Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Film Opening - Final piece

We posted our final product and asked for some feedback from friends to tell us what they liked and what they thought we could adress/improve :

Daniel Finn : I really like the vintage quality to your film and also you made the location work well. highlights including the the tacking shot out of the tent into the sunlight, tracking shot from behind josh and the film title blending the shot into an image. you could of perhaps of given the shots colder look to them in post edit to cancel out the sunny weather but good stuff.

Thomas Graves : Worked very well with the set and feel of the music and picture quality fitted very well with the theme, very straight ahead beginning, lots of plot development, can't really think of anything wrong with it.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

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

When our groups were given our preliminary tasks I had never made a film and had barely used a camera before, I had never edited before and didn't even know what software to use and how to use it. Due to this there were a lot of mistakes in our preliminary task but I feel that these mistakes ended up greatly benefiting us when we did our film opening as I could learn from my past mistakes and thus have a better idea of how to actually shoot and edit our opening.

I think the biggest mistake in our preliminary was the lack of organisation and storyboarding so when it came time to film we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we were shooting. When we made our opening we made a concise storyboard that showed all the shots we wanted so when it came time to film we knew exactly what we were doing. The storyboard also helped us as a group to share our ideas and work together to try and find the best shots we could use.

As well as helping in pre-production this improved storyboard also allowed us to settle on the right atmosphere for our opening when it came time to edit in post production.

Another major problem we had that came with the organisational issues we had in our preliminary was that we did not delegate jobs very well and it ended up being a bit of a mess as people ended up taking turns editing and filming and while this was fairer it caused a lack of direction and made it hard to keep a simple flow. With our opening we delegated one person to film, with thoughts from the other two members on what shots might look good whilst doing there jobs, and this allowed for a more natural and smooth flow to our film and also eliminated any chance or arguments about how something should be done.

As I now had more experience holding a camera and knew some of the basic mistakes that could be made with a camera I could now explore a wider range of camera angles to use in our opening allowing for a more fleshed out and interesting piece. Coupled with the greater amount of experience I had with editing tools I could add in things like sound effects, voice overs and music to enhance our opening. It also allowed us to add in more complex title sequences that I really feel add to the movie and allowed us to express the themes and atmosphere we wanted to show in our film opening. . I would have to say that editing was the most notable improvement I had made between the two tasks.

All in all i'd have to say that the knowledge and experience I have with recording and editing have greatly improved since my preliminary task and this has allowed me to use more imaginative camera angles and allow for a greater range of editing techniques that add to the film

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

6. What did we learn about technology from the process of constructing our product?

In the process of using a wide variety of both new and old technologies in our media production, we have learnt a great deal. It has given us insight into how we would do things differently if we were asked to produce a similar product again.
We encountered many peoblems with technology, that we solved in different ways to ensure a good end result.

Use of Macs and PCs
One of our biggest problems was that we started off using both Macs and Pcs. The way different editting programs saved files differed between the two devices, meaning that when we tried to transffer different sections from one to the other, the files would not open. We overcame this problem by transferring different shots and editing from the macs onto the PC. This took a lot of time, but helped, as we finally had all our ost production happening on the same style computers. If asked to do again in the future, i would definitely make sure we only used Pc's as it simplifies post procuction an enourmous amount considering we had three people working on the same thing.

The programs we used for our post production where:

  • Adobe Flash - For animation of the title sequences and animation of text withing the title sequence.
  • Adobe Photoshop - To produce the logo, and moving images in the title sequences
  • Adobe Premier Pro - For our editing
  • Final cut express - We tried using this for editing, but stopped due to its incompatability with PC's
  • iMovie - To convert files and veiwraw footage
The compatability of Adobe programsd with eachother really helped in our production, as we could transfer  different parts of our production from one platform to another (this may have used the program Adobe Bridge)
How we used new and old internet technologies

Internet resources we used were:

  • YouTube - To research music and similar films
  • Slideshare - To produce animatimatic and storyboard.
  • A Microsoft Silverlight slideshow - Another animatic and storyboard program.
Youtube was such a valuable tool for our proudction, saving an enourmous amount of time in finding music for the film as all the music was readily avaliable and searchable. If asked to proudce4 a media product again, i would definetly use YouTube again, as it's the best resource for internet video research in my opinion.

Filming technlogies
Our choice of camera was essential, as our film involved a wide variety of shots used in different ways. We chose a light, small handicam that shot in reasonably high definition. The camera was especially useful in the tracking shot, resulting in a product that looked authentic. 
A more sophisticated version of a Steadicam

We did have a problem with one of the tripods, resulting in slightly choppy panning shots, but this was replaced for different shots in order to keep them stable. We also used a steady cam to keep our camera steady when we did the over the shoulder shots following the main character

In conclusion, technology played a massive role in our film opening production, and we learnt a agreat deal about it. There are definitely things we would do differently if asked to produce a similar film, but we are happy with the result achieved.

5. How did you attract/address your audience?

The type of audience we are trying to attract is small yet stable audience with an age range of 18-40 who would maybe be more male than female. This is the type of audience that would likely be interested in a movie with such a historic focus and also the focus on war will attract more adult views. The target audience may not know anything particular about this period in time but will be attracted to the movie due to an interest in history and also because they might have seen other movies like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down which also take place in a war enviroment. We set our movie in war time Russia to mix the history aesthetic with the fact it's a war movie to broaden our target audience and the themes explored in the movie are of a nature that will appeal to an adult audience.

The film would most likely be given a 15 by the British Film Board of Classification due to the adult nature of the film and this age rating doesn't really limit our audience particularly as our target audience is mainly an adult one. We'll market the film as a war movie to broaden it's appeal to adult audiences but also show it in small art house cinemas to further widen the audience it could attract. The movie's serious tone and nature appeal to adults and the historical aspects of it will also appeal to history lovers who are above the age of 15.

We could also show the film on terrestrial television on channels such as channel 4, known for it's indie friendly attitude and large share of television viewers, or a channel such as Yesterday which focuses on Historical documentaries, dramas and films and has an target audience that matches completely with the target audience of our movie allowing us to securely grab our audience and get them to see our film.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

4. Who would be the audience for your media product?

The general audience for this media product was aimed at those interested in history and war films. However Because of this, we believe that this a rather large target audience due to its war style genre and that the cast it’s fairly male dominated we think this opens it up to an audience of males from the age 15 upwards.

For example “Black Hawk Down” another war film took $274,347 (USA) in its opening weekend. Due to it being based on history we believe that this opens the film up to mixed gender audience of those who are lovers of history also. Another example is “Saving Private Ryan” another war film but based on the invasion of Normandy took $30,576,104 in its opening weekend at the box office. We have tried to keep it as open as possible but we are aware that it is still a very acquired taste in film for many people so we will not be able to expect our audience to be an incredibly large and diverse one, we should instead focus on one secure and small target audience.

3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Our media product is considered to be an independent project alongside the fact that is a historically based movie set in 1917 Russia. The movie is produced by Red Star productions, a production company focused on small independent historical movies that have a small but reliable audience with an interest in these types of movies. As the film cost little to make in relative terms it has a higher and more secure chance of making it's money back due to the stable nature of our audience which will be a helpful factor when it comes to securing a distribution deal. however we need to make sure that the movie will also cover the distribution costs as well as the production costs.

In comes Insurge Pictures, a distribution company targeted towards "Micro-Budget films", with budgets of up to $100,000 each, founded in 2010 by parent company Paramount studios who is known for the distribution of two ctitically acclaimed war movies, Saving private Ryan and Enemy at the Gates (One of the inspirations for making our movie).
Insurge would be a good choice for a distributor due to it's attitude towards indie films and the relationship it has with a well known company such as Paramount studios which allows the movie to reach out to a bigger audience because vertical integration Insurge has with Paramount studios.

Another route we could take would be finding a distributor that could show our movie over terrestrial television as that may be a better and more secure way of gaining an audience for our movie. Channel 4 is well known for it's friendly attitude towards indie movies, the well known Film4 is specifically made to produce movies from well known independent directors, and with Channel 4 being a well known name across UK television it would help spread our movie to a wider audience. Channel 4 also has "almost universal coverage in the United Kingdom and some neighbouring countries" allowing for our movie to be shown overseas as well widening the potential audience we have by a significant amount as our film would most likely find success in a more European audience, due to the nature of the film, compared to trying to market it to a American audience. Film4 also has a very successful history in producing Independent films with very popular films such as Trainspotting and Slumdog millionaire so if our film were to be shown on the Film4 channel brand association with them might also help widen our target audience.
I believe we have been realistic in our choice of potential distribution company, as both these companies have a history of supporting small, arthouse films, and in a lot of cases make them a lot of money.

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Due to the historical nature of our film, no social groups are directly respresented by our film. However, the actions of our main character show how the responsibility for the actions taking place rest on this one man's shoulders. The idea of this main charachter may be relatable to by older audiences, or perhaps if we developed more of the film we could explore the idea of him going though a transitional period of having no responsibilities to a position where lives are at risk. The older end of our target audience, generally those 25+ would be able to relate to our characters struggle.The representation in the film is also primarily male, suggesting a similar pattern in the groups represented.

Finally, the military style of the film may be representative of both present day and retired military personnel, and could help show to the audience the struggles faced by those fighting in current wars, and the decisions they need to make in order to keep themselves and thie team safe from harm.

Although not strictly a social group, we felt this film could act as something to inform people about the events of WWI, especially as it is an important part of the UK's history. This representation could cause the film to have success in other European nations, as it represents groups from bygone days in these countries and as it deals with a mainly European event in history it would be unwise to try and market it to an American audience.

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?