Category Archives: Pre-Production

Final Cut Pro X

Emelia and I will be using Final Cut Pro X to edit our film opening. Here is what Emelia found out about this software…

“The software that we used to edit our film on is called Final Cut Pro X and it allows you to import and export video and audio clips and layer them to create a professional quality film.

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Final Cut Pro X has many features such as:

  • Unlimited audio tracks – This feature allowed us to layer multiple pieces of audio in order to create the right atmosphere for our film.
  • Various editing functions – such as; standard ripple, roll, slip, slide, scrub, razor blade and time remapping.
  • Transitions –  We used several transitions in our final product in order to create a smoother running film and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
  • A variety of filters – We looked through several filters in order to find one that portrayed the correct mood at the correct time. We found this feature really interesting and useful.

One of the most useful things that we discovered on Final Cut Pro X was the stabilization tool. This allowed us to limit the shakiness of the camera which was especially helpful because the ground where we were filming was unsteady and the bike method that we used gave a little bit of shake. However this helped to make our filming look much smoother.”

Emelia and I used Final Cut Pro X when making our music video for GCSE and for the various Preliminary Tasks for AS Level. Because of this, many actions came back to us and so we managed to work quickly and efficiently with the programme. However, just before editing Emelia and I watched a short tutorial on how to use Final Cut Pro X in order to remind us of the key functions and how to use the software to it’s best capability…

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Research Into Makeup

Due to the fact that our actress for the mother character is not age specific, Emelia and I decided that we needed to focus heavily on the makeup and physical appearance of the character. In order to make it believable that the mother was in fact a mother and in fact deceased, I needed to research into techniques of makeup in this field. Emelia and I plan to keep the makeup of the mother fairly natural as she would have been relaxing or sleeping at the time of the kidnapping. However, we feel as though she should be wearing some makeup in order to make her seem older and also in order to emphasise stereotypes such as long eye lashes making a girl more girly. On the other hand, Emelia and I thought it be best to add a grey/white pale tone to the mother character to show that she has been killed and has been lying in a freezing cold field for a substantial matter of time. In order to master this makeup, I will research into tutorial videos and then try it out on myself! The first video I watched displayed clearly how to use makeup in order to make you seem older…

Although the video aims for the girl to look 21, some points made in the video explain how makeup can make you look a lot older than you are. The next video I watched showed how to create a corpse using makeup. The end result is so believable!

Sally has agreed to let me do her makeup and hair on the day of filming. After quite a bit of thought and asking many friends which hairstyle they think would best represent a mother figure and make Sally look older, I have decided to create a low, casual, messy bun. The hairstyle that I envisage will look something similar to the hair in this tutorial…

I shall keep these tutorials in mind when doing Sally’s makeup and hair on the day of filming.

Planning: Weather…

The most ideal weather for mine and Emelia’s film would be a frosty, cold morning. We feel as though this would add a certain aesthetic to our film and would set the tone nicely. However, weather is unexpected and can not be changed, the best we can do is to cross our fingers and hope for the best! Our assigned date for filming is on the 28th of December. Here is the weather forecast for that day…

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This weather forecast is almost perfect as there will be frost, ice and a bit of sun in the morning. Let’s hope that the weather forecast is correct!…

Character Profiles

The next stage in our planning process was to find some actors and plan how we will present them. For our film idea, we need a young girl, a mother and a male figure. We shall  also play on stereotypes in order to emphasise the age of these characters.

The Young Girl…

Our main character is a vulnerable, cute, young girl. Emelia and I were determined to find an age appropriate actress for this role as it would make the film a whole lot more believable. We wanted to play on her cuteness and vulnerability so that the audience will empathise with her more and will be more shocked towards the end of the opening. Due to her age, Emelia and I thought that it would be more appropriate to approach her mum for permission to be in our film. Before filming, Emelia and I went round to her house to speak to her mum. Firstly, we explained the plot of the film and what Rosie’s position would be in it. We then explained where we would be filming. Rosie’s mum was very supportive and Rosie’s elder brother, Tom, came with us in order to allow Rosie to feel as comfortable as possible. We decided to dress the young girl in a cute, girly, purple dress with purple tights. Although this effectively displayed her innocence and vulnerability, we did not think this through as the young girl is supposed to wake up at the beginning of the film and it is not believable for her to wake up already dressed. We also put Rosie’s hair into two pigtails as we believed that this is the most stereotypical, young girl hairstyle. We then secured the two pigtails with a matching purple ribbon; this made her seem even more cute and naïve. Another reason as to why we put Rosie’s hair into pigtails is that we wanted to focus on continuity. Having her hair in pigtails allowed us to control the hair so that it was the same in each shot. We then asked Rosie to bring her Wellington Boots as we felt a shot of her pulling on her boots would seem innocent and vulnerable. Here is a photograph of Rosie on the first day of filming…

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The Mother

Originally, Emelia and I planned for my mum, Aly Pearce, to play our dead mother. I asked her and she was happy to help. However, she had to go on a last minute trip to Yorkshire the night before our filming day. Because of this, Emelia and I knew that we would not be able to have an age appropriate actress; this meant that the costume would be all the more important. When stressfully trying to find an actress, one of my closest friends offered to help. I took her up on the offer and was relieved to have found someone willing to help! Our plot revolves around the idea that the mother was taken from the house either in the night or early morning; this means that she must be wearing some form of pyjamas. Emelia and I decided that it would seem more appropriate and stereotypical if she was wearing a fluffy, blue dressing gown as this is a garment that many mothers wear around the house. We decided on her having bare feet as this is something that would add to the effect that the mother was not intentionally going to go outside and so she must have been taken there against her will and murdered. We also decided that the contrast between wearing a protective dressing gown and having bare, exposed feet would add to the mystery and strangeness of the situation.

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The Mysterious Man

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At first, Emelia and I planned to include a shadow like figure at the end of our film opening. Rosie’s elder brother, Tom, offered to play this role. This was perfect as he is extremely tall. From our survey, people suggested that the villain should be tall and wear all black clothing. Because of this, Emelia and I asked Tom to wear all black as this would show that he is the villain. However, in the end Emelia and I decided not to include this character in our film opening as it gave too much away for just the opening.

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Location Planning

The next stage in planning was for Emelia and I to find a location to film at. Originally, we envisaged filming at an isolated, country farm house. We wanted to film here as we thought it fit in well with our storyline. We then ran our survey and included a question to do with the location. Here is what we found from the survey…

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From our survey, we are certain that we would like to film in an isolated and rural area, preferably in a farmhouse. One of my close friends, Hattie, lives on a farm close to where Emelia lives. Her house is very large and includes stereotypical farmhouse interior decor. Emelia and I thought that this would be the perfect for our film and so planned on asking Hattie if we could come round to film for a day. The next time I saw Hattie, I asked whether it would be okay for us to film at her house or not. I asked in advance so we could plan our screenplay and storyboards based on her house. She said that it would be fine and that could go round to her house for a full day. This was perfect and Emelia and I were excited to film at her house. However, a couple of weeks later, I received a message from Hattie saying that she was going to Dorset on the day that we would be filming. Because i had already booked out the equipment for this day only, we had to find a new location to film at…

As we were pushed for time, Emelia and I were stressfully trying to find a new location to film at. We were messaging friends who lived on farms, but due to the late notice many couldn’t help us. We then asked Tom Scullion whether we could film at his house as there is a large field close to it. He then replied saying yes and asked whether or not we would prefer to film at his Grandma’s house as she has the large field right behind her house. We agreed that this would work better and so had a new location to film at! The field behind her house is large and isolated, just what we were hoping for. After all of the stress, Emelia and I were once again happy with our location.

The Purge: Anarchy: Features

For some reason unbeknown to me, I have always wanted to watch ‘The Purge’ films. Whether it is the storyline or the conversations of people asking, “What would you do if all crime was legal for one night?”, I have always wanted to watch them but have been too scared. After speaking to friends, I was told that “The Purge: Anarchy” is the least scary. Because of this, and it’s recent arrival on Netflix, I decided to be brave and watch it. The Purge: Anarchy was released in 2014 and has been categorised as an American, dystopian, action, horror film directed by James DeMonaco. Here is the trailer…

  • The Purge: Anarchy has a fairly cold colour palette. The colour palette is mainly focussed around colours such as blues and purples. These are colours often associated with negativity and sadness; this arguably sets the tone of the film as the audience are made to feel uncomfortable. However, some shots have a warm colour palette based on colours such as yellow and orange. These colours are used in the daylight when the purge has not yet commenced. Therefore, the warm colours display the safety in comparison to the dark and cold colours that display danger.
  • As the tension and action increases, so does the pace of the shots. Because of this, when the shots speed up, the audience know that something bad is going to happen. Therefore, whenever the shots speed up the audience feel tense and uncomfortable as they are unaware of the upcoming events. However, in some areas of the film, the slower paced shots also build large amounts of tension as it forebodes that something is not right and something bad is about to happen… the calm before the storm.
  • The whole storyline of The Purge: Anarchy is based on murder in a dystopian world. However, the fact that the film has been set in modern day America allows the audience to believe that the film is real and so allows them to empathise more with the characters as they feel nervous and uncomfortable also. The constant murder also allows the audience to feel on edge and uncomfortable throughout the entire film.
  • Masks are used throughout the film in order to create a sense of discomfort and fear. The masks themselves are scary however, the fact that the identity of that character is hidden allows you to feel much more nervous. This is because you are unaware of their capabilities and expressions. You can not clearly see their eyes and so actions made by these characters are highly unexpected which therefore makes the audience feel on edge throughout the whole film.
  • The isolation on the streets is emphasised by the empty buildings and dimly lit streets. The audience feel sympathy for those trapped outside as their fate will most probably be the end of their lives. The fact that people on the inside of secure buildings are also unsafe allows the audience to feel fear as it creates a sense that they themselves are not safe.
  • Throughout the film, diegetic sounds such as news reports, a countdown, gunfire, screaming and shouting are all emphasised and amplified. This emphasises the fact that these people are isolated and also shocks the audience. The constant update of news reports adds a sense of reality to the film and leaves the audience wanting the time period to be over just as much as the characters within the film!
  • The non diegetic soundtrack matches the pace of the film throughout. Often, quiet music is used in order to create suspense and tension before a larger event. The faster paced music could resemble the fast heart rate of the characters, and maybe audience, and also keeps the audience hooked and full of adrenaline.

Although this film left me wondering what would actually happen if this became a reality, I really enjoyed it. I shall take notice of the various features and try to include them in my two minute opening in order to improve the quality of it.

Nursery Rhymes…

Emelia and I have decided to include a nursery rhyme at the beginning and end of our film opening. We have chosen to use a nursery rhyme for different reasons.

We are using a nursery rhyme at the beginning of our opening in order to display the innocence, young age and naïvety of the young girl. We have also chosen to use a nursery rhyme, rather than a pop song for example, because nursery rhymes are widely known and have connotations with the age of the girl. As well as this, in various other films in the genre of a thriller nursery rhymes are often used to inflict uncomfort upon the audience. The girl will hum the tune of the nursery rhyme whilst playing with her toys and wandering around the house. At first, Emelia and I did not think very much about which nursery rhyme to use, however, from the feedback on our first version of the script we have realised that this is in fact an important aspect of our video. Firstly, we chose ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’…

However after listening to this nursery rhyme and receiving feedback from our teacher, we were not sure that this was the correct nursery rhyme for our opening. Our teacher recommended ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’. Emelia and I liked this idea as it could have some creepy connotations and could be made to sound creepy quite easily. At the beginning of our opening, our character will hum the tune as it originally is in order to display her innocence…

For the nursery rhyme at the end of our film opening we have decided to keep the same song as this will tie together our opening. However, we would like to use an altered version that may seem distorted and creepy. We feel as though this would be effective when using the nursery rhyme of ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ as the lyrics in it could be perceived as slightly disturbing. Here is an example of a creepier version of the popular nursery rhyme…

The song is simple as a man is simply singing the original nursery rhyme. However, when sang in a mellow and minor key with a hushed, slow voice the song sounds a lot more creepy. Without the upbeat music and with various uncomfortable sounding squeaks and noises in the background you can focus upon the strange lyrics. This adds tension and a sense of horror…

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears

Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone!
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home!

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.