Archive for the ‘Production – Miscellaneous’ Category

Title Sequence

After completing my Redtree Pictures production card, I figured that the the next logical step would be to construct the opening titles of my film.

Titles so far

So far, I had done little work on the titles. I knew that I wanted them to last no longer than 30 seconds, and that they would be accompanied by the music that I had joint-composed. As far as actually constructing titles, the closest I have come are the ones I created for my rough cut. When I knew that my rough cut was clearly not going to be a reflection of my finished product, I decided that a better use of my time would be to work on the titles, in the hope that they would be reflective of something found in the end product. Below are the titles I had created for my rough cut:

Strengths of these titles:

  • They clearly portray the message/titles
  • They are simplistic, much like the rest of the film.
  • They are short, thus keep in with the desired timeframe.

Weaknesses of these titles:

  • They are a little too simplistic. They look a little makeshift.
  • They become quite dull to watch
  • They are not equal in size (continuity issues)
  • The font is not the one selected by my audience

Changing the Titles

Given that the weaknesses outweigh the strengths of these titles, I figured it was best to change hem. Especially as I am not as happy with the actual production as I thought I would be at this point, so the titles are something I can make completely my own and should hopefully counteract the negatives of the film itself, at least in my own mind if nothing else. Below are the stages I went through in order to change the titles so that some of the weak issues could be solved.

1. The first issue I hoped to solve was the font issue. My audience chose a font which was more unique and suitable to the theme of Christmas than the temporary one I chose. Seeing as it is the only audience-driven part of my titles, I thought it would be a good place to start which should hopefully lead me on to some other issues with my titles that I am not happy about. After changing the font of the titles to the chosen ‘St Nicholas’ font, I also changed the size and some of the positioning of my font, so that continuity is maintained. Below is how they looked after these changes were made:

This is the 'Redtree Pictures presents...' card. Admittedly, the 'Presents' is quite difficult to see in this picture, but it is slightly below the central blue line, towards the right.

Once I changed the font of this card, the positioning of the words seemed simply to far away. I centralised the words so that they look better and reflect the cosy, Christmassy feeling of the font.

This is the card I am probably most proud of. After changing the font, I also changed the sioze of the lettering, even on individual lettering such as the 'T' on The, the 'S' on Season and the 'J' on Jolly. I als rearanged the positioning of the words, so that the three most prominent words 'The' 'Season' and 'Jolly' were laregst, yet the title still fits in a regular rectangular shape, making it look more conventional. I also changed the colour of this title, as it is the main title and should therefore stand out more.

It was also brought to my attention that I do not have actor’s credits. I had planned for these to be overlaying the first scene, so that the title sequence would not last too long. However, I figured that there are enough problems with the opening scene of my film, without having distracting tiles at the bottom. I decided that therefore it would be best to incorporate them into the title sequence. They can be found below:

These are my actors titles. Ordering them was a difficult task. Uusally, actors are n=listed in order of appearance, prevalence within the film or their reputation outside the film. However, these are all actors with no widely-known reputation, and all have a relatively equal role within the film. I decided to order them in terms of which would look best aesthetically. Hence, the listing above, where all the names lie ina perfect diaginal line. Furthermore, this is the order that tje girls photos are arranged in in the photo I have selected for my film poster, thus up-keeping continuity.

Next, I wanted to solve the issues of dullness and boredom with my titles. New font and positioning or not, the titles are still relatively dull. On my rough cut titles, I had applied an entrance effect called Short Slow Left’, in which the titles slowly fade in towards the left and eventually bump into one another. I thought that I could apply this to all of my titles to maintain continuity and stave off dullness. Below is how the ‘Redtree Pictures presents’ and the ‘Scott Lampon Production’ cards looks, mid-effect:

'Redtree Pictures' production card, mid-effect

The 'Scott Lampon Productions' card, mid-effect.

However, I still thought that this effect was not enough to stop the title sequence being boring entirely, just as it was not in the rough cut. Although the font sums up the themes of my film quite well, I wanted to make it more obvious to the audience. Below are some of the ideas I considered:

  • Having a clip-art style picture of holly at the corner of each title
  • Having a string of lights at the top of each card, which possibly change colour
  • Change the effect on the titles to something more reflective of the themes.

I eventually decided that I liked the effect I had placed on the titles too much, as it reflected my themes well, to give it up. I therefore decided on an effect to complement the effect. I cam across a snow falling effect, which I thought would look good behind my titles. The effect on my titles very much mimics the effect of falling snow. Below is the clip which advertised this effect

I downloaded this clip and overlaid my titles ion top of it. This gave the impression that the titles were falling in the sky, just like the snow. Furthermore, the balck background of th falling snow efect emphasises the darker themes of my film whilst the snow itself obviously highlights the theme of Christmas.

Sound

This meant that the only remaining aspect of my titles was the sound. I had originally planned for the pieces to sound louder, and for a chorus to be heard during the titles playing, and during the first scene, the music would become quieter and sound as though it was playing on a radio in the background of the cafe. However, once again, the first scene has enough sound issues as it is, without the piece distracting from this. I decided just to play the pieve for as long as the titles lasted.

At this point, the titles with the production card stood at 32 seconds, and without the production card around 20 seconds. I only wanted the piece to play during the actual titles, not eh production card, so I had to choose a twenty second snippet of the piece to include in my production. I decided that the last chorus should be present, as it is the most musically complex, and also has a nice finish which will top off my titles. This would go towards the end of my titles, so I decided to fill up the first half of my titles with however much of the first verse as possible.

Afterwards, I edited the sound clip and laid it over the titles. I blended the two parts of the song together with a cross fade effect.

Finished product

Below is how my titles currently look. I don’t think I will make many changes to them , as I am very happy with them as they are. The only change I would consider making is a change in the length of the titles overall if it should become absolutely necessary. I think these titles dispel a lot of the weaknesses of the old ones, and are generally very successful.

[Video to be inserted]

Redtree Comes Into Season

Now that the majority of my film has taken the form of a rough cut, I thought I would be best to start working on other aspects of the film which do not involve the footage and require some of my own work. Namely, the titles and their accompanying sound. I thought I would start chronologically with the production card.

Planning the Production Card

When I was first planning this project, I thought I would have around two or three production cards or companies to increase authenticity and plausibility. However, given that my film is already quite long, and I don’t particularly have the time to create elaborate graphics or take a new picture for a new production card, I thought it best to stick to just the one.

Last year, I had created the faux production company, ‘Redtree Pictures’ as the producers of my social realism film. This production card was fairly basic, simply entailing of a picture I had taken of a tree during autumn time (so the leaves were red, hence, Redtree) and some titles which fell and faded into the foreground. It can be seen below in the first 7 seconds of this clip:

Although quite simple and basic, I think it is quite effective and is one of the few media-related clips I have produced which looks simple but not particularly amateur. I considered creating a new production company but realised that I might spend quite a long time trying to think of something new, which I might not even be particularly happy with once it is produced, by which time it may be too late to change. I thought it would be best to stick with Redtree, and merely tweak the parts of the production card I was unhappy with. I also thought that this way, I would be more aware of what the final product would look like, making audience research become less of a priority regarding this aspect of the production.

Rose-tinted Glasses

My main concern with the previous card was that the colour and clarity were not particularly sharp, and it did simply look like a picture taken by a media student for a project. I thought the best way to solve these problems would be to edit the picture in Photoshop. The following are te stages and effects I played around with.

1. The first thing I did was increase the sharpness of the photo by turning up the contrast:

2. I then wanted to bring out the red of the picture, but was unsure how best to do this. Below are some of the effects I played around with and some of the newly edited pictures I considered:

This effect was entitled 'Colour Burn'. I thought it would help bring out the darker themes later reflected in the film

This effect was entitled 'Lighten'. Although too psychedelic for my liking, I thought it contrasted the colours very successfully

This effect was entitled 'Overlay'. I thought it was more successful at contrasting the colours than the previous effect and the red colouring that it highlights is the exact red I was hoping to bring out

This effect was called 'Pin Light'. I particularly liked the shadow effect behind the tree. However, I disliked the red effect in the sky

3. I eventually decided to stick with what the Redtree Pictures production card did best: simplicity. I simply made any red within the picture brighter and bolder, so that hopefully this and the titles would be the most dominating and noticeable aspect of the card.

This was the final design I chose

Sound

One of my greatest weaknesses in media production is the sound aspect. As you may have noticed earlier when watching the Redtree card from last year, the music is very basic. Whilst I liked the music I used last year as it suited the mood and atmosphere of the card very well, something had to be done so that it did not seem so amateur, but so that it’s calm and simple status was maintained.

1. Firstly, I added a few notes at various intervals throughout the piece. I had also thought that the piece starts quite suddenly, contradicting its calm nature. I mostly added some notes at the beginning to overcome this issue.

2. The piece is mostly a hook, and in order to make it sound more astute and as it does in my head, I changed the pitch and volume of some of the earlier notes

3. I also felt that the previous piece went on for too long. To overcome this, I simply sped the track up ever so slightly

I edited the piece on GarageBand

Final Product

Below is a clip of the final product, and the card I intend to use on my production:

Continuity Poll Results

Given that feedback from fellow Media Students was so helpful during the week, I think it would be best to compile all of their opinions before I mould what will hopefully be the final edit next week. This is why I have decided to end the continuity poll now, so I can prepare for any changes that it may have upon the production.

Results

Even though there were only 7 votes, it must be kept in mind that this poll was aimed at Media students only. There are only 11 A2 Media students who I have close access to, including myself, so this is not actually a bad result.

The results speak for themselves and obviously the second clip was by far the most popular.

Impact upon production

This is probably the first poll result which will have no impact upon my production, as the second clip is exactly how this section of the 2009 scene currently stands. It is comforting to know that I am able to pick up on my own continuity errors and come up with suitable solutions.

First Edit Feedback

Earlier this week, we reviewed one another’s First Edits in order to gain the perspective of other Media students in terms of problems we believed to be having with our own productions and so that they could highlight any problems we happened to be overlooking or denying for any reason.

I personally found it quite a helpful experience, especially given that many problems throughout production have meant that how I imagine my final product will look will be quite different to what I had envisioned when I first came up with the idea. Therefore I will need as much help as possible in order to either salvage my idea or shape what I currently have into something more akin to my idea or something similar and equally as good.

Although we noted down criticisms and ideas for improvements, our analyses and reviews were mostly discussion based. I also found this more helpful than a written improvement or idea. Whilst written ideas are helpful because they can be constantly referred back to, discussion allows you to explain anything which other students seem unsure of, and ideas can be further discussed and built upon, making it a generally more efficient and helpful experience.

Production Issues

The following are some of the issues initially picked up on by other Media students:

  • The first two scenes are constructed entirely of one shot
  • The first two scenes can barely be heard
  • The above allow the audience to lose concentration, making the plot extremely difficult to keep up with
  • The production is too long (over 7 minutes as opposed to the required 5)
  • There is no newly produced music
  • There are no titles

The following are some of the strengths that were picked up on:

  • The sound of the final three scenes is fine
  • There are relatively few editing errors in the final three scenes

There would have been more accolades regarding the plotline and so on, but due to the sound issues, many struggled to keep up with the plotline, which impacted a lot on their feelings towards the production as a whole.

Solutions

Very little of what I received was unexpected, meaning it was quite simple to come up with solutions to these problems:

  • The issues with the first two scenes do not faze me particularly because they are un-edited. If there are still problems with them once edited, then I shall have to think of some more specific solutions. But for now, I think I can assume that editing should clear up most of the issues. This should also stop the audience concentration issues.
  • Music has been produced and was yet to be placed on the clip
  • Work has gone into titles. For example, a font and design has been decided. Titles are something I intend to look into more when working on my first Ancillary Task, so that they match up and continuity is maintained. At this point, some audience research may be carried out as to the specific design of them
  • The length of the production is something that still concerns me. Even though I have been cutting down on time whilst editing the 2007 and 2008 scenes, I still think the production will be too long, even before the titles have been added. As I have been editing, I have seen examples of clips that could be shorter or cut entirely, and I shall have to hope that this is enough to cut the production down to closer to 5 minutes. If not, then clearly a more solid solution is needed.

Next Steps

My primary concern right now is ensuring that the 2007 and 2008 scenes are up to scratch so that there is no further comment on them and I can focus on other important elements such as the titles, and the often-forgotten (by me at least) Ancillary Tasks. I ope to be able to spend more time over the next two weeks on Ancillary Tasks meaning time really is of the essence when it comes to finishing editing.

The First Edit

As expected, I was unable to edit the first two scenes correctly before submitting my First Edit, the deadline of which is today. Therefore, the first scenes better reflect that of a rough cut. However, the remaining scenes are my actual submissions for the First edit. It must be kept in mind that these scenes are yet to be re-visited properly. Although some minor changes have been made since I first edited each scene, nothing drastic has been done, meaning this truly is a ‘first’ edit. Even though I have not edited the first scene, I thought it best to put them in so that I and others can judge how well the overall plotline and conversations read when put together. Furthermore, tis edit does not contain any title or the music I had planned to include. The First Edit can be found in the below video:

Continuity Poll

The main aspect of the 2009 scene that I am unsure of is the continuity of the section when Louise enters the cafe. The two clips involved in this are very stark, and in order for it to not look to amateur, continuity must be as watertight as possible.

I have decided to put the decision of how to arrange it into the hands of other media students. I have created a short video containing two options as to how the clips should be ordered and edited, and below I have put it into a poll so that other media students, who are also wary of continuity techniques and how best to upkeep continuity can vote on what theyt hink is best. Of course, suggestions are welcome.

This video displays two options as to how Louise could enter the cafe. Please decided which is beter in terms of continuity and answer as such in the poll below:

Thank you for taking the poll!

The Sound and Music Pt. 2

The music to accompany my opening as well as my first scene has been completed. It can be found below, as well as the process through which I went to produce it.

Production

The following are the stages of production:

  • My original intention was to re-write and re-record a piece of music Susannah’s (student who also takes media) sister had written and recorded a few years ago into something which would be more appropriate for my film. We were planning to do this when she came on a visit, as she does not live here.
  • It turns out she was unable to make the visit, so we had to re-write and produce the song over a series of e-mails and other correspondence, such as telephone calls. This was the easiest way to communicate and explains why blogging as far as sound and music are concerned is quite minimal – it is difficult to blog a phone conversation.
  • I was responsible for re-writing the lyrics, whilst I left the musical production to Susannah’s sister, Sasha. She has better means of production for recording music, as she works at a holiday park
  • I tried to supervise production as closely as possible, so that as much of the music as possible was my own work.

The Music

I imagine that during the opening titles, the music will be overlaid, however, when it comes to the actual scenes, the music will sound as though it is in the background, as though from a radio. I believe that this can be achieved with sound editing effects at my disposal.

Evaluation of the music

Strengths

  • The music is appropriate for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is suitable lyrically. The lyrics reflect the theme of the unknown at Christmas, not only in terms of presents but in terms of the unpredictability of the celebration as a whole. The characters do not expect that Christmas will be when they separate from their friends, and this anticipation and being unable to predict the future is reflected in the lyrics.
  • The actual music is also appropriate. When researching Christmas music I found that there was a heavy focus on traditional Christmas sounds, for example, the sound effect of sleighbells can be heard throughout Wham!’s Last Christmas, whilst brass instruments and a  slight string sound can be heard in the Christmas scene of When Harry Met Sally. Whilst I thought that these were successful for promoting the theme of Christmas, I didn’t think that they were massively suitable for my target audience. That’s why I have incorporated a more rock sound into my song, to make it more appropriate.
  • The upbeat sound of the music helps at as a red-herring as far as the tone of the film is concerned. This music will only be heard during the first scene, which in itself will be quite upbeat. This will lead the audience in a false sense of positivity, which will make the breaking up of the girls more shocking.

Weaknesses

  • The sound quality of the piece is not as clear as I would have liked. I think this may be down to perhaps a compatibility issue, as the music has passed through a fair few round sof software to get to the state it is now, or it may simply be the way it was recorded.
  • The overall sound of the piece makes it clear that this is not a professional piece of music.

Solutions

  • As soon as I decided that I wanted music in my production, I had envisioned that it would only really be present in the form of diegetic sound, for example, it would be playing on a radio in the cafe. I think this should hopefully cover all problems. This takes care of the sound issue, as obviously sound from a radio is not crystal clear.
  • The music in the scene will be relatively quiet, hopefully removing the issue that the music sounds quite amateur.

Next Steps

Seeing as I don’t particularly have the time or means for re-producing my work, putting the music up for audience opinion seems quite redundant. I will simply have to hope that my own discretion for what my audience likes will be accurate. As a tester, I may overlay the music over the titles, but obviously I cannot test how successful it is as an underscore until the first scene is filmed and edited.

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