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Media Evaluation. Becci -Jayne Edwards. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge conventions of real media products?.
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Media Evaluation Becci-Jayne Edwards
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge conventions of real media products? • In my short film I have used, challenged and developed codes and conventions of existing genres. This can be seen throughout planning stages of the film as well as the poster. • First of all i researched the codes and conventions for thrillers and the sub-genre psychological thrillers. Some of the main conventions included: themes of the mind, perception and identity. Psychological thrillers also have some crossover conventions with horrors such as suspense. I have used these conventions in my film ‘Pandora’, the film explores the protagonist’s psyche and subconscious which remains true to the theme of ‘mind’ which is often explored in psychological thrillers. One could also say the character is having an identity crisis, and is delving into his own mind to find himself. I have created some scenes of suspense in my short film in order to adhere to the horror elements of the subgenre (clip to the right is an example of this). I think these were appropriate to include as the themes in pyschological thrillers are unsettling, suspense adds to this atmosphere.
Continued • I have also adhered to the conventions of short films. Short films are typically set around every day life but with a twist. The short films i researched evidenced this. The following video for example follows two youths living a criminal lifestyle doing their every day activities, but at the end there is a twist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5H3thCoHxzc&list=UUbwxgH3QRM1CAdMqBJ-oh4w • Short films often do this because they do not have long to tell a story so the narrative is short, it therefore needs to be interesting and have a big climax in order to make an impact with the audience. I have used this convention in Pandora by centring much of the action around the dinner table which displays the ‘everyday life’ aspect. I have also created a twist and climax. • Another convention of short films is minimal characters because there is limited time for the audience to be introduced to these characters and learn them. I have used and developed this convention as I have only used one character, and a prop. I do feature in the film for less than a minute but it means I have only one main character. • I have challenged the conventions of real films by creating a silent film. Though there are sounds within the film and a soundtrack, there is no dialogue. I have done this to show that a story can be told visually and without words. It also emphasises the isolation of my character as there is noone else but the doll to talk to, communication is done through notes because the doll does not talk either. I also decided against dialogue because i have not used a real actor obviously, while he was good with acting out emotions I felt conveying emotions through speech was too challenging for him and could ruin the atmosphere if not pulled off perfectly.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? My ancillary products both link and they in turn relate to the short film. I have linked them together through the use of colour, both use red black and white-black being the background. The film is also dark and has shots of complete darkness, as well as using a red table cloth which is the centre of most of the action in the film. Furthermore the motif of the box is continued from the film into the poster. I have used it in the poster as the center image becaue it creates more intrigue in the audience and creates a memorable image, which i then continued into my article.
What have you learnt from your audience feedback? I uploaded my film onto youtube, and posted a link onto social networking site Facebookin order to get some feedback. I had a director give me feedback which you can see directly above. From his feedback I learnt to have more action and more things happening. Due to its form as a short film I didn’t want to have several plotlines at once, but what I did do in response to this was trim some shots down so the film was of a faster pace and shorter so it did not appear as slow. On the left are a few comments people made on the film, I posted a status on Facebook and a few friends gave me some feedback. Most of the comments I couldn’t change because it would mean filming again (time not being on my side, I decided against this). However I will keep these points in consideration for the future, particularly one comment that suggests I shoot all scenes in good, clear lighting, then edit in post-production to make it look darker – thus maintaining good quality film instead of the grainy shots I ended up with. Also the comments on costume I would consider, being on a tight budget (in that there was actually no budget) I couldn’t go buy my actor costume so he just wore what he had. But it could have been more fitting if the clothes weren’t so modern as this would fit with the mis-en-scen.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? • I have used a variety of new media technologies in all stages of this project, while they make production quicker and more efficient they have not come without their issues. • In the research stages I used search engines like google or Bing to find short films, poster and article examples or to research codes and conventions of specific genres and short films. I found these very effective ways of research because you type in keywords and the search engine filters through information to find the most appropriate sites. Opposed to having to filter through books to find the specific piece of information you need, search engines are much quicker. • Google also led me to Futureshorts which is an organisation that screens short films in film festivals around the world. Their website has many short films which I viewed as research for my own, I also subscribed to their youtube channel which made it much easier to follow their films. From watching the films people have sent to Futureshorts on youtube, I was led to many other films not connected to Futureshortswhich enabled me to carry out extensive research.
Continued • First of all I began blogging my written ideas and sketches onto Wordpress (top right). I found it a little confusing to being with as I had never used a blog site before, however I quickly learnt how to use it and continued to blog my progress with both images and text. One issue I had with Wordpress was the inability to upload videos without paying a monthly fee. • To overcome this issue I uploaded my videos onto Youtube (bottom right) and then posted the url onto Wordpress. Although this is a lengthy process it worked out for the best because later when I wanted audience feedback it was much easier to send the link to the Youtube video than send them the actual video. If I had made the videos listed then it could have been a good way of gaining more feedback and even a following. • I have used Youtube in many stages of this project, I have used it to research existing films as well as uploading my own work in its various stages to allow others to view.
continued • In the construction stages of the project I had initially intended to use Adobe Premier Elements to put the film together in post-production . In the short films I had made previous to this I used Windows Movie Maker, so for this project I wanted to use something new and more sophisticated. However, I found that the video files my camera made weren’t compatible with Adobe Premier. There may have been a way of converting them but I thought quickest and more efficient solution was to use Windows Movie Maker. • Windows Movie Maker is an easy piece of free software to use for basic video editing. It allowed me to trim my shots efficiently and effectively. I could also add a soundtrack and manipulate where it ended and began which I feel worked very well with the film. • However it did have its downfall. I had very nearly finished post production when suddenly all the single files became corrupting and it wouldn’t allow me to do any editing or saving. My laptop had been slow previous to this, so I had it restored to factory settings in the hope my film would be magically revived. Sadly it wasn’t so I started again (the laptop being much faster after this made it a much quicker process than before).
continued • In the construction stages of my ancillary projects I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to create my posters and article. Adobe Photoshop is a software i am competent in using as I used in my BTEC Art & Design course two years ago to edit, refine and create artwork. • To create the poster I also used a Kodak scanner as I painted the box with acrylic paint then scanned it through to photoshop where I refined it to the form you can see it in now (bottom right). I inverted the colours and added a splash of red digitally to add interest and develop the colour scheme. I also created the logo (bottom left) using photoshopand added it to the final poster. • The article was also created using photoshop, I printscreened shots from the film and added them into the article. I wrote the body of the article in Microsoft Word and copied and pasted it into photoshop.
continued • To shoot the film itself I used my Nikon DSLR which records HD continuous film. I’ve used it to shoot film before, however not using continuous film (they were stop-motion). I developed my skills using a camera quickly. I found the quality was better than a cheap camcorder, but the quality wasn’t as good as the photos the camera takes. If I were to do this again I would invest in a purpose build camcorder. • For all other stages of the project I used my Acer Laptop, though it did have to be restored part way through, it has helped a great deal and made research, production and evaluation stages run efficiently and effectively. • I also used the social network site, Facebook to get feedback on my work to aid evaluation.