Emelia and I are pleased to present our final product… the first two minutes to the new thriller film, “In The Shadows”…
Now that Emelia and I FINALLY have our footage we can begin editing. We have completely scrapped our original opening as we want to have a fresh start in the hope of a much more successful opening! Once again, Emelia and I are editing on Final Cut Pro X. We have used this many times before and so can jump straight in with beginning editing again. Due to the fact that Emelia and I decided to refilm our entire opening, we are even more pushed for time as groups around us are finishing editing before we have even begun!
Firstly, we had to import all of our new footage. We have made a completely new folder on the desktop as well in order to keep all of our version two separate from our version one. We then had to import all of the sound. This time around, we had lots to import and match to clips. The first thing that Emelia and I did was to create a rough cut…
For this, we once again solely focused on the order of the clips so that we could receive feedback on the filming and storyline rather than syncing of sound and fonts! Luckily, people agreed with us that our second go around was better than our first. We were extremely happy with this; however, our rough cut was 3 minutes 12 seconds long and we needed to cut it down to 2 minutes! In order to do so, Emelia and I began by cutting out the footage that was necessary. For example, we have many different shots of Rosie walking up and down the stairs. For actions such as these, the audience do not need a visual example of it in order to understand what is going on. Because of this, we cut out quite a few shots of everyday actions. The next area that we focused upon was the breakfast making part. This took up a large portion of the opening and so we had to fine tune this heavily. However, once cut down, this aspect to the opening did not make perfect sense as the bread seemed to be toasting in a millisecond. This was because the shot of Rosie putting the bread into the toaster was immediately followed by the shot of her taking it out, fully toasted. In order to resolve this I added in a fade in order to display the passing of time. I also did this in-between the shots of Rosie getting the tray where her direction of walking changes immediately. After cutting out many shots, Emelia and I decided to cut down the beginning and ends of many as they were necessarily long. This actually helped with the overall flow of our film opening as the lengths of shots were perfected.
Our next task was to import our two idents. Once imported, Emelia and I moved them onto the timeline of our opening. Of course they went right at the beginning and after one another. However, I added in a fade before the first one and in between the two as this helped with the flow even more. Without the fade, the transition between the two idents was too sudden and too sharp. We then had to create the parts of the film labelling the production company, names of director(s) and names of actors. As well as this, we had to add in the final title sequence! This was fairly easy due to our research into codes and conventions of film openings and fonts. In the end, Emelia and I went with a simple yet slightly gothic looking font; this fit in perfectly with our genre of thriller.
The next task was to add sound. Firstly, Emelia and I added in the diegetic sounds such as the footsteps, heavy breathing, rolling of the blind and footsteps crunching in the leaves. However, we focussed on the syncing of the sound rather than the volume as we believed that we should be worrying about that later with the non diegetic soundtrack layered over the top. When we were happy with the syncing of the diegetic sounds, Emelia and I searched the Final Cut Pro X sound effect menu for exaggerated sounds such as birds singing. We found an array of different birds singing but managed to pick the perfect one. We decided to add this in in the beginning and towards the end of the film opening in an attempt to bring it all together. We then had to add our soundtrack. This was fairly easy, however messed around with all of the other sounds as it, at first, drowned them all out. However, this did not last long as Emelia and I lowered the dynamics of the soundtrack so that you could hear the other sounds easily.
After this, I added in the gradual colour palette. To do this, I used an effect but set it so that it began to intensify at a constant yet steady pace from a certain moment up until the dead body. The blue, negative colour palette is at it’s most intense when the young girl is shown to be looking down at her dead Mother. This displays the emotions that she is feeling and shows that her whole world has just been turned upside down; this also allows the audience to feel empathy towards her as they feel connected through the tone of the ending.
After showing our classmates many times and watching it over and over again ourselves, Emelia and I feel as though our two minute film opening is finished. We are happy with it but believe that with more luck, more experience with the experience and a longer time period it could have been a whole lot better. However, with the endless problems that came my way, I am happy with what I managed to achieve!
Initially, Emelia and I had planned to include a cold and negative colour palette in our film opening. We planned to mix a cold colour palette with a dark colour palette in attempt to create an uncomfortable and foreboding tone for our thriller film. However, when editing (and with the opinion of our classmates and teachers), Emelia and I have decided not to add a colour palette. We have chosen not to do this because the brightness of our shots are aesthetically pleasing. Also, the colouring does not look as though it has come straight off of a camera as Emelia and I had initially thought it would! As well as this, Emelia and I do not believe that a cold and dark colour palette would fit in with the innocent nature and tone of the beginning of the opening. For all of these reasons, plus many more, we have decided not to add a constant colour palette to our film opening.
However, I felt as though we should incorporate something to do with this since we had researched into it. I also felt as though we could do something with the colour to fit the emotions being felt by the young girl in an attempt to allow the audience to empathise with her. Because of this, with the help of one of my teachers, towards the end of the film opening the colour gradually turns to a cold and dark palette. The colours involved are based around blues and purples. These colours intensify as the negative emotions of the young girl would in real life up until they reach their most intense pigmentation at the point where the young girl sees her dead mother. I have included this into the end of our film opening because I feel as though it helps the audience to see what has happened through the young girls eyes and so allows them to feel more emotionally involved. However, I was worried that this gradual increase in opacity of negative colours would make it look as though I made a mistake with lighting when filming. Because of this, I showed the class and asked for opinions on whether to keep it or not. However, when showing the class this, Emelia and I received various positive points of feedback. Because of this, we decided to leave it in.
Throughout the editing process, Emelia and I showed our teachers and classmates our film opening so far. Each time, we received constructive criticism and also positive feedback that allowed us to fine-tune our opening. With the feedback being from so many different people, Emelia and I hoped that we could perfect our film opening due to the range of suggestions. Some of these suggestions included…
- Audio: Our diegetic sound was not consistent throughout our opening. This was because the volumes varied too much and so to fix this Emelia and I had to note down which volumes were too high or too low and had to alter them . For example, towards the beginning of the opening the young girl is shown to be opening the blinds. At first, the sound of the blinds opening was way too loud and so we had to turn this down. On the other hand, there were some diegetic sounds that we wanted exaggerated such as the footsteps crunching in the leaves; this is because this creates tension and depth into the shot.
- Time Frames: In our opening we show the young girl making breakfast. However, we include the shot of her putting the toast in the toaster immediately followed by the shot of her taking it out already toasted. Our classmates said that this confused them slightly as it does not take that short amount of time to toast bread! In order to get over this, I added a fade. This indicates time passing and so brings back a sense of time to the opening. I also added in a fade in-between the two shots of the young girl retrieving the tray as the immediate change of her walking direction also put off people. Once again, the fade displays the passing of time.
- Direction of Steps: In the outside scene, Emelia and I included various shots of the young girl’s feet walking. From feedback, it was clear that two of these shots were filmed the wrong way around in order for the opening to make complete sense. Although we could not go and film again, this could be easily rectified as we could simply flip the shots. When showing our film opening to the class after doing so, people agreed that it looked correct and made sense.
- Length of Opening: Emelia and I started out with a lot of footage, if not too much! Because of this, our 2 minute opening was looking as if it was going to be around the 4 minute mark. We needed to cut down drastically and so looked for advice into which parts to cut. We were advised not to include so many different angles of the same shot and not to have shots of unnecessary things. We were then advised to cut down the individual clips so that the film opening would flow more.
- Non Diegetic Sound: In our penultimate screening, it was suggested that Emelia and I turned up our non diegetic soundtrack slightly as in some places you could not hear it due to the exaggerated diegetic sounds. This was not hard to change but changed the tone of our film opening quite heavily… however, Emelia and I feel as though it changed it for the better.
As well as constructive criticism, the class gave us positive feedback. Overall, they liked the brightness of our shots and stated that the opening made perfect sense. However, the aspect that received the most feedback was on our final shot. People asked how we created it and when we explained they were fairly intrigued and impressed. Overall, Emelia and I were extremely grateful for the feedback given to us from our classmates and teachers. It allowed us to have various characters viewing our film and also allowed a fresh eye to pick out the silly mistakes that we may have missed from watching close up on the small screen. With this feedback, Emelia and I hope to create a professional film opening to be proud of!
As well as a soundtrack, Emelia and I planned to include the nursery rhyme ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’. However, we could not find this specific nursery rhyme anywhere on the internet. Because of this, we knew that we would have to make this music ourselves. Because of this, we booked out one of the music rooms at school and some recording equipment from our media teachers. We then asked one of our peers whether or not he could play it for us whilst we recorded… he said that he would be happy to help! We sent him this in advance…
Oliver was happy to help and so we began recording. As a practice we asked Oliver to play a piece off the top of his head so that we could find the perfect spot to record from. In the background you can hear Emelia and I moving the recorder around as we found listened for the correct place to have it when recording ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’. Here is the practice piece…
After this, we asked Oliver to play ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ as it is usually played. We asked him to do this as we planned to incorporate an original version towards the beginning of our opening in contrast to a slower version towards the end. Here is the normal version…
We then asked Oliver to play a more minor version. I suggested that he play an octave or two higher as often in horror films nursery rhymes are played in a much higher key as this sounds eery and mysterious. Emelia and I planned to use this piece towards the end as the girl finds her dead Mother’s body…
In the end, Emelia and I decided against using ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ in our film opening. We imported the pieces into Final Cut Pro X and edited them into our opening. However, they did not sound right and didn’t fit with the flow of our film opening and so we decided not to include them. On the other hand, had we not tried it out we would have always been wondering whether or not it was going to work!
Now that Emelia and I had all of our footage, we could once again begin the editing process. The first thing that Emelia and I aimed to do was to create another rough cut so that we could show the class and our teachers our new footage. Emelia and I put the various clips together into an order that we deemed suitable. Our rough cut includes no sound, no music, no idents and no title. Because of this, it was quite hard for our classmates to give constructive criticism that we did not already know. However, they noticed the brighter lighting and focus on sticking to rules such as the 180 Degree Rule. Our first rough cut is over one minute longer than our film opening has to be and so Emelia and I have a lot of work to do. Here is our first rough cut of our second version opening…!
Initially, Emelia and I had planned to compose and perform our own music for the task. However, we had not realised how little time we would have and so have decided to go back on this idea! Instead, we have decided to look for uncopyrighted, free music online. Emelia and I took our time looking for this music as we feel that the soundtrack is a hugely important aspect of a film. Not only does it add layers and depth to the film, but it conveys emotions and allows the audience to connect to the film.
What type of music were we looking for?
Due to the melancholic and sorrowful tone of our film opening, Emelia and I were not looking for a busy, loud and cheerful soundtrack. Rather, we were looking for a simple, soft and calm soundtrack. When watching other films, often in the sad parts the soundtrack involves a piano and little else. Because of this knowledge, and the known effect that this has on the audience, Emelia and I wanted a soundtrack containing a piano solo and little else.
Where to look?
There are various sites on the internet that allows you to listen to and download music. However, Emelia and I had to make sure that the songs we were finding were definitely free to use. Because of this, we used some well known websites for this. These include…
- Free Music Archive… http://freemusicarchive.org
- Freeplay Music… http://www.freeplaymusic.com
- Jamendo Music… https://www.jamendo.com/search
Plus many more. However, the website that Emelia and I found most useful was Audio Network (https://www.audionetwork.com)…
We found this website the most useful as the search filters were extremely specific. Emelia and I found ourselves listening to songs from all categories.
Final choice for soundtrack…
When searching in the ambient/instrumental/piano section… I found ‘Empty’ by Helen Jane Long. This song was perfect! It contained a sombre piano melody that Emelia and I could imagine fitting perfectly well within our two minute film opening. It is also fairly quiet which is perfect because it means that when playing, the audience will also be able to hear the diegetic sounds such as the footsteps and leaves crunching. However, audio network only gave us the option to buy the song. When telling one of our teachers about this at school, he told us about Audio Network LGFL; this is for schools and schoolwork only. Luckily for us, our chosen song was also on this version of Audio Network and so we could download it to use in our media project for free! Emelia and I are happy with this soundtrack and feel as though it will help us to set the correct tone for our audience.