Saturday, 29 January 2011

Cinema Audiences

1) How many suspense films were released in 2009? How many films were released altogether that year? 
31 thriller films. 501 films were released in 2009.

2) Action, animation and comedy account for 52% of box office in 2009. Why do you think these genres are so popular?
I think these genres are popular because they appeal to the mass target audience.
Children and teenagers are more likely to watch animations and comedies. The population of children and teenagers is more than half of the whole population. So effectively, the genres they enjoy will be more more popular.
Action films are watched by mainly all aged males.

3) Why do you think Thrillers account for quite a low proportion of UK Box office takings (4% in 2009)?
Thrillers have a niche audience.
The age restriction for most thriller films are always 15 or 18 so anyone under the age of 15 or sometimes 18 will not be able to watch the film in cinemas. People under 18 are usually the main audience of cinemas. Therefore thrillers lose a fairly large number of takings.

4) Looking at the 'genre by gender' diagram on the teaching blog, what information can be derived about Thriller audiences and gender?
The 'genre by gender' diagram shows that males are more likely to watch horror, crime, action and sci fi films. Thrillers can easily be added to this list as it links with the genres.
Females are more likely to suspense, period and romantic films. Thrillers fit more into the males list. Therefore the audience to watch thrillers are more male viewers.

5) Look at the age certificate for 10 of the films featured on the teaching blog. What does this tell you about Thriller Audiences?

The films above are all mostly aged 15 or 18. It indicates that thrillers are aimed at older teenagers and adults.
Thrillers are not suitable for young children for obvious reasons.
The audience these films are targeted to need to have a matured mind so they can also understand psychological thrillers.

"Watching" Document

This documentary gave information on film openings and what makes them successful and not so successful. Directors opinions were also given.

Thomas Sutcliffe stated,
"Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible"
He basically means to say that the audience needs to stay interested in the film. Every director will try and do something at the beginning of a film to keep the viewers intrigued. They cannot leave all the interesting parts to later on in the film.

Jean Jacques Beineix stated the risks of "instant arousal". The audience need to be kept entertained. If the opening is too interesting, the audiences expectations will rise (instant gratification). If the expectations are not met the film will be unsuccessful and the viewers will be disappointed. A film should gradually become more and more interesting and the most interesting part should be near the end.

"a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little"
Films have to give enough information to keep the audience entertained. But at the same time not give too much information. Too little will bore them. Therefore the amount of information needs to be balanced throughout the film.

The classic opening to a film according to Stanley Kauffmann is the first establishing shot of the city, which looked like New York. This reminds me of the opening of The Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3. The shot is followed by a tilt shot of the building from top to bottom. Then it moves through the window and through the reception and to the main office where the story continues.

The title sequence to Seven is very effective because it foreshadows what is actually going to happen in the film. The opening has no dialogues, only sound. The music is intense and it "wakes you up". It also reflects the state of mind of the psychotic character in the title sequence. The person is making abnormal actions such as scraping their skin off their fingers with a blade and sewing paper.

In A Touch of Evil Orson Welles wanted to plunge viewers straight into the film. He wanted to do this by  excluding the credits and begin the film straight away. Universal Studios, the production company, disagreed to this idea. If the film excluded the credits, the production company's name will not be revealed. He also fought for his decision but lost so the credits were included.

"A favourite trick of Film Noir" is when the opening of a film is actually the ending. An example of this is Casino.

The opening to The Shining is very suspenseful. The music plays a huge role in creating suspense. Its very eerie and personally, very scary. Especially the sound that gradually got higher and sounded almost like a scream. It increases heart rates and is quite frightening.
The camera is following a car that is driving in a deserted place. It looks like a bird following its prey. Due to the location of the scene, the viewers are in 
intrigued to know where the car's destination is.

The Structure of Thriller Openings

Every film opens with either 3 structures. These  structures are:
  • A narrative opening with the titles running throughout
  • A discrete title sequence
  • Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening
We watched a few openings of films which were great examples of the different structured openings.

  • A narrative opening with the titles running throughout
I personally think The Shining's opening was quite suspenseful and creepy. I think the music allows it to do this.
The titles run play as the film begins.

  • A discrete title sequence
A discrete title sequence is when the titles stand separately from the actual film. Seven's opening shows close ups of very mentally disturbed actions, such as a person scraping their own skin off their fingers using a blade and sewing paper. The titles are small and the font looks as if a child has written them, which makes it more psychotic. 

  • Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening
I think this structure is very plain and boring. Therefore it is the most ineffective structure. However, if the opening is short, like Donnie Darko, it still has a suspenseful effect. It is also quite eerie.

  • Stylized editing
These openings stand out and a lot of work is put into them, which means a lot of time is also put to them. An example is Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3.

Preliminary - Storyboard

This is the storyboard for our prelim film:
 1 - Mid shot of a female opening a door and switching off the light.
2 - The female would then walk into the bathroom
3- A match cut & close up of a hand turning on the tap
4 - A close up of hands being washed and blood running into the sink
5 - Another close up of hands drying
6 - Over the shoulder shot of female walking out of bathroom
7 - Long shot of girl walking back to the room
8 - Another close up and match cut of female turning on the light
9 - Wide shot of dying person laying on the floor
10 - Upwards pan from dying persons point of view
11 - Still POV of dying person. Watches female leave and shut the door. Scene fades

PRELIM: Storyboard

1) (1) Girl opens door and switches light off. Long shot.
1) (2) Girl walks into bathroom
3) Close up and match cut of girl turning sink on. Blood stains on tap.
4) Close up of washing bloody hands in sink.
5) Close up of hands drying
6) Over the shoulder and tracking shot of girl walking out of bathroom. She stops and turns her head.

7) Long shot of girl walking into room.
8) Close up and match cut of girl switching middle light on.
9) Wide shot of wounded person laying on floor.
10) (1) From wounded persons POV.
10) (2) Girl turns around and shuts door, walking away. Shot dissolves.

Livetype and Sound

In this lesson we had a brief tutorial of two softwares we were going to use for our film, Livetype and Soundtrack Pro.

Livetype is used to add text to a film. Such as credits. There are various fonts which can match the genre of the film. There are also many animated texts.

Soundtrack Pro is used to create sound for a clip or video. There are many sounds which can be used to put together to create music suitable for a clips atmosphere. For example, for a suspenseful the music will build.

More on cinema audiences.

Genre by gender diagram
- From the diagram above i can tell that thrillers more appeal to males. This is because the sub genres mainly are on the side closest to male ( action , crime , horror, sci-fi) . But the suspense genre lays in the  middle showing that it does also appeal to females but not as much as it does for males.

- The certificates for thriller films are usually 15 or 18. This can be seen in ten examples from the teaching blog :


This tells me that thrillers appeal to the older more mature audiences. They would also be educated, to understand the usually complicated plot and are more than likely to be males. This can be seen through the certificates and the diagram above. Both of these pieces of evidence will help me in creating my thriller as i know what the target audiences is and who i have to make the opening appeal to.

Cinema Audiences

Thos grid shows how many suspense / thriller fims were relased in 2009
- In 2009 31 thriller films were released [ Shown in the grid above ] 
  Overall 501 films were released in 2009

- Action, animation and comedy account fro 52% of Box Office in the UK in 2009. I believe that  they are so popular because they appeal to the masses. They don't have one specific target audience.  

- In 2009 Thrillers only brought in 4% of the total uk box office. I think that the proportion is very low because thrillers target a very specific audience, which include educated working males.

Introduction to Camera & Editing: SKILLS


We were shown the camera that we will be using for our filming.
We were taught the tools and functions of the camera. We were told not to zoom and to always use manual as the quality of the picture will not come out as good. We were also taught how to adjust the lighting to suit the environment. For example, the lighting in our classroom was very dull. We were shown how to change the vision by pressing the gain button which enables the picture to become lighter, therefore more clearer.

We were also taught how to use and set up the tripod and how to fix the camera on top of it so it doesn't fall.
We were shown how to adjust the tripod it to the angle and height we needed it in.

We were shown how to create the camera movements such as panning, tracking, tilting and hand-held

We must never touch the lens of the camera and always close it when we are outside, especially if it is raining. If we are filming in the rain we have to protect the camera with an umbrella. 
The cameras must always be returned on time as there are only a limited amount of cameras and other classes also have to shoot for their films.

Low angles are used to create a dominating and powerful effect of the person on the screen. It shows them looking down at the camera and makes them look supreme.
High angles are used to make the person look small and helpless.
Both high and low angles shows the relationship between the two people.

For editing, we obviously have to use Final Cut Pro.
In the lesson we were shown basic editing skills. To cut shots we have to use the I and O buttons.
We knew how to organise the timeline. The clips had to be right next to each other or there would be a gap in between each shot.
We were introduced to the toolbox and how to use it. The razor blade helps to cut the shots.

We now know how to add the credits and text, how to use different fonts and transactions. We used dissolve but realised that we would ave to limit the times we included it because it will make the editing pace slow down, which would have made our scene look too slow. Our bag swap scene was quite slow but it was tense. So we used dissolve to open and close the scene. If we used it in between the scene, it would not be as effective and completely ruin the mood.

PRELIM: Jelly Baby animation: Screenshots

We moved the pictures we took to our video drive.

We opened the pictures up in Final Cut Pro

 We adjusted the timing of each picture.

The completed animation.

The sound (we used a camera to record our voices then used that as the sound)

PRACTISE FILM 1: Bag Swap scene: Screen shots

We use Final Cut Pro to edit out bag swap scene. These are the screen shots of what and how we made our bag swap scene.

First of all, we opened up all the shots we took in the cameras memory card, then moved them into our video drive. 

Then opened Final Cut Pro. The box on the left is where all our shots are shown as thumbnails. the box in the middle is where the shots open and play so we can edit it. The last box plays everything on the timeline.

 The timeline. This is used to organise the shots so they play without any gaps.
It also has the timeline for sound as well as the shots.

We opened the shots up in FCP...

...and began to put the shots together. We cut each shot by using the I and O buttons which allowed us to get the sots we needed.

We checked the film after we edited for any mistakes or adjustments we needed to make.

 Our editing is saved and complete!

Thriller Sub-Genres

Although thriller films are in one category, they are no all based on the same type of story. Thrillers have sub-genres which divide them into groups of identifiable categories. Thriller sub-genres may be:
  • Psychological (Memento, The Stepfather, The Shining)
  • Romantic (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Mr and Mrs Smith)
  • Action (District 13)
  • Supernatural (What Lies Beneath)
  • Political (Enemy of the State)
  • Mystery (Donnie Darko)
  • Crime (Psycho)
And many more. However, a film can fall into two genres. For example, both Inception and Phonebooth, two very successful  films, were a psychological and action thriller.
Taking of the Pehlam 1, 2, 3 is a crime and political thriller.

Memento is a psychological thriller film. Personally, I do not enjoy thrillers especially supernatural thrillers.
After I watched this film, I began to enjoy psychological thrillers. Because they are so suspenseful,  you are intrigued and always on track of everything that happens in the film so they begin to make sense, almost like a puzzle.

Another psychological thriller is The Stepfather. I also really enjoyed this film. There were some very jumpy and shocking scenes. 

The opening scene for both films were incredible. They shock the viewers but grabs their attention instantly. Both have inspired me and I will be considering to use their technique in my own film.

Friday, 28 January 2011

My response to the 'Watching' documentary

The thirty minute documentary was about the opening of films. 'Watching' gave an insight to the opinions what people (mainly those within in the industry)  think about the opening of a film.

Thomas Sutcliff states "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible" . He means that a film needs to make the audience want to stay, it also means that directors will do something that will make the audience feel interested straight away , not make them wait for it later on in the film.

In the documentary the director , Jean Jacques Beinex says that there are risks of 'instant arousal'. He says that the customer says that they want something and you have to deliver within in 20 minutes. This happens with "pizzas,cars and computers and emotions". Basically this is immediate gratification. But he says no to this they, "you have to accept to to wait, nurse , nurture your desire , to make it grow and then the satisfaction comes. He says "this is the same with movies" .

"A good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the time make sure that it doesn't know too little". This quote means that when making a opening to a film the audience must not know a lot of information but enough to keep them interested and allow them to understand what is going on. This is something that i will consider whilst making my own film opening.
Stanley Kauffmann describe as a classic opening had a certain scenes after each other. It would start off with an establishing shot of New York city ( from the East) , the camera would then provide a close up of a building , then up the building , to a window and through it, past the recpetionist desk into an office and there sat a character.He states it works because it tells the audience where its taking place , what the occupation of the hero is and the organisation of the world.

The opening to Se7en
Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven (Se7en) so effective it went against what usual opening titles do. The documentary narrator says Cooper knew that director David Fincher did not want a 'gentle prelude' but a ' sequence that would tune the viewers to the right dissident pitch'. Cooper states that people usually see the opening as something that should "settle" the audience into their seats and "be part of the transitional time where you're getting ready to take in what it is". However he knew that Fincher wanted to say that the "movie is gonna hit" the audience on the head, wake them up. He says it works because it feels like part of the movie. The sequence, according to Cooper,became the" first scene of the movie", it told a story and the nature of the main character. It foreshadowed the events of the movie , making it one of the most effective movies openings.

With the film A Touch Of Evil , Orson Welles wanted to start the opening off differently to any other movie. He intended it to be seen without music or titles, plunging the audience into the story without giving them time to understand what is going on. Universal studios did not like this idea , they added titles and a score to it.                   

The documentary explains a favourite trick of film Noir. This is when a films opening is not really a beginning but a sort of ending, this is seen in the opening of Casino. The use of this trick allows the opening to feel like a destination not a departure point , leaving the audience looking forward waiting to see what is to come.

The opening of The Shining
The opening of  The Shining create suspense in many ways. It starts off 'picturesque' , but the screen is full of 'omens'. The camera seems to follow the car like a predator , from behind and high up. It never sways to look at the scenery , just the car, connoting that the people are in some sort of danger, going the wrong way.

Analysis of the structure of an opening

The James Bond films are very famous for the movies but also their opening titles. These film titles are inspiration for when i am making my own thriller opening.
Opening to Quantum of Solace

The James Bond film that i will be analysing is Quantum of Solace (2008), which a a thriller / action film. The style of the titles would belong to the stylized editing category. This is because it is easy to see that they took a lot of time to be created and finished. They also look like no other title sequence. The entire opening lasts for over three minutes which include the use of text and images. 

The titles during the opening are always moving , this connotes the pace of the film, as even the titles cannot be still. The actual text of the movie titles are the same as every other film. It shows the production / distribution crews , the name of the movie ( at 20 seconds) and the main and supporting cast and finally the rest of the crew , including the associate producers , production managers and stills photographer.
More screen grabs of the opening
There are a range of shots in the opening , from close ups , tracking, long shots and panning. There is also use of aerial shots and extreme close ups. The music also plays a big part in the opening. The sound foretells what will happen in the movie , the song is very upbeat and loud, connoting the storyline.

This sequence appeals to me because of the fact that it is stylised. The opening is very unique and doesn't look like any other title sequence. i am impressed by the fact that even though the titles are over three minutes it still seems to keep me interested and wanting to watch the film, i hope to be able to replicate this when making my own thriller opening.

Structure of openings

There are three basic structures to film openings :

A narrative opening with the titles runninng throughout 

Above : Clips from the opening of The Shining
These are separately edited sequences that stand apart from the opening. They are stylised and heavily edited, and they support the opening credits and film title. Other examples include:  
- The taking of Pelham 123
- He loves me , he loves me not
- The stepfather
A discrete title sequence ( stands apart from movie )
Above : Clips from the opening of  Se7en

  • Se7en
  • Arlington Road

Titles over a blank screen
These are movies that start with the titles rolling over a blank screen, often with sound effects or a sound track. Image is then indtroduced.The titles usually continue to roll over the images.
  • Donnie Darko

There is an extra , fourth , style : Stylised editing
These film openings that stand out as the editing is so stylised. usually take a very long time in post productio.
  • Taking of Pelham 123
  • Mezine

jelly Bean Prelim film screenshots

Here is a screenshot of where we added our Dialouge on our timeline on final cut pro

Here are our still pictures on the browser:

Thriller audiences

After looking at the genre by gender diagram on the teaching blog we found that we mostly go to action, animation and comedy rather than thriller because they are for more niche audience.

Cinema Audiences

In class after looking at the data for the Uk cinemaGoing by genre we answered the following questions

1. how many suspence films were released in 2009?How many suspense films were released altogether that year?
There were 31 suspense films released in 2009 and 501 were released altogether.

2. Action, animation and comedy account for 52% of box office in 2009. why do you think these genres are so popular?

I believe these genres are very popular because of the mass target audience,because many young teenagers are the ones that are going  and watching these films in the cinemas.

3. why do you think thillers account for quiet a low proportion of UK box office takings (4% in 2009)?
I believe this is because of the age limit which is located on the films. it leaves out individuals who are under the age of 15, this consequently exludes the quantity of viewing which results to a backdrop of box office takings and viewings.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Font Analysis (own examples)

The fonts used for Pirates of the Caribbean really appeals to me. Two different fonts are used to create the title. "Pirates" and "Caribbean" are created using Pieces of Eight. "of the" is created using Caslon Antique.

Pieces of Eight is normally in capital letters and Caslon Antique in both.
The font looks old fashioned. However, it reminds me of Shakespearian handwriting. It has an antique effect which signifies the time the film was based in. 
These fonts are very effective because the are Serif fonts which. They give an essence of the past filled with fantasies and adventurous stories.

Font Analysis: RESEARCH

The font of a film's name actually tells a lot about the story and characters that people notice.
There are two types of fonts.

  • Serif fonts - the formal and traditional font. Such as Times and Courier. They have the little lines at the end of every letter.
  • Sans Serif fonts - the informal and modern font. Such as Arial and Verdana. They have a more softer and lighter touch

The title of Pearl Harbor is written is a font called "Palatino" which is a Serif font. The title is also in capital letters. The formal font enables the title to look classical and old fashioned. It suggests the film is set in the past, so it attracts older audience. The people look like they are a part of the USA officers so it refers to a historical American war. The capital letters which all have the same height and width shows order, discipline and regimentation. However, it has a sense of elegance to it, which reflects to the three people on the poster.

The font used for the title of Rocky is called "Franklin Gothic Heavy". This is a Sans Serif font therefore informal. It is big and bold, plus the letters are all in capital so it clearly stands out.
The font resembles the main character. It is very masculine and almost represents a fist. The first and last letter, 'R' and 'Y', are tightly placed on either side of the poster. The letters also have the same height and width. It almost seems as if the title or fist is going to come out of the poster, as if it does not fit into the page. This attracts mainly male audience.
However, the Sans Serif font is quite curvy which can portray the relationship and emotions he shares with his wife/girlfriend. So it reflects to the image shown on the poster, which connotes the emotional and loving side of Rocky. The picture shows a man dressed as a boxer holding hands with his wife/girlfriend.

The right font has to be used to match the storyline of the movie. If an inappropriate font was used for these titles, the viewers would receive the wrong information about the film's plot. It could ruin the story and and critics and viewers will also be very unimpressed.

'Watching' Documentary: Research

1. What does Thomas suctliffe mean when he says "films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. while there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible"

Thomas Sutcliffe is trying to explain that a viewer must know what is going to occur next in a film. That a film opening should be constructed at a certain pace so it isn’t rushed but on the construct dragged and slow, this will allow every moment of the film to be appreciated and savoured

2. According to director Jean Benineix, what are the risks of "instant arousal"?

It’s how you show instant arousal to the audience and if this is rushed or it becomes too intense the risk is instant grafication

3 Explain why "a good beginning must make the audience fell that it doesn't know nearly enough yet, and at the time make sure that it doesn't know too little"
It’s  to do with balancing out the way a film is displayed to the audience. A good balance which will allow a story to raise, where to much will give away the plot and too little will unconcern the audience as the film will become boring.
4. what does critic Stanley Kauffmann describe as a classic opening? why does  it work?
Stanley Kauffmann describes a classic opening with establishing shots. For example, high angle shots of cities e.g. New York City. It would than have shot angles like the top of a title building. This would than lastly end with shots through a window until it arrives at the main areas of the building for example an office in which the film commences.

5. Why is Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film seven so effective?
Kyle Coopers seven title sequence is so effective in showing how the character is psychotic and this foreshadows what is going to happen in the movie, its part of the movie, woke you up.
here is the opening of the film seven:

6. What did Orson Welles want to achieve with the opening to the film A Touch Of Evil? What did Universal studios do to it? why?
Universal studios wanted to put the background music with the credits in the beginning of his film; however Orson Welles didn’t want this to happen he wanted no credits, no music, just dialogue. At the end Universal Studios won because they did not want to frighten there audience.
Here is an example from ‘Touch of Evil’:

  7. What is meant by "a favourite trick of film Noir" ? what is the trick?
The trick is start from the ending this will be giving something away, for example the film like ‘Casino’.
Here is an example from 'Casino':

8. How does the opening of the film The Shining create suspense?
The Shining creates suspense it by the aeroplane shots; this is where the audience is following the car from above, like a predator. It is a ‘bird of prey’ following the car; this implies the car is going in the wrong direction.
Here is an example from ‘The shining’: