Main Video task - Plead

Main Video task - Plead

Prelim Task - Nerd

Prelim Task - Nerd

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Moderator Post

Dear Moderator,

This is my finished blog. On it you should find the evidence for the process of producing our opening sequence from research to planning, production and an evaluation on the task. There are links for my team mates' blogs on the right (Michael Cassidy and Daniel Sheldon) as well as to our teachers' blogs. I hope that navigation of the blog and between blogs is facilitated.     

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it,

Adam Romo - 3675

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Question 7: Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

From the prelim task, I believe I have learnt a lot, mostly through error. However other than learning from my mistakes I have learnt many techniques and tricks that helped to improve the quality of the final product.

There has been a steep learning curve since the preliminary task until now. The prelim taught me the basic technical skill needed in order to create a continuity sequence. These rules of continuity make up the foundations of our opening sequence and without them the sequence would not make sense.

Continuity example use of 180 degree rule.

The study of other films and their openings not only gave inspiration but showed me the direction in which to take in order to succeed with the project. Films such as Paranormal Activity have taught me how to create tension using sound and movement and films like Sin City have shown me a new style of grading that is highly appealing.    

Planning and Production:

In the planning process I found that through previous examples simple ideas are better not only for ease of production under timed conditions but for the audience who are to watch it.

Also despite having knowledge of the technology and equipment we used I learned during planning clever techniques that could be used in production, taught by our technician, in order to create the desired effect. We were taught how to manually change the focus of the camera, do focus pulls and what effect changing different camera setting had on filming. We were also taught how to use of the halogen lights to create different effect which helped us plan the set up we wanted for the shoot.  

We also did a practise shoot which was really helpful in preparation for the real shoot. It showed us problems that could arise and how to deal with them quickly and efficiently such as faulty equipment which we then covered in class. It also showed us how necessary a practice shoot actually was, being able to practise with equipment, learning to work in the environment as a group, work with the location and gave us ideas on which to frame certain shots saving a load of time on the real shoot.

In the real shoot we learnt to take advantage of all the time we had and shoot extra footage so that there were no gaps in the narrative and that if there were mistakes we had something to fall back on. Shooting various master shots of the bedroom scene as well as the ones planned gave us options for the continuity sequence and could be played around with in post production to match the effect we wanted the sequence to have.

Post Production:

Our prelim task helped us in some ways in terms of editing despite having a strict and short time in which to edit together our continuity sequences. The short time scale we had to work with gave us an incite into continuity editing and how it could be done efficiently in a short space of time. However when it came to the real editing, although having a short opening sequence to put together we found it tedious and time consuming
capturing the large amount of footage we had filmed, picking what we thought worked best in terms of continuity and tweaking the edit for the best quality we could.

We did however learn short cuts and get to know the technology we were dealing with in further detail as the edit progressed and we gradually became more efficient. If we were to do this again or in any new filming project an aim would be to try and make the capturing process as efficient as possible using a shot list for example. Also for the next project we are more clued up in terms of the use of the technology/ software. 

Also despite doing a second shoot we still found errors in the footage. This was due to the small screen when watching back on the camcorder, the errors simply weren't noticed, luckily the errors weren't major and hard to notice when watching the opening sequence for example:

We knew that to determine the success of the film we would need feedback as winning over the audience is key to a successful film. We therefore firstly screened our film to our media class to receive technical analysis and to find snags with feedback from teachers and fellow students. After correcting these problems we premièred our film after advertising the screening via facebook and posters. This helped us a lot for the evaluation in terms of our specific audience and what people thought of our film.

The Group and Closing Thought: Considering we were pressed for time due to the Geography trip and have had many problems such as technical hick-ups (ie Camera faulty on practise shoot and title not transferring properly) I think that we have worked very efficiently to overcome the problems and tight deadlines. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Michael and Daniel as well as working on the project itself and it has given me more incite into the film industry and all its aspects.  

Monday, 28 March 2011

Question 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Our group used various different pieces of technology in order to plan and aid the development of our film opening.


  • One of the most useful pieces of equipment we used was the personal flip camcorder. It was not only useful for planning our location and showing our pre-production processes but for documenting our entire production from start to finish. It enabled us to display thoughts and feedback quickly for our own reference as well as the teachers. 


In terms of software the key for us during planning was communication in order to improve our planning efficiency.
  • Via Facebook messaging

        We also used facebook to promote our film screening:

  • Via Skype which was a form of direct communication through instant messenger and internet and face to face calls for free (however I don't have a web-cam or microphone).

  • Via Blackberry Messenger (BBM) – We were fortunate enough to all own a Blackberry mobile phone with this feature. This allowed us to not only converse but it also gave us the ability to have a group calender with notifications for dates synced between the phones. Also we could make check-lists and all updates to the group would notify the entire group. It was great being quick, easy and on the go as well as being great for organisation.

    We also used experimented with some less orthodox methods for communication:



    • Camera – Standard Definition- Canon HDV 30
    The camcorder was great for the handled shots we wanted and was relatively easy to use. During our planning shoot however we did have some technical problems with it rejecting the tape for no apparent reason. We then therefore had to swap cameras despite getting it to work so not to run the risk on the real shoot of the problem arising. This also made us more weary and we did a thorough check on all our equipment for the real shoots.

    We did have the ability with the camera to shoot in High Definition for better quality video, however this was not possible as we had a lack of knowledge when it came to post-production for editing HD footage and the software had had problems with capturing HD footage in the past.

    There were options to manual focus on the camcorder which we used a lot for the enigma of our opening sequence, doing focus pulls and using slightly blurry shots. We also found we could contra-zoom using the camera but it was too difficult to pull of. If I were to do this again however I would probably try a contra-zoom on one of the hall shots as it is a good effect.          
    • Tripod

    The tripod was crucial for some our master shots and the conversation as we needed stable clear footage on top of the hand-held approach.In the bedroom we used it for a crane shot over the entire bedroom by holding it up.  

    • Headphones (Sennheiser)
    • Shotgun Mic

    The shotgun mic (placed directly on top of the camera) was good for capturing sound in general, however it was possible too good as we could hear the tape and camera functioning in all the shots in which we had used it so a boom mic was possibly a better option.
    • Boom Mic

    The boom mic was the best mic we had. It was great for both pinpoint and stereo sound. It is perfect for dialogue shots as all other noise is blocked out. However when using the boom mic in-front of the camera you run the risk of getting it in shot without noticing on the small camera screen and we did have this problem but sorted it in the editing stage.
    •  Halogen lights

    The three halogen lights gave our film a more art feel and were great from brining out colour, especially our fake blood. One problem we had was trying to fit all three of them in the bedroom and we had some problems with them flickering randomly which meant we had to separate them to different plug sockets. However using them gave our footage an eye candy look which wouldn't have been present without this lighting and I would definitely use them in future.


    • PC 
    We spent a vast majority of our post production time sat in front of the PC edit suite which contained most of the software we needed for the process.

    •  iMac
    The iMac made up for the areas which the edit suite didn't cover as well as being an alternative edit suite (we weren't allowed to use as there is only one in the department). It had software only available for Mac on it which came in handy for the title sequence.

    • Adobe Première Pro

    We captured, cut and fine cut our sequence using adobe. The programme was good at these basic jobs and gave a lot of choice in terms of possible effect and further settings on these effects. We used the effects for the planned grading and saturation as well as cross fades and fades to black. It was also good for sound editing and made sound bridges and SFX easy to do but a lot of tweaking was needed in this area which was quite tedious. There were other problems with the software such as compatibility with imported titles from LiveType, making them look pix-elated and rendering took a long time. If we had access to a mac for editing footage we would probably use Final Cut Pro which is a more professional and less glitchy editing software.    
    • LiveType

    LiveType is a software solely available for Mac's. It is used to create exciting and interesting titles with a huge range of effects and possibilities to make film look more professional. It is also really simple to use and great for experimenting. This was better than the Adobe title software available on the PC. 
    • Web 2.0
    To find the sound effects we planned for our sequence we needed to go online to search for royalty free SFX.  I was able to find the rumble drone effect we wanted after a lot of searching and after downloading a few different sound effects which could have been used. In the process we found some good websites for possible future use such as


    • Projector/ Interactive Whiteboard
    This was used for the screening and was clear for our film viewing for a large audience. We treated it like a cinema screen in some respects.

    • Youtube
    We created a youtube account/channel for all our production videos 'madhousemedia 2011' for people to watch our trailer and other videos and comment on them. It was also used for reference for the evaluation:

    Sunday, 27 March 2011

    Question 5: How did you attract/ address your audience?

    To attract our audience of  females between the ages of 16-21 we used methods which would appeal to the gender and age. As well as using continuity techniques to create narrative flow and understanding we found we could attract our audience by tapping into thier fears and giving the opening sequence a realistic but gritty approach.

    The techniques we used were firstly to create a main character that was believable and that represented our core market. We therefore came up with our protagonist Lizzie, a young woman living in a typical London suburban neighbourhood. The reason we used this character is so that the audience can place themselves in her shoes and feel similar emotions through the duration of the film as it is a character that reflects the core market.

    Furthermore the Paranormal Activity drone and the arty grading style in the opening sequence are a relatively modern style more prominently in films this side of the 20th century and in recent decades. This means that the generation of younger people have grown up with it and is a more appeal style for film and therefore our opening sequence represents this social group through film style also.

    We also knew that we wanted a gritty film as gritty British films had been successful in the past for the gritty approach. Modern greats such as 'This is England', 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch' prided themselves on there gritty backstreet approach to film as did all the successful football hooligan films such as 'Green Street' and 'The Firm'. These sorts of films put actors such as Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones on the map as successful film stars. However all these films have one thing in common. They are directed at men and we saw potential in using this style for a female British audience who may also find it appealing.

    We advertised our screening with a poster that aimed to entice members of our target audience along to watch the film with an striking image of Lizzie on it.

    We found that a majority of the people who came to watch the sequence were females but didn't fall to conclusions. This is some of the feedback we received:

    Group 5 Sample Audience Feedback

    These are some of the more helpful responses. From our responses we found that our sequence was liked because of the suspence and many of the audience found it intrigueing.  The also thought the build up of the sequence including the sound (drone) was successful which relates to the the planned appeal.

    Saturday, 26 March 2011

    Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product?

    Typical member of our target audience:

    Name: Jessica 
    Age: 20
    Background information:
    • Studying English literature at Oxford
    • Wants to become a lawyer after university.
    • She is the academic type and has many friends like herself
    • She enjoys watching TV dramas and apart from novel films also enjoys romance, drama, comedy and the occasional horror film.
    • She likes a mixture of mainstream and indie music.
    • She can’t stand action films with violence and guns.

    Core market:

    We decided our core market was to be one that reflects our main character, the ideals of the court case and situations that take place in the flash backs that occur throughout the film of Lizzie’s experiences with Josh. Therefore our primary market is young women aged 16 to 25.

    Secondary market:

    A secondary audience was also selected based on the appeal of the story. Mothers and older women 30 to 60 would be a likely candidate for the secondary audience from their ability to relate to their childhood experiences and also look down on the situation in a motherly fashion. The seriousness of the film and the twists in the plot should keep an audience like this entertained like they would if watching a clever crime/ police drama. 

    Friday, 25 March 2011

    Question 3: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

    Our production company is Madhouse media

    PLEAD release strategy

    We would have a national staggered release, with a high profile premier at the Empire cinema in Leicester
    Square, London since our film is a gritty British drama and set in the suburbs of London therefore reflecting a regional audience.

    The release strategy will be staggered regionally at first solely in London Multiplex such as Odeon, Cineworld and Vue and some Indie cinemas such as the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. After the London release in will then be released a few days later in other major cities around the UK like Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

    The release will be in mid autumn and the film will be previewed until early December. This is due to the fact that at this time of year it begins to get dark earlier and people such as our target audience are less likely to be out in the fresh air. This is also the time of year these sort of dramas come out. The season in which the film is set will also reflect the time of year the film is exhibited.

    Plead will then be exhibited in a global fashion starting with showings in cinemas across Europe and then in the USA. Depending on the success rate we can then exhibit the film in the rest of the world. London is associated with globally and when people think of London they associate it with Big Ben and the London eye which will be included in our film.

    Madhouse Media our production company who make many gritty British films but with an international appeal  for larger audiences by making films with globally recognisable themes and locations which people can associate with as well as unique characters. A similar example would be working title making iconic British films which are globally renowned.

    Kingwell Studios are a distributor of solely British films. Funded a the multi-billionaire they distribute a wide selection of films from practically all genres in a professional and clued up manor globally.They are the equivalent of Universal having a global presence and reach except that they dominate the UK market and not the USA (Hollywood). They have produced many gritty British classics similar to that of This is England & Harry Brown.