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Progression From AS To A2

How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

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

In the above sound clip, I outline my initial thoughts of how I have progressed from AS to A2.

I personally feel that I have made substantial progress from the beginning of last year to this year. I began the course with a limited knowledge of most industry standard software packages or how to correctly frame shots to create an effective media text. Not only have I gained this knowledge, but I also learnt fundamental skills such as working within a team and meeting important deadlines. My research into the noir genre this year hs given me a sophisticated understanding as to the ideological motivations behind the director’s intentions to create their films they way they do. I would have never perceived a media text in this way before, despite having taken Media Studies at GCSE. I also never obtained such a sophisticated understanding of the horror genre either in my opinion and that is hopefully a testament to my own work this year to gain a wider interpretation of the repertoire of elements in the noir genre.

Thus, I feel that the production of the three media texts and the creation of this blog has been extremely important to the way I view the media and this will be a skill I can take with me beyond my A-Levels.

How We Made Our Film Poster (Photoshop)

 

How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

As a group, we successfully created a professional looking film poster within Photoshop as part of our ancillary tasks to our trailer. In this post, I will be discussing the features of the software package that we used to produce the poster and why we made certain decisions.

Here is the original image we took of Caitlin (Rosette) to use as the basis for our poster. Whilst we tried other ideas, this post will focus on the production of this version of the poster.

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Firstly, we needed to refine the image of Caitlin so that we just had her mouth. To do this, we used the quick selection tool to select her mouth/chin area and then inverted the selection to be able to remove the top part of her face.

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Next, we needed to manipulate her lips and cheeks to make them appear more plush and natural than they already were. We focused on the cheeks, to begin with. To make them appear smoother we used a combination of the clone stamp tool and the spot healing tool to take a sample part of her cheek that we wanted to replicate across her face.

 

Once we had perfected the cheeks, we needed to work on the lips to make them appear redder to conform the visual conventions of the Femme Fatale’s sexuality and danger. To do this, we used the brush tool and changed the opacity to 42% to make the change as minimal as possible. We chose the specific shade of red we wanted by using a specific hex colour (#8D271B). By keeping a low opacity to the paint brush, this meant that we did not lose the glossy feel to the lips and make it appear that we had just painted over the top of them.

We also needed to remove Caitlin’s teeth from the picture and this was achieved by using a very thin black brush.

Then, the final element of Caitlin’s face was to add a glow around her to make her appear like a more mysterious and angelic character. This was achieved by using the eraser tool around the edges that had been softened to give a smoother feel to the edges.

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We then needed to add the smoke coming out of her mouth. To do this, we imported an image taken from the internet of some smoke in a PNG format (so there was no preexisting background). We then increased the hue of this image to make it appear redder to match Rosette’s lips.

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We could then add some cobwebs around this by importing them into the Photoshop file. By selecting the image and pressing Cmd + T we could resize these to our satisfaction. We also used the transformation tool to rotate these cobwebs as well.

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The last element was the titles. We downloaded a custom font (Upper East Side) from http://www.dafont.com and installed this to use within the Photoshop file. We could then use the text tool to import this and use as the title and tagline and adjusting it’s size accordingly.

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For the credit block at the bottom, we downloaded a font called Steel Tongs which allows you to easily add a credit block to the bottom of the page.

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Above is a screenshot of us producing the text is After Effects. This was used on both the poster and in the trailer itself.

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This, in the end, produced the following poster. Whilst I understand it is not perfect, I feel as a group we can be proud of what we have produced.

How To Improve Our Media Texts

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

How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

In these three videos, I tried to give an honest reflection of our media pieces and how I think they could be improved.

How Our Magazine Cover Conforms To Generic Conventions

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

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As seen from the above selection of Sight & Sound covers, it is clear that our cover conforms to many typical elements of both the genre and the house style. Firstly, we have used the same masthead and barcode style as the typical publication. However, one thing that we have no included is the white border around the image as demonstrated by the other covers. Although, our image somewhat conforms to the typical house style. We have correctly identified that the vast majority of publications include the director on them, although there are exceptions to this rule such as The Revenant or The Neon Demon. However, we felt that as it was a niche film for a niche magazine, it would be more appropriate to market the director than the main star of the film such as a publication such as Empire would. Stylistically, we have met these covers somewhere in the middle. The covers range from black and white chiaroscuro lighting to bright and vibrant (such as the Charlie Kaufman cover). Therefore, we have shown an understanding of the visual conventions of these magazines and have slightly challenged them by using a colour splash against the graffiti.

We have also used the same colour and formatting for the tug and splash including the font. Whilst some editions such as Orson Wells or del Toro do differ from this consistent style- we chose that for a less mainstream film, Sight & Sound would choose to give us the standard sans font.

Whilst The Revenant issue did use a puff, on the whole, this is not the case for Sight & Sound, so we chose not to include one. Finally, the yellow box surrounding the text ‘Exclusive Interview’ in our splash is consistent with editions such as The Neon Demon,  thus demonstrating our attention to detail of the house style and conforming to its conventions.

Therefore, as previously discussed in this blog post, our poster has mostly met the conventions of the Sight and Sound house style and effectively plays homage to the semantic and syntactic elements of the noir genre.

How Our Media Products Have Changed

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Here is the progression of our magazine cover. As you can see from the first couple of images, our core idea remained the same- despite the rapid increase in quality in the latter stages. Whilst the first two images were drafts- it is important to see that by switching to Adobe Photoshop (an industry standard editing tool) we were able to vastly improve our pieces quality. For a more in-depth discussion as to how each version incrementally changed- please click here.

This was the very first version that we released, but a lot of the foundations were laid down in this version. The feedback that we obtained stated that some of the dialogue and shots were not up to a high enough standard, the dialogue needed to be recorded in a professional studio and the titles needed to be redone to conform to the noir genre more. The full list of feedback we obtained can be found here.

In this version, we changed:

  • The logo of Fibonacci Films to have a more professional look
  • The voiceovers were now dubbed and recorded in a professional studio to remove the unnecessary background noise
  • Refined the music transitions

We still planned to reshoot the bedroom scene and the gun scene at the end, to ensure that our film fulfilled the visual conventions of noir. We obtained some more feedback on what to improve, which can be found here.

In this version, we changed the following:

  • Some of the shots at the beginning of the trailer were refilmed to conform to the visual conventions of noir. This made the trailer look more effective in terms of our brief
  • We added some background noise to the scenes that have dubbed voiceovers. This was to make the scenes sound more natural within their given context
  • We shuffled around some of the shots in the trailer to make the narrative more fragmented
  • We changed the titles to have a darker background, once again in a move to conform the visual conventions of the genre
  • Increased the frequency of shots at the end of the trailer to reflect the pace of the music
  • Added some more shots in the block at the end to fill the gap that we had
  • Ensured no voiceovers clashed with the titles that were on screen

In the final few versions, we intended to do the following:

  • Film some final shots to go in the remaining gaps we have
  • Tighten up the music transitions
  • Add some more background noise to the shots that still need it

This was very close to the final edit of the trailer. In version four we:

  • Filled in the gaps that were present at the end of the trailer
  • Tweaked the voiceovers
  • Attempted to change the order of shots to make the trailer feel less linear

In this final release version, we:

  • Tweaked the order of some titles
  • Perfected voiceovers that were too loud or too quiet
  • Changed the colour palette of some of the brighter scenes to make them conform to the visual conventions of noir
  • A new voiceover was added over the shot of Hans’ feet to make the plot clearer for the audience

Therefore, it is clear to see that our trailer grew substantially in quality throughout the five versions. The feedback we obtained allowed us to improve greatly to produce the best trailer possible.

Much like the magazine cover, the quality of our drafts drastically improved as time went on. However, unlike our magazine cover; we did change our idea. We initially had planned (and took photos) for Mark to be on the cover with a kiss from Rosette on his cheek. We planned to photoshop a web in his eye (symbolising the Widow’s ‘Web’) and had drafted a few versions of this with an effect behind him. Although, after some personal reflection of these drafts we decided that if the film was to be called ‘The Widow’s’ web, it would be more appropriate to have an image of her on the cover instead. So, we went back to the drawing board and took some photos of Rosette to use instead. We then used this to create the poster that can be seen above. We experimented with a few taglines but settled for “Lies are spun, the truth will never be free”. In the final version of this cover, we improved the quality of the lips to make them appear more realistic. A more in-depth look at the production of this is to follow.

How Our Group Blog Helped Us As A Group

How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

http://fibonaccifilmstww.weebly.com/

At the beginning of our construction stage, I suggested to Luke and Seona that I produce a group blog detailing the progress of the production of our media texts. By having this blog we were able to regularly post updates detailing each stage of our production.

For example, this post, clearly communicated what we had produced and who was in charge of each role on the day. We also have some planning documents on there that I produced.

Therefore, producing this blog shows an understanding of how to use multiple websites such as WordPress and Weebly to produce an informed blog. Therefore, we were able to use free technology packages available to us effectively to track the progression of our piece.