Section 1a: Digital Technology Essay

Pre Production

  • Apple’s Motion Pro X:

AS – Last year, my partner created the an ident on Apple’s Motion so, I didn’t get a chance to use it.

A2 – Since I am working on my own, I am creating idents by myself so, I got to grips with creating animations from scratch, exporting music into the application and creating a professional and realistic looking ident.

  • Keynote:

AS – I never used this in AS so, I had no experience of Keynote what so ever.

A2 – Since I was completely new to Keynote, I learnt how to use the software from scratch. Very similar to Window’s Powerpoint but, slightly more technical. Have experience with Windows but, needed to get to grips with basic (animation, font, slide setup etc)

Production

  • Nikon DSLR Camera:

AS – First had experience during the preliminary task. Learnt basics: zooming in/out, framing and composition. Then worked on it more during my coursework of creating the film opening. My partner focussed more on the camera work whilst I did sound design so, I didn’t learn a great deal more. The new thing I learnt during this task was focussing manually and I also learnt how to do a focus pull.

A2 – Like I previously said, I am working by myself so, I am going to have to work a lot on the camera work unlike last year. I have looked at techniques like crash zoom and focussing on much smaller objects like my armature. The genre of my short film was an animated adventure film but, more specifically, stop motion animation. This resulted in me taking multiple picture where I have to take into account the framing (16:9).

Post Production

  • Pixelmator:

AS – The only time I used Pixelmator in AS was for creating the idents. I had to edit a drawing of a tree to fit into our ident. However, in terms of editing and post production, I didn’t use it at all.

A2 – Like I said earlier, I am creating a stop motion animation film and since some of my sequences involve propping the armature up, I had to edit the object propping it up, out. This meant focussing much more on the “photoshop” aspect of the software and using the editing side to it in a lot more detail. I gained a lot of skill on Pixelmator through doing this.

  • Apple’s Final Cut Pro X:

AS – At the start of AS, I began my preliminary task where I only focussed on: exporting footage and editing it to specific times wasn’t too demanding. However, in my next preliminary task of recreating the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ title sequence, I had to focus a lot more on meeting specific times for editing and I also had to focus on exporting the soundtrack from the original title sequence. I also had to recreate the opening credits which meant that I had to get the credits to be animated over the footage which proved quite a challenge at first. In my film opening, the editing wasn’t so demanding, I didn’t have to match up times and clips with one another like the previous preliminary task. However, I also focussed on creating and editing the clips to fit a colour scheme and create more of a “thriller” and “dramatic” effect.

A2 – Carried on most of the skills from AS but, since I am creating a stop motion film with pictures, I had to focus on “frames per second” as well as getting the armature to look like it is actually alive and moving.


Pre-production is a huge aspect and feature of creating a film and this is where I learnt to use different software. One piece of software which I was unfamiliar with in A2 was Apple’s Motion Pro X. Last year in AS, our coursework brief was to create a film opening and with this film opening we had to study the conventions of an opening so features like idents, for example, needed to be included in our film opening too. Because last year I was working with a partner, we each had different responsibilities and my partner’s task was using Apple’s Motion Pro X to create the idents. Therefore, I didn’t use the software myself. In A2 however, we have to create a short five minute film and even though we don’t need to use idents, I felt like they would make the film look more “realistic” and look like a professional film. Unlike AS, I am working by myself so, I had to get to grips with Motion and the tools to create an ident. This consisted of learning how to create animations from scratch to just simply exporting music into the programme. Even though the idents weren’t necessary, Motion allowed me to create an ident which adds more to my film so, it was a very useful piece of software to use in my A2 short film. Another piece of software I used was Keynote. Keynote is very similar to Window’s Powerpoint which I was very familiar with. Like Motion, I had never used Keynote in AS; whether that be for my pre-production research or my evaluation tasks, I had never though to use it. In A2 though, I wanted to use Keynote to present my findings for when I researched what is typically seen in animated family films. I wanted to use Keynote instead of just writing a normal blog post and this meant I could display a range of multi-media platforms in my coursework. Luckily to my advantage, the programme was very similar to Powerpoint so, there wasn’t much to learn apart from the fact that tools were in different places to how Powerpoint would have set it out. Keynote became quite useful in my pre-production for A2 as it allowed me to explore different medias and softwares further.

The actual production of the film is arguably the most important part of the whole process as it is actually where content is made. At the very start of AS Media Studies, we were all set with a preliminary task. This task involved us filming a person walk into a room and talk to another person but, we needed to incorporate different techniques like “match on action”, for example. For this, we had to use a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera and I only really learnt the basics of zooming in/out and simple framing and composition. For the actual AS project of creating a film opening, I said previously that we had different roles between me and my partner and when we did the film opening’s production, my role was to work on the sound. Therefore, I didn’t learn a great deal more. However, we did have a focus pull in our film and I did learn to do that which became quite useful in future projects and task. However, in A2 media studies, I took up many other roles and for production, the main role I had was using the camera. My short film was an animated family film but, instead of using CGI and cartoon animation like many kid’s films do now, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a stop motion animated film. For this, I had to take many pictures of the armature to make it into a flowing object. This meant that I had to take into account what the pictures would look like in the editing process and this meant that I had to learn the framing which became 16:9. The skills of manually focussing which I learnt in AS came in handy because, it meant I already had a head start in focussing on much smaller objects like the armature I used. Using the camera to the best of my ability ensured that I could create a realistic stop motion animated film.

After the production of the film is the post-production which consists of editing and adding on any final touches to the film. For my stop motion pictures, I used Pixelmator which is another piece of Apple software which is very similar to Photoshop. I had very little experience of Pixelmator in AS as I only briefly used it to help with the idents. One of the idents we created in AS featured a drawing of an oak tree and since it was quite difficult to draw a tree from scratch, I used Pixelmator to draw the outline of a pre-drawn tree. This did not take much skill as I did not need to explore the softwares tools very much as the tool I needed was right in front of me. However in A2, some of the sequences I did with the armature involved the figure jumping up and down from different surfaces. Because I needed to take pictures of the character jumping, I had to use a white rod to hold it up. In production, I used Pixelmator to remove the rod and actually make it look like the character is floating. This required a lot more skill as it had a lot more settings as opposed to the simple pen in Pixelmator which was quite straightforward. This was a very useful piece of software as it made my A2 film look even more professional and demonstrated a lot of skill in my final product. The software which really brings everything together however, is Apple’s Final Cut Pro X which is where all the film is collected and edited on the iMacs. I did have some experience of the app at AS as at the start of the course, I began my preliminary task (the one which featured a person walking into a room and exchanging dialogue with another person) where I only focussed on exporting footage and editing it all together to make sure it all flowed. However, in my second preliminary task on recreating the opening credits to Reservoir Dogs, I had to edit the footage to specific times which was a lot more difficult as well as placing the title credits over the footage. However, in my AS film opening, it wasn’t too demanding either. I didn’t have to match up the clips with specific times like my Reservoir Dogs task but, I had to ensure that my clips would all flow together. I also used the colour corrector for the first time because, I wanted to create a more dramatic effect for the film opening which was of the thriller genre and make the colours darker to make it more sinister looking. For A2 on the other hand, I used the same techniques I learnt throughout AS. However, since I had to take into consideration the stop motion genre, I had to focus on “frames per second” which is something I had never looked at before in AS. The frames per second allowed me to make the armature look like it was actually alive and moving. Without the focus on frames per second, I don’t think my armature would have had the same movement.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Section 1a: Digital Technology

June 2013: Explain how your skills in the creative use of digital technology developed over time. Refer to a range of examples from your media productions in your answer.

IMG_0090.jpg

Pre Production

  • Apple’s Motion Pro X:

AS – Last year, my partner created the an ident on Apple’s Motion so, I didn’t get a chance to use it.

A2 – Since I am working on my own, I am creating idents by myself so, I got to grips with creating animations from scratch, exporting music into the application and creating a professional and realistic looking ident.

  • Keynote:

AS – I never used this in AS so, I had no experience of Keynote what so ever.

A2 – Since I was completely new to Keynote, I learnt how to use the software from scratch. Very similar to Window’s Powerpoint but, slightly more technical. Have experience with Windows but, needed to get to grips with basic (animation, font, slide setup etc)

Production

  • Nikon DSLR Camera:

AS – First had experience during the preliminary task. Learnt basics: zooming in/out, framing and composition. Then worked on it more during my coursework of creating the film opening. My partner focussed more on the camera work whilst I did sound design so, I didn’t learn a great deal more. The new thing I learnt during this task was focussing manually and I also learnt how to do a focus pull.

A2 – Like I previously said, I am working by myself so, I am going to have to work a lot on the camera work unlike last year. I have looked at techniques like crash zoom and focussing on much smaller objects like my armature. The genre of my short film was an animated adventure film but, more specifically, stop motion animation. This resulted in me taking multiple pictures where I have to take into account the framing (16:9).

Post Production

  • Pixelmator:

AS – The only time I used Pixelmator in AS was for creating the idents. I had to edit a drawing of a tree to fit into our ident. However, in terms of editing and post production, I didn’t use it at all.

A2 – Like I said earlier, I am creating a stop motion animation film and since some of my sequences involve propping the armature up, I had to edit the object propping it up, out. This meant focussing much more on the “photoshop” aspect of the software and using the editing side to it in a lot more detail. I gained a lot of skill on Pixelmator through doing this.

  • Apple’s Final Cut Pro X:

AS – At the start of AS, I began my preliminary task where I only focussed on: exporting footage and editing it to specific times wasn’t too demanding. However, in my next preliminary task of recreating the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ title sequence, I had to focus a lot more on meeting specific times for editing and I also had to focus on exporting the soundtrack from the original title sequence. I also had to recreate the opening credits which meant that I had to get the credits to be animated over the footage which proved quite a challenge at first. In my film opening, the editing wasn’t so demanding, I didn’t have to match up times and clips with one another like the previous preliminary task. However, I also focussed on creating and editing the clips to fit a colour scheme and create more of a “thriller” and “dramatic” effect.

A2 – Carried on most of the skills from AS but, since I am creating a stop motion film with pictures, I had to focus on “frames per second” as well as getting the armature to look like it is actually alive and moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Script Feedback

I showed my script to my teacher and a few of my classmates in order to get some feedback and to see if it needs any improvements. One of the things I found most challenging during the script writing was that my film has very little dialogue. Therefore, a lot of the script is just the exposition (stuff which isn’t the dialogue) and it obviously looked different from the typical script we usually see – there wasn’t a lot of dialogue to read so I had to mainly focus on the descriptions.

The feedback:

  • The dialogue was fine – even though there isn’t a lot (which isn’t a problem) it has been written well and it looks natural; it sounds something realistic and not over the top or anything like that.
  • The descriptions are detailed but are not full of waffle. They a short but, tell us exactly what is happening and what the character is doing.
  • Avoiding key mistakes – many people forget to have the keynote at the top of the page which talks about whether the scene is taken inside or outside and what time of day it is.
  • The script looks professional with the cover page and how the script has been set out.

The feedback was very positive so, I don’t think I will be making any further changes to the script and I will just keep it how it is.

 

The Properties of a Script

Like a storyboard, a script is incredibly important in the process of making a film. Even though a script seems like quite a basic part of the process, there are aspects of the script which are essential in creating a perfect screenplay. These can be things from the type of font to what actually needs to be included. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of things which are essential in creating a perfect script.

  • Must include: dialogue, fact based description of the action, locations. This is what needs to be in a script. Without this, actors, directors, producers etc won’t know what is going on in the scene. A storyboard illustrates what is happening but, a script is basically a description of what is happening.
  • Must NOT include: camera directions and anything we are not meant to see. A storyboard is supposed to state any camera movements or directions, not a script. A script is basically telling us what the audience would see whilst watching the film.
  • Each scene is headed by a slug line: the slug line contains whether the scene is taking place inside (interior) or outside (exterior). Since you have stated whether the scene is outside or inside, you also need to state where the location is; for example: nightclub; roof terrace; Laura’s bedroom etc. Another part to include in the slug line is whether it is day or night. When writing the slug line, it needs to all be in caps: EXT. ROOFTOP TERRACE – DAY
  • Short facts: the script should be easy to read so any facts about the location or the setting should be quick and simple short sentences. The main part of the script is the dialogue so, anything else shouldn’t be too long and drawn out.
  • Characters names always go in the middle of the page: they should also be written in caps.
  • Courier font, size 12: this is one of the most important parts in creating the script. If you are using a different font and a different size, it won’t look professional. Even the big blockbuster films had scripts which were written in this exact font and size.
  • Small paragraphs: like I said earlier, people are more interested in the dialogue when looking at a script so anything that isn’t the dialogue should be quick facts. Similarly, the same applies to paragraphs. Paragraphs should be small and should only be a few lines long at the most.

With a storyboard, you can be a lot more creative but with a script all of the things that I have mentioned are essential and should be taken into account when writing the screenplay to a film.

Shots I Want To Use

Since I want to show as much skill as possible, I am going to use a range of shots in my short film. Not only will it show skill and technique but, it will also create different effects regarding the scene and what mood I am trying to convey. After completing my storyboards, I looked at the different shots I used and I have compiled them all into a blog post. I am going to show examples of the shots as well as a description.

Wide Shot

This is one of the most common shots used in the world of film to this day. I would mainly use this shot to show the character standing up or to show a certain environment. When I use this shot to show a location, however, it would be very similar to an establishing shot. But, unlike an establishing shot, a wide shot focusses more on the subject(s) in the environment. The shot usually frames the subject (the person) with their head and feet in frame (or perhaps they could be sat down also). Whilst doing this, the environment is captured in the frame too. When doing shots like this, keeping to the rule of thirds is essential. Essentially, a wide shot shows a character and their contextual relationship with the environment.

Over the Shoulder Shot

Another much used shot type in film however, this one is used mostly in scenes of dialogue. Even though my short film doesn’t consist of much dialogue, I will mainly use this to create some sort of dramatic effect. This shot makes the audience feel more engaged with the scene as they are really (and literally) right next to the actor(s). When the girl is looking for the doll, I will use an over the shoulder shot. I might make it a handheld shot too to create more tension and a much more dramatic, voyeuristic effect. What gave me inspiration to make the shot handheld was the film mother! directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film is hugely voyeuristic and can really make the audience feel uneasy at times. mother! is a completely different genre to the one of my short film but, the effect it gave really inspired me and the use of handheld shots don’t have to be used in just psychological horrors like Aronofsky’s. Similarly, like the wide shot, the rule of thirds is essential for the framing in this shot.

Medium/Mid Shot

Yet again, another widely known shot in the world of film. This shot tends to feature the subject from the waist up and is typically used in scenes of dialogue. Like I said before, my film does not feature much dialogue but, this shot will really capture the character’s body language and a slight view of the environment they are in. The medium shot also shows the character’s emotions without focussing too much on their surroundings but, the setting still provides context for the audience. Throughout my short film, this is the shot type you will see most.

Medium Shot Hunger Games

Close Up Shot

When the action begins in my film, this type of shot will be used a lot. Because it will be used in a time of tension or escalation in the story, I would probably say this is more of a reaction shot. The close up shot often frames the subject’s shoulders and up from there. With the rule of thirds in mind, it is essential to take care of how central and non central the character is. Because this shot doesn’t focus on the character’s environment, this shot really captures the emotions – even the smallest change in them. These shots can also shape and change the story as we are very up close the actor’s emotions.

Low Angle Shot

I only use this shot once in my film in a quick scene of dialogue between the girl and her mother. The girl looks down from the top of stairs down into the hallway. Usually this shot is used to portray the subject the camera is looking up at to be more heroic or intimidating, for example. Even though I am primarily using this shot to show a scene of dialogue, it could be used to create a sense of foreboding; the doll is going to be viewing the girl as intimidating later on in the film.

Low Angle Spiderman

Extreme Close Up Shot

Much like the close up shot, the extreme close up shot still focuses on the character but it focusses on a certain attribute more. Arguably, an extreme close up shot doesn’t even have to be a close up of the character, it could just be a close up of an object, for example. I will use the extreme close up shot on the girl’s eyes when she is looking for the doll but, I will also focus on the mum’s shoe in the scene of dialogue between the girl and her mother. I took inspiration of not really showing the mother or adult in the film from Pixar films. In Toy Story 2, we never see Emily’s Mum or Dad. Perhaps for a kid’s film, the director only really want the kids to focus on the main characters. Therefore, the only thing we see of the Mum are her boots.

Here is an excellent video that shows different extreme long shots.

Dolly Zoom

A shot I am debating on doing is the: dolly zoom. The dolly zoom is an incredibly complex shot which is  very difficult to get right (that is why I am debating doing it). This shot would primarily feature a subject and a camera will track forward but at the same time, zoom out of the subject’s face. This shot was first invented by Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo to create a dizzying or sickening effect. I would use it to create a sense of discomfort when the girl sees the doll on her bed for the first time. If I were to use this technique, I would only use it once as it is such an intense shot which can become too overwhelming at times if used too much.