Now I have completed my research and planning, my two ancillary texts and my main product, it’s time to evaluate these against different forms of conventions, theories and discuss what I learnt through the audience feedback.
In what way does my product develop or challenge different forms of conventions?
During my research I discovered that it was vital to include different narrative theories within the media text, this helps the user understand the text further and we can use these theories to exploit what the user thinks about them.
To start with, when researching previous posters such as Quarantine and Blair Witch Project, both of them contained typography within the poster explaining the plot in short. Both of these used Todorov’s equilibrium theory to set the scene. At the top of my poster is a short paragraph in which it explains the beginning of the plot, unlike Blair Witch, the paragraph at the top skips the first start of equilibrium and begins with the disturbance. I wouldn’t say this challenges Todorov’s theory, however challenges conventions of the other 2 posters I analysed in which it begins with equilibrium. It does however develop the form of convention which Quarantine used, in which it skips straight to disequilibrium when we’re told the apartment complex has been sealed off.
This short paragraph at the top however is different to the Paranormal Activity poster I analysed in which a review quote is used at the top instead of any narrative structure.
The short paragraph at the top also identifies with Barthes’ enigma code, in which text is used to create questions in the user’s thoughts. Like all three posters I analysed, all of them use enigma codes to create narrative within the text. The caption at the top of my poster is conventional in this way because it reflects the enigma code well, for example “Nothing can prepare you for what you’re about to see” leaves the audience wondering to what it is they should be prepared for. I feel as though the enigma code was the most important part to communicate with the audience because throughout the three posters I analysed, all used them and it was the most powerful way in connecting with the audience, so it was definitely a must. During my questionnaire research this became apparent also as 83% of people said that narrative interests them within a poster, and I believe I’ve created sufficient enigmas and disequilibrium’s throughout this short paragraph.
When asking what the most important part on a poster was, the majority feedback was the imagery. This led me to understand that I had to create sound imagery on the poster which reflected the narrative of the film, represented the characters well and fit in with the overall theme of the text. Looking at the main image I feel it conventionally fit well. When analysing previous posters I realised they all offered hand held style images because they were all hand held films, this led me to develop amateur camera style feel using scan lines and the REC button on screen. The fact that all 3 were set at night was a big thing, as conventionally horror films are set at night, and I had to make sure this was displayed through the imagery also. The image consists of the two main characters of the film; a male and a female who’ve just been awaken by some sort of happening. It represents a XLS of the couple in bed, I decided upon the XLS so you could see the rest of the environment. Unlike Blair witch and quarantine, who both use XCU to show the emotion and fear upon the characters face, I felt as though this was more conventional, like paranormal activities in which the environment around them, was more important than the emotion upon the couple themselves. This meant the misé en scene was all viewable, this way the best way to go as I wanted to represent the couple as insignificant and isolated within their own home. As V. Propp would suggest, the couple in the image could be described as the pawns of the state, trapped in the institution. Levi Strauss’ theory could suggest a binary opposite within the image also. Light Vs Dark could be identified within the poster through the light above the couples head, representing them as the good, while in the corner of the room, darkness and shadows, representing the bad. This would also justify the good Vs bad identification as well. Todorov’s equilibrium is difficult to explain within the image, like the rest I analysed it skips straight to disturbance of the equilibrium in which the couple have been woken up and furniture has been moved. This offers narrative to the text and audiences can pick up on what the plot might incur. Barthes’ enigma code works well with the image as the audience question to what the characters are looking at, why they’ve woken up and who’s disturbed the furniture.
When creating my main title it was important to look at previous posters of my genre and understand what fonts they’d used, colours and where they’d placed it. I found it was conventional to place the title towards the bottom of the page as the main imagery took up the top half. Therefore I was most advised to place to roughly ¾ down the page, in which I did. Looking at hand held camera style films, the main titles in them tended to be large, and were all in upper case, two out of the 3 were bold and distorted, and these were the films I was trying to emulate most. Therefore I chose a conventional font, which represented the name of the film “Supernatural Phenomenon”, I feel as though the scan lines within and around the font help to represent the hand held camera theme, the distortion also gives the feeling of something paranormal. As 38% told me in my questionnaire that the heading within the poster was the most important part, this was vital to get right. During my focus group, the feedback I gained on colour schemes very helpful, the general feedback was that red and black were the most conventional, therefore I decided to use those colours. I was tempted to use green and black, however during my research I was told that this represented the sci-fi genre too much, not the horror. The title I chose, “Supernatural Phenomenon” because I find the words conventional, supernatural meaning something which isn’t normal, or ghostlike and phenomenon meaning something powerful. Paired together I believe these create a good conventional title for the genre which portrays the films narrative well.
“What lurks while you sleep? Never sleep alone” is both directly aimed at the audience and powerfully enigmatic taglines. Using Barthes’ enigma code this creates a question within the audiences mind to exactly what does lurk while you sleep. Looking at paranormal activity I analysed, it uses similar tag lines to represent enigmas created throughout the plot. During my research 9/15 people told me that yes, a tag definitely does attract you to see the film, therefore this I felt was definitely appropriate.
During my research I found out that the colours of the horror genre were all dark, this darkness connoted fear, uneasiness and disruption. During my textual analysis’ it became apparent that black was a main colour used throughout the horror genre, however different sub genres used different combinations of black and another colour to represent its genre. Sci-fi tended to use green, horror tended to use red, and ghost films liked to use white. Therefore I had to segment into what type of horror film mine was. Being a ghost like film, however involving horror, I felt as though red, black and white were the most appropriate colours to use. I believe these were the most conventional throughout the ones I analysed. Looking at my poster I believe these colours represent the narrative structure well as the red connotes danger, while the black connotes mystery. Both the black and the white contrast well to create that powerful feeling.
Audience + Representation
The hypodermic syringe model was conventional during my research on posters, making the audience feel weak and the text powerful. Throughout the imagery the characters are represented as vulnerable, hence the hand over the mouth shocked, and the isolation in the house (Levi Strauss binary opposition, trapped in your own home). This makes the audience feel as weak as the characters and is commonly used throughout posters such as quarantine and paranormal activity.
13 out of 15 people told me a film review on the poster really helps to promote the film as an experts review is generally more valid than someone who isnt an expert int the field. therefore i decided to provide this above the imagery. during my textual analysis’, only paranormal activity used a film review to promote itself. therefore i decided to develop this convention by providing one in my own poster. “the scariest film since blair witch” promotes the film by comparing it to another very successful film, giving the audience something to compare it to sets a standard on how good the film could potentially be, therefore promoting the film further. i decided to use the mirror as the film reviewer as this is potentially the target audience i am aiming for.
During my research 13/14 people told me in my questionnaire that they would like to see the film trailer embedded on the home page of the website; this became apparent also when analyzing other films websites that it was a good idea. During my paranormal activity website analysis the trailer was embedded on the home page and began immediately once it had loaded, however in the other 2 I analysed, Blair witch and quarantine this was not the case. I believe I had developed conventions by doing this, however also challenged conventions. I’d developed them in the case that paranormal activity had done, I felt as though this was the best way to go as my research suggested embedding the trailer was the best option because of its easy access. However my other two I analysed used a different approach with giving the users the option of clicking on a link that led to the trailer. Also within my focus group, all 3 users told me they prefer to see the trailer embedded on the home page due to its simplicity and easy access.
During my research it became clear that I’d have to provide some sort of narrative throughout my website, not just to provide information. This could be done through trailers, tag lines but also imagery. During the websites I’d analysed, none of them used imagery of the characters involved; therefore I’d have to suggest that this is where my website challenges conventions of the genre. I decided to challenge this convention due to the little narrative found on the website without watching the trailer. During my design process there was a lot of dead space that looked dull and boring, although in my focus group all of them told me they liked paranormal activities for its simplicity and ease of access, I found my website too dull and didn’t represent any of the characters.
I decided to use the same image as found on my poster as I felt this helped tie the media texts together as one, and offered good continuity throughout the entire package. The image offers narrative through the frame as it represents the characters as vulnerable and isolated both conventional in the horror genre. The image can be said to be using Barthes’ enigma code by making the users question as to what’s woken them up, and who. . As V. Propp would suggest, the couple in the image could be described as the pawns of the state, trapped in the institution. Levi Strauss’ theory could suggest a binary opposite within the image also. Light Vs Dark could be identified within the poster through the light above the couples head, representing them as the good, while in the corner of the room, darkness and shadows, representing the bad. This would also justify the good Vs bad identification as well. Todorov’s equilibrium is difficult to explain within the image, like the rest I analysed it skips straight to disturbance of the equilibrium in which the couple have been woken up and furniture has been moved. This offers narrative to the text and audiences can pick up on what the plot might incur. Barthes’ enigma code works well with the image as the audience question to what the characters are looking at, why they’ve woken up and who’s disturbed the furniture. Although the other websites didn’t use imagery on their website, I believe it challenges this well and furthers the narrative and represents the characters through this.
When analysing a website it was key to understand what links they used and did not use. It would be pointless having wasted links on the home page that nobody used nor wanted that took up valuable space. Therefore I had to analyse my 3 websites and do primary research to understand what my consumers needed and didn’t links for on the home page. During my textual analysis’s, I found the most valuable links were to be something about the film, a downloads link (for wallpapers etc), a gallery, and promotions. During my questionnaire research, about the film and downloads were the most popular; however the cast and sound track were next in line. Although consumers said they would like to see these on the home page, I felt as though during my textual analysis’s these were not common for the genre I was creating, therefore unconventional. To meet the cast for an amateur handheld film isn’t conventional as that would destroy the whole true story genre I would be trying to create. A soundtrack was also unconventional during my textual analysis’ because they were all amateur handheld style films which required no music or it would become too Hollywood, unrealistic and unbelievable. Therefore I decided not to include these on my final website. In my questionnaire I found out that the majority of people said that music doesn’t really matter on a website, however I decided to include a small “sound on/sound off” button. When analysing quarantine, I felt as though the sound effects on the home page of sirens offered narrative and gave a more personal approach to the user, offering more senses than just vision. Although unconventional in 2 of the other websites I analysed, and the majority vote against it, I feel as though I am challenging this convention by adding the option of sound effects being available on the website.
At the bottom left of the website is social network icon links allowing users to link their facebook and twitter to the website. Viral marketing is becoming a huge phenomenon within the film industry, not only because it’s cheap but it spreads like wild fire. Below the line marketing like this is becoming more and more common, especially for smaller budgets. Out of the 3 I analysed, two of them offered social networking links; therefore I found it conventional to include these. By using these links, users can share their thoughts and opinions on the film quickly and easily.
In the top right hand corner, is a small box which allows users to search for their nearest cinema showing the film. Although not unconventional, I did not find any of these to be in the websites I analysed, however I thought it would be a good inclusion to help drive the sales of the film and promote it well.
During my questionnaire I asked participants whether they expect to see the same colour scheme running through the entire promotional package. The answer was obvious, a full 100% said yes. This meant that I had to be careful in keeping the same colours throughout the texts. During my website analysis I found that all 3 websites used the same colour scheme within their poster as they did in their website. Therefore I decided to keep the same red white and black, the most conventional colours within the horror genre.
All 3 websites that I analysed were very different to one another, this made it difficult understanding which layout was conventional for the horror genre. Quarantine used a very interactive flash website which users in my focus group said they didn’t like because it was too dark and inaccessible. Blair witch website left very little in the way of narrative or genre apart from the colour scheme as people in my focus group said it was just too boring. Paranormal activity’s website was clean, distinctive and accessible, but which one was conventional and would most suit my film? This is where I had to rely on my data from my primary research. During my focus group, all of the users told me they preferred paranormal activity’s trailer due to its simplicity and ease of use. Having everything they needed in a website, such as the embedded trailer, links above this, the title of the film and the release date. Therefore I feel as though I have taken most of the conventional aspects from the paranormal activity website such as the embedded trailer, the conventional colour scheme, useful links and an easy and simple layout to the website.
During my research, I understood that an expert’s opinion was always useful in promotion. Although the other 3 websites I analysed contained no snippet of a review on their website, I thought this would challenge this conventional aspect and I believed it to have worked. The film review quote offers a short insight on what an expert’s opinion from a film magazine thought of it, this short quote offers plenty of enigmas as to why it’s so riveting and how it’s so gripping. The typography of this quote also stands out from the rest using a serif new times roman to reflect its independence of a review.
- What genre do you expect this media text to fall under?
Horror, Thriller, Sci-fi, Slasher, Action
- In which component of the poster do you understand the most narrative?
Paragraph, Imagery, Title, Tag lines, Colours, All of them.
- In which parts do you understand the genre most?
Colours, Imagery, Typography, Institutions
1. which part of the poster do you find to be the most striking?
Person 1: the imagery is striking as i really like the effects portrayed on them. it gives a realistic and cinematic effect.
person 2: most likely the image as its the largest part of the poster, it dominant an striking and offers narrative on the story.
person 3: the title supernatural phenomenon is really striking as the red really contrasts with the black background. the fonts all in upper case and quite powerfull. along with this the large central imagery compliments this and offers narrative along with the title.
this means that i have achieved making the imagery the most important part of the poster to be the imagery. during my questionnaires this became apparent while typography was close behind.
2. how effective do you think the tag line is towards the films narrative?
person 1: i think the tag line is very effective as it causes enigma towards the film, questioning why not to sleep alone.
person 2: i really like the way it engages with the audience and asks direct questions towards them. this way it can cause enigma within the narrative as well.
person 3: it helps push the films narrative because the imagery compliments the tag line really well. the way it questions what lurks while you sleep, and the disruption in the image helps bind the two together.
during my poster questionnaire it became apparent that a tag line really helps to sell the film and make it more attractive. a good tag line can create enigmas and i feel that i have done this as the feedback i gained spoke about enigmas very well. it became essential that this tag line was included but also pushed the narrative, placing it around the main title it has become recognized phrase with the film.
3. do you feel as though there’s enough information provided within the poster?
1. i like the review from the mirror, as this provides information on what an expert thinks on the film and helps promote it. however i was disappointed to find there was no realease date found on the poster.
2. there’s plenty of information along the bottom on institutions and legal information. however i was disappointed to see there was no certificate rating to let us know the legal age of the film. there was also no release date which i find necessary.
3. plenty of information along the bottom but the more important part of a release date is missing.
during my questionnaire a staggering 100% told me they like to see a release date on the poster, i was disappointed to realize in my final product i had forgotten to include a release date. this was a major downfall in the information side of the poster as i hadnt followed conventions, nor had i provided consumer needs. if i was to change my poster in any way, i wouldve provided this information.
1. do you think the color scheme is consistent throughout the website from the poster?
yes or no
2. is the inclusion of sound effects available on the home page valuable or not?
yes or no
1. are the provided links suitable and appropriate?
person 1: the links provided are all i would really need in a website, there’s not too many and that’s good because the websites not cluttered with invaluable links
person 2: some websites have invaluable links that not many people use, i prefer simple layouts with fewer links and this website provides that. i enjoy how it provides the social network links as they are becoming more and more valuable in the marketing strategy.
person 3: there’s plenty of social network links available which i find useful, however i feel as though the website might be missing valuable information that one could be looking for and wouldnt know where to find that. i dont find the gallery to be appropriate either as this film isnt a big hollywood blockbuster.
from these results i can understand that my target audience enjoys the fewer links provided than some websites as it allows concise and precise information to be provided. these links have proven to be valuable and simple to navigate around. the social networks were a great addition as low budget amateur style horror films tend to use these below the line marketing strategy such as viral marketing using social network sites, these were found to be conventional throughout others i analyzed such paranormal activity. improvements that could be made could be the deletion of the gallery as my consumers told me they weren’t very appropriate or conventional for this type of film. this could be substituted for a link that provides more information such as institution information.
what are you opinions on the layout of the website?
person 1: i find it really accessible as the trailers embedded already on the page, the simple layout makes it easy to navigate with only 4 links. i like the strip of links at the bottom as well so i don’t have to search the page for them.
person 2: the layout of the website is conventional as it offers the embedded trailer within it. i like how the trailer doesn’t take up the entire page and there’s an image next to it with can provide some narrative and show the characters.
person 3: some websites are just far too complicated. this website isn’t over simplified to the point it’s boring but the color scheme, images and typography make it quite aesthetic to look at. the only point i could change would be the links at the bottom, they feel as though they were rushed and don’t fully fit in with the entire text.
from the feedback i can understand that the feedback was positive in the way that the website was easily accessible, simple to navigate and consumer friendly. during my research i conducted a poll in which i found out that a simply and clean website was better than a complicated website.
the trailer begins with the American green screen providing information making it suitable for all audiences, this means the trailer has been censored and edited to be approved for any audience.
the first institution shown is universal pictures which is a major American production and distribution company. i chose this company because during my analyses i found that no companies used the universal company, however during further analysis it became apparent that universal work closely with independent companies such as twisted pictures. this brings me onto my next institution company i used, twisted pictures. twisted pictures are notorious throughout the horror genre in pioneering new and cutting edge technology to further progress the genre. although still an independent company twisted pictures are very conventional in the horror genre and this is shown through their huge success with the SAW series. an example of twisted pictures and universal working together is a successful horror film called dead silence. although none of my textual analysis’ used either of these, i am challenging these conventions by developing already conventions found throughout the rest of the film industry.
the first frame is an establishing shot to set the location of the film. the ordinary suburban house is conventional towards the horror genre as it provides the user with a sense of realism and ability to relate to the setting. the camera shot begins low angle and tilts upwards whilst a male dialogue turns the camera on. this amateur tilt gives a sense of a home made video and provides the users with a sense of realism and quickly establishes the genre to be of a hand held amateur style. the lightness in the house provides the beginning of todorovs equilibrium where all is well and okay. however, countering this is the disruption suggested by the handheld, which is not what the audience is to expect, this therefore foreshadows the disruption.
the next shot of the female character is a high angle to represent her vulnerability and weakness. this is where we meet the first character of the story. i chose this character because during all 3 of my textual analysis, they use a female protagonist throughout as these tend to be represented as weaker during the horror genre. the mise en scene around the character presents a sense of real life civilian activity which furthermore lulls the users into a false sense of security.
in the next frame we meet another new character. during my research i found out that the most conventional character set tended to be a male and a female couple, therefore decided to portray this into my film. the medium shot of the male character in the mirror makes him seem larger than life as camera is held quite low, therefore this character could be represented as the hero (PROPP) as this camera shot follows the high angle shot of the previous character, comparing them against each other back to back. this frame could suggest the the “king” of the state according to mcconnel, establishing the state. during this shot the character explains that the female thinks there’s something else in the house. this is when the equilibrium is broken and disturbance occurs, . furthermore barthes’ enigma code is developed when he describes the problem, this creates questions within the user to what could be in the house and why.
it then uses a cut back to the female character using another another high angle shot to represent her vulnerability, however this time, the angle projection is slightly lower down to her level, speaking to someone closer to their eye level creates the effect of trust between the character and the audience, and offers a more neutral camera shot. looking directly into the camera she asks whether the male believes her, however by looking directly through the camera she focuses her sentence towards the audience therefore projecting the question at them. this has enigmatic effects by projecting the question at the camera, they therefore ask themselves it, do you believe her?
it then cuts to black for a second to signify the passing in time and a new time frame beginning. the following shot is a close up of the male character ensuring the doors are locked. conventionally when the disequilibrium begins to occur in a horror film, it will be night time. this sense of darkness makes visibility worse and adds potential fear and mystery to the situation. therefore decided to film at night. during this close up point of view shot i used a torch to shed light upon the subject in matter. this low key lighting was effective because it only shed light on the subject, while still giving a sense of darkness to the rest of the scene. it gives that amateur realistic feel that i was aiming for to give it that believable effect. during this frame the character ensures the doors will be locked, this lulls the audience into a false sense of security into thinking the characters will be safe. this can be suggested through Strauss’ binary opposition theory, of being trapped in their own home, which is thought to be a safe place. the next shot is another POV of the character ensuring the windows are locked, this again heightens the anticipation and tension making the audience feel even more isolated and trapped. the drawing of the blinds is a crucial effect to this shot because it further connotes the sense of isolation, drawing the blinds suggests the closing of all other inhabitants to the house, nobody can see in or out, quite like boarding up the windows. the third shot to this short sequence is another POV of the alarm being put on, the quick cuts of the POV shots provide that amateur camera feel to help heighten the anticipation and realism. the final shot in the sequence is a long shot of the female character in bed, once again using a high angle shot on the female the audience suggests she’s the weaker character in the story. during these high angle shots of the female character it could be suggested that she is the princess (propp) whilst the male is the hero, being represented as more powerful than the female by being in control of the camera. during this scene the male explains if anything’s in the house the alarm will go off, further lulling the audience into that false sense of security, it constantly builds that tension. it then uses a cross dissolve to black to end this time frame and sequence.
the new frame begins fading in from black from the previous scene, this fade in represents a new time period. this frame consists of long shot of the couple sleeping in the bedroom. the reason for the long shot is to make the rest of the location visible and the mise en scene viewable, by making these visible it helps concentrate on the activity around them, this long shot causes anxiety and fear because although reduced visibility causes anxiety conventionally, making all the surroundings viewable lets us know that if anything does happen…we’re going to see it, we then brace ourself therefore causing suspense to rise. The stationary handheld camera gives the feeling of helplessness, we can’t move from this position, it’s a feeling of despair that we just have to sit back and watch the couple be tormented by the paranormal. The lighting in this shot is dark because it’s night time connoting the standard mystery and eeriness. However the night vision setting gives a sense of realism and reality, making us feel part of the mise en scene, whether we like it or not. the higher key lighting above the couple suggests levi strauss binary opposition theory, light vs dark. the flashing REC button was provided using photo shop and setting it to blink in final cut pro, along with a time scale in the bottom right, this gives it a definite sense of realistic home footage that the genre has to deliver making it believable and intensifying the fear.
fading to black using a cross disolve and re entering fading in from the previous frame, this gives a sense of a new time frame, this can also be displayed by the new time sequence in the bottom right. during this frame i decided to add static sound effects likewise in the previous, this adds realistic sound effects that unfortunately my camera wasnt able to pick up, i find this to be a useful inclusion to the frame. during the sequence a loud smashing of a glass wakes the couple up, this was provided using garage band software. this is when todorovs equilibrium is definitely broken as there is clear evidence of disruption. this develops barthes’ enigma code, making the audience question to what just broke the glass mostly because we dont get to see what broke it. this creates the sense of tension and suspense, as the fear rises within the audience.
it cuts to black for a split second and quickly reopens the frame with a higher key lighting of a close up of the females feet. this frame connotes the males just picked the camera off of the stand as they go to investigate. the hand held movement develops the disruption as the audience dont have a clear and still image of happenings, this raises tension and anxiety. the next frame progresses the anxiety further as the amateur camera movement distorts the audience view on the scene raising tension. the final shot of the scene cuts to a POV shot of the downstairs being ruined. the distance of the location to the camera invoke a sense of fear between the subject in matter and the audience, as if they cant get too close. this shot is the final part of the disruption to todorovs equilibrium and it becomes clear there is a real problem. this sense of realism provokes fear within the audience and firmly states the genre as a horror. The genre of order has been instigated, the contested space is being argued over (Schatz) between the supernatural Vs the natural (Strauss) and right now, the only hero we could suggest is to be male. However, the couple are the pawns of the state right now, stuck in the institutionalised state. Themantics suggest that the male, the hero is taking upon himself the problems of the state (e.g. the male trying to catch out the spirit/ghost).
during my research it was clear that the use of captions throughout the film can help progress the narrative, but also help to promote the film. it can help break the trailer in sections of narrative. therefore i decided it was necessary to include these throughout my trailer. the caption is a quote from a review of a respected magazine, these help promote the film by using an experts opinion. i used the effect bad TV during the creation of this caption that id created in photoshop and imported onto final cut. i feel as though it gives a brilliant distorted effect to the caption helping to drive the title of supernatural and the genre. other effects included the addition of a loud non diegetic boom to stress the emphasis on the quote. added to that was the size of the caption going from small to large in a split second, i felt this also added emphasis to the importance.
the next frame is an axio cut made famous in JAWS, in which it uses fast pace editing to track towards an object getting closer and closer to the subject. this fast pace editing creates major tension towards the object in matter. instead of using a tracking shot and a dolly using a slow movement, which can cause boredom within the frame, the speed and style of the axio cut is a more fast pace exciting alternative. added to this a large boom increasing in volume each time it cuts to a new frame really emphasis each cut down the corridor. i think the early use of this sequence in the trailer helps pull the narrative through the text, making it clear that the corridor has great importance towards the story as a whole. this therefore creates enigmas to why this corridor is of importance and what’s through the door at the end of it. It then cuts to a medium long shot of the female in despair; this creates panic within the audience. It could be suggested that using the hypodermic syringe model that the audience is weak, and the media is powerful as the characters have little control over their situation, this becomes clear through the panic and fear through the couple. the medium shot in night vision makes the couples emotions visible, however reduces the visibility of the surroundings making the suspense rise. it uses a POV shot of the male trying to reach the female in her panic, therefore suggesting total darkness within the surroundings, a typical convention of the horror genre. this panic of the female reaching out for the male suggests she’s the weaker of the couple while the male remains calmer in the situation, maybe playing the hero. during this sequence we start to hear the non-diegetic sound effects in the background to start to heighten the suspense even further.
following another caption, it cuts to to a medium shot of the male at a computer during the daytime. a medium shot was most appropriate during this scene because it was a change of location and the mise en scene had to be visible to let the audience understand the new surroundings. it cuts to the extreme close up of the computer screen as the male explains about another woman having the same problems. finally the sequence cuts to a close up of the female. this shots the most important as it shows off the females emotions closely, as we already understand the location in previous shots. this short sequence is of great importance to the narrative as a whole as its the first part in which the characters begin to attempt to repair the broken disruption, stage 4 of todorovs equilibrium. during this the volume of the non diegetic sound effects begin to rise and tension begins to escalate as the female explains this other woman’s death, creating enigmas to why and will it happen to herself. . The couple now become the fools of the state, responding to the madness the paranormal are playing on them (McConnell.) The preferred reading at this point would be that the media text is stronger than the audience, and this paranormal object is feared by the audience.
following another caption, the music builds further and tension rises as the female becomes hurt. this is when things are taken to the next level as the fear within the audience rises when things become visibly serious. the close up of the cut shows detail and vulnerability towards the character.At this point we it could be suggested that the female is the princess in Propp’s eight spheres of action. An object of the villain’s schemes she is. “it looks like something’s bit you” creating enigmas surround that remark, questioning whom or what’s bitten her. notice how its always the female hurt or scared, generally in horror genres the young female is depicted as weaker. the lighting on the subject was created using a small torch, giving the sense of a realistic camera light, not a holly wood technology which would appear unbelievable in this situation. in the next frame, a high angle shot is used to depict the weaker female character following the previous shot of her injured. during this sequence the couple begin to argue and cracks start to form in the strength of their relationship. this gives impressions of instability between the couple and the development of the supernatural being stronger than them occurs.
it cuts to another caption in which it shows only one word,”encounter”. throughout this next sequence i use fast pace editing and quick shots to really keep the tempo up beat with the rising volume to help build that suspense further. i learnt through my textual analysis’ that the horror genre conventionally uses quick cuts to keep building the tension and further the action. one shot in particular during this sequence of importance is the picture of the small child, burnt and torn. these effects on the prop give an outdated and old effect to the photo. this picture has connotations towards the villain of the story, we finally start to understand that it could be this girl in the picture causing the disturbance. this creates an enigma in the audience to start to question that this girl could be the root of the problems.
the music gets to an all time high as it cuts to black for a few seconds, a shot of the bedroom fades in from black using a cross dissolve to show a new time frame. like previous scenes in this style it uses the night vision, REC button and time code to deliver the true realism which the genre needs. as the music got to an all time high and dropped off, when the silence occurred the audience is at the most tense its been throughout the entire trailer. the second last enigma to the trailer occurs when the door starts to slowly creek, then slams closed. this is what the entire build up to the trailers been waiting for. this enigma leaves us questioning how the door closed, and who is responsible. with a loud boom directly on the door closing it cuts to the title of the film using a bad TV effect. providing a release date which i found to be essential during my audience research. it cuts to the billing information and the film website, below this is a link to twitter website in which it uses viral marketing by using social networking sites to promote itself, this is conventional during horror trailers such as paranormal activity.
the final scene is the night vision shot of the couple leaving the bedroom in distress, i deliberately had the female cross the path of the camera to create distress, making visibility obsolete. this meant i could quickly cut to the small girl at the end of the corridor with a loud bang to create the final scare in the trailer. the reason this worked so well was the split second that visibility was reduced making the cut to the girl so much better, because it was more unexpected. this final shot of the small girl is the closing enigma to the trailer, is it her who causes the disruption in the house, and how will they overcome it, will they overcome it? it cuts a TV bars screen with no signal to end the trailer, this abrupt ending questions the safety of the couple, with further enigmas.
1. which elements of the trailer make it realistic and conventional?
1. the opening institutions make it professional as i can identify with the companies involved in the creation of the film. your shot types vary throughout the trailer which makes its less boring, and more realistic.
2. the captions of quotes from the expert reviews help to promote it and make it more realistic. i really like the fact you used night vision shots to vary between the night and day shots. it switches the frames up and makes it more interesting.
3. it was shot at night which is a major convention of the horror genre, you used quick fast paced editing to build the tension and make it exciting, and the building sound effects helped to progress the suspense towards the end. another realistic and conventional thing was the characters, and how it was set in one isolated location.
from my feedback i can understand that there were a lot of elements that made it realistic. during my research i understood that the audience liked to see the institution logos towards the middle and not the beginning. however after trying this i decided it was rather an anti climax as they were both quite lengthy. i am pleased with the feedback on my shot types as i was suprised, because i didnt use that many during the production. the fast paced editing was notably good which id found to be very conventional in horror trailers to build the tension and suspense. the location was key also, using the same house for all the filming made the continuity editing really good.
2. how could you identify it was of the horror genre?
1. quickly i had a feeling it was of a horror genre when the hand held camera was used at the start. it almost immediately connotes disruption.
2. probably when the actor started to explain that something was wrong in the house, and then when he started to check that all the doors were locked. he must of been doing it for a reason.
3. the location was set in a isolated house that they never left, there was only 2 of them involved in the story, the music connoted the horror genre, and definitely the captions.
the feedback was different to what id expected although still really good. theyd picked up on parts i wasnt expecting. for example the instant handheld camera movement, which i was really pleased about. there were obvious parts in which i expected for example the isolated house and the sound effects building up. the fast paced editing was also identified with the horror genre. the characters i had chosen were to be right, during my research my target audience told me that a couple a was the most conventional, so i stuck with this decision and it looks as though its paid off.
3. in what ways do you think the trailer could be improved?
1. the sound when the couples speak sometimes can be quite diminished by the sound effects.
2. after the loud bang in the bedroom of the glass smashing, i expected it to be a bit more up tempo from then, quicker cuts and faster movement wouldve helped to make it scarier.
3. the title and info at the end kind of feel professionally made, as if youve tried really hard throughout and left that last bit til the last second. i expected something a little more professional seeing as its the title of the film.
the sound in some parts could definitely be improved, this could be done through using a boom mic, the sound quality would be much better. the editing and shots was a rather anti climax after the smash in the bedroom, its always something i feel i couldve improved on. i couldve had the actors move quicker in more of a panicked state and the camera moving more to disrupt the audiences view. as for the final caption with the title on, i wanted to keep this similar to my poster and website to have some continuity flowing through out. although looking back i could have defintely used more and differents effects on it rather than just bad TV which i used throughout.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?’
after completing GCSE and AS media i was already competant with alot of the technologies found in the subject. however film was something id never touched upon over the four years so i thought this might prove to be a little tricky trying to learn it all straight this year.
during my planning stages it was crucial i gained both primary and secondary research. for primary research i used word document to create questionnaires, and converted the data into useful graphs using excel. this meant the data was easy to interpritate and analyse. i also designed my own forum in which people could post their own feedback on questions i asked them about the project, this helped me gain an insight on real qualitative data. i used still digital cameras to take photos of locations and research them as this was key to my whole project. i used polls on the wordpress blog to gain quick and simple research on topics on all my products.
this was the tricky part. having never used a video camera before or edited i knew i was going to find this part the most difficult. luckily i had a friend who lent me their camera, this meant i was always able to film. it was key to make sure the white balance setting was correct as i didnt want un natural looking film, i also had to change it to 16bit sound to make sure i got the best quality possible. after filming became the difficult part, the editing side. i used the log and capture to transfer the files onto the mac. the good thing about using final cut pro was using non linear editing, which meant i didnt have to film it all in one go, and in chronological order so i could make the best out of filming sessions. a very handy tool i used was the razor blade tool which allowed me to cut the different shots and move them around the time line and change the order of them. this was helpful as i could choose exactly where to cut a certain sequence and make it accurate. after deciding what shots i wanted to keep and use, it was time to add effects to them. bad TV being a great effect as it provided a distorted effect which really went went with my amateur hand held camera style movie. during this i could decide how much roll for example i wanted the effect to have, this was a very useful tool as i could make the effect exactly how i wanted it. on the captions i felt as though just using bad TV wasnt enough, i discovered how to make these almost jump out at the screen at you by making the dimensions smaller, creating a pin mark then making them bigger again further down the time line. this small pen tall was extremely useful choosing where on the time line i wanted select. it was important i created sound effects to go along in my trailer, i used garage band for these. garage band is a vast library of sound effects as your finger tips which you can place onto a time line. i chose a large cinematic boom as i felt this was the most conventional to my genre, i converted it to mp3 and imported it to final cut pro and placed them over the captions to provide emphasis. not only did i use garage band for my boom sound effects, but conventionally there was always a building of volume or tempo track in the background. however i couldnt find one long enough to fit my time line, therefore i had to import it to final cut pro and cut a small middle part out and copy that over and over again. i then did used the pen tool to create points along the sound time along and increased these in volume as the trailer went along.
although having used photo shop for many years, i still learnt a few things along the way this time. for example to to create the scan lines on my images i had to create a pattern on a separate image by painting half the image black and half white. then transfer this onto my real image by filling it with my pattern. it worked really well and i used the internet to research this.
for my evaluation i have used a voice recorder on my laptop and converted the file so its able to be used on final cut pro. i have then added images to aid my presentation, using the skills i have learnt throughout my production of my trailer.
how effective is the combination of your main product and your ancillary texts?
it was important to keep the continuity throughout my media projects similar so the package as one was recognisable and all linked together. this was easy to do throughout the poster and website as they were both print based products. during my website and poster it was key i used the same colour schemes, fonts, images, and titles. this can be seen through the consistent use of the same font on my title using Tom Violence. during my analysis of websites and posters, all of them used consistent colour schemes throughout so it was key i had to keep it conventional by using the red black and white, which was also conventional towards the genre i was creating. the images on both my poster and website were the same, this helped make the image recognisable and shows continuity through the products.
projecting these effectively into my main product was going be harder however. i did use captions using the same fonts found on the title of my poster and website, and did keep the same colour scheme throughout these. however i dont think this is what makes it an effective combination. the imagery used on my poster and website is the most notable shot of the entire film, the bedroom scene. i think combining this throughout my project is a recognisable trait for the entire media package. the entire films based on what lurks while you sleep, so what better way to use a shot like this throughout the cross media package. the most effective part of the combination i think is the poster and the trailer. at the top of the poster is a paragraph explaining the narrative, it sets the story up for a amateur style footage film, and i think thats what the trailer delivers through specific camera shots and movements.