is under treatment for his disorder, At the end of the film we find out that the protagonist has been in a mental hospital and the whole story was a figment of his imagination.

Font/Texts/Graphics - The font we would use is something clean and precise which contrasts with the psychosis of the protagonist, we would use something like this  Psychological Thriller 

Title -  Finch, we are calling the film 'finch' to get away from the conventions of a common thriller being named after a condition that the protagonist is afflicted by, we have chosen this name because our character is trapped in his mental state. Much like a bird is trapped in it's cage. 

Characters -  The name of our protagonist is Isaac.
                     The name of our antagonist is not revealed during the entire film.

Locations - we will film all of our footage in the centre of cambridge and one shot in Cameron's bedroom. Pictures featuring in the opening will be taken in the centre of cambridge too.

Lighting/Color/Mood -Filming will take place in middle of the day in a open location so the lighting will be a natural light. Video footage will be in full color. While the photo graphs of the protagonist will be in black and white. This is so they can be distinguished from each other.

Costumes - The protagonist will be wearing normal casual clothing.
                   The antagonist will not feature in our opening so no costume is required.

Music/Sound - We will use an original piece of music that will be constant through the opening of our thriller. There will also be a sound of the protagonists alarm clock going of at the start of the film.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Thriller Ideas

Idea 1:
Our first idea of a thriller opening sequence is to follow a character go through a normal day, but gradually we find out that that he is being stalked. We will start off by shooting the protagonist normally, then we will reverse the whole shoot so we can see the protagonist from the antagonists point of view. We want to show that the protagonist is getting stalked.
Once we have reversed the shots, we can show the protagonist in pictures rather than film. This will emphasis on the idea that the protagonist is being watched.
We have decided that we would film this opening in color, but will use Black and white for the pictures of the protagonist.
We think we would class this as a physiological  thriller.
Our setting would be Cambridge town, where our protagonist would walk through. Although the stereotypical setting for a thriller is set at night, we have decided to do it during the day in the morning. We think this will add a slight twist to our film, and will add and unusual feel to the film.

Idea 2:
The protagonist is travelling, when he/she comes across a dead body. As a retired detective, he/she becomes obsessed with solving the crime, and becomes isolated from her/his friends and family. The foreign police, seems to be helpful, but they are corrupt and are leading the detective on a wild adventure.
The thought of the protagonist being isolated from everyone else is a typical thriller  convention.

Idea 3:
Our third idea of our thriller opening is to watch the protagonist witness a murder. However, he does not report it. Throughout the film we see his conscience take over, and he gradually becomes insane. We would use a lot of montage shots to emphasize his state of mind, and to add to the confusion he is feeling.
We would also use jump cuts to show his confused mental state, and later on in the film we see the protagonist become the antagonist.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Our Production Logo

We based our design on the thriller genre. We chose the background picture as it is eye catching, and impressive. This is the point we want to get across about our production company. We chose dark colors to catch our target audience by showing that our films are based on the thriller genre.
Although we have used mainly dark colors, we decided to add in the color red, to add a slight sense of horror. However, we didn't want to be specialized as a horror company, hense why we only added in a bit of color.
The font used in the deign adds to the thriller conventions, as it is a edgy, unusual font.
We've tried to keep our logo simple, but recognizable for maximum impact. 

Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers are a flexible production company with a diverse range of films.  There production logo emphasizes on the genre of the film. 
Sometimes the logos are edited to suit the themes of the film.

Here are a series of Warner Brothers logo's:

This logo is from The Matrix.
The colours used in this logo shows the viewer that the film will not be a light hearted family film. 

This is the original logo by Warner Brothers.
This classic logo is a recognizable image and is well known across the world.

This logo is from Inception.  The logo is still kept the same so it is still recognizable but including a unique theme relevant to the film.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Descent - Sound Lesson

Without sound
The images in the clip at first gave the impression that the film was a relaxed non-scary film. This was because the shots were bright and cuts were slow. However as the trailer went on the clip became more intense and gave the impression that it was a scary thriller film. This was due to the close ups of frightened expression,fast moving cuts and darker more intimate shots. This made it obvious that something was going wrong and gave me a edgy feeling. I could relate to the characters as the close ups gave a good view of the facial expressions. These expressions were of panic and frightened nature. So i could see they were scared. Text also appears in the clip some word include "Fear" and "Hallucination". These give a obvious sign to the type of film.

With Sound

It is clear that with sound the trailer has a completely different feel. Just from watching the distribution logo it is clear that this is not a happy film. Edgy Ambient sounds are used which fade in and out very fast. This creates a uneasy feel. The scenes were before i thought seemed harmless and normal now gave the impression that something bad was going to happen. The ambient sounds became more sinister as it went on. Because these ambient sounds are non-diegetic it gives the audience an sense that something bad is going to disrupt the characters normal day out. The dialogue in the clip also helps gives the impression that things are going to take a turn for the worst. The line " Are you sure we are going the right way" with the un easy ambient sounds makes us assume the worst. When things do take a turn for the worst the characters diagetic dialogue becomes a key element in creating suspense. we hear deep breathing and screams these give a erie feel off. Sound effects are also used over the text. Again these sounds are un-natural making the clip seem more unusual and increasing the thrill and suspense of it.  The Sound defiantly changed my reaction to the clip. Without Sound i still knew that is was going to be a scary film but with sound it was instant that it was going to be scary but with much more powerful effect. I believe the sound encouraged me to feel un-comfortable with the help of erie ambient sounds and un-natural sound effects. Also the dialogue made me feel scared for position the characters the were in.


It is obvious that sound plays a very important part in encouraging the audience to feel a certain way. It helps define the genre and plot of the film. For example natural sounds give the impression of a linear storyline while unnatural sounds give the impression of a un Linnea plot where something is not right.Sound helps to emphasise the characters reactions and emotions. Giving the audience a bigger insight into what they may be feeling. So for our thriller project it is key we select the correct sounds for the right places to empathises the emotions in the opening. We should use a variety of sounds for example ambient sounds, sound effects, non-diegetic, and diegetic. In order to create the perfect thriller clip and to maximise the effect we wish to expose the audience to.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Marking Criteria

The video is marked out of 60:

  • Level 1 - up to 23 marks
  • Level 2 - 24 to 35 (basic)
  • Level 3 - 36 to 47 (proficient)
  • Level 4 - 48 to 60 (Excellence) 
-Holding a shot steady were appropriate.
-Framing a shot, including and excluding elements.
-Using a variety of shot distances.
-Shooting material appropriate to the task.
-Selecting Mise-en-scene.
-Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer. 
-Using varied shots transitions and effects.
-Using sound with images.
-Using titles appropriately. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Conventions of a Crime Thriller

  • Crime is introduced at the start of the film.
  • Takes place in a realistic and recognisable setting.
  • Silences are commonly used to exaggerate isolation.
  • The Protagonist is intelligent this allows him to solve the crime.
  • The protagonist clashed with another character this becomes a running storyline through the film.
  • Dim and dark lighting is used to create a sense of mystery.
  • Protagonist has a troubled past. This past becomes relevant to the plot.

Action Thriller - The Bourne Identity

1-During the clip the location of action changed many times. This keeps the clip interesting fast paced and giving more opportunity for action filled scene to take place. 
The protagonist is generally athletic, confidant and attractive he is able to deal with difficult situations with ease due to his attributes. 
We are aware of the plot from very early on in the film. This allows the viewer to focus more on the action rather than trying to figure out the complicated plot. We are aware of the the goal the protagonist must achieve, the film builds up to this event.

2 - In the first scene we are instantly introduced to Jason Bourne the films protagonist. He is being chased by police through Moscow. We learn that he is troubled straight away as he begins to have vivid flash back of him in a tortured situation. This tells us that he has had a troubled past which he has not yet recovered.
We also see him let a police officer go from gun point this shows us that he is not all bad and that he has two sides to him. It also reinforces that he is the protagonist.

3- Fast transitions are used to create a fast paced action scene
    Hand held shots - Makes the viewer more engaged with the action
    Straight Cuts - Keep the action real and believable by using natural cuts.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Notes on Momento

Voice over - stream of consciousness, lack of certainty and confusion.

Protagonist has an achilles heel, he can't have any new memories. The protagonist is also vulnerable and isolated. He writes on his hand to keep track of vital information.

Perception of reality - no idea what is real and what isn't real.

Slow editing pace and close ups indicate a confusion and drowsiness of the character. a high angle in the hotel room of him just wearing a shirt thus making him vulnerable.

Black and white create an aged feel as if it is in the past, it has already happened.

Reversing of time : Non linear
                               Dual identity
                               Distorts as sense of continuity

Tense non diegetic soundtrack contributing to a sense of suspense. The stringed instruments are associated with tension.  

Close up of the eyes creates imagery.

The broken glasses of the victim creates a sense of lost identity.

Psychological Thriller Conventions

Central theme of identity - Mistaken identity, stolen identity, lost identity (amnesia), dual identity, doppelgangers.

Perception - often the narrative is shown from the perspective of multiple characters.

Reality - Confusion between what is and what isn't real. The main characters idea of reality is different to the norm established within the film.

Memory - The torture of an individual by a traumatic memory. The traumatic search for a lost memory.

Unreliable narrator - The person telling us the story is discovered to be untrustworthy. This unnerves the viewer.

Flashbacks, reversing and fast forwarding of events, non-linear narrative, editing.

Imagery - The eye is a regular visual motif.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Notes on Alfred Hitchcock's - Rear window opening.

The opening of rear window immediately uses the convention of isolating the protagonist, this is shown with a close up of the cast on his leg. This also shows the audience the protagonists weakness - he us unable to walk, meaning he cannot do anything about what he sees. Hitchcock places us in the position of a voyeur by doing point of view shots of the neighbors, giving us a sense that we are watching the neighbors as well.
Hitchcock objectifies the female character by dressing her in a bikini and putting her in the presence of men on most occasions. this gives the idea that she will be in danger at some point of the film.
Mistaken identity is used when we first meet the antagonist. At first we feel sorry for him, dealing with a nagging wife who doesn't appreciate him, however, further on in the film, we begin to see him as an evil character.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Notes - Seven

Seven is a detective themed thriller directed by David Fincher. In the opening sequence to Seven a city setting is established along with a lead protagonist role played by Morgan Freeman. In the sequence the director uses eerie music continually throughout to create a sense of tension.

We see a common convention of a thriller when Morgan Freeman (the protagonist) is isolated by a colleague at work. We also get this impression when we see him alone in his house. This immediately gives the audience the idea of isolation.

In the opening credits the director has used a montage of shots in the opening credits, to create confusion.

Difference between Horror and Thriller

The differences between Horror and Thriller is that a horror uses more gore to frighten the audience where as a thriller uses more psychological method of frightening the audience.

Conventions of Thriller

-Parallel editing
-Sinister music
-Fast transitions
-Narrative focuses on solving crime
-Exaggerated sounds
-Plot twists
-Binary opposite characters eg. protagonist and antagonist 
-Protagonist seen in parallel 
-Protagonist is isolated
-Mistaken identity
-Protagonist often has a weakness, sometimes in the title of the thriller 
-Voyeurism - watching something without someone knowing - audience becomes a voyeur