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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Photographs of Location (Exterior Shots)

We took various photographs of the location, which we used to film for our Horror Trailer.
The locations we used were Bill Quay and Wreckenton both in Gateshead where we decided to use woods/forest mise-en-scene, to help set a gloomy, bleak scene along with a spooky atmosphere.

The tall trees would help create suspense and tension, where in the trailer the character could be hiding behind them watching their victim, leading to dramatic scenes. We also took various photos of the characters, some being at the actual establishing shot that we may have wanted to include in our film magazine or poster.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Analysis of Empire Magazine and Film Posters

I have decided to base my film magazine upon the Empire magazine. I will use similar fonts and colours, as well as use the name of the magazine and its slogans.

I analysed various Empire magazines, taking in account what makes the magazine stand out and interesting. I found the colourful colour scheme and the contrasting tones made an impressionable effect. The typical conventions Empire used, were the colour red, barcode, date and the magazine's website.

This version of Empire magazine is defnitely a lot more unique to the other issues. This is due to the fact that they have broken the typical convention - using the colour red, instead they've produced a different colour scheme, ranging from the colours black, gold, white and blue. Obviously the colour theme for the movie 'Avatar' is blue, which would have clashed with Empire's orginial colour scene of red.
Gold represents modern, where it makes the magazine sophisticated. There is a close-up of the character's face, where this time around the head is behind the text 'Empire'. The reason for this could be due to the dramatic change of the colour scheme, where the public may not recognise it at first; therefore the title is on view; catching the audience's attention. Black is used which sets a dramatic mood.

Black, again is used which sets a dramatic effect on the magazine, with blue blended in. The typical convention is included in this issue, where the font colour is back to red and the image is placed in front of the text, while furthermore the barcode, date and website address is included. Snapshots from various films have been captured showing close-up's on their face's and placed on the left hand side of the magazine. All together, 5 different colours are used. The camera seems to be shot at a low angle, with a medium shot of the model. It tends to blend in with the background, which creates suspense. White font is striking and clear to see, which is an effective way of grabbing the reader's attention.

I analysed a range of Horror film posters, looking at the typical conventions they used, and how I could aspire to them and interperet them in my own poster.

All of the existing posters show the typical conventions, where they tend to include the name of the film and its release date, along with a slogan line, as well as the name of the stars, credits/productions, shown at the bottom of the page and sometimes showing the age certificate and mise-en-scene to reflect the film’s plot.
'Drag Me To Hell' shows a medium close up of a woman screaming, where she looks as though she's in a struggle of escaping from something. When looking closer you can see a pair of unusual looking hands grabbing onto her, where the mise-en-scene shows a house in the background, which fades in with the hands. It contrasts effectively with the fire shown at the bottom, where her body also fades in with this, as though she is on fire. The fire could be some sort of representation of hell, as this is the sort of picture it paints, creating drama. The dark colours suggest danger, bad. In the poster 'Sorority Row' the layout is slightly different. Although it holds the same conventions and the characters look traumatised and in a struggle, it shows photograph strips consisting of various shots that have been taken from the film fo the characters that tend to be close-up showing their reactions. Dark tones are used, again suggesting bad.

'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'Orphan' are the complete opposite of eachother. 'Orphan' hols a mysterious type of mood, where the public are unable to work out what genre of film this is. However, the slogan line "There's something wrong with Esther" shows an indication not everything is normal, and that there will be some sort of twist in the film. It is a close-up shot of the girl, where she is staring straight towards the camera, looking evil. Her black hair and white skin contrast effectively together, along with her wearing blue, could be a suggestion she is the powerful character instead of being the vulnerable orphan. The black shadowing underneath her eyes creates suspense, and adds scary connotations to the poster. In the poster 'The Hills Have Eyes' holds a much brighter colour scheme, which tends to not be the case for the genre Horror. The red colour suggests danger once again, or blood. It shows a close-up shot of a woman's face, screaming looking terrified lying on one side of her face. There is a hand pressed against it, which gives the impression she is being forced down to the ground. The yellow tones hold warmth, however this is not the case here; instead its the compelete opposite.

'The Uninvited' poster shows a girl looking through a large glass window, where her face has been blacked out. The reason for this may be to hide the character's identity and avoid giving away any major plot lines. The background shows a mise-en-scene of a forest, where mist can be seen, a familiar convention used in horror, to add suspense. The setting is a major element when establishing what the genre of the film is. The girl can be seen wearing white, representing innocence. 'The Strangers' poster shows a mise-en-scene of an interior shot of a house, which looks quite warmly with the bright lighting. The light seems to focus on the woman character, suggesting she is the central character in this film, where it shows a long shot of her, staring towards the camera. However, in the background there is dark shadowing which blends in well with the dark figure, giving the impression they are the villain. However, the white mask worn, can be seen, standing out.

'Sorority Row' shows the setting of a house in the background on fire, creating drama. However the poster doesn't hold many horror connotations, as it instead just shows six young girls together staring the camera. But their skin tone is quite pale, a suggestion to them being victims here. They are all seen wearing black, an indication to them attracting bad or evil looming over them. The house on fire creates tension, and the way in which it seems to be looking over the girls, as if it has dominance over the situation. The fire seems to have a narrative side, thats something happens in the house. Again, credits, the film's production company, date of the film's release and the name of the film are presented near the bottom of the page. 'Wolfman' shows a medium close-up of a woman standing behind a tree, where the camera is shot at a low angle, making her look dominant. However this is contradictory in itself as the expression on her face looks terrified of what's going on, making her look like she's in a vulnerable position. The poster holds the typical setting of a horror film, it being a forest with mist and darkness and dark natural lighting. A small figure can be seen in the background, a suggestion this is the villain in the film, which a horror film always includes when looking at the character side of things (propss theory). The framing of the photo isn't perfectly straight, instead at a slight angle which puts emphasis on the photo.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Analysis of Trailers

I will be analysing a variety of trailers based on the genre, Horror, where I will look at the different conventions. This will help me decide what type of music, camera angles and shots to include in our trailer and what will make it effective.

Paranormal Activity

One of the films I decided to analyse was Paranormal Activity,which is an independent horror film written and directed by Oren Peli. It was premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival in the U.S. on October 2007, and was shown at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 2008. It received a limited release in several U.S cities on 9th October 2009 which later lead to a nationwide release on 16th October 2009. It has had major success across the nation, and has been rated one of the scariest films of the year.

The movie is based on a young, middle class couple who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their suburban home. It is presented in a cinema Verite style – similar to a documentary, where throughout the film the camera is hand held. The opening shot is of the couple’s house, what looks like a modern, normal house. The camera is held at a slight tilt, where you’re seeing what they’re seeing, as if real, however the camera tilt suggests something is wrong.

A medium shot is shown of the woman Katie, sitting down, where the camera seems to be at a low angle looking down on her, making her look vulnerable. The man, Micha’s voice is heard speaking over the trailer in the film. He seems experienced of what he’s doing, as if he has done this before and quite confident because of him mocking his girlfriend. He comes across as though he doesn’t believe her and as if it’s all imaginated. A shot of his reflection in the mirror is shown with him holding the camera, giving the illusion we are only going to see what’s happening through them filming it with a camera. Throughout the film the framed shots are not perfectly captured, instead it is generally shaky due to a tripod not being used.
When he says “My girlfriend thinks something is in the house.” It automatically makes the audience think that something is in their house.

A close-up shot of the blinds holds an important element to the film, when the characters look through them. It’s as if they are looking for/at something. A shadow is reflected on the white blinds, which creates suspense; if it is the man’s shadow or somebody else’s. This is a typical key convention of a horror film.
Quick fade up and down of shots are captured, where Micha is heard saying “Doors locked, alarms on.” and then a long shot of him putting white powder (for footprints) on the wooden floor, where camera slowly zooms out. This indicates they are trying to capture a trespasser in their home. Shadowing in this part is a key convention of a horror film, creating a tense feeling.

There is then a cut where the mise-en-scene of the couple’s bedroom, where the video recorder is placed on some sort of chest of drawers in front of the bed from a long point of view, with the bedroom door left open. The time on the bottom right hand corner, suggests realism where the camera will be recording all the going’s on in the bedroom to the upstairs landing. The video shot is set in a black and white theme/night mode suggesting it is now night time, setting a gloomy mood. Some sort of light is seen glaring on the wooden wall post of the bed which could be the street lights shining in on the room or the light from the video camera.
Quite a few fades up and down take place throughout the scene, instead of various cuts. It begins to get faster, while the sound becomes louder, which creates a lot of drama throughout the trailer. Before the couple both wake up in bed, a sound similar to someone breathing lightly is heard, as if it is passing the camera, indicating this is what awakes them, where Katie is heard asking “Did you hear that?”.

A straight cut to the light being turned on takes place, where the camera is hand held focusing on the floor from low angle showing the white footprints, panning across them. Katie’s voice sounds shocked and scared when she says “oh my god”. A long shot of her crouched down on the bed with her expressing her feelings of the situation - her hand over her mouth and shocked. Micha is filming by this point.
A cut to the title card with it presenting large font “One of the scariest movies of all time – Bloody Disgusting.” This is very effective and stands out to the audience, due to the white text contrasting with the black background. Sforzando sound is used in this part too, with the sound of shattering glass. Voice over of a man saying “you cannot run from this! It will follow you.” The way which the screen jumps to different cuts, is as if its electricity, where it becomes faster, while the editing and music is quicker and louder. The characters voices soon begin to sound hysterical, where Katie is heard saying “What’s happening to me?” (she thinks she’s going mad).

A quick flash of a close-up of someone grim appears towards the end of the trailer, indicating to the audience that some sort of monster is torturing the couple, causing their marriage and life to start to break apart because of the stress they are being put under.

In the trailer the fast editing and cuts and loud sounds such as drum beats and other rhythms building up throughout, create suspense and a frightening image. Just when you think that all of the scary moments are over, the man is thrown towards the camera, which sets a realism theme, as it’s as though he is being thrown towards you.

The Grudge (2004)

Plot: Karen Davis is an American Nurse moves to Tokyo and encounter a supernatural spirit who is vengeful and often possesses its victims. A series of horrifying and mysterious deaths start to occur, with the spirit passing its curse onto each victim. Karen must now find away to break this spell, before she becomes its next victim.

Release Date: 5th November 2004 (UK)

Genre: Horror Mystery Thriller

• Starts off with quiet slow non -diegetic music which builds up to a faster more upbeat sound where eventually diegetic sounds are heard, such as screams and voices. This creates suspense and drama. It then goes back to slow beats where whispers and wind type sounds can be heard.

• Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar then begins to speak, giving the audience a brief insight what is going on, where the trailer then leads into more tense music, getting faster

• At the beginning of the trailer writing is displayed, and shown throughout showing quick cuts.

• Camera shot at a low angle looking up at the character in the house is shown where it, pans up towards her. She looks worried and curious.

• Medium close-up and close up shots displayed

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, is a continue on horror film of I Know What You Did Last Summer. It involves a young student, whose friend wins a trip to go to the Bahamas, with three people. Thinking it will be a relaxing break and lots of fun; she is instead tormented by the same unknown stalker, who knows her secret concerning her and her old school friends, where they committed a hit ‘n’run.

In the opening scene it shows a brief clip of some sort of tiger logo, (gathering this is some sort of sponsor), where non-diegetic music is being played, which is a quit upbeat, happy tempo. There is then medium close-up shots of the two young friends, where they diegetic sounds include them yelling and screaming with excitement; showing that they are over joyed at some news. The mise-en-scene is set in what looks like they’re apartment, in a brightly lit room – sunlight suggesting happiness.

A close-up shot of the girl’s hand (due to the feminine connotations of rings she’s wearing) stroking a photo of a young girl is shown, indicating they were someone special to them. The over voice of a man saying “after what happened last summer’ is a reference to her no longer being around.

The next shot is the mise-en-scene of the sea and beach, stating that they are now in the Bahamas. Again the mood seems cheerful due to the hot weather. What looks as though a low angle camera shot of the friends at the holiday resort, looking down on them makes them look vulnerable and as if they are being watched. The scenes of them on the night time are then shot, where medium shots appear, cutting to various angles of them sitting down. The girl is seen from a long medium shot up singing along to karaoke and where diegetic music of the song is heard. Everybody seems to be in good spirits where the mise-en-scene is in the bar; until she says “wait I forgot the words”, turning around to look at the screen. Straight away this is an indication that something is about to happen. A non-diegetic sound is added which sounds like a typical sound convention of a thriller, where a close up is shot of the tv screen saying “I still know..” cutting back to the girl through a close up shot, showing her reaction, where she looks shocked. The clip zooms even closer on the tv, where it then cuts back to her turning around as if she’s looking for the culprit who did it or if shes just imagining it.

There is then a cut to a new scene where a shot of the sky with striking lightning is seen, creating suspense and drama. The camera pans from behind the girl, as if someone is standing behind her, watching over her whilst she is opening a letter written to her. The next scene is where there is a straight cut of her opening a wardrobe, with a medium shot of her face, at a low angle; again suggesting vulnerability. A body then drops down, with a supreme close up of her reaction – screaming and the camera then zooming outwards. There is then a cut to her running out to tell her friends “its happening again”. This is where the faster cuts, editing and music begins and the girl becomes hysterical. Sforzando sound can be heard. The way which the screen jumps to different cuts, is as if its electricity or in this case the lightening striking the camera, making the cuts look extremely effective and dramatic. Further cuts to scene to scene take place; where in one of them the camera is at a very low angle, as if located on the ground looking up at a pair of feet opening a door. This is typical key convention of a horror film, where they tend to not reveal the killer’s identity until the end of the film; which capture’s the audience’s attention; where they will be full of curiosity. Another is where he holds some sort of weapon, indicating this is the killer; where he is dressed all in black with his hood up covering his face. The colour black represents anger or sadness, or in this case death.

There is a scene shot from her behind, where she tilts her head upside down to dry it with a towel, at a medium shot. A reflective light can be seen in the background, whether it is the light from outside or not it gives the illusion that somebody is there, and through the mirror we are only going to see what she’s going to see. A dark shadow can be seen, which could resemble the killer in the background. Again, the electricity type cut happens which fits in with the diegetic sound of the thunder, while the killer walks past, where the character is unknown of their presence. When she demands “I want off this island” and the receptionist replies “that’s not possible”, it makes the audience tense, as they are probably aware of partly some of the synopsis now. A cut to the killer dressed in their black cloak at a medium shot of him swiping his hook across the screen, towards the camera which is located at a low angle looking up, appears to be the dominant character, (shows who is in control) and presented in a realistic way (as if you are there personally) This then leads to a quick cut of a close up of the girl turning her face around at the same speed as the hook, creating an effective shot.

30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night is a Horror/Thriller which was released on 1st November 2007 (UK), which I a story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town's husband-and-wife Sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction.

Trailer’s tend to start off with an equilibrium which are balanced, and everything seems normal however this isn’t the case in 30 Days of Night trailer; instead it goes straight into the dramatic scenes. It opens with a fade, zooming in on the woman character. You get the feeling that someone is watching her from the side. There is an establishing shot of the kitchen, where pans and food can be seen which shows realism. Everything is quiet and slow, where it creates suspense, as though something is about to happen. There is both natural lighting from outside, that is dark, dull and misty setting a miserable mood, while also interior lighting which is quite bright which could suggest warmth. The woman character looks as though she is thinking about something; with her head faced in a downwards position and her arms placed in the sink. She is wearing light blue which could be a connotation of being a victim. It then cuts to the next scene, where her partner is sitting in the living room, with his chin placed on his hands, giving the impression something is wrong or he his fed up. Similar lighting is used, where the mise-en-scene comes across family orientated due to typical conventions shown such as photos. The male character is wearing darker colours; suggesting he isn’t the victim, here. There is then a quick cut to something smashing through the window and then fast pan showing a medium close-up shot of the man’s reaction.

A close-up of the woman being dragged out of the window is shown, where she is dragged underneath some sort of hut. The lighting is much darker, where it is snowing, creating suspense. Diegetic sound can be heard of the woman screaming, showing her terrified she is. You then receive her point of view of her partner trying to help her and her being dragged underneath the hut, away from him. This then leads to quick fade/blackout.

The film’s production company’s logo, Columbia Pictures is shown, where the trailer begins to give a brief insight of the film, presenting white text on screen. Non-diegetic sound can be heard, which is quite subdued and sounds similar to the sound of wind. It shows various shots; slowly fading in and out of scenes; sometimes showing the establishing shots at a wide angle. In the next scene it shows people outside, with torches, reference to them searching for someone, significant to horror films. A wide range of shots and angles of the man are shown, suggesting he is the central character in this part of the scene. Noises can then start to be heard, where suddenly a flash occurs, where he is attacked. It shows a close-up shot of the culprit who’s to blame for the killing, giving off a chilling feeling.

Cut to different scenes take place, where they gradually start to speed up, where everything starts to go wrong. We know this when there is a power cut, and then there is a blackout. The text/credits then turn red suggesting danger/evil, while the music becomes faster and a lot more upbeat. The camera movement is shaky as if it’s being hand held . a high angle shot (from a rooftop) of a woman walking through the snow in the street, indicates she is less dominant over the situation that is about to happen and that she has no control over it and is being watched. Again fast paced cuts are shot, flashes, fades up and down and extreme close-ups of the characters to show their reaction, creating emphasis, aswell as the ‘vampires’. This is where it begins to kick in the plot of the storyline, where everything is not balanced anymore; instead everything goes wrong and dramatic. Sforzando sound you can hear, similar to the sound of lighting and shattering glass. Finally in the last part of the trailer there is a close – up shot of a women who looks distressed and terrified, where some sort of figure is seen biting into her neck leading to the sound of her scream, typical convention of the genre horror.

The Uninvited

The Uninvited, straight away shows typical conventions of trailers, one being introducing the film production/company and another the voiceover of the girl actor speaking and non-diegetic music being played. An extreme close-up of shot of the back of her head is seen which could suggest she is being watched. When she says “I can’t remember what happened that night” this is an indication something has happened in her past, leading straight into a cut of a candle dropping towards the floor and a close-up reaction shot of a girl turning around, who looks shocked. There is an orange type light that can be seen reflecting off a younger version of her, a symbol of warmth, where the audience soon finds out that that night she was talking about involved a fire. There is a high angle shot of the house on fire showing that it has no control.over the situation. There is then a blackout leading into an open fade of a close-up shot of her face where you can hear a man saying “you lost your mother in the fire”. Low angle shot of feet running through a corridor, an indication of that person trying to escape something bad, where there is then a high angle shoot looking down on the character, suggesting they are not dominant; instead in a vulnerable position. This can also be seen in the next clip where there is a much higher angle shot of a car driving on a road, as if they are being followed. Throughout the trailer there man fades up and down and dissolves of cuts to cuts – a typical convention found in trailers.

Further on in the trailer there is a scene where the camera zooms in on a door panning towards it, giving the character’s point of view walking towards it, giving the audience her point of perspective. Dark lighting is used, however there are blinds at the side covering the windows, where light from outside can be seen reflecting inside. The dark shadowing on the walls create suspense and a sign of anger or jealously, which fits in well with how the young girl is feeling about her dad and his new partner. An extreme close up shot of her eye is shown, where the lighting is shining on it.

In another scene the girl’s father’s partner is heard saying “Im really hoping we can make this work”, however it sends out some sort of signal that what she is saying here couldn’t be further from the truth and that she is up to no good; especially due to the shot of her looking up, at a close up shot and making eye contact with the daughter; coming across mysterious. There are plenty of different types of shots and angles, mainly to add drama and showing the characters reactions. From when the girl wakes up after having a nightmare, the camera zooms out extremely fast where the music starts to change, beginning to become faster and sound a lot more dramatic. It then includes other trailer connotations where they show the credits of the film (from the producers of The Ring and Disturbia) in bold text to stand out to the public and inform them. They are trying to reach out to the correct target audience, for instance there may be a young audience between the age 16-25 who enjoyed those films, therefore this film would be suitable for them to watch. This is a major element that tends to be found in trailer's where they try to address the right audience type.

Again many fades appear in the next part of the trailer, cutting from one scene to another, where each clip begins to get faster fitting in with the pace of the soundtrack. It shows a black and white theme, of a young girl which suggests the trailer is looking back in the past/older days. There is a high angle camera shot looking over the main character kneeling on the ground at a graveside, creating tension. The girl can be heard saying “look at this” where there is quick cuts of shots of newspaper cutting’s displaying the word ‘murder’ in large font, an indication that the characters are searching for information about the young children they think have been killed by their father’s partner. The trailer includes familiar connotations throughout, where by the end of the trailer voiceover’s can be heard, along with dramatic non-diegetic sound (lightning sound effects), quick clips. There is a low shot of the girl looking towards the camera, where the audience receives the floor’s point of view of her, where she is about to look underneath the bed. There is then a black out leading into a close-up shot of an arm coming from underneath bed again leading into another blackout, eventually showing the character’s reaction. At the end of the trailer a glass of milk can be seen where it is dropped and smashes on to the floor turning into a red colour which is thought to be a representation of blood, not giving the plotline away, ending on a cliff hanger ,where the audience are left wondering if the young character has been killed.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Music Agreement

After deciding to use The Kills soundtrack 'Sour Cherry' for our film trailer. Because it's copyright we thought it would be a sensible idea to email the band or their management, to ask for permission or inform them of us using their music. This is the letter Rachel sent to 'The Kills'. Unfortunatly we didn't get a reply but decided going ahead with using the track.

"Hi I am Rachel Talbot from Heworth Grange Comprehensive School 6th Form in Gateshead. I am working in a group on a media project, making a trailer for a horror film, and we have become very interested in using your song, 'Sour cherry'. Is it possible that we would be able to use this in our trailer? The only people who will see it is the examination board and my group. I can always send the finish project to you also."

Please email back when you can


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Music Choice

From the set of song samples we posted on a poll on Niomi Bolam's blog, Sour Cherry by the kills won, with a total 60% of votes.

Shout when you wanna get off the ride
Shout when you wanna get off the ride
Shout when you wanna get off the ride
'Cause you crossed my mind, you crossed my mind
Made my blood thump 7-8-9
Make my heart beat double time
Now I'm only sour cherry on the fruit stand, right
Am I the only sour cherry on the fruit stand

Shout when you wanna get off the ride
Shout when you wanna get off the ride
'Cause you crossed my mind, it crossed my mind
I'm a penny in a diamond mine
We could be movers,
We could be shakers
If we could just shake somin' outta the blue
and get off the ride

I'm the only sour cherry on the fruit stand, right
Am I the only sour cherry on the fruit stand?
If I'm the only sour cherry on the fruit stand, right
Am I the only sour cherry on your fruit stand?

G-g-g-go home, go home it's over
G-g-g-go home it's over
G-g-g-go home, go home it's over over
Go go home it’s over
G-g-g-go home, go home it's over
Go go home it's over
G-g-g-go home, go home it's over over
Go go home it’s over

The lyrics will fit well with the theme of the trailer, as it is about not fitting in and Angelica doesnt fit in with Katie and Grace.


We came up with numerous storylines, where we mind mapped our ideas onto a brainstorm.