Sunday, 20 March 2011

Final Cut

Here is our final cut of Last One Standing.

Evaluation Question One

In what ways does your media product use, develop, or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

1. Title of the film

This is the contact sheet for our opening sequence. The first frame is of our main title. The title appears at the end of our opening, just before the main part of the film would continue. We decided to position it here because it is the point with the most tension, just after the girl has been killed. Here we have developed the dramatic effect where each note is extended to hold the sense of tension. We have synchronised the text to fit in with the rhythm of the music by making each word appear onscreen separately. The font we used for this was provided by iMovie called Batang, regular.

They are in quick succession of each other and jump out at the audience, in time with the accompanying music. Another reason we chose to place them here is because the picture changes from a shot of the outside of the house to a black screen grabbing the audience's full attention as nothing else will be onscreen.

We chose the title ‘Last One Standing’ because we based our main character initially on a final girl, the only survivor. By the end of the sequence all her friends have been killed and she is the one left alone with the killer. We thought that this title would be appropriate as a common theme for the remainder of the film is our character ‘being left as the last one standing’.

2. Setting/Location

The second frame is one of the locations we used for our opening. We chose to start it in a bedroom, slightly messy, signifying that it belongs to a typical teenage girl. It looks as if everything was normal, in order to lure the audience into a false sense of security. Other films in this genre such as Black Christmas (1974, Glen Morgan) use this form of normality. I thought it was a very successful way of beginning a film because the audience was more unsuspecting of what was about to happen. I think that the room we chose fits the requirements particularly well especially with the mirror that is in the bedroom. We got a few of the ideas using mirrors from the opening to The Last House on the Left, directed by Wes Craven in 1972.

We decided to film the flashback in the woods, similar to the scenes in The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick & Eduardo S├ínchez, 1999) showing intertextual references. This was a suitable setting because it is really dark due to the trees blocking out any sun or moonlight making it more eerie. The tree branches cast shadows and the sense of looking around the woods in the dark can be rather disorientating adding to the idea of isolation and vulnerability. Our final location was a bathroom where our girl got killed. We loosely based this part on the shower scene from Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). By being in the bath she is naked, connoting her vulnerability. As a convention, warm baths are meant to be relaxing so, along with the audience, our character is unsuspecting of what is about to happen.

3. Costumes and props
We used very few props in the making of our film opening. For the bedroom scene Ellie is wearing tight, revealing clothes to signify that she has been out enjoying herself, maybe hinting that she is rather promiscuous and that there is a sexual perspective.

For the bath scene a hair bobble is used to tie up her hair before she gets into the bath. Our actress is wearing a bikini in the bath, as she wasn’t comfortable filming it completely naked but we have used bubbles to cover it up to give the impression that she isn’t wearing any clothes. As in the majority of slasher film openings, we have used a murder weapon. However, rather than using the stereotypical blood-stained knife or axe we have chosen to use the cord of a dressing gown. As Ellie is getting ready for her bath and tying up her hair she wears the robe which gets dropped on the floor as she steps into the bath. Once she is in the bath and has closed her eyes, the unidentified murderer pulls out the cord and strangles her. This is not the expected method of death in this genre of film so here we are challenging the conventions of horror. In both the scenes she looks in a mirror showing her vanity. This, along with particular camera shots and the clothes she is wearing, contributes to her scream queen characteristics.

For the woods scene we used torches as a method of additional lighting because we were having to film in the dark. This worked better than initially planned because we were also able to add them into the narrative, having the actresses hold the torches up to their faces as if they were telling ghost stories. We used them in particular to light up Ellie’s face when she is doing the documentary for the camera and when we converted this footage to black and white it turned out even better. When filming the opening no production make up, such as fake blood, was used as it was not needed. However the girl is wearing the makeup that she went out for the night in.

4. Camerawork and editing

Our establishing shot is of the outside of a white detached house, an intertextual reference as a similar one is used in the opening sequence of Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978). It is viewed with branches obstructing the shot connoting she is being watched and the non diagetic sound we have added here adds to the tension. This frame is also taken at a slight dutch angle signifying that something is not right, foreshadowing what is going to happen later in the film. Our next clip is a medium close up over Ellie’s shoulder looking into the mirror. Her face is reflected in each of the sections of the mirror and her chest is focused on as well in this shot. The use of the mirror provides good exposition in the room and emphasises the idea that the main girl is a scream queen, as looking in the mirror is one of her vain characteristics.

At regular intervals within our opening we have used a long shot from the point of view of the stalker approaching the house. For this we filmed it hand held so that it made it clear that the stalker was getting nearer to the house. It also gave the effect that the audience were looking onto the scene as if they were the killer, involving them more in the action. Whilst editing this footage we added some pre-recorded diagetic sound of footsteps crunching on the gravel. We could alter the volume levels of this which again adds tension. These sections of filming were cross cut with shots of Ellie in the house getting undressed showing she is unaware that she is being watched and signifying her vulnerability in the situation.


Next we have a medium long shot of the main character's legs as she is discarding more of her clothes. This shot denotes a slim, pretty girl and, as she is getting completely undressed, it again signifies her vulnerability. The shot is framed by the drawers and we can see that in the bottom left hand corner there is an empty bottle of vodka hidden at the side. The bottle of alcohol is a signifier that she has been out drinking at some point which is seen as rebellious and its consumption could perhaps hint at promiscuous acts taking place. This was then followed up by a clip of Ellie, completely naked, getting into her dressing gown which focuses on her body again, complying with the suggestion that she is more of a scream queen rather than a final girl.


The next shot we have used is a point of view shot from the stalker, now very close to the house, looking at the main girl through the window. The subsequent shot is a medium close up/close up of the girl's face showing how calm and still unaware she is of being watched. We then have an extreme close up of her hand turning on the tap which, paying attention to detail, confirms how she is not worried at all.


When the girl is laying in the bath, we used a high angle, looking down on her to signify her vulnerability. We then leave this location and cut to the flashback scene in the woods, opening with a pan of the trees and the surroundings which sets the scene, emphasising the darkness and isolation they are experiencing; a conventional setting for horror movies. Here we see a close up of Ellie’s face which now is panic stricken and it is clear that she is scared and uncomfortable with the situation she is in.


We have chosen to introduce her three friends with a long shot to show that they are wearing tight and revealing clothes, signifying rebelliousness. We have used torches as additional lighting for this scene and employed them to light up Ellie’s face. Although half her face is in shadow giving a feeling of suspense, we can still see all the emotion on her face and how increasingly scared she is becoming as she is left alone in the woods.

As Ellie turns to run we have a tracking shot following her which gets the audience involved. This is still a close up shot so that we are able to continue to see the emotion on her face. The final shot before her death is an extreme close up of her eyes opening which is followed by a scream. Again, we chose to use this shot to show all of the emotion on her face and to emphasise how scared she is.

The style of editing we have used is slower in the beginning but it increases to add tension as the situation becomes more terrifying. A variety of camera shots and angles have been used to tell the story and to focus on certain parts of the narrative, combined with a variation in the lengths of shots to keep it interesting. We have used cross cutting editing to jump from the outside of the house to watching Ellie in the bath which adds even more tension. The majority of the opening is filmed with steadicam but we have included some handheld to show the point of view of the killer. The whole of our film is continuity edited to make it flow smoothly and connect everything together.


5. Title fonts and style

For our titles we have used the sans serif font Lucida Bright, regular from the iMovie selection. By researching film openings from the slasher genre, we found that it was conventional and that the majority of titles used a sans serif font because it was more serious and in keeping with the rest of the movie rather than, for example, using a bubble font which would perhaps be more suitable for a romantic comedy.

The colour scheme we used for the titles was white words on a black (or dark) background which denotes binary opposition, representing good and evil which could be linked back to the characters in the opening. The simplicity of the titles was intentional because we didn’t want to take the attention away from what was happening on screen to them.

6. Story and how the opening sets it up
A typical convention for the opening of horror movies is having at least one death. This generally sets up the rest of the film and this is something that we have adhered to. The three girls featuring alongside Ellie are her friends and get killed one by one in the woods. Ellie survives this initial event but is later strangled at her own home in the bath. If our film were to carry on, we had an idea that it would be based around a police investigation into the deaths of the girls where the murderer had got away so more similar cases keep suspiciously appearing.

7. Genre and how opening suggests it

The film opens watching the outside of a white detached house, similar to the one in the opening scenes of Halloween, an iconic and extremely influential movie in the horror genre. We chose this particular house because its location was surrounded by various hedges that could be used to look through to emphasise the fact that the girl is being watched. Our soundtrack that accompanies the film footage is rather creepy and fits well together. As the tension builds the tempo of the music increases along with the volume and different groups of instruments are added in as it goes along, building even more tension.

The footsteps approaching the house cross cut with the clips of Ellie acting completely calm and not knowing what is about to happen creates tension. Throughout the opening the killer’s identity is kept a mystery, another typical convention of movies in this specific genre. They can usually be split into two separate sub-types: one type where the killer’s identity is known and he is shown openly (even though sometimes in a mask), and one where the killer’s identity is not known, employing a whodunit angle often with a twist at the end. We chose the latter.


8. How the characters are introduced

We are introduced to the main character Ellie in her bedroom as she is getting undressed which gives us an immediate insight into her life and makes us, the audience, feel like we are stalking her as well yet she is blissfully unaware of it. At this stage we don’t really know anything about the characters and it isn’t until the flashback that we are properly introduced. Each of the friends use their names as they call out to one and other however the minor parts are not really introduced thoroughly because they are only briefly on screen. It is confirmed that they are not the main characters when Ellie labels them as ‘the extras’ in her own documentary. Ellie fully introduces herself to the camera lens as ‘the lead, Ellie’ and it is clear here that she is the leader of the group and the one with the most power.

9. Special effects
The majority of the special effects we have used throughout the opening of our slasher film are regarding the flashback scene in the woods. From the rough cuts feedback we received it indicated that it was rather confusing and we needed to come up with a way to make it more obvious what was happening, why it was there and that it was switching back in time. First of all we added a black and white effect, contrasting with the rest of the film which made it more obvious. This is a technique that has been used in various other film openings in the horror genre and the sub-genre of slashers. However again from some class feedback, it was still not clear enough so we used a blur feature from iMovie. This worked for the opening of the sequence but it didn’t fit with the end so we continued to play around with it.


The flashback scene, where Ellie is doing a Blair Witch style documentary, is cut into a few different stories. To break up Ellie’s commentary and the other sections where Abi runs off, ultimately getting herself killed, we have used on screen static fuzz which represents blank tape or where the camera has been switched off. With the accompanying sound effects it is pretty successful.

After the idents at the very beginning of our production we used a fade out function to lead smoothly into the opening of the film. This was used again at the end of our film on the final shot and has featured at various other points throughout. This is a very common form of editing for this genre, especially at the beginning and the end. We have developed this in our film.

Evaluation Question Two

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

With our main character we originally planned to challenge the conventions of horror by using a final girl rather than a scream queen, however feedback we received was that we focused too much on her body in some sections of our opening and it was suggested that we change her to a scream queen. We are still challenging some of the conventions of a scream queen because although she is a sexy and seductive ‘damsel in distress’ she is shy and reserved. Ellie wears tight, revealing clothes that show off her body. It is noticeable that she is wearing make up and has done her hair, showing she makes an effort with her appearance. We have included her as part of Laura Mulvey’s (a feminist critic) theory of including women for ‘male gaze’. She is still very innocent and rather studious but she is also a brunette which is not expected in a stereotypically blonde scream queen. This makes her a countertype. I would compare her to Mandy Lane in ‘All the boys love Mandy Lane'.

Jamie Lee Curtis: scream queen archetype for her roles in horror movies such as; Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978), The Fog (John Carpenter, 1980), Prom Night (Paul Lynch, 1980) and Terror Train (Roger Spottiswoode, 1980)

We are also including a mild scream queen, Abi, a blonde girl who is the first to disappear when the group are in the woods. Her character is outgoing and inquisitive and it is when she goes off on her own that she is killed.

Two extras have been used but they were not based on any particular character roles from existing texts because they are not the focus of the film and their parts are very brief as they are killed in the woods along with Abi.

We have used mainly stereotypes of our character but countertypes also feature. I am very happy with our choices because it is obvious enough to appeal to fans of the horror genre however it also changes it slightly which some people may prefer. One movie critic, Anne Billson from the Guardian feels that this particular genre of films has become rather predicable. In Friday 4th March 2011 newspaper she wrote an article on ‘The Resident' (2011, Antti Jokinen) starring Hilary Swank. She commented

“I think we can guess what happens: there will be running, and screaming, and disposable supporting characters will duly be disposed of in a rehash of Crawlspace-meets-Silver. But I am sure at the same point Swank will strip down to her vest… anything than just another terrorised female, please.”

Some of the things we would like to change next time to make the representations more obvious would be when they are in the woods have them wear more revealing clothes but the filming time we had available and the weather on the day meant that it was very cold so it was not practical to dress like this. Another thing is to have more extras making an appearance in the opening, including males to suggest more of a party with drinking and hinting at a sexual dimension. However this was not practical because we didn’t have enough time to kill everyone off in the opening to set up the rest of the film accurately.

Our film is most representative of older teenagers, mainly girls. We chose our characters to be teenagers due to the fact that Jess and I are teenagers ourselves and it was easy to the find the people to be included in our opening because we could ask around our friendship groups. By using actresses of this age, it would allow our target audience to engage with them further and be able to relate to what was happening in our production. We have also used an all female cast which keeps our target audience wide. Visually they attract a male audience because they are very pretty and are a bit of ‘eye candy’, wearing some very revealing or very little clothing at some points. However equally it appeals to a female audience because they can relate to what the group is doing. We have stereotypically used a female cast because they are expected to be more passive, physically weaker than the men and are an easy victim that needs rescuing by their handsome male hero. Our opening is lacking male characters which would secure a wider audience for both genders. We had planned to use a male as a boyfriend for one of the girls, which would also bring in aspects of heterosexuality, however on the day of filming our actor was unable to attend filming so we had to change our ideas slightly.

Our production includes a purely Caucasian cast however this was not intentional. Due to the demographics of our school and where we live, finding an ethnic variety of people to cast was not possible. I do not think that this aspect will narrow the target audience of our film as many existing films are not commercially suffering from this. Also, because of where our school is located we have used actresses from Northern England. We could possibly be at a disadvantage with this because of the many preconceptions that people from Yorkshire receive from people around the country which could result in lower box office sales. However in our film the regional accent is a positive thing because it signifies that they are in a rural and isolated area, reinforcing the fact that there is no one around to save them. It could also signify that they are unsophisticated and relatively poor.

Another aspect of our film that has been heavily influenced by the area we live in is the socio-economic grouping. Our actresses are all middle class.

None of our actresses that are in the film opening have a physical disability so there is no representation of this category in the film. This was not planned discriminatively, Jess and I just felt it wouldn’t have fit into our plot very well. Also casting would have been a problem in the time we had available because we do not know anyone of a suitable age who would fit into the role.

Evaluation Question Three

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Evaluation Question Four

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Name: Ruby Parker

Age: 17

Lives: Ilkley, Leeds

Studies: Studies at Ilkley Grammar School 6th form (Spanish, ICT, Psychology and PE)

Marital Status: Single

Interests: Football, Cricket, Going to the cinema, hanging out with friends, partying

Income: Works part-time at Troutbeck Care Home, earns £6.50 an hour

Favourite Movie Genre: Horror/Slasher

Ruby is a typical member of my core target audience because she likes going to the cinema and experimenting with different films. She is within the same age range and same relationship status as the characters in the film so would be able to relate to them well. One of her interests is partying and going out with friends so she would be able to understand how the girls are feeling and the sorts of things they would be doing together. It has the added bonus for Ruby in particular that it would intensify her experience of the horror in this film because it is making it seem more realistic for her. One of many aspects of our film that has been heavily influenced by the area we live in is the socio-economic grouping. Our characters are all middle class, the same as Ruby so this is an additional factor as to why she will be able to relate to the film and the girls in it.

We have aimed our film opening at a core younger audience, for people between the ages of 15 and 24. We chose this because youths are often represented as being a problem due to them being rebellious, disrespectful, ungrateful and promiscuous. This is very stereotypical of the media and I am sure that this target audience will have experienced such prejudice at some stage, meaning they will be able to relate to the characters. Our secondary target audience is to people 25-34 years old who are interested in the genre and focus solely on viewing horror movies.

We originally gave our film a BBFC rating of 12 because according to

Horror of moderate or physical threat may be permitted, provided disturbing scenes are not frequent or sustained. Nudity is allowed but in sexual context must be brief and discreet. Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood but occasional gore moments may be permitted if justified by the context.

However after conducting more research on existing film ratings of this genre we have made more structured ideas about how our film would continue. Our film opening is quite tame in comparison to the rest of the film so we have reconsidered our overall rating, not just basing it on the opening we have created. Our overall BBFC rating would be 15 because strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised and dangerous behaviour is allowed so long as it does not dwell on detail which could be copied. In addition to this, weapons that are easily accessible in day-to-day life must not be glamourised. As far as language is concerned there may be frequent use of strong language and the strongest terms may be acceptable if justified by the context. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context and nudity is allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. Leading on from this sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail and strong verbal references to sexual behaviour but may have to be justified by context. Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence however any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.

Some existing films in the slasher genre that have also been given this rating are: ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ (Wes Craven, 1984), ‘The Grudge’ (Takashi Shimizu, 2004) and ‘The Ring ’ (Gore Verbinski, 2002). Here are some more recent releases that have been rated a 15 as well: ‘Let the right one in’ (Tomas Alfredson, 2008), ‘The Orphan’ (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2009) and ‘The Mist’ (Frank Darabont, 2008)

In order to fit within this rating of a 15 rather than becoming an 18 and limiting our target audience we have had to exclude the strongest gory images, strong sadistic or sexualised violence, aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language because they are unlikely to be acceptable and works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation is not permitted. Material must not be in breach of the criminal law or appear to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals.

Due to the demographics of our school and the area we live in our cast is purely Caucasian. This however was not intentional and I do not think that this will narrow our target audience since many films that already exist in the market of our genre are not suffering from this commercially. Another factor that will influence the audience of our film is that all of our actresses have a northern England accent which has many preconceptions associated with it. It does not signify sophistication and wealth like a more southerly accent might which would result in lower box office sales. We have also not included someone with a disability in our casting but again we hope that this will not affect the diversity of our target audience.

Our audience will be kept wide because of our use of an all female cast. It will draw in the female audience because they will be able to relate to the characters. Laura Mulvey’s (1975) feminist theory of expressing the idea of male power and control over the representation of women plays a part in our film. As a ‘male gaze’ they attract a male audience because they are very pretty and are a bit of ‘eye candy’, wearing some very revealing or very little clothing at some points.

I think that there is definitely an audience for this genre and this has been demonstrated by existing films such as ‘All the boys love Mandy Lane’ (Jonathan Levine, 2006) and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’.

This graph shows how both males and females watched this film, rating it pretty similarly. The younger audience enjoyed the film more rating it 6.2 and 6.7 whereas with the older audience the ratings generally decrease.

This is a chart referring to the ratings of the original ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. From looking at it we can see that the audience response for the film was more evenly spread out across the ages than the previous one. Again males and females rated it equally but this movie was more appealing to my secondary target audience and the numbers for the younger audience are substantially lower.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Evaluation Question Five

How did you attract/address your audience?

Evaluation Question Six

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Evaluation Question Seven

Looking back at your preliminary task (the continuity editing task), what would you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?

We spent a lot more time researching the genre, watching openings of existing texts to find what is expected in an opening. We backed it up with searching the internet for the conventions of a slasher and getting people’s different points of view. This was very important for us because it helped us develop our initial ideas, making it fit in with the genre.

Planning Documents

For our preliminary we didn’t draft a story board or call sheets which meant our film wasn’t structured very well and the actors were not very well instructed in what to do. For our opening we were using actresses from outside our media group so it was vital we thoroughly planned. We were filming part of it in the dark, in winter, so we needed to be efficient and do it as quickly as possible before we lost the light and everyone got cold. To achieve this we planned detailed storyboards as well as the dialogue sheets before we went out to film. We were then able to give these to the actresses to brief them on what was going to happen. I think this professional approach and detail resulted in them taking it more seriously and the final product was better. I also created a treatment for Last One Standing which collected all our aims for the opening, reminding ourselves about areas such as target audience and character roles. This also helped later on in the project as we explored and developed each section further.


Time Management

Detailed project planning enabled us to manage our time more effectively. On location it was clear what we had to do so we got all the shots we needed and it was less likely that we would require a reshoot. After filming we had guidelines for when each of our rough cuts needed to be done by in order to get feedback and improve. This worked well for us keeping everything in order. Much time was spent out of lessons on research allowing us to maximise use of the software in school for editing and recording podcasts. The only thing that we could have planned slightly better was leaving another week for recording the sound. This would have given us a chance to get to know the software ourselves and perhaps not rely on our technician, John, in the end. Compared to our prelim we had good time management. Previously, we were rushing at the end to meet the deadline which resulted in a poorer quality sequence.

For the preliminary we got into groups and discussed ideas within this group, so there was no pitch to the whole class. For the coursework opening a pitch to the class was required which allowed us to hear each others ideas and this helped us choose our groups. I chose Jess because I thought our ideas would go well together and create an effective slasher film opening.


Our choice of actresses for our opening was greatly improved upon from the preliminary. We had more time to prepare for it so we were able to find suitable people from outside the media class, meaning casting the characters was easier and we could choose people who can act. As we had included some nudity in our opening we had to pitch our idea to our choice of main character to check that she would be comfortable doing that on camera, bearing in mind the footage would be seen by other people at school.

Props, Costume, Mise-en-Scene

We had no props for our prelim and only had a costume for Jem to signify the Baywatch theme. We didn’t take this very seriously and I think this is reflected in the prelim. The lack of time we had to plan, film and edit the footage meant we had to film in school, leaving us no choice in the mise-en-scene as it had to be in a classroom.

We had much more time for the final product so we spent longer on the overall planning. We thought through the characters and what we wanted the costume to signify. For example, with Ellie we chose tight, revealing clothes, connoting promiscuity and rebelliousness. We thought through if there were any required props that would add to the opening and if there were any conventional props that should be included. We knew that having a murder was essential but we wanted to challenge the predictable case of killing with a knife so we tried to think of a more original idea. We both thought about having our protagonist strangled with the cord of her dressing gown and this is the idea we decided on. We have used bubbles in the bath to cover up our main character more because it would be very inappropriate to have her revealing all and our actress would not feel comfortable with the idea on camera.

Location Scouting and Sample Shoots
Due to the time constraints we had with the prelim no locational scouting took place and we didn’t have chance to take sample footage so we just had to risk it and film it straight away. This was not good because it meant that we had not all been on set together and there was a bit of improvisation.

When I was drafting my initial pitch to present to the class I was imagining the scenes being set in my house. I thought that the outside of my house was ideal because it is a white, stand alone house similar to the one used in Halloween which signified isolation and was a good example of intertextuality. My bathroom was also good because it is fully tiled which gave us some reflective shots which were appropriate to use in our opening. The bath was fairly open, providing plenty of room for the tripod and allowed us to film our actress in the bath from a variety of different angles.

We planned to shoot the bedroom scene in my own room, one of a typical teenage girl. This also made the day of filming easier because we were only using one house and if we needed to re-film we didn’t have to find a suitable time to do it, negotiating with the owner. For the Blair Witch style flashback we decided that we would use the woods a 10 minute walk away from my house because they are easy to access and are close to the locations where the rest of the scenes are taking place. It was especially important here that we did some sample shoots because we would be filming in the dark and we had to test the lighting. Filming in winter meant that it would get dark earlier so we had to time it at twilight so that we would have enough light to film with. We decided that we would also use the torches we had chosen as props to fit with the narrative as additional lighting, as well as lighting up the actresses’ faces in certain scenes. My planning the woods part so thoroughly meant that the required shots were filmed faster and it ran smoothly, a very important aspect since the day we had chosen to film on was incredibly cold.

Rough Cuts and Audience Feedback

For the preliminary task we didn’t have a rough cut. There was not enough time to keep improving on it and the only feedback we received was from the teacher that the match on action shot of the door wasn’t done correctly so we had to re-film to improve this bit. That particular problem was mainly due to rushed editing.

For our film opening Jess and I produced three rough cuts before we were happy with the final product. To begin with the changes we made were very drastic ranging from the initial one, with all of our shots ordered and edited slightly, to adding in our re-film footage and the soundtrack. The changes got less as we progressed and by the end it was just the little things that needed tidying up. By uploading the rough cuts onto YouTube, then embedding them on our blog it allowed us to get audience feedback. We also showed these to the class which secured feedback from our target audience, allowing us to improve our film again based on what they had said. The main piece of feedback we received was that it was slightly confusing in places, especially when the flashback scenes began, as the audience weren’t following it and didn’t know what was going on. To remedy this we tried a variety of techniques in the editing software in an attempt to make it clearer so these are the most noticeable changes in our later rough cuts.


The accompanying soundtracks for both projects are very different. In the first one it is rather comical, using the Baywatch theme tune for when we introduce the male character. There is no additional diagetic sound to enhance what already belongs in the scene as the majority of it is dialogue. The script is not very interesting and none of the people involved are very good actors because we had no time to cast proper people for the roles.

We put a lot more thought into sound for our final product, creating an original soundtrack in GarageBand to go with the narrative and help increase the tension. We introduced a long, drawn-out synthesised violin note followed by another long note of a slightly higher pitch. The use of music in this way signifies something is wrong, an early signifier of the horror genre. We have also used a pre-recorded sample from the iMovie sound selections for the footsteps as the killer approaches the house, just making what we already had louder and more prominent. There is considerably less dialogue in this one than before but because we have correctly casted the roles, especially our protagonist, the lines are believable and work on screen.


For both pieces we have used continuity editing however in the final project it moves at a lot faster pace to build tension because the action is quite exciting. In the prelim it was mainly a conversation involving dialogue so it moved slower. We used no other special effects or transitions in it apart from the slow motion tool for the part where he swishes his hair when we are first introduced to the character. All the shots have been edited with a simple cross cut. This is a huge difference compared to our film opening. Again we have cross cut it but the fade in and out transitions have been added between shots and a number of special effects were used for the flashback to make it clearer to the audience what was happening. For example we changed the footage from colour to black and white as well as the blur tool for when we enter the flashback.


No idents were created for our prelim but we created two, one for a production company and another for a distribution company. Both our idents are linked to the slasher genre although they are not necessarily required to. Our first ident links the most with the blood spatter on a white background being slightly gory, the second one slightly more disconnected but the heartbeat sound that accompanies the pulsing of the words continues into the beginning of the film adding to the tension. An effect of the regular heartbeat sound can affect the audience member’s heartbeat. This physical interference can create a psychological effect resulting in a feeling of increased tension.

Working in a group
For the prelim we were unable to choose our own groups but we still all worked well as a team. For the final project Jess and I chose to work together after hearing each others pitches to the class. The dynamics of the group were very good with us both contributing creative ideas and suggesting ways to improve it. It was fun and easy to arrange a time to film outside of school time as we were both close friends and were happy spending extra time at each others houses to plan our opening. The majority of research and planning on the genre and our film sequence we did together, both taking DVDs home to deconstruct then sharing the notes with each other and it is the same for editing and filming. I was the most confident of the two of us using the editing software so I took control with it although Jess was by my side talking me through her thoughts and adding to the final cut.