Sci-Fi Questionaire

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Lighting and Colour in Film

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LUTs and Colour Grading

For our short film with it being our own ideas and style we’ll have to come up with our own look. This will involve pre-production research into colour grading and how it will affect the feel of the film. The colour grade of certain scene can even effect the mood of the scene, for example: warmer colours are more associated with happiness and comfort, while colder colours are associated with comfortableness and loneliness. Moreover colour grading can be associated with different time periods and equipment it is filmed on. This can be things like: super 8 and super 16 film.

In our film we are going for a kind of style that takes inspiration from super 16’s filmic look while also making use of the current technology. This can be achieved by having similar colour science, with things such as grain and yellow mid-tones, but while using the same frame rate and sharpness in current camera technology.

In film most people use look up tables (LUT’s). These are presets that are done by professional colourists to give a shot a certain look and feel. By having these settings as LUT’s it allows you to have certain settings applied to multiple shots in a package that allows you to use it on multiple projects. We think in our short film it would be easier, but more time consuming to create a colour grade for each individual scene rather than trying to find a LUT that can cater to the short film as a whole.

We created a few looks that give the type of feel that we are going for:

Original Image:

Super 8 Inspired:

This grade is heavily inspired by day light super 8 grading. Super 8 has a very heavy emphasis on yellow in the mid-tones and heavy grain, with the addition of very soft images only achievable by turning off in-built sharpness in a modern day camera. In addition to the the shadows and highlights are raised to give it that soft non-contrast look.

Super 8 Cool:

This grade is very similar to super 8 daylight but similar to dim lit or night time shot super 8. With the obvious mid-tones being much colder and the image being overall darker as super 8 could not handle dim or low light as well as 30mm or modern day full frame.The blacks in super 8 and as well as super 16 are often not as dark or crunchy as normal film black, in addition to the whites not being true white and being more of a grey tinge. This is a staple part of both super 8 and super 16 film look.

Super 16 Inspired:

With super 16 the light and colour performance was much better than super 8. This allowed for better work in dim light and retaining more richer colours. With super 16 the mid-tones kind of role off of the highlights to create a nice soft look and the shadows are quite bright in some areas. It has less grain that super 8, but in this grade we decided to add a grain overlay to give it a more authentic look. In addition to this the colours are more well balanced, so we decided that we would decided to give it a more colder look that warmer. with magenta and yellows in the highlights and greens in the mid-tones to counteract.

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Initial Costume Ideas


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Audience Breakdown

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Blumler and Katz; Uses and Gratification Theory

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Catharsis; “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.” This is the traditional interpretation of the term catharsis as coined by Aristotle sometime in the fourth century BC. Literally meaning to cleanse oneself emotionally, the term was picked up first by literature and, much later, by film. In the context of a story catharsis is the moment of relief when the villain is defeated for example, or when the hero escapes a trap. Every film worth its salt has a moment of catharsis, romances have the characters finally fall in love, action has the hero defeating the villain; it goes on.

By its very nature catharsis can occur several times over the course of the film and to a degree it is dependent upon the viewer and what they view to be a stressful scenario. In our short film for instance we have three major points of catharsis in the plans; finding out the old man has powers, discovering he is an alien and the suggestion that he has survived at the end. These points of catharsis bring me onto the next point; its not always about stress in the traditional sense, it is more akin to anticipation in some cases. What defines something as catharsis is the release, not the emotion itself.

Due to the nature of film making there are likely to be several more instances of catharsis on a smaller scale but they have not been fleshed out as of yet as integral to the plot. If more moments end up our film, they’ll likely be spontaneous or incidental additions.

Binary Opposition

Binary opposition is essentially two concepts that are the opposite of each other; hero and villain, man and woman, young and old, kindness and cruelty. All these are very simple examples of the concept. It more predominantly applies to a media text in regards to characters. In our production the binary opposite is that of the uncle and the alien; both are seemingly older men and yet that is where the similarities end. Where one is gruff the other is gentle, one is rude and abrasive whilst the other is considerate and kind, loud and mute; it goes on.

Binary opposites always have a link in some way, shape or form otherwise they wouldn’t really be considered opposites, they’d simply be unrelated. In the traditional example of hero and villain the link is usually their point of contention; the princess, the kingdom, the world, etc. The common link between our characters is Kat, she is what forces them to interact within the plot at all and as such provides them with something in common with which to establish their ‘binary opposition’.

Todorov’s Three Part Structure

In perhaps the best simplification of narrative structure Todorov tells us that every media text follows equilibrium, disequilibrium and resolution. In our production the equilibrium would be the point at which Kat and Toby are communicating, meeting up and so on; the world is as it should be. Following this is the disequilibrium in which the alien is discovered and continues all the way through to his ‘death’ which is the resolution (his hinted survival is also part of this). In a sense our narrative structure goes against convention as the disequilibrium is not the negative point, the resolution is.

Todorov’s Five Part Structure

On a related note, Todorov also invented two additional parts which constitutes a five part structure; equilibrium, disequilibrium, recognition of the disequilibrium, an effort to restore the equilibrium and the resolution. The two new stages (third and fourth) add more detail to a structure when the concept is laid out, aiding the planning process. This detail splits the aliens arrival in two; the aliens arrival itself (disequilibrium) and the children’s discovery of him (recognition). The first attempt at resolution is the uncles attempt to remove the alien from his house, something that ends in seemingly tragic failure and, obviously, the other three stages are as above.

Written by Alfie Tennant

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On Set with Children; the Guidelines

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Working Title: FLICKER, Class Presentation


Catharsis is an Aristotelian term. “Fear poisons life with anxiety” “Catharsis can flush the feeling from our minds; clears the air” “Catharsis is the sense of purgation or relief.”

It can be put as the “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh” moment. Watch either of these examples which show some of the biggest a-ha! moments out there.

Considering that a catharsis can be as minute as possible, and many can occur in just one text, what moment in the Iron Giant clip was the catharsis?

The realisation of his powers as an alien robot you say, superb! Well it’s important to notice that a catharsis is a device that truly makes a film.

Why are we interested in catharis? Short films are short by definition and we feel that for it to be an enjoyable short, it needs some sort of key catharsis.FLICKER (2)

Another reason why we chose the Iron Giant clip was because it is an example of a Sci-Fi text. Why is it?

The advanced alien robot character might be a hint.

Science Fiction is defined as a genre having conventions of advancements in science or technology.

Because of the broadness of this genre, having such a wide scope for writers and directors to play with, there are so many different uses of the term science fiction – and it’s easy to forget that.

Most people, in thinking about ‘Science Fiction’ might sigh and think of tinny products like Doctor Who, Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica. On the other hand, people may leap straight to the bigger Sci-Fis; Star Wars, Blade Runner, or Alien.

Many forget about controversial texts whioch are less-conventional, i.e. Inception, Frankenstein, The Handmaid’s Tale, Ex-Machina. These are texts which don’t fully adopt the many conventions of Sci-Fi, and only focus on one.

The Iron Giant is again, an unusual Sci-Fi, as it’s only defined as being so because of its sole robot element. FLICKER (3)

Sci-Fi is a genre that allows for so many ‘cool’ things to happen. It’s a genre that is entirely speculative, most of the Sci-Fi’s out there present issues which could happen/have already happened. The iconic ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….’ tagline is a way for nerds to uphold the slightest possibility of some form of Star Wars situation happening at some point somewhere – it simply can’t be disproved. This way, Sci-Fi films can complete the utmost form of escapism – by creating situations so far from our own, that we may temporarily forget that our own issues exist in the 90 minutes whilst watching a film.

For short film purposes, much of Sci-Fi is based around an idea that is simply developed over and over until you’re left with something so epic that the idea is lost under all the layers of Hollywood ganache. With a short, you can explore an idea, and only the idea. The actors won’t distract you from it’s meaning, and there isn’t enough time to ruin the idea, unless you’re a remarkably bad filmmaker.FLICKER (4)

Short films are used as devices to showcase a particular artist’s style. Our short film will need a particular style in order to follow conventions of the format.

Looking at films like Under The Skin and Ex-Machina we can see a bleakness in the way that the stories are presented both visually and dramatically. This is in stark contrast to many of the over-sensationalised Sci-Fi blockbusters. Some directors and artists carry their styles across their films. Wes Anderson for example is famous for his almost-symmetry, his technicolour wash palette, and his slow, calculated humour. Michael Bay on the other hand is famous for his over-use of slow motion, shiny objects and explosions. Each of these will have picked up their styles from other directors, authors and artists alike. Now it’s our turn to do the same.FLICKER (5)

Moonrise Kingdom provides our character material – the humour between them.

Stranger Things gives genre and setting, the retro-futuristic 1980s charm. We’d love to explore an 80s style in our short film.

E.T. gives the relationship between an alien and a child.

Donnie Darko provides thought-provoking dialogue useful in shorts.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople is genius for it’s use of comedy between the two lead characters, Taika Waititi knows best.

Her has a palette which is a bleak entanglement of Blade Runner and Donnie Darko.

True Detective provides both stunning and sinister visuals.

The Iron Giant gives the perfect sweet narrative and relationship that we aim to create in our short.

What will influence our style?FLICKER (6)FLICKER (7)

Our idea goes like this: A young girl and her friend encounter an old alien man who appears to have no recollection of where he is. His only method of communication is through the use of electrical devices.FLICKER (8)FLICKER (9)FLICKER (10)FLICKER (11)FLICKER (12)FLICKER (13)

We decided that some of the themes that should come out of our short film will be:



Coming of Age,


PaternityFLICKER (14)

It’s an ambitious idea, but between the four of us, we’ve had a lot of practice. All we need to do is have careful time management, to be respectful of our actors and crew, and to think about the story the whole time. We are lucky in having access to a wide range of technologies, such as high-end Nikon DSLR cameras, lenses, and film-quality sound equipment. The fun side of the production can come in practical and visual effects, which will be used sparingly, but even so – practice with these will be fundamental.


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Footnotes and Feedback From Our Presentation





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TV License

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Monday, 2nd October 2017 – Group Discussion

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80’s Film

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Music Magazine – Old World Wonders

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Who would be the audience and how would I attract them to my media product?


When considering the age of my target audience I would contend that my primary audience would be mid 50’s to 70’s as my magazine exhibits the types of music that were around when they were young. My tertiary audience would be people in their teens to mid-20’s. This is due to the current generation’s fascination with non-mainstream media, meaning that a magazine on retro music would appeal to these individuals almost as much as the aforementioned original fans of the music who were teenagers when it was at it its height. One could almost say that I am targeting not them as they are now but rather their sense of nostalgia; their younger selves and their younger counterparts are my audience if you will. This breadth of target audience is liable to increase sales to far beyond what they would be If I simply catered to one group.


Sexuality is not tackled by my magazine in the sense that differing sexualities are presented in my magazine; they are not. Rather it comes across in how I have targeted my audience. My primary model is presented as being this successful, happy, rich, superstar who is enjoying his retirement. This is something that will appeal to portions of my audience. Furthermore I have several attractive individuals as drop in images throughout the magazine along with their individual moods and themes; dark, mysterious, open, happy. There is a variation to my models and themes that I feel will attract a broader audience simply based on appearance alone.


Gender is an integral part of choosing a target audience and I believe that my magazine could easily be found appealing by both genders. Music is something that unlike sport or television series’ is not as divided by gender. There is less of a gender based preference in regards to musical genres. This is a rare occurrence as in almost every other aspect of media or even life as a whole there are clear stereotypical gender preferences; men in construction, women liking romance novels, boys reading super hero comics, girls watching soap operas. There are more stereotypes in both media texts and consumption than I can list; music stands more apart from this than many others. Because of this lessening of stereotypes I feel that my magazine can appeal to both genders equally in the most part, by offering stories of role models for both genders for example. This again broadens the horizons of my target audience.


I have already mentioned ethnicity in my earlier essay on cultural representation and as such I will merely summarise here. There is a lack of cultural diversity in my magazine due to availability of models, not by explicit choice. In my other essay I acknowledge the significant impact coloured musicians had on music in the 60’s and 70’s.


Niche groups must also be considered when profiling an audience. For example, my magazine features a guitar prominently on the cover; this could attract guitarists. It also features an authentic 60’s jukebox, this might attract those with an interest in vintage antiques or memorabilia. Targeting niches alongside my majority based audiences allows for further development of my target audience as a whole.

Target Audience Summary

Overall I would say that my target audience is split into two camps. On the one hand we have those individuals who were teenagers at the time of the music (the 50s to 70s age bracket), those who knew Charlie Ray as a superstar as opposed to an aging celebrity. My product is a resurgence of their past, a look back at all their favourite music.

On the other end of the scale we have the youth of today. As previously mentioned there has been a sharp increase in vintage music over the last few years which allows for a sort of dual audience; those who were young then and those who are young now.

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

I believe that Anthem Publishing might be likely to publish my product due to several factors. One such factor is their publication of the magazine Vintage Rock; something that has a similar premise to my own. It looks at rock music through the ages in much the same way that my production covers musicians from around the 60’s.

Furthermore their organisation is much smaller and lower profile than something like Bauer Media which focuses on more modern music and already owns big names like Q. Their size makes them less likely to consider such a niche magazine as my own, an issue I am less likely to face with Anthem.

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James Weedon’s Review of my Final Product

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How does my media product represent particular social groups?

In recent years cultural diversity has become more common in magazines and other forms of media. ‘White washing’ has become a prevalent issue in modern media. Whether this is because it has recently begun or whether it has only just become considered an issue in western society is up for debate however. This is particularly relevant as my own magazine could be seen as having been whitewashed when taken out of context due to the lack of ethnic diversity present in my models, I have only used a Caucasian male; there are no people of black, Asian, etc descent presented in my magazine. While unfortunate this issue was unavoidable due to the availability of models; regrettably I only had access to a single ethnicity of model with the exception of a single quarter Japanese individual. This individual had already been used by a fellow students however and as such I have elected not to use her to avoid copying.

Despite feeling that it is justified however it is still regrettable. Black artists, both male and female, were particularly prominent in the 60s and 70s and as such their lack of inclusion in my magazine is unfortunate. A few notable examples are Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, Marvin Gaye; more than I could possibly name here. All of these musicians were particularly strong influences on music at the time, something I feel would have been an excellent addition to my work had I been able to fit it in.
There are a multitude of alleged issues with culturally diverse casts in cinematography or stage plays as well; one must only look to the uproar over Noma Dumezweeni playing Hermione in the Cursed Child performance due to her being black. Another example is the attempted boycott of Rouge One by supposed fans who were upset by the cultural diversity in the cast or the uproar over The Force Awakens having a black lead character.

Furthermore we have the issue of gender representation. Due to the content of my magazine I have used the same character on my cover and my double page spread; a male. On my contents page there is no model and as such a white male remains the only representation featured in my magazine. Personally, I don’t find this to be an issue in context. I made the decision to model the physical characteristics of Charlie Ray on my friend Matthew Dunk and as such he had to be the feature of the double page spread and made sense as the choice for my cover as well. At this point pictures of people felt somewhat overused and as such musical instruments became the focus of my contents page. Because of this I feel that the lack of cultural and gender diversity in my magazine is justified.

My magazine does however feature two women as drop in images; one brightly lit image of Ella Day playing a guitar and another of Olivia Ryan silhouetted against a juke box. This is a study in contrasts as one (Ella) is playing the guitar, quite a positive image while the other (Olivia) could be construed as a negative in some regards due to it simply being a figure as opposed to a full person, something that holds sexualised connotations in film and such.

Below are links to articles on some of my examples:

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What have I learnt about technologies from the creation of my product?

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Progress from Preliminary to Final (Text)

In the interest of expanding upon the information I received from Matthew Dunk in our interview I collected feedback from a few more members of my class.


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

The skill that I feel has most developed since my initial task is my Photoshop skills; the contrast in quality between the two covers in regards to editing is, to me, extremely noticeable. I have discontinued my unknowing over saturation of the image and kept a much more realistic impression when editing my second image. I have also improved my manipulation of text and matching colours.

While not immediately apparent from these two images alone I can say with confidence that my photography skills have improved exponentially since the taking of the first image due to the constant work they have recieved at the hands of my photography AS-Level exam unit.

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

In this video I shall be answering the question by going through each instant of use, development and challenge that I have picked out from my magazine in its entirety; offering verbal explanation for each point.

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Preparation for Filming

In preparation for filming my video responses I watched this video to see what photography principles applied to film making.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

I also read up on a handful of articles and forum posts to corroborate this information.

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First Attempt at a Music Magazine (Feedback)

What follows is the front cover and double page spread of my original music magazine; I altered these pages based on feedback received from various classmates. Chief amongst these changes is my change of model to someone more appropriate to the content.



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Summary Thoughts on Warp Films and Working Titles

After conducting several case studies on films from both companies alongside general overviews of their respective work that I have not put into detail, I have noticed several key factors in regards to each that set them apart from each other; these observations are what I shall briefly summarise below.

• Gritty, down to Earth films about real world issues.

• Themes of loss, grief, abuse, alcoholism and many more feature
strongly in their work. (as observed in my Tyrannosaur case study)

• Often release on a smaller scale in order to build momentum. They
cannot afford the big marketing campaigns of Working Titles and as
such rely more on word of mouth.

• Their reliance on word of mouth has led to closer interaction with
their viewers; they have conducted live streamed Q and A sessions
after several of their film premiers for example.

Working Titles

• Lighter, happily ever after style narratives are usually their

• Funded by Universal and as such able to pay for more cinema
screens, marketing campaigns and anything else they may require.

• More high profile productions.

• Less targeted at niches and more aimed towards mainstream trends
and preferences.

• Unlikely to produce a film about an alcoholic man in Leeds for
example as opposed to, say, a struggling artist in New York who
meets the woman of his dreams and regains his inspiration and so
on and so forth.

It goes without saying that what I have listed is extremely bare bones, barely scratching the surface of each company; yet for the purpose of my point they are sufficient.

I quickly came to the conclusion that Warp and Working Titles have very different audiences in mind when they produce a film. Not in terms of age or such as they are factors unique to each production, but rather the difference in their audiences is fundamentally about nationality. More specifically, Warp targets a British audience whilst Working Titles targets an American audience.

As a general rule, American viewers don’t particularly care about the aforementioned gritty films that Warp create; instead they prefer the lighter tones and happier endings of things such as Bridget Jones’s Baby to name a relevant production. This influences the content created by Working Titles as they are attempting to appeal to the American viewer before the British one due to their involvement with Universal Studios. Warp however has retained its independence (something that I am not declaring a negative nor a positive) and as such targets the British viewer; it does not intentionally set out to make a film that will go big in America, when one does it is a happy accident if you will. This is largely due to factors such as settings. It is much cheaper to hire out a dingy old flat than it is to do the same to an entire castle or a bank and as such the gritty films that the British Audience prefers is more viable for Warp whilst the happier tastes of the American audience is the preferred route of Working Titles.

Furthermore we have historical differences between our two nations that must be accounted for. A film about the prohibition of the 1920’s is likely to appeal to the American viewer more so than the British one due to cultural significance. Such a thing means something to an American whereas it means little to a British viewer. An example of this would be the 2009 film The Boat That Rocked. Essentially it is about the emergence of pop music and other less reserved genres of music that were spreading over from America into Britain and the BBC’s attempt to constrict it during the 1960s. To a British audience this makes sense due to us understanding the historical relevance, to an American however the meaning is lost; they would simply not relate to it whatsoever due to such music being common to them in the time period. This statement is supported by the abysmal sales it suffered from in the United States despite not being a terrible movie by many accounts.

A similar concept applies when choosing actors, Working Titles chooses actors that the Americans will recognise immediately as they are their primary audience. Warp however is liable to do the complete opposite. Posters for the same film for example are often different in the two nations to grant prominence to different actors that are relevant to the respective nation.

This concludes my summary of thoughts on the differences between the two companies an my reasoning for why those differences exist in the first place.

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Theory of Everything Case Study


The Theory of Everything follows the story of a young Stephen Hawking as he struggles with the onset of motor neuron disease, all while falling in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Together they produce incredible advancements in the fields of medicine and science.


Eddie Redmayne – the genius physicist himself, Stephen Hawking.
Felicity Jones – fellow students and romantic interest Jane Wilde.
David Thowles – Dennis Sciama, Stephen’s professor.
Charlie Cox – family friend and later Jane’s new husband.
Maxine Peak – Stephen’s nurse and second wife Elaine.


Following a lengthy process in which approval was gained from both Jane and Stephen, filming began at Cambridge in September 2014. Almost every scene was based on personal accounts or archived photographs and videos in the interest of maintaining authenticity throughout the film. towards the end of the production process the sound team was struggling to re create Hawking’s voice with any degree of authenticity, however Hawking himself was so impressed with the unfinished production that he volunteered the use of his own voice for the scenes that required it. this means that towards the end of the film we are hearing not a replica but Stephen Hawking’s actual voice as it is today.


After premiering at the Toronto film festival on September 7th it saw a limited US release on November 7th, expanding to Taiwan, Austria and Germany in the following weeks before its UK release in January. Following this it was released to the rest of Europe.


It made $123.7 million at the box office with a budget of only $15 million, granting them a total profit of $108.7 million at the box office. This is unsurprising for a film backed my Universal Studios.


While Universal Studios retained the international publishing rights to the film the North American and Canadian publishing rights went to Focus Features and Entertainment One Films respectively. It received a limited release in five theatres on November 7th 2014 that made $207,000 on its first night. This then developed into a full nation wide release that saw it featured in 802 theatres across North America on November 26th 2014, bringing in an astonishing $5 million in a single day and debuting at number seven at the box office.

Critical Reception

The film saw favourable reviews upon it’s late 2014 release date; Rotten Tomatoes for example rated it a 79% rating, describing it as “Part biopic, part love story, The Theory of Everything rises on James Marsh’s polished direction and the strength of its two leads.”. Furthermore Metacritic awarded it 72 out of 100, furthering it’s critical success. Guardian reporter Catherine Shoard described the film as “an astonishing, genuinely visceral performance which bears comparison with Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot.”.

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Product Feedback from the Class

In the interest of improving my final product I mounted a printout of my front cover and double page spread on A3 and had my fellow media studies students point out and label any issues, positives or new ideas that would be of benefit to my piece; this is the result.



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Bridget Jones’ Case Study


Bridget Jones’s Baby is Sharon Maguire (director) and Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson’s (writers) 2016 sequel to the popular 2004 rom-com Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the third in a trilogy. It follows the troubles of newly pregnant Bridget Jones as she attempts discover whether Mark Darcy or Jack Qwant is the father of her unborn child.

Cast (key characters)

Renee Zellweger – The lead role, Bridget Jones.

Colin Firth – As Mark Darcey, the later discovered father of the child and, by the films closing act, Bridget Jones’ husband.

Patrick Dempsey – The other potential father, Jack Qwant.

Sarah Solemani – Bridget’s friend Miranda.

Emma Thompson – Dr. Rawlings, the doctor who oversees the paternity tests.


Bridget Jones’ Baby began filming on October 2nd 2015 in London despite initially being announced in the July of 2009. This unusually lengthy delay between announcement and the beginning of filming was due to a multitude of successive issues; disagreements over the plot, conflict with the actors over scripting, seemingly everything that could go wrong did go wrong during the lead up to the production process.
Filming took place in a small mix of locations from Ed Sheeran’s 2015 Croke Park concert in Dublin to Borough Market to a small Oxfordshire church to name a few. The initial filming took only a few months, with a further week allocated to reshoots, coming to a close on November 27th 2015.


Bridget Jones’s Baby made a worldwide gross of 212 million US dollars. This can be broken down into $24.1 million from the USA, $60 million in the United Kingdom and $127.9 million from the rest of the world. This is all against a, relatively speaking, low budget of $35 million.

Upon its release on September 16th it broke several records; biggest UK rom-com opening day in history, the biggest Working Titles and UK September release yet ($4 million in 641 theaters). Needless to say this made the movie a huge success for Working Titles.

Critical Reception

The movie was reviewed favourably by several critics; Rotten Tomatoes granted it a score of 76% and said that “Bridget Jones’s Baby might be late on arrival, but fans of the series should still find its third instalment a bouncing bundle of joy.” Whilst Metacritic went lower with only 59 out of 100, it attained a rating of 6.7 out of 10 on IMDB. Furthermore it was nominated for but did not receive Diversity in Media Awards’ Movie of the Year in 2017.

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Four Lions Case Study


The story of Four Lions follows a group of five young British men who are aspiring to become suicide bombers with comedic results. It is an extremely satire take on Jihadist actions and beliefs, painting jihadists as incompetent fools. The story culminates in the deaths of all five members in various fashions.

Cast (important characters)

Riz Ahmed – Omar, the overly critical leader of the group of inept Sheffield based terrorists.

Kayvan Novak – Waj, Omar’s dim-witted cousin.

Nigel Lindsay – Barry, recently converted white Englishman with a poor temper and tendency to make rash decisions.

Adeel Akhtar – Faisal, the extremely naïve British Muslim man who tried to train crows as suicide bombers.

Arsher Ali – The cell’s reluctant fifth member Hassan whom is recruited by Barry.

Production and Release

Long before filming even began writer Chris Morris was speaking to terrorism experts, ordinary Muslims, multiple imam’s, police officers and various members of assorted secret service branches in order to truly understand what he was going to be writing about before he even tried.

Filming began in the May of 2009 and concluded in time for it to be finalised for premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2010. A few months down the line saw the films UK premier take place at the National Media Museum during the Bradford International Film Festival on the 25th of March 2010, securing a nationwide release on May 7th of that year.

Despite its success at the aforementioned Sun Dance Film Festival the film did not receive a US distribution until nine months after the festival until the then newly founded Drafthouse Films agreed to provide it with a limited release on the 5th of November 2010.


Despite its initially small scale UK release in only 115 cinemas across the nation it still managed to secure the distinction of highest grossing opening weekend at the time of its release with a total of £609,000. The UK’s Official Top Ten Film Chart granted it the distinction of placing 6th behind the likes of Iron Man 2 from the 7th to the 9th of May 2010. Owing to its popularity is Optimum Releasing’s decision to expand its distribution to 200 screens.

Four Lions’ UK gross profit at the Box Office was £2,932,366 as of August 8th 2010 and by February 24th 2011 its worldwide gross had advanced to $4,658,570.

Critical Reception

Four Lions’ saw favourable reviews from critics, receiving a rating of 82% from Rotten Tomatoes alongside the comment “Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humour, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.”

Metacritic went slightly lower with a rating of 68 out of 100 whilst The Daily Telegraph gave it a strong 4/5 with the reasoning that “Chris Morris’ evocations of the claustrophobic mundanity of the Muslims’ lives, their querulous banter, their flimsily pick ’n’ mix approach to the Quran all feel painfully, brilliantly real.”

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Cuts and Transitions

Cuts and transitions are used regularly in film as a means of moving from one shot to the next and providing several angles on a scene to avoid the point of view becoming entirely static and subsequently monotonous.

Cutting on Action: A cut that is performed in the process of an action to a different angle. It is used in fight scenes more often than not.

Cut Away: Inserting a different shot in order to provide information to the viewer. It is used to show a characters thought process, a flashback or to hide a death scene.

Cross Cut: Cutting between two different locations, often during phone calls or at bomb sites and such.

Jump Cut: This style of cut is used to show the passing of time, it can also create a sense of urgency or speed.

Match Cut: Used to transition from one shot to another with either a matching action or composition to connect the two. It is particularly useful to change times or location.

Fade In/Fade Out: In most cases films either fade to black which is quite simple or they fade to another scene that over lays as it disappears.

Iris: Focuses in on one thing, like the Looney Tunes title sequence.

– Wipe: Transition using a small transitional animation such as a star.

Invisible Cut: Very subtle cuts that are used to make a scene or even an entire film appear like it was done in one take. This is done by using the movement or the camera or a car obscuring the viewer’s vision to disguise the cut and give the appearance of seamless filming.

L-Cut: The L-Cut is an audio based transition technique that involves carrying on sound from the first shot for a few seconds into the second one in order to make the transition less jarring to the audience.

J-Cut: The J-Cut is the opposite of the L-Cut in the sense that the audio from the second shot begins a few seconds before the transition from the first shot.

Smash Cut: Transitioning from a scene of low noise to high noise or vice versa; a quiet home to a busy street for example. The same thing also applies to movement as well.

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