Tag Archives: Editing

Conventions of a Thriller

I created a Prezi presentation in order to display the various conventions for a film in the genre of Thriller. Click below, on the image, for the presentation…

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Emelia and I will use this research in order to create our own thriller as accurately as possible. We shall also keep these conventions in mind when planning how to film, edit and put together our film.

Fingersmith

Section A of exam…

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of sexuality using: Mise En Scene; Camerawork; Sound Design; and Editing… 

The television drama extract from ‘Fingersmith’ uses various techniques within: mise-en-scene; camerawork; sound design; and editing in order to represent the sexuality of the three different characters shown in the extract: Miss Maud; the servant, Sue Trinder; and the gentleman, Richard Rivers.

The extract began with a short scene in a dressing room. Miss Maud is shown to be dressing and helping her servant. The scene uses a two shot in order to show the two ladies looking at their reflections in the mirror. These two characters have been positioned into the centre of the shot; this displays to the viewers that these ladies are the main characters but also portrays the close relationship between the two, which later is revealed to be closer than anticipated. The scene begins with a piece of narration from Miss Maud describing the beauty of the other female shown in the scene. The fact that Miss Maud speaks these opinions in a narration, not out loud, displays that these are the hidden and secret homosexual thoughts in her head that she can not expose. In this scene Miss Maud is shown to be wearing a white dress. The colour white is often thought as as the colour of innocence and purity. At the time that this television drama is set, the Victorian era, homosexuality of any form was seen as hugely immoral and a sin. Homosexual people were looked down on in society and because of this people often hid their sexuality and pretended to be heterosexual, pretended to be someone else. By wearing the innocent and pure colour of white, Miss Maud is shown to be encaging, restricting and covering up her true homosexual emotions. During this scene, positioning within mise en scene has been used in order to display how Miss Maud thinks of herself and her priorities. When the two women are shown stood in the mirror, Miss Maud is standing behind her servant, Sue Trinder. This could be seen as unusual because surely she should be seen as more important due to the social hierarchy of the time; however this displays how important Sue really is to Miss Maud and how much she admires, cherishes and arguably loves Sue. The positioning could also display that Miss Maud is not true to herself and does not respect herself due to her true homosexual feelings. The mirror is fairly dusty; this dirt on the mirror could represent the negative views of homosexuality of the time but could also portray that Miss Maud’s dream of having and loving Sue is distorted, unlikely and negative. During this scene the non diegetic, composed score is fairly graceful and buoyant. The sound design is used in order to show the audience how Maud feels when being herself and how happy and at home she feels with her love. This graceful music is contrasted to the exaggerated diegetic sound of the heavy breathing. The heaviness of the breaths indicates that Miss Maud is somewhat nervous around her lover and displays that Maud is scared of her true feelings and the consequences to them. However, the heavy breaths could also indicate the heart beating faster around Sue’s presence due to Maud’s admiration of her; this is because when the heart beats faster it needs more oxygen… meaning heavier breaths are required.

The programme then fades into the next scene; this transition could have been edited in in order to show that Maud can not live her life displaying her true feelings. She must fade out of her dream world and fall back into reality. The scene faded into shows Miss Maud in some form of dark office. The dark lighting to the room could display how gloomy Maud’s life is when she is trapped in her feelings and forced to live life as a different woman. This shorter scene shows the contrasts between Maud’s life when she is being herself and when she is hiding her true feelings. The contrast of lightness and darkness displays her two forms and how they make her feel. The simple, elegant and spacious room from before compared to the busy, smaller and murky room of this scene also displays the simplicity and joy of her life, compared to the complicatedness to a life made up on a lie.

The next scene is located in a bedroom. In this bedroom the two characters are shown to be in bed. The wide shot is used in order to display the two women’s full bodies in the bed and the connection between the two. The fact that the two are shown to be in bed together immediately gives connotations to sexual connection between the two characters. In the same shot, Miss Maud is then shown to almost touch the other female character in areas of the body often related to lust and sexual activity. The two characters are shown to be wearing white, thus displaying the cover up of innocence once again. Miss Maud’s hovering hand over the intimate areas of the other female is override by a white glove. The glove could be acting as a barrier in order to stop Miss Maud from releasing her secret to the world. The whiteness of the glove once again shows that Maud is covering up her, then seen, embarrassing and dirty secret by using an image of innocence and purity. The romantic, composed score playing in the background of the scene further displays the sentimentality between the two characters.

The programme then transitions into a new scene, outside. The environment is displayed as sunny, bright and full of fresh green vegetation. Miss Maud is shown to be painting her lover whilst she sleeps against a boat. In this scene a new character is introduced, he is a male and is wearing dark and black clothes. These colours in contrast to the pure white colour of the women’s outfits display that he is in no way pure but rather dirty as the audience later learn. The mise en scene location of nature, which is displayed through the varying camera shots, alongside the nature related diegetic sounds, such as the chirping of the birds, suggests that Maud feels most comfortable, ‘normal’, and peaceful in her true feelings. The nature related noises also represent her mood as they increase in tempo when her fear increases but decrease in tempo as she becomes more calm and focused upon Sue. A close up shot of Miss Maud’s face displays her concentration upon the woman. Her eyes seem alive and located on the woman only; this in itself displays her romantic feelings towards the woman as she sleeps and is unaware alike everyone else. The camerawork then uses two close ups in a sequence of shot reverse shot in order to display to the audience the intentions and homosexual thoughts of Maud. The close up shots display the breast area of Sue and her hands in her lower region suggesting sexual tension. The close up shot of Maud’s reaction in-between the two displays her sexual intensions and what she wants. Maud is shown to be fixated by the body of the other woman, so much so that red paint falls from her paintbrush onto her skirt. The colour red symbolises love and lust; therefore representing the feelings Maud has towards her female associate. However, red can also be related to danger; this direct link to danger portrays how unsafe the sexuality of Maud is and how dangerous it could be for her secret to escape and her heterosexual act to fall just as the droplet of paint fell from the brush.The longer Maud stares at Sue with intimate intentions and admirations, the dynamics of the soundtrack increase. This could display that her feelings for Sue become stronger the more she attempts to suppress her true feelings. It could also indicate that she is scared of revealing her true self as the reaction of her loved one and others in society may be catastrophic. Towards the beginning of this scene the male character is positioned to be stood in the middle of Maud and Sue. This shows that he comes between the two, is what is keeping Maud away from her true love and displays a form of a love triangle. He is a physical barrier and is obtaining  accepted social views by doing so.  Miss Maud is shown to be sat in the shade, wearing a hat, under an umbrella. The shade represents the cover up of her secret… her life is dark when she is unable to be who she truly is and unable to be with the woman that she loves.It is then when the gentleman notices her intimate focus on Sue. At this point the tempo and dynamics of the composed non diegetic sound increases; this displays to the viewers Maud’s increasing fear as she realises that her secret has become exposed. As Maud notices that her secret has been revealed to the gentleman, the diegetic sound of deep breaths also increase as she is nervous of the upcoming reaction due to the taboo surrounding homosexuality in the Victorian era. Before Maud revealed her true feelings to gentleman Rivers, the length of shots was fairly long and slow paced; this reflected her comfort knowing that her feelings were a secret. However, from the moment where it is revealed until when gentleman Richard Rivers agrees to help cover up Maud’s secret, the length of shots become much shorter. There are also many more shots. This fast pace adds a sense of chaos and the contrast of editing displays Maud’s fear of her secret being out. As the male character approaches Maud with an aggressive trait, all sounds included in the scene are amplified in order to display her increasing fear. Maud is then pulled out of the shade by the gentleman and during this swift and aggressive action her hat falls off. This shows that as she is brought into the sunlight her and as her hat comes off her secret is now no longer a secret and so Maud is who she really is. The true Maud has stepped into the bright, real world. From here, the music stops. Silence can be very powerful and has been used within sound design to show that her secret is not now close to being revealed, it is revealed. The silence is also tense and so represents the atmosphere as no one knows how the upper class, Victorian gentleman will deal with a sinful lesbian. It is eery and produces a sense of discomfort. The two characters then share dialogue which displays the gentleman verbally attacking Maud for her feelings and referring to Sue as a “fingersmith”. A fingersmith is a thief or pick pocket. The use of this phrase to describe the love of Maud’s life shows the jealousy of the heterosexual gentleman who clearly is in love with Maud. It could be argued that he believes the fingersmith is stealing Maud away from him. The gentleman then drags Maud toward a tree, then holds her up against the trunk. The forcefulness could represent the strict rules, judgement and views of society in there Victorian era forcing women with theme emotions to act as ‘normal’, heterosexual. Shot reverse shot is used within camerawork in order to display the expressions of the two characters and to show the discomfort felt by Maud around Richard. This shot reverse shot also displays the two opposites of sexuality appearing in this scene. The heterosexual man is positioned to be higher up than the homosexual woman; thus displaying the views of the time as heterosexuals looked down upon homosexuals as vile and wrong. The silence is still present which adds further tension to the scene. This silence is then broken by an awoken Sue as she can not find Maud. The speech and diegetic sound of Maud suddenly becomes much more frantic as she is close to her lover finding out the truth. This is when the music begins again as the gentleman begins to smother Maud with his affection through sexually related acts. The composed score is eery, uncomfortable to listen to and fairly mysterious; this portrays how Maud is feeling through to the audience and allows them to feel sympathy towards her. Gentleman Richard Rivers is denied a kiss from Maud as her feelings for Sue are true and although she may be able to act heterosexual, this would be taking it too far. As he leans in for a kiss, the shadow of the gentleman covers Maud; this displays that she is once again retreating to her fake and dark life and keeping the secret hidden. The camera then changes to a mid shot revealing the males face infant of Maud’s middle section of body. This section reveals the areas of intimacy and the shot displays the face of the man focussed onto it; this displays the sexuality of the man as he forces himself upon Maud with determination to have her. An aspect of mine en scene that also displays the two sexualities is when Richard Rivers takes off the white glove from Maud’s fragile hands; this could show that he is now in control as he has removed her barrier and is able to control her sexuality of the real world as he wants her for himself. It also shows that he is taking away her innocence as he further carries out sexual related acts. He then licks the hand of Maud. Sound design uses an exaggerated diegetic sound in order to make this even more uncomfortable to watch; this represents the discomfort felt by Maud in the situation.

The extract then fades into the last scene which is located once again in a bedroom. It begins with the a mid shot displaying a topless woman with her back facing the camera. She is positioned in the centre of the shot therefore displaying that she is all that Maud thinks about and is also very important to her. Infront of her, but behind from the view of the shot, there is a burning fire. The fire is a producer of light and so this aspect of mine en scene could portray that being honest with this woman could lead her into the light, could lead her into having an improved life. On the other hand, fire is often related to danger and so this could once again be portraying that Maud’s feelings towards Sue are dangerous and would lead to unknown consequences. The scene has been edited so that it is in slow motion as Sue undresses. This shows how this is almost like a dream for Maud, it displays what she wants in her ideal world but what she can not have. How she can only have Sue in her dreams. On the other hand, the slight blur and slow motion of the scene shows the confusion of Maud surrounding her feelings but also how in the Victorian times homosexuality was seen as wrong and as a distortion that many could not understand. The final shot of the scene shows Maud laid in bed once again with Sue. However, this time she is positioned to have her back facing away from Sue. This could be due to her discomfort from her smothering of gentleman Richard Rivers or because she is trying to suppress her true feelings. On the other hand, a close up shot reveals the worried expression on Maud’s face as she holds the covers over her mouth; this could show that she feels ready to tell Sue about her true feelings but has the cover, representing society, acting as a barrier to stop her. The final part of the scene uses diegetic sound for a short piece of dialogue. The dialogue is muffled due to the cover being over her mouth;  however it could be argued that Maud mutters the words “tell me”; this selection of words could display that Maud is wanting Sue to share her secret love which displays that in the Victorian era many woman had to lie and lived different lives to the lives that their hearts desired. On the other hand, the use of a muffled diegetic sound rather than a clear one could represent how the judgemental restrictions of society muffled the lives of these homosexual women and made them too nervous to speak the truth and act upon it.

The television drama extract from ‘Fingersmith’ uses varying techniques in order to represent sexuality. Two forms of sexuality are displayed alongside one another as the male is in love with Maud due to his heterosexual desires whereas Maud is in love with Sue due to her homosexual desires. Mise en scene, camerawork, sound design and editing are all used in order to represent these two sexualities and the taboo surrounding homosexuality during the Victorian era. Homosexuality was seen to be a sin, not morally correct and looked down upon by the heterosexual people who were confused as to why people would want to be different.

Reservoir Dogs – A Class Task…

We were given a task as a class to remake a section of film from the opening of Quentin Tarantino’s film… Reservoir Dogs. Due to the small size of our class we worked together as one large group in order to try and re create it as specifically as possible.

Reservoir Dogs is a Quentin Tarantino film which was released on the 23rd of October 1992. It is an action thriller and created US$2.8 million in the box office. To start off with, we watched a portion of the film in order to get a sense of what it is about. We were then shown the part of the clip that we would be recreating. We would begin at the end of the scene in the cafe and finish at the end of the opening titles. Here is what we had to re create…

Planning

Firstly, we had to carefully plan out everything to do with our film as we would only have one lesson, 50 minutes, to film. We had to plan our roles within the video, the location where we would be filming, the positions we would have to stand in, the actions we would have to do, the camera shots and movements etc.

When watching the extract we assigned ourselves different tasks to carry out so that we would have as much detail as possible. We made storyboards, noted down the actions of the characters, noted the appearance of the characters, noted the script and of course planned out the camera shots and movement.

Next, we had to assign members of the class to different members of the Reservoir Dogs. To do this, we found out who would be willing to participate, looked at each character individually and matched a person to that character as best we could. The roles were as follows…

  • Mr White (originally played by Harvey Keitel) – played by Adam Zayee
  • Mr Orange (originally played by Time Roth) – played by Owen Timmins
  • Mr Brown (origionally played by Quentin Tarantino) – played by Me, Emilia Pearce
  • Mr Blue (originally played by Eddie Bunker) – played by Grace Clayton
  • Mr Blonde (originally played by Michael Madsen) – played by Katie Kitchen
  • Mr Pink (originally played by Steve Buscemi) – played by Kieran Cross
  • Joe Cabot (originally played by Lawrence Tierney) – played by Millie Stanbridge
  • ‘Nice Guy Eddie’ (originally played by Chris Penn) – played by Sean Stubbs

Next, we had to plan what we would be wearing. In the film, the characters are mostly wearing black blazers, white shirts, black trousers, a skinny black tie and some wear sunglasses. To achieve this, we wore black trousers/jeans, our school white shirts, skinny black ties, and a males blazer from school. The characters that needed to also brought in sunglasses. The character of Nice Guy Eddie however does not wear this. Because of this, Sean had to buy a blue jacket and a gold chain. He paid close attention to the small details and also drew on chest hair! The character of Joe Cabot also did wear the classic black suits in the film. In order to fit the scene as close as we could, Millie Stanbridge wore a polo neck and high waist trousers. Obviously, quite a few of the roles were being played by females and this is not accurate or similar to the film. In order to get over this as best we could the girls who needed to drew on moustaches and beards. They also tied their hair up in order to best fit the authentic footage.

In the film footage some of the characters are seen to be smoking. As we were on school grounds, we could not re create this as effectively. Emelia Rodgers managed to acquire a cigar; however, she was absent due to illness on the day of filming so we had to improvise and roll up some brown cardboard. We also did this to recreate the cigarette as we could not smoke in real life.

Next, we scouted for a location best fitting the location of the film. When exiting our school grounds there is a section which contains two brick walls and a road. For the beginning of our remake we were able to film in the school canteen. These two locations were good as we could easily move the dolly and camera; however, in the driveway of the school we were often interrupted by cars entering and leaving the school which meant that we had to move our filming equipment.

Filming 

Arguably, the filming aspect of the task is where we let ourselves down. Initially, we were only meant to film during one lesson; this is a 50 minute time space. However, we were unable to complete the task in this time frame and so we had to film over another lesson as well. We had to get changed, draw on beards, set up the cameras, be in the correct positions and obviously film in the short time frame. This mixed with people disagreeing with aspects to the filming led to the time being pushed.

Firstly, we decided to film the scene in the canteen. We decided to do this part first as the canteen would have been used by other students in the school later on. We also began with this scene as it was arguably the easiest scene to get right. We camera did not need to be moved and the positioning was fairly simple. We all agreed on the positioning and actions straight away and carried out the first scene fairly well and accurately.

Next we filmed the scene of the Reservoir Dogs walking against the brick wall. We carried this out in our first session by using a dolly and crab shot. This is where we all began to disagree. The people who had originally noted down the positions and actions left their notes in their folders in the media room. Because of this, we had to position ourselves using a clip of the opening titles on Millie’s phone. The first time we filmed this, we changed positions a lot. We all got in our positions and began to walk, Emily then moved the dolly with the camera facing us as a crab shot. This resembled fairly closely how the scene took place in the opening scene. However, we soon realised that it would be much more practical for further filming if we filmed from the other side of the pathway. By doing so this would match the scene from the film much more accurately also. We knew that we would have to film the scene again. We did the same as before but from the other side of the pathway.

The next aspect of the scene to film were the various close ups. This is where we let ourselves down the most. As people had varying opinions on how to film, we ended up filming with the camera on a tripod rather than a dolly. Because of this, the close ups were not as close to the shots from the film as it was clear that the characters were not actually walking in ours. We did this to save time; however it would have only added a few minutes to get it right. We had the camera on a tripod infant of the characters. During the shot, the characters waled on the spot to make it look as if we were walking. This looked unrealistic and somewhat reduced the accuracy of our film. We focused on the positioning and managed to get the correct characters in each shot just like the original close ups; however on a couple of the shots we characters were on the wrong side and so I had to flip the shot in editing.

The final piece of the opening titles needing to be recorded was the end where the Reservoir Dogs are shown to be walking away from the camera. For this part of the scene we focused on the positions and managed to fit them fairly well. We placed the camera on a tripod behind us in the driveway. We then walked into the distance as a group like in the film.

Editing

The editing aspect to the task is the part that took me the longest. It was also our last chance to get our footage to match the footage from the film as accurately as possible. To edit we used the software, Final Cut Pro X. We have used this before and so I was comfortable with using the software once again and rediscovered aspects, such as the marker,  from when we edited our music videos for GCSE.

Firstly I had to download the footage, I then opened this footage in Final Cut Pro X. I then found the original part of the film that we were re creating. I needed this to use as a guideline as I wanted to get my version as accurate as possible. With help from Bryony Grant I opened up the original opening titles alongside my version on the viewing screen in Final Cut Pro X. This was really useful as it meant that I could fit the two versions as exactly as I could. Next, I began to find the correct footage and crop it down to fit. To get the exact footage was hard as ours was of varying length and accuracy to the film. I found it hard to find the correct pace of slow motion and whenever I changed my mind and changed the speed this of course altered the rest of my footage and where it is placed. I also had to flip a couple of pieces of footage as the positioning was not correct. Although this somewhat distorts the geography and location of the shot, so far no one has noticed! I then had to add in the transition of darkness from the canteen scene to the walking scene. I also had to add a black screen for the credits. Once I had matched all of the footage up, I muted all of my footage so that it would not effect the soundtrack from the original. The music helped edit as the different shots often changed with the beat of the song and so it ended out more accurate.

The trickiest part of editing for me was when we had to add the text for the credits, titles and names of actors. In order to get this as accurate as possible I researched the font which is… Garamond and Palatino. I then had to find the perfect colour. To do so, I used the tool that allows you to use the colour of a selected piece. I used the original footage to select and so the colour is as similar as possible. I then had to use shadows and text outlines in order to get it the same as the original one. I also found it difficult to get the end titles to rise to the correct positions.

Finally, I had to select the correct options so that ,when playing, my footage would be shown but the original soundtrack would play. Here is my final artifact…

We encountered various problems with this task. Firstly, we were working in one large group and so there was a huge mix of opinion which led to disagreements. This also caused chaos and a lack of organisation. Another problem was that we did not film the shots for long enough, if we had then we would have had more freedom with the editing. When filming in the driveway, cars kept on driving in and out of the school; this meant that we were constantly moving all of the equipment. When filming the close ups, it is obvious that we are walking on the spot, if we were to do this again we could put the camera onto the dolly and move with the characters to improve this. If we were to film this again, we would also have tho focus on the continuity of our filming… In this version our characters are shown to be walking one way in the opening scene yet walking the other way at the end! Although there are many negatives to our remake, I am happy with my version and had a lot of fun making it!

 

 

 

Holmes Under The Hammer

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of ability/disability using the following: 

  • Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Mise-En-Scene

In order to answer the statement, we watched the first 2/3 minutes of the first episode (Study in Pink 01×01, 2010) of the BBC drama Sherlock.We were put into groups of 4 and we all shared our ideas with each other.

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The extract that we were shown is of Dr. John Watson (pictured above on the left, played by Martin Freeman) dreaming about his past in the SAS. He is shown to be distressed by these flashbacks which suggest some sort of mental disability such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He then wakes up and is shown to have a walking stick; this displays the physical disability that he has gained from his experiences in the war. We then see Watson with a therapist who suggests to him to write a blog about what occurs to him in his everyday life. John Watson sees this as pointless because “nothing happens to [him]”. However, this is ironic as this then leads to the first episode where he meets Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition

There are various ways in which the extract uses camera shots, angle, movement and composition in order to portray ability/disability.

The extract begins with a dream/flashback of John Watson fighting in Afghanistan in the SAS. This dream is displayed by using point of view shots. By using this type of shot, the viewers can see and experience what John had previously experienced with his time at war. The shot also displays that this part of his life is still present in his mind and he is unable to disconnect himself from this part of his life. He is unable to leave the soldier part of himself behind and experiences PTSD firsthand as a result of this. For the duration of the dream, lens flare emphasises the hardships and reality of war that is constantly replaying in the mind of Watson. The flashback scenes are filmed using a handheld camera; the unstableness of the camera represents how unstable Watson is mentally… his mind is all over the place.

After the dream, the extract cuts to a birds eye view shot of Watson in bed. The shot enables the viewers to be looking down at Watson. The composition of the shot shows him in the centre, these two features put together display his vulnerability to the ‘real world’. The shot could also be viewed as fairly voyeuristic; this also backs up his vulnerability. The audience then see John Watson sat upright on his bed in his dull bedroom. The shot shows Watson isolated in the dull room, this displays his isolation and vulnerability from the outer world. It also displays that he is separated and unable to connect to anyone. The camera then dollies out in order to display the rest of the room. This is when viewers learn that Watson is not only disabled mentally, but also physically. As the camera dollies out, a walking stick is shown. The walking stick is positioned to be across the room to Watson; the fact that he has it placed away from him shows his reluctance to help and to accepting that his life in the SAS is over. Following this scene, the walking stick is somehow shown in each camera shot. This reoccurrence displays the importance of the walking aid to Watson’s life and so emphasises his disability which was presumably gained from an accident in Afghanistan.

Watson is then shown to make what is presumably his breakfast. He brings out an apple and a mug of coffee. The camera has a shallow focus on the mug; this brings the audiences attention to the army logo on the mug. It also links back to the dream of life in the army that was previously shown and tells the audience that his mind is trapped in that way of life and he cannot let go of that lifestyle.

The scene then changes, Watson is now in a therapist’s office getting help for his mental disability. In the shot showing Watson sat down in the therapist’s office he has been positioned in the rule of thirds so that he seems to be separated from the surroundings; this shows how detached he is from the ‘real world’ and how he can not snap back or adjust back into reality. The shot is also filmed from a higher angle meaning that as the audience, we are looking down at him slightly; this allows him to seem more vulnerable and weak due to his mental and physical disabilities. It also suggests that this is how people in society view others with disability, society looks down on, judges and pities the vulnerable. When the camera dollies into Watson towards the end of the scene the audience are drawn in to focus on him and his emotions. The audience feel a sense of sympathy towards him and focus on him as he is the main character in the shot and scene.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for camerawork…

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Editing

The scene begins with the dream of Watson at war. In order to display how hard, fast pace, energetic, chaotic and active this event was, fast pace editing has been used. The more frequent shots match how chaotic and frenzied the war was and could also represent the mind of Watson now because of it. Watson is meant to be sleeping, the fact that his dreams are this upbeat and active whilst he is meant to be calm and relaxed show how much the war has effected his mentality. In contrast to this, slower editing pace is used to show the life of Watson in present day. This could suggest the slow pace of him adapting back into the normal world but cold also represent how before he was always active, running and never standing still compared to present day where he can barely walk to his walking stick; this shows how the disabilities from war limit him in his everyday life.

When dreaming of his lifestyle back in the war, cross cutting is used to show how distressing Watson finds these flashbacks and memories of his past. The scene displays footage from the war and then cuts to Watson breathing very heavily. This shows that even in his new life, flashbacks often trigger a sense of panic, horror and trauma showing that he is not coping with the terrorising images in his mind.

When Watson is shown to be on his laptop trying to think of something to blog, the audience can see his face in the screen. However, this then fades out into the next scene in the therapist’s office. Not only does the fade display the slow passing of time in his life now that he is disabled and alone, but it shows his lack of enthusiasm into attending the session. This reluctance displays his shame of his own disability and how he feels as though he needs to cover it up. The fade also shows his isolation from the outer world.

When Watson is shown to be in the therapist’s office, shot reverse shot is commonly used; this allows the audience to see the reactions of both the therapist and John Watson. The facial expressions of Watson display his discomfort and lack of social skill when trying to adjust back into civilised life. Even though both characters are shown through shot reverse shot, the therapist seems to have much more screen time then Watson. This shows viewers that she is comfortable in this situation whereas Watson is not as he is embarrassed by his disability and his mental disability is stopping him from opening up and becoming comfortable in the situation.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for editing…

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Sound Design

During the war dream there are many exaggerated sounds such as gunfire, shouting and screaming. These sounds display the chaos in Watson’s mind and the loudness could represent how much he wants his old life back. These sounds can be classed as diegetic sounds because even though they are being presented in a dream, they are meant to be purporting from the world of the film. Also in the dream there are a stream of echoes at the beginning; this displays the distortion and trauma of war and also show the echoes in his mind on a daily basis. Eery echoes are also often associated with being haunted and so it could be argued that Watson is being haunted by the echoes of his past. When the stress of the dream becomes too much for John Watson he suddenly awakes. As soon as he does this the extract goes silent. This noticeable juxtaposition displays the mundaneness of his life that his mental and physical disability has brought upon him. The clear difference also shows the contrast between his old and new life. When waking up from the dream, Watson is shown to be in a state of shock and relief. This is shown through the diegetic, exaggerated sound of his heavy breathing. The heavy breaths show the stress and horror of Watson’s past creeping up on him. This is the first moment in the extract where the audience sense a form of PTSD within Watson. On the other hand, the heavy breathing could be displaying how scared he is of adapting and adjusting to his new life. As soon as Watson awakes there is a slight, high pitched ringing sound, non diegetic, being played. This adds discomfort to the scene which shows the audience how he feels in his new life and within his own mind.

When carrying out actions such as getting the mug and apple in the scene, the sounds are exaggerated hugely; this shows that these are the most exciting things happening to Watson now that his life has been limited due to his mental and physical disability. They also emphasise how lonely he is and contrast to the previously exaggerated sounds in the war zone in order to show how his life has changed so dramatically. Whilst sitting on his laptop with the mug and apple, there is a distant car horn. This shows how isolated he now is and how disconnected he is from the ‘real world’. He then opens his laptop onto an empty blog page. In this same shot we hear the therapist speaking for the first time;this is a sound bridge and connects this scene into the next whilst showing that the two are connected and the blog will be vital to Watson’s recovery.

When in his therapy session there is no music in the background, there are also many pauses and silences. The silence gives the scene a very awkward and uncomfortable tone; this represents how Watson feels when talking about his mental and physical disability as he feels embarrassed and ashamed by them. The silence also adds to the reality of his disability. The therapist is shown to be starting conversation, asking questions and trying to prevent the silence. Dr John Watson seems reluctant to talk which further proves his shame of his disability and how uncomfortable he feels connecting to others as he has felt isolated for so long.

The music played in the background throughout is very mellow and minor; this mirrors the mind of John Watson and helps to portray to the audience how his disabilities make him feel. However, the mellow music is then hugely juxtaposed by the upbeat, forte, composed theme tune. This juxtaposition displays how John Watson’s life was before he managed to get over his sense of isolation and dis communication and before he became an associate to Sherlock Holmes.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for sound design…

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Mise-En-Scene

At the beginning, in the dream of Watson fighting back in Afghanistan there are many props to set the scene including: guns; army, camouflage uniforms; helmets; tanks; run down houses; camouflage netting; plus much more. The lighting is bright and all characters are shown to be active. All of this allows the flashback to seem not only chaotic, but exciting and adventurous. This is then juxtaposed as the audience see John Watson’s apartment for the first time. The room that Watson is shown to be in is dim coloured, plain, dimly lit and very simple. The contrast shows how his disabilities have taken the excitement and purpose out of his life and how he is so drained of energy that he does not bother to brighten up where he lives and decides to lead the most simple lifestyle that he can. When the scene shows the whole room, two bottles of pills are shown to be in the front centre of the rooms. This shows that these pills dictate his new life, just like his disability controls what he does, who he sees and how he sees life. The colour palette of the room is simple and somewhat depressing; this shows how the disabilities that he obtained from the war have made him feel.

When sitting in bed, Watson is displayed with a plain black background behind him. The background is representing how his life has turned upside down and is now dark and plain everyday. The bed that he is shown to be sat on has been neatly made; this is a common trait of army personnel and shows that there are some parts of his past life that will never leave him. The army and his disability will always be a part of him, he just has to learn to find a way to adapt and adjust back into normal life. The scene then pans to reveal the walking stick on the opposite side of the room. By using the rule of thirds, the audience are drawn to see it and the eyeliner between Watson and the walking aid shows how much he relies on it in his new life. The walking stick is from then shown in almost every shot. This constant appearance shows his dependence on the stick and how this is now a part of him that he will have to learn to live with.

When Watson takes an apple and a mug with the SAS crest on it, there are various ways of reading the items and how they present the disability of him. The two items contradict one another, the army mug is a souvenir of his past, exciting and adventurous life, whereas the apple is showing his new simplistic life he must lead due to his disability. The two together show that both sides of his life are constantly playing in his mind. Another way to view it is that the apple is used in order to relate to Biblical terms.The apple could be perceived as the fruit of life showing that Watson wants his old, fuller life back. Also, the dreams,flashbacks of war in Afghan and PTSD could represent the devil tempting him just like the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the apple.

Watson then goes into his draw in order to get out his laptop to try and blog due to the advice of his therapist. When taking the laptop out, a gun is revealed below it. These two objects show the two sides to his life. The laptop represents his new life as it directly links to his therapy sessions due to his disabilities, whereas the gun links back to his old life in the army and shows how he can not let go of his dreams and enter reality. They juxtapose the two lives that he is replaying.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for mise-en-scene…

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Here is the trailer for the episode displaying much of the scenes that I have mentioned in this post…

 

 

 

Preliminary Task – Take 2/Getting It Right

Now we know much more about rules to do with continuity editing such as the 180° rule, match on action and shot reverse shot. Because of this, we have been given the task to redo our previous task but incorporating these features in hope that our final product will be better and more professional than our previous one.

We were given the same task, to film and edit a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom s/he then exchanges a few lines of dialogue. This time around we were placed into new groups. I was placed in a group with Emily Jackson, Sean Stubbs and Kieran Cross. Due to there being more of us, we could have one person per piece of equipment.

Planning

For this task our focus was getting it right. Because of this, we were given two lessons to complete the task rather than one like before. We had lesson 3 and lesson 5 to finish filming our short film. Firstly, I went to the office in order to book out a room for these two lessons so that it was ours to use. However, this is where we encountered our first problem. There were no rooms available for the two of the sessions and so we were given the Irrational Room for lesson 3 and Room 11 for lesson 5. This was a huge problem as the rooms are vey different and using two different locations would ruin our film. The only solution to this problem was to make sure we had everything planned so that we could get our filming finished in one lesson. Next, we decided to brainstorm our ideas. We all had different viewpoints and opinions about what would be best but the two most popular ideas were a first date and a dramatic twist of someone getting hit by a car. Both sides wanted to do their film and so we decided to merge the two together to keep everyone in the group happy. Our next task was to create the script. We did so and planned out a simple storyboard sequence. Our next challenge that we had to face was to find three actors. Our actors, Georgia, Oliver and Harrison volunteered to help.

Filming 

Due to problems with booking out rooms we had 50 minutes to film our short video. Firstly, Emily collected the equipment whilst we found our actors. Bearing in mind feedback that we received before, our next mission was to move all of the tables and chairs because you should not film against a wall as this eliminates depth to the shot. This time around everything went well with setting up the camera and sound recorder. Our next problem was to do with the actors. Our actors did not take the task at hand too seriously and so many of our shots include smiling and giggling. We did not think this to be too much of a problem as on a first date if you’re nervous then maybe you laugh in a nervous manner. However, when watching the shots later on this looked unprofessional. Although we only had the 50 minute time slot and giggly actors, we managed to film all of the critical points in order to succeed in the task. Redoing the task also allowed us to have extra practise with using the equipment. Our main problem when filming was our lack of communication throughout the team. Some teammates had a laugh with the actors and everyone was unsure of what their role was. Everyone’s perception of what the 180° rule is was different and so shots were taken from the wrong side which broke the rule. Due to the fact that this was the main purpose of redoing the task I knew that this attempt would not be as good as we had hoped…

Editing

To edit our take 2 of the task we used the same software, Final Cut Pro X. Firstly we had to download all of the footage and recordings and place them into a file ready to be downloaded onto Final Cut Pro X. Next, I began to view the footage and begin to order the scenes. From here I began to edit the video together. Many of our shots were not focussed correctly and were taken on an angle. However, to resolve this we managed to cut down the clips. Although this reduced the dodgy filming, it made our video much shorter than intended. When editing and trimming the various pieces of footage together I noticed that we had broken the 180° rule in one of our most important scenes. We had not filmed this scene from any angles that stuck to the rule. It was then that I knew I would have to redo the task. Pieces of dialogue had to be cut down drastically in order to cut out the laughter and make the video seem convincing. Our second shot of getting it right had gone so so wrong…

Artifact

Here is the final video from our take 2…

Conclusion

From watching my final video I have decided to redo the task. This time I will try my best to incorporate all of the rules we have just learnt. I have decided to work with Emelia Rodgers. Due to the fact that there is just the two of us we may find it difficult to use the equipment. Also, this is the first time that the both of us will be using the two pieces of equipment due to other team members wanting to do that in our past tasks. Due to there only being the two of us, we will need actors. Also, because we can no longer work on this task in lesson time due to the fact that we need to move onto some textual analysis work, Emelia and I will borrow the equipment from school and work on our video this weekend. We will need to keep it simple as we want to solely display our new understanding of new rules in media. We shall consider pieces of feedback from our previous tasks. Carrying out this task one last time with Emelia will allow the both of us to learn how to use the equipment before having to use it in our final piece. Hopefully this time we can get it right…!

Getting it Right… Take 3…

Due to the mistakes made in our take 2 I decided to re film our preliminary task. This time I worked with Emelia Rodgers and we borrowed equipment from school to film over the weekend at home. To do so, we had to ask 2 people to be in our film as we needed one of us for the camerawork, Emelia, and one for the sound recording, myself. Although we did not break any of the rules that we recently learnt, for example the 180 degree rule, this was the first time that we used the equipment firsthand and so were unsure on how to focus the camera. Because of this our re film is much more blurred than previously. Here is our take 3 preliminary task…

Preliminary Exercise: Evaluation

Although I am happy with the end product from our task, there are various things that I would do differently if doing the task again.

Filming 

We were given one lesson to film our short video. This is a 50 minute slot and so we had to be efficient with our filming. Firstly, Emelia and I collected the equipment whilst Adam went to find our actors. We then met in our room for the video, the irrational room. Although it is a small room, it was bright and large enough for our idea.

The first problem that we came across was to do with setting up the equipment. With this being the first time any of us had used this equipment this was bound to happen. Our first problem was the camera as we could not get it to film. To resolve this we had to speak to one of our teachers, Mr Grant. It turned out that we were on the wrong setting. Our next problem was to do with the sound recorder and the boom pole as we could not hear the noise through our headphones. At first, we believed this was because the headphones that we were using were broken but when we used a different pair we came across the same problem. When checking over the various settings, I spotted that we had our wires in the wrong input and outputs. Our microphone was plugged into the headphone jack and vice versa. Once we swapped these over the recording was working as expected.

Our next major problem that we came across was to do with our script. Due to the fact that our script only consisted of a couple of lines we decided to be creative and write it in Spanish. However, our time to film conflicted with the Spanish lesson and our actors were not up for speaking Spanish and so we had to cut that part out and do it in English. Although this took away our original idea, we could still stick to the actual content of our script.

Once we had overcome our various problems, there was not a lot of time left to film and so we had to be as efficient as possible. In order to succeed in our task we decided to film the most important scenes first such as the speaking scenes and left the shots such as the different angles of opening the door and reaching for the handle to last as these were not critical for succeeding the given task. This proved to be a success as once we had filmed all of the pivotal scenes we could focus on using different angles and movements in order to make our video much more varied and interesting. Although we did not manage to film as much as we had originally hoped, we were happy with the result considering the problems we faced.

Editing

To edit our video we used an app called Final Cut Pro X. This is the same software that we used for our coursework at GCSE when we made music videos. Although this is good because I had an idea of how to use it, it had been a long time since. Also, this task was very different as I had to match up video footage with the correct recording and at the specific time. I had never done this before. Originally we were given one lesson, 50 minutes, to edit our videos. However, not many people finished in this time slot and so we had one more lesson to complete it.

Firstly we had to download all of our footage and recordings onto the Macs. Once this was done, I created a folder that contained everything that I would need for editing the video. Firstly I downloaded it all into Final Cut Pro X and began to view the footage. Then I began to edit my footage. I decided to cut and fit together the video footage first. This was not too difficult as I remembered various similar features from using the same software in GCSE. I found that I was cutting down various clips into much shorter clips so that the video would display different angles and shots. This caused more problems when matching the sound but I felt was a necessity. Once I had put together all of the trimmed clips it was time to match the sound recording. This proved to be the most difficult part of the process. When filming we used a clapperboard in attempt to make this easier and more accurate, however, we did not think to say which take the clip was on each one and so it proved to be difficult matching the correct recording with the correct footage. Arguably, this was one of the main reasons as to why editing took much longer than expected. However, by the second lesson I had finished my editing.

Conclusion

Once I had finished editing my video, I showed it to my classmates. We watched one another’s videos and gave critical feedback. I got various points of feedback that I could work on if I were to complete the task again…

  • Be careful when matching up footage so that the action does not appear to occur more than once. For example when putting together the various shots for the opening of the door, make sure that each shot flows correctly.
  • To always film from eye level unless using a bird’s eye view on purpose.
  • To say out loud which shot we are filming when using the clapperboard so that when matching up footage and recordings we know which is which.
  • To focus the camera properly before filming the scene.

If I were to carry out this task again, I would consider each of these pieces of feedback. Although I will not be carrying out this task again, all of the feedback and practice of using the equipment and software will help me with my final production. The problems that I have faced, I now know the solutions and so can apply this new knowledge in the future on important projects.

Textual Analysis on ‘Flowers’

To introduce us into using Textual Analysis we re-visited technical terminology that we learnt in our GCSE course such as: Sound Design; Camerawork; Editing; and Mise en Scene.  To practise using these terms, seeing how they create effect and analysing TV Drama using these categories we were shown a dark comedy called “Flowers” on Channel 4.

Sound Design

There were various types of sound design shown in the first episode of “Flowers” such as: diegetic sounds; non-diegetic sounds; composed scores; compiled scores; and sound effects in order to create a specific effect on the audience.

Non-Diegetic sound is sound added in post-production to have an effect on the audience. The first example of a non diegetic sound used to create effect in “Flowers” is the theme tune. The programme began with a sombre and somewhat mellow theme tune which created a dark mood. Using such a melancholic tune leads the viewers to believe that the programme will be gloomy and dark. However, this is disproven as comedy is portrayed through the dark events, such as the tree branch snapping in the opening scene when Maurice Flowers attempts to hang himself. The contrast allows the viewers to find light in the situation whilst also relating to the situation. This theme continues throughout the programme as cheery and upbeat music is played over the top of bitter circumstances. This allows everyday, negative events to seem funny. On the other hand, on occasion melancholic music is played at a sad part of the show. This allows the viewers to feel sympathetic prompts the audience’s mood to reflect the mood of the characters. When something bad occurs, a high pitch whiny sound is used in order to add suspense to the situation. It also makes the viewers feel uncomfortable when watching adding to the eerie tone.

Throughout the episode a narrator explains the setting and actions of the characters. The tone of the narrator shares many similarities with the stereotypical narrator at a pantomime or child’s film. By doing this, the audience feel younger and more immature therefore allowing them to enjoy the jokes and to feel more free to laugh at the problems of adulthood. The narration has a mono-tonal voice and speaks in rhyme. This allows the programme to seem much more structured and almost like a structured story. Once again, this contrasts with the actions occurring in the scene as they come across as fairly random and crazy. The narration also displays a juxtaposition to the seriousness of the situations shown in the programme. This also allows the otherwise formal and sincere programme to seem lighthearted and amiable.

Diegetic sound is sound that purports to come from the world of the film. The creators of “Flowers” have used diegetic sounds such as dialogue, squeaky floorboards and tree branches snapping to create an effect on the audience. An example of diegetic sound used to create effect in “Flowers” is when the daughter, Amy Flowers, begins to play the piano at the anniversary party. At first the piano tune is fairly calm, however as the drama and chaos increases the tempo, dynamics and energy that she is playing also increases. This creates a foreboding effect as the audience know that when the chaos gets too much and when the music gets too fast and too loud something will happen to stop all of the noise. When the accident occurs, the music instantly stops as there is no more tension and suspense to build. During the scene where Maurice attempts to hang himself, specific audio pieces are enhanced such as the feet crunching against the leaves, the rope against the tree bark and the crow. These are simple noises but have strong connotations  such as the crow. Crows are a sign of death and darkness and so by using the caw of a crow the scene becomes more morbid. They also allow the scene to be more alluring and serious. This added seriousness and tension adds to the humour when it goes wrong.

Camerawork

Various different shots are shown to be used in the programme in order to create specific effects on the audience. Not only this, but the creators of “Flowers” have used varying shot movement and angles to represent and create effect.

To begin with, a long shot is used in order to display the setting to the audience. This gives the audience an idea about whereabouts the programme will be set and give an overall tone. The long shot also displays how isolated the family are. This builds to the mysterious tone. Throughout the episode there are many close-ups. The close-up shots allow the audience to see reactions and expressions in more detail. This allows them to feel empathy for the character. Towards the beginning close-up shots are used to keep the actions of Maurice Flowers a mystery. This adds a tension to the scene which allows the relief and comedy to be at a higher level when it goes wrong. Once the fondue machine explodes, a mid shot is used in order to display not only the facial expression of the character that the contents landed on, but also to show the mess that it has made. As the chaos at the party increases, an argument begins to emerge. In order to display this argument and all involved, a mixture of a two shots and a shot-reverse-shots are used. By using these, the audience can view the whole argument whilst also experiencing the reactions and seeing the facial expressions as each character reacts. Two shots can also be used to display relationships. In the kitchen, a two shot is used in order to show a conversation between Maurice and his son, Donald. Not only is the conversation displayed to viewers, Maurice has his back on Donald throughout the conversation. This displays the distance to their relationship which adds an awkward and pessimistic mood.

Camera movements also build moods. When Donald asks, “Why’s the tree broken?” the camera moves around Maurice to a close-up of his face to see his reaction. This shows his expression as he becomes aware that his secret may be revealed; this allows the viewers to feel sympathy towards him. It also adds tension and awkwardness which is relieved when Donald turns it into a joke. A common camera movement used in “Flowers” is tilt. Often, the camera tilts upwards to show the body and then focuses in on the act occurring or facial expression to reveal emotions attached to that. This reveals the mood to the audience allowing them to empathise with the characters.

An example of shot and camera movement used together is when the daughter, Amy, is playing the piano and a dream like sequence of the neighbour is displayed. The shots are transitions and have many layers to them, the image is blurred and is very slow and smoothly moving. This combined with the warm colours, nature of the shots and music gives a creepy and odd mood off. It is also partially uncomfortable and displays the abnormal features of the Flowers family.

Editing

“Flowers” uses continuity editing as the story is being told in a chronological order. This type of editing adds a sense of reality and order into the programme, allowing the audience to feel more involved, to be learning/experiencing different things and to be going through the day alongside the characters.

Towards the beginning of the programme there are fewer camera shots and each shot remains for longer. This adds a calm and smooth tone to the programme but changes as the action of the programme increases. It also forces the audience to look at the awkward reactions present in order to display a definite tone and mood. When the chaos at the anniversary party increases, the shots become much shorter and there are a lot more. This allows the audience to see the reactions and actions of everyone in the scene, but also adds to the build up excitement and tension alongside the music.

Mise en Scene

Mise en Scene is a french phrase which translates to “putting into the frame” or “staging”. It includes everything that you see in the frame whether it be the positioning of actors, their makeup/clothing or lighting. Each thing displayed in a shot is there for a reason and is there to create an effect.

The setting of “Flowers” is in a stereotypical English countryside. There are green fields surrounding, the weather is dim and cloudy and the colours are fairly dull and neutral. This creates a fairly ‘normal’ yet sombre tone for the show. The weather, lighting and setting is quite dark. This forebodes the upcoming programme as it is a dark comedy and also prepares the viewers for the gloomy upcoming events. It also matches the dark humour that is used throughout the programme.

The mother of the family, Deborah Flowers played by Olivia Colman, wears very stereotypically ‘mother-like’ clothes. She wears a cardigan and a tweed coat and has a short, simple bob haircut to match her natural looking makeup. Having characters to match their stereotypes allows the audience to connect to the programme more as it seems to be more realistic and relatable. The daughter, Amy Flowers, is presented to be the opposite of her twin brother, Donald Flowers. She has dark hair that frames her pale, thin face. These are all common stereotypes of an ’emo’ or ‘goth’. The characters stereotypes are not solely displayed through their clothes, hair and makeup. When Shun draws a picture, he draws some sort of cartoon in the style of anime. This backs up the nationality of his character and adds to the comforting familiarity.

Arguably, the main prop of the episode is the hangman’s rope. This rope displays the intentions of Maurice Flowers and gets across to the viewers the darkness of his character. Other various props such as a grand piano, fireplace and a wall full of books adds to the setting of a typical English home which also allows the viewers to relate.

During the title sequence when being introduced to the various family members, they seem to be partially obscured by the lighting. This displays the family to be dysfunctional and allows the viewers to become interested and intrigued into the characters of the programme.

The directors of “Flowers” also use composition to display the characteristics of characters in order to create a specific mood. At the beginning of the programme, there is a shot to show the father, Maurice Flowers, in his office. The whole room is dim with a lit up Mr Flowers in the centre. This shows that he is an important character but also makes him seem isolated and alone. This displays his feelings of depression to the audience from very early on, therefore allowing the audience to feel sympathetic to him throughout. When Shun and Maurice are in the shed having a conversation Mrs Flowers enters wanting to have a conversation with Maurice. All three characters are shown in the shot, however Deborah is shown in the centre stood outside of the shed. This positioning shows that she is the outsider in this situation and is distant from the other two. By doing this, the audience automatically can infer that the relationship between Maurice and Deborah is uncomfortable and somewhat forced. Composition can also be used to display authority and control. For example, when Deborah wanted the anniversary party to go ahead Maurice was shown to be higher up and looking down on Deborah showing that he had the most authority. However, as they began to agree they are shown to be on the same level. When they are shown on the same level in the shot together it is almost as if they are pretending that everything is fine which creates a somewhat awkward mood. Another example of this is when Amy Flowers is shown un her room. She is shown to be alone and isolated in an attic converted bedroom. She is presented in darkness and in the centre of the shot alone which presents to the audience that she has a wacky, lonely and odd persona.

The writer of “Flowers”, Will Sharpe, uses these various techniques in order to create a specific effect on the audience. The dark comedy has a mix of comedy, drama and darkness and so at different times these features will be used to create different effects and moods upon the audience.

Flowers