In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
When conducting the research on 3 different movie packages (Poster, Trailer and website) of my chosen theme, I wrote up a textual analysis for each piece I analyzed.
I looked in detail at the conventions that these packages had, and compared their similarities and differences. I knew that in order for my package to be successful, I would need to concentrate on incorporating these similarities into it. I also used my knowledge of movie posters and trailers that I have previously looked at, so I knew the basics of a good movie poster and trailer. Conventionally on movie posters, particularly horror movie posters, have one main image that dominates the whole poster.
I kept this in mind when taking the picture for my poster, and made sure that my chosen subject filled the frame of the camera, and my camera was positioned so it took a landscape picture, which would fill the A4 space.
In my textual analysis, particularly when I was analyzing the SAW franchise, I liked the way they used colour to effect mood of the movie and represent the dark horror theme, particularly their use of blue and cold tones in their poster so that there was a clinical, hospital style look to tap into peoples fear of hospitals and dentistry. I wanted to use this style in my package, so when editing my photograph for my poster and website, I altered the tones to be dark and cold, similar to my researched packages ‘The crazies’ and ‘Saw’.
For my image, I wanted it to strongly represent my narrative, of a young girl who gets murdered by her father, so I thought I should take a picture of a young girl who looks to have been tortured. This style image is similar to the images saw and the last exorcism have used, so it links in with the horror theme well, and works well at hinting to the audience what my movie will be about. I used my younger sister as my photographic subject and glued pieces of string to her mouth to make it look bound together like she is being tortured. This shows barthes enigma theory, and makes the audience wonder why she has her mouth bound together. It also relates to the narrative in which the girl is killed, so the audience have an idea of what the storyline of the movie is about, and what the theme of the movie is.
In photo shop I then edited the photograph’s tones and added a texture to shock the audience and make it look like she has been further tortured and beaten.
I also learned I needed to include a movie tag line, and credits at the bottom of the poster. For my movie tag line, I challenged the conventional ‘chiller’ style horror movie font, and used instead, a font that represents my narrative of a child. The fact that the font is in a Childs handwriting style, adds a creepy edge to the poster, but is also easy to read and fits in well with the overall look of my poster. I also showed my friends a selection of fonts that I was considering using for my poster, and nearly all of them said that my childlike font would look good for my tagline.
For my main title I chose a more conventional horror style font. It’s the font ‘Arslans Blood’, which is a distressed font which also has a handwritten look, so it fits in with my tagline font and works well at representing my genre and narrative.
Conventionally, movie posters across genre’s, use the font ‘steelTongs’ for their credit text at the bottom of posters, websites and other promotional items. I used this font for my credits and a similar sans serif font ‘Highway gothic’ for the line at the top of the page and links at the bottom, to make my poster look more professional and fit in with other movie packages. I decided to steer away from the typical red blood colour scheme of typical horror movies as I personally feel it looks too common and cheapens a movie slightly. So I developed my idea’s into a blue, black and white colour scheme, taking inspiration from the colour schemes of my analyzed packages, which I have consistently used throughout my promotional package to keep them all relevant.
From my research on Posters I got an idea of how a poster is conventionally laid out
I took note from my textual analysis’ of trailers to help me when it came to creating a treatment, script, storyboard and narrative for my horror movie. I found that in all 3 trailers that I analyzed, the creators use certain camera angles and lighting effects to add drama and suspense to their horror movie trailer. I set out a shot list for myself to follow when it came to the filming process of my package, using a broad range of shots that fitted in with each scene so as to add more suspense or show a particular item in the scene better. I don’t feel I challenged the conventional camera angles and shots that much, but I do feel that the shots I have used in my trailer really work well with my narrative and the overall slow to medium pace that I wanted to portray.
In a few scene’s in my trailer, I used staged lighting like they use in real media products. The artificial lighting in my trailer often came from a large candle I have. The candle gave a creepy flickering effect which worked well to add suspense and distort the scene into a sort of a mental trip, which is commonly used in horror movies. The last excorcism and SAW use darkness to represent horror and evil, so I tried to graduate my lighting, using darker lighting or filming in lower light as the trailer turns darker and more sinister.
I used a lot of props as representation of my ‘Abigail’, because even though you never see her as a person, only on pictures and through objects, you still get a very strong sense of who she is, her gender, age and her innocence as a child. In the first shot, I set up my bedroom like a young girls room, with small shoes and story books on the bed, and a teddy bear on the pillow, as a young child would usually have. The room is lit with natural light, and everywhere is clean and organised, which starts the trailer off with a sense of equilibrium. I hint at the narrative using a panning shot over the bed to show the audience that there is a little girl in my trailer.
– I will write more here when I have finalised and re-filmed parts of my trailer –
My website follows a similar layout and style to the crazies website that I looked into at my research stage. I have used a similar 3 section layout, with a top section where all the main links are, a larger middle section where my main image, trailer and movie review is placed, and a bottom section with logo’s and credits. I chose the crazies website to take inspiration from because I personally liked the way it was laid out, its easy on the eye and to navigate around, and all of the information is easy to read.
I used the same image from my poster, to use as the main image for my website to show consistency throughout my promotional package. I did make a minor edit to it though, and zoomed out on her face so more was visible in comparison to the very close up image on my poster, to show a hint of variety and difference using the same picture.
I used exactly the same font for my title on the website, to make my branding obvious and memorable to my target audience, as almost all other promotional movie packages keep a consistent title font throughout. I also chose to stick with consistency, and used the same sans serif font as i used on my poster, which is called ‘Highway Gothic’. It works well as the text for links and my review section as its easy to read and looks contemporary.
Despite my dislike for the use of the colour red, my questionnaire revealed that my target audience quite like it, and I decided it’s a vital piece of a horror movie representation, so I used it to colour the star rating and review name on my review section.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
I feel that all of my products tie in very well with each other, and represent the horror genre well. I used the same image, text and colour scheme through my ancillary texts, and also incorporated my title font into my movie trailer, using the font ‘Arslans blood’ for the informative text in my trailer for consistency and brand re-enforcement.
I made sure to include key elements throughout all of my products, particularly focusing on the girl, ‘Abigail’, as she is the main character in the movie, even though she isn’t seen at all in the trailer. Usually, a main character in a movie is shown in the trailer, but to make my movie seem more hostile and haunting, I decided to show only photos of Abigail in my trailer, and on my poster and website so that the audience ask the question ‘Where is Abigail? Whats happened to her?, and its that enigma, I feel will draw my target audience to watch my movie.
I have a very dominant image on the website and poster so that the audience has more of a clue about the horror narrative, and the colour scheme is a subtle blue, black and white colour scheme which I have also tried to incorporate into certain parts of my trailer. I used the video filters to help me achieve certain colour tones on the video where I felt it needed a bit of colour boost.
I was also sure to use the same characters in all of my products. It’s a fairly standard and obvious thing to do, but i made sure I did it anyway. I made sure that the Girl I used for Abigail on my poster (My sister) was also the same girl in the trailer. Even though Abigail never actually shows herself in the trailer, as I wanted her to be a kind of mysterious enigma, I used old photographs of my sister to use as Abigail. My dad played the main character of Edward Wheeler, so I also took notice of that and used old photographs of him and my sister together to add realism to the trailer.
I tried to keep all of my products of the same time period aswell. Its obvious that if I wanted my trailer to look like it’s a story from 100 years ago, I wouldn’t have coloured photographs in my trailer, or computerised typography. I tried to make my trailer look like it’s a story from the 1980’s or 1990’s. I dressed my dad in Fred Perry style polo shirts that were popular at the time, and on my bed I put childhood books that I had in the early 1990’s, which all work towards representing the time period I was aiming to put across.
However, once I had filmed and edited my first draft, I noticed that I had used a modern chrome door handle in a scene of the trailer. I corrected this by re-filming that section with a more vintage style door handle at my grandparents house, so as to keep my trailer looking old fashioned.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
I tried to use a wide range of media technologies throughout all stages of my production and research.
Whilst conducing research into my 3 chosen horror movies, I used the internet and internet search engines such as google and youtube, to find each Poster, Website and Trailer of my chosen movies, to research into. I also used google to look at some media terminology I was unsure of and needed to learn, such as the correct names for camera angles, and information about Barthes Enigma codes and Levi-staruss’ Opposition theory.
I set out most of my analysis’ on photoshop, where I put the main image of a poster or website in the center, and annotated around them. This way it was easy for me to note down everything I needed to about the product. I then translated these annotations into a full analysis on Microsoft word and posted up all of my analysis’ onto WordPress.com once they had been completed.
When it came to analysing 3 horror movie trailers as part of my research stage, I found that taking a screen shot of each frame in the trailer’s very handy. I used the CTRL+4 command on my MacBook to take a ‘Photo’ of each frame in the trailers, then set them out in order on an A3 photoshop document. It was then easier for me to write about each section of the trailer, having a visual image of the frame next to my analysis.
I also used photoshop to set out a questionnaire to give out to my target audience. It was easy to control the layout of the questionnaire as photoshop allowed me to view the whole document, and I added text and Tick boxes accordingly.
I then used Microsoft excel to set out results from my questionnaire into various pie and bar charts, so that it was easy to see which options are the most popular and which are not between my target audience.
I used my canon 1000d SLR camera to take photo’s for my website. I used a tungsten white balance because I was taking the photo in low light. I then edited the photograph in photoshop, and used the blending mode ‘Overlay’ to blend a grungey texture over the top, and edited the curves and levels, especially the blue tonal curve to give my photo a bluey white tone.
I also used photoshop to create my poster and website, using the ‘Guide lines’ to set out a layout to make sure my page was correctly aligned, and text tool to add informational text and logo’s. I copied and pasted my production company logo’s onto my poster and website and used the invert and hue and saturation tools to get rid of any white background boxes that would make my package look amateurish and unfinished.
I filmed my poster using a standard video camera, making sure to adjust the white balance depending on what location I was in, and I also used the night vision function for when my dad walks through the door as it was too dimly lit to use just the normal mode.
I then uploaded and edited my trailer on final cut pro. I made full use of video filters, especially the Old film filter which I used on my credits and house scene to add a scary horror edge, and used the brightening filter when I felt my trailer was too dimly lit. I used the typewriter text tool to add my credits, as this is the style of text that the SAW trailer used, and I really liked the effect. I altered the speed of some area’s in my trailer if a scene was too fast. I especially slowed down the end portion of my trailer, when Edward is holding Abigails hand, as it created an unusual blur effect which distorted the scene making it look haunting. I used the razor tool to cut clips in my trailer down to size, and then dragged them onto the timeline in the order of my storyboard and added sound accordingly.
For the music and sound effects in my trailer I imported selected music from garageband. I searched through lists of music and sound effects until I found the right music to fit in with my trailer. I used the thunderclap sound throughout my trailer to add a scary edge, and the slow piano music in the psychologically creepy parts of my trailer. I chose to use a market sound effect when the old man and Edward are talking, so that they sound like they are in a busy market, which matches in with my narrative. I also used a quick boom sound to signify a change in mood, and also because it’s commonly used throughout horror trailers, as I found out in my textual analysis.
3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
My target market for my product package was young adults, aged from 15-30, as I felt this is the age range that I could suit my trailer to appear too best because I am of that age range and have a better idea of what people my age are into. I used ‘Facebook’ to ask people what they thought of my production package, as this social network is mainly used by people who fit into my target audience. This way, people could leave feedback for me to see.
The majority of feedback I got was positive, with a few people leaving constructive criticism.
The main comments were that people liked my use of mise-en-scene, such as the blood covered photograph and various other props. They also liked how my lighting gave a mysterious edge to the trailer.
The constructive criticism I got was that my credits came up rather fast, so if I could go back and change them, I would make them slower so that they fit in with the slow to medium pace of the trailer.
Two people also mentioned how the background sound in the scene between the ticket man and the father in my trailer had a bit too much background noise that could have been quietened down.
After gaining some feedback on facebook, I decided to ask some people face to face too find out their opinions on my products. I did this by showing them my products then asking them to comment on what they liked and disliked about each product in my package.
From this information, I found out what my audience like and dislike about my package, which will benefit me when it comes to future work. I am also pleased with the positive feedback I have had off of people, so I know I have satisfied my target demographic.