Better late than never, I figured that I should be able to complete my film poster today. My film poster is relatively simple, and most of the connotations and effects I hoped to portray in it are present within the actual photograph itself. This means that largely the completion of my poster involved two tasks:

  1. Further editing the actual photograph itself in Photoshop. This way I can create light effects that I was not able to do with a camera alone
  2. Add the official information to the poster. For example: main title, billing block, release date, tagline and actor’s titles.

I thought that seeing as I am not particularly well-versed in the use of Photoshop, I would tackle the editing of the photograph first, as it would probably take me the longest to figure out how to do. The following is a list of the steps I went through in order to end up with the finished edited photograph:

1. I opened up the image in Photoshop. Despite my previous convictions, I decided to not go for the photo I had selected in my previous post regarding the Ancillary Task. I thought that firstly there would not be enough room at the bottom third of the poster for vital information such as the main title and the billing block. Secondly, I thought the photo was a little too dark. I figured it would be easier to darken a photo than lighten a photo. This is why I decided to work on the lighter twin brother of the photo I had originally chosen, which can be seen below:

My eventual choice of picture to edit.

2. I wanted to be sure that I could always come back to the photo in its original state, so I duplicated the background and worked on the duplicated layer, so I could return to the original when necessary.

Duplicating the background layer

3. I then added a ‘layer mask’, to give me a free palette upon which to edit. This mask could be revealed so that how the picture looks overall can be revealed.

The 'layer mask' tool

4. Originally,I attempted to use the ‘Colour Burn’ technique. This darkens whichever pat of the picture you select slightly, in a ‘burnt’ fashion. I originally applied this mostly to the left hand side (furthest away from the candle) and slightly along the bottom of the picture and a small part in the top left of the picture.

[Picture to be inserted]

5. I instead thought that I could get a better effect with the ‘Gradient’ tool. This would make the darkening of the edges more equal and proportionate, therefore making it look more real. On the layer mask, I applied the tool, with the gradient moving darker from the right to the left.

[Picture to be inserted]

6. I then applied a second gradient, moving from the bottom up. I was taking the candle as the main light source, so I therefore had to assume that the farther away from the candle any point of the picture was, the darker it had to be. The candle is roughly in the top right hand corner, meaning the bottom left hand should technically be the darkest part, hence the addition of this second gradient.

[Picture to be inserted]

7. I also felt that the faces of the girls in the pictures were extraordinarily light, and it contradicted the lighting of the overall picture. On another layer, I added a black-coloured spot over their faces and then weakened the contrast of this layer, so that only the spotted areas were darkened on the overall picture. After a few other minor tweakings, this is what the final picture looked like:

[Picture to be inserted]

Adding Titles

8. I thought the first title I would add would be the main title. I thought it would make a good judge as to whether the font and title style actually worked, as technically the main title should be the part of the poster which draws the most attention and is the most dominating feature. If it did not look good, then it would somewhat suggest that the style would work at all.

After importing the font, I split the title into three parts; ‘The Season’, ‘to be’ and ‘Jolly’. This was because I wanted the words ‘The’ ‘Season’ and ‘Jolly’ to be the largest and most noticeable. So I made these two parts the same size, but made the ‘to be’ smaller. I also wanted to be able to move the title about so it was not just on one line, but was relatively split up, just as in my original design.

My initial poster design in which the main title was yellow

Once I had gotten the sizes right, I coloured the titles. In my original plan, they had been a pale yellow. But once I had completed all the above stages, I simply did  not feel that this yellow would work, or that it would be bold enough to stand out. I tried the titles with the same red colouring as they had in the titles of my actual video production. This deep red stood out a lot more than the yellow, and also it allowed me to keep up continuity across all elements of the production. Furthermore, red has several connotations, from lust to danger, both of which could be argued to be present in my production. Just to be on the safe side, I added a slight shadow effect on the title, so they stood out more. Also, the shadows on the title reflect the ‘shadowy-ness’ of my poster overall.

9. I thought that constructing the rest of my titles would be a relatively similar process, so I decided to work on the only other title which would prove a challenge, the billing block. The first step I took was finding the correct font for the billing block. Under advice, I used one called ‘Tall Films’, which can be seen below. After this, I decided to find a billing block upon which to base my own. This can also be found below.

This was the billing block I selected at random from Google Images. I wanted to find a standard billing block, so as not to over-simplify or over-complicate my own billing block


The 'Tall Films' font

The biggest problem presented by a billing block was the layering of words in the same line. For example, in the above billing block, ‘Production Designer’, ‘Director of Photography’, ‘Executive Producers’ and so on are all displayed in two small lines even though they are on the same line. This meant that I had to split the words up into several layers, so that they could all be positioned differently to reflect this effect. I also attempted to replicate the shape of this billing block. Rather than being a standard square shape that is filled out with words, the lines are all of different lengths and are aligned differently from one another. I tried to replicate this best I could without it seeming too oddly shaped. It was not helped that I did  not have a smaller version of my logo to place within the billing block. This meant I had to alter the shape so it did not look too odd.
At the bottom of the billing block, I added a website. I figured it would be highly unlikely that a short such as this would have its own website, so I placed it as a subsection of the website of the fictional Redtree Pictures. So that this website would not be confused with the billing block and would attract the attention of my audience, I coloured it the same as the main title.
[Picture to be inserted]
10. Another missing feature from the billing block was the release date. I had always planned for this to simply be ‘Coming December’ and I saw no reason for this to change. It was suggested to me that perhaps I should mention that the film would only be ‘Coming’ to a television channel, as obviously a short film would not receive its own slot in a cinema. It thought it would be best to leave it as ‘Coming December’, so that the release date was not too much of a distracting feature. Furthermore, it is up to audience interpretation as to whether they think it would be premiered on television or not.
This title was constructed the same way as the main title, including font, colouring and shadow effect, with the only obvious difference being size. I made the sizes of ‘Coming’ and ‘December’ different for two reasons. Firstly, ‘December’ is the most important part of the message and is therefore worthy of emphasis. Secondly, having the word ‘December’ in the corner of the poster further emphasises the Christmas theme of the poster overall.
[Picture to be inserted]
11. The actor’s titles were the other obvious feature missing from my poster. They proved to be quite a problem. The actual construction of them was not particularly a problem. Once more, they had the same features as the main title and the release date. The only difference was size and I also lessened the darkness of the shadow and it’s positioning behind the titles, so that they were clearer.
The positioning of the actual titles itself was problematic. Below were some of the options I considered:
[Pictures to be inserted]
12. This  meant that the only remaining stage was to create a tagline. I figured it would make the most sense to in-keep with the theme of using popular sayings, such as ‘The Season to be Jolly’, even though this technically is from a song. I used several websites to try to inspire me to turn a Christmas sayings into a tagline. Even the one I found with the most sayings, did provide anything obvious. I therefore had to use something which would likely be said on Christmas, even if not necessarily a phrase. I came up with ‘Here’s to the next twelve months’. Although not exactly a standard Christmas phrase, I think this best represents the theme of reflection in my production, as the characters are always either looking forward to their hopes or looking back towards the events which are making these hopes more and more difficult, hence, ‘the next twelve months’.
Final Product
Below is the final product. I am actually very pleased with it, and believe it is of better quality than the film itself.
  • All themes of the film are reflected in the poster
  • Continuity is maintained
  • The picture has been successfully edited to effect
  • The titles, billing block included, look effective
  • The characters are clearly shown on the poster and all have equal focus
  • The poster is an improve,ment upon the original design


  • The title can become difficult to see from far away
  • The positioning of the actor titles still looks quite odd

I think that fact that the strengths outweight the weakness by quite a lot is proof that this poster is an overall success.

[Picture to be inserted]


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