Hi, I'm an AS Media student, and this blog contains research into the different aspects of film and media, specializing in the Slasher genre. The research has all been put towards the development of my coursework production 'Camp Ivy', which I co-produced with Poppy and Millie. Our coursework has been influenced by the rural locations and mise-en-scene in Friday the 13th and Eden Lake.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Evaluation Q7 - Progression

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

Here is my preliminary task:

Here is my final cut:

When we were first given the task of the prelim, we had done no previous research into shot types, how to film effectively, how to edit efficiently or how to use SFX. We also had little idea about mise-en-scene and sound. The preliminary task helped us to get used to the software that we used for our final production, so that when it came round to filming and editing Camp Ivy material, the task was somewhat slightly easier. The preliminary task was not restricted to a genre, which meant that this lack of research did not majorly affect the production. However, for our specific production, research needed to be done on every aspect of the slasher genre. The intense research we conducted helped us to get a better understanding of what conventions and theories were commonly used in slasher, both modern and dated. 


Planning the preliminary task was a quick and simple process. All we needed to do was write down which shot types we needed to use, and a short brief script. We focused more on the cinematography rather than the narrative, as this was not a key issue during this task. The prelim only required one shoot, which was shot and edited in less than an hour, and we did not have to pitch an idea to the rest of the group. In comparison to this, our final production required vast amounts of planning. We had to make call sheet, story boards, shot lists, and many other plans so that we could manage our time easily and organise shoots. It was important for us to be organised, as the actors were volunteers, so we needed to make sure that we did not waste their time by not knowing what were exactly meant to be doing. As we progressed further into the course, we improved on our planning and schedules, as we needed to do multiple shoots and were constantly evaluating and editing footage, so being organised made this a lot easier. Unlike the prelim, we each individually had to pitch to the entire class our ideas for final pieces. We had to explain the synopsis and why it would have been beneficial to choose our idea, then when we had gotten ourselves into groups, we altered and decided upon a final idea. 


Poppy and myself starred in our prelim. This was because we were available on demand so it was easier to shoot, and we knew what was required of us. In our final productions, we used different actors throughout. We used different actors in the rough cuts to the final cut. This was simply down to availability on the chosen shoot day. We typed out scripts for our cast for all the shoots, so that they had a chance to learn the lines rather than being told them and remembering them off the top of their heads. We cast our actors close to the stereotypes of their chosen characters, so that the production followed theories too. Although all the actors performed well and did we wanted of them, none of them were experienced so the acting was rather amateurish. If we had cast experienced actors, the production would have dramatically improved, but finding experienced actors of such a young age is extremely difficult.

fake blood

    Because we had a basic understanding, there was no mise-en-scene, costumes or props used in the preliminary task. This was not a necessity, as the focus was on the shots and continuity editing. For our Camp Ivy productions, these aspects were extremely important. As part of the mise-en-scene, we changed the background on the scream queens phone to provide anchorage that the jock and her are a couple. For the costumes, we asked the individual characters what to wear. We had to plan this in advance, so that they knew what to wear on the day. We also took precautions such as buying extra white vests for the scream queen, so that the killing scene could easily be re-shot if it was necessary. The props we required included the knife and the flowers that are layed down in memory of Mikey. Millie made fake blood as well, to make the killing scene look effective and realistic. 

    Linton Camp
    The prelim was shot in the classroom, surrounded by our classmates. For the final productions, we used 2 different locations. The first rough cut was shot entirely at Linton Camp which was a brilliant location for a slasher film to be set, as it had an eerie mood surrounding it, even during the day time. Despite it being a good location, it was difficult to get to, so was not ideal for re shoots. For the second and third shoot, we had the idea of shooting the footage in a wooded area. We shot the footage in Middleton Woods, which was much more convenient as it is local to us. The woods was also a good location, as it allowed us to shoot effective point of view shots, and there was a lot of space available to work with. Some issues did arise when we were filming in the woods. Because it is a public areas, dog walkers were constantly walking past which halted our filming by some time. 


    We did not feel it was necessary to have any rough cuts or re shoots for the prelim, although it could have been improved by editing it slightly different. We had 2 rough cuts for our final production:

    We received very little feedback for the prelim. The only thing we were questioned on was whether the continuity editing actually worked effectively. We acted very differently for the final production. We uploaded rough cuts onto YouTube which allowed for global audience feedback. We also videoed teenagers of our age watching our unfinished production, and then asked for constructive criticism. Because they watched rough cut 2, which had no sound, they said that with sound and music it would be much more realistic and believable. Our first rough cut did not receive good feedback, so we decided to entirely re shoot the opening. Looking back on the decision now, I think that we made the right choice, rather than trying to work with what we already had, as the final product is more more effective and has been edited better than it could have been if we had used all the original shots. 

    There was no non diegetic sound in the prelim. The only sound was from the speech of the narrative. In our final production, we enhanced the diegetic sound and added non diegetic sound on top. We enhanced the chirping of the birds, which had the effect of making the audience feel relaxed and calmer. There are long drawn out notes throughout the opening, as it slowly builds up the suspense. There was also a designated sound that was heard each time the killer appeared on screen. In the killing scene, high pitched strings were used, similar to those is Psycho, which replicated and reflected the scream from the scream queen, which carry on even when she is not shown on screen. 

    In total, there are 4 idents in our production. Poppy's, Millie's, the company one and my own. By adding idents, our production looks more professional. We used transitions and SFX in our idents, to help improve them too. There were no idents or special effects in our prelim, as we were not familiar with the technology.


    shoot 1
    In our prelim, we were required to include match on action, 180 degree rule and shot reverse shot, as well as an over the shoulder shot. The shots in the prelim were also shaky, as we were not used to filming. In our production, we were granted more freedom with shot choices, as we were able to chose what shots and angles we wanted and needed. At Linton Camp, there were many different areas where effective shots were easy to take, for example framing in the near by trees. We used a dutch angle during the chase scene, to signify that something isn't right and that dangerous is near. The shots were held steadier in the final productions. We used a fig rig and a tripod to steady the camera and reduce any major, noticeable movement. The fig rig was especially useful when shooting tracking and panning shots. 


    Millie - cinematographer
    In both the preliminary task and the final production, we were in a group of 3, although the people were different. In the prelim, nobody had specific roles so we shared the work equally and all had a go at filming and editing. In the final production, we split the roles up. Poppy was the director, Millie was the cinematographer and I was the producer. We all contributed to the editing process, as important decisions regarding this needed to be made as a group, rather than one individual editing something wrong that we did not all agree on. Because there were 3 people editing, it was easier to spot mistakes too, as one person would pick up on something another had not. 

    Since the preliminary task, our skills have developed greatly. We have been introduced to new software's and technologies and have been able to create our film opening efficiently and precisely. It was important for us to have the preliminary task as a starting point, so that we could gradually develop and learn about different techniques in the filming and editing processes. 

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