These are my finished ancillary products for ‘After Hours’. Our audience feedback has given extremely praising reviews of these two products and we are pleased with their outcome.
We believe that the most successful aspects of these two products is the shared colour pallet of blue, white, black and grey as these colours link directly to the film and create a signature style for the film. Additionally, I believe the subtlety and peaceful nature of our three products helps to deliver the overall tone of the film, hereby allowing them to work effectively together as promotional material.
From this audience feedback, I can deduce that we have successfully appealed to our target audience of students and industry officials who are between an A to C1 social class as we were showing the film to this demographic and our collected data confirmed that 100% of viewers rated our product 5 star. Moreover, it is evident that we have managed to successful target the product more intently at women and younger adults since we received comments revealing that our audience identified with the protagonist. We believe this is the case as he has very feminine and child-like personality traits which would appeal to a younger audience who tend to value more honest perceptions of men, rather than watching traditional stereotypes which tend to build male characters through masculinity and more serious attitudes. Instead, the message of our film is to be comfortable in your own skin and reject social ideals like the necessity for masculinity.
As for the quality of our product, we understand that all though the majority of the feedback was positive, there were areas in which we could have greatly improved on. The most prolific piece of criticism that we received was the poor sound quality in the cafeteria scene. This was an issue because the environment that we filmed in was too noisy due to the cafeteria equipment. This was an issue that even using the boom mic effectively could not fix, nonetheless, if we had time to address this issue we could re-record the sound separately and dub over the audio to ensure clean and professional sound. Equally, the audience voted that our quality of editing and camera work was the most successful areas of the film whilst lighting and sound were voted the least successful or least significant.
Throughout the production of anything, it is inevitable to come into contact with some issues that will stop you in your tracks. It is the Director’s job to make sure there is a way around these issues and develop a solution.
In the making of After Hours, we came into contact with a few problems, which, if I re-filmed the short, I would approach differently.
Firstly there is the sound quality in the cafeteria scene.
Within this scene there is a noticeable drop in sound quality as the environment that we were filming in was extremely loud due to the cooling machines in the background. We had asked whether there was any possibility in turning off these machines, however since we were filming in a working school, this was impossible. We then had the decision to film on location as it provided a nice setting, or to rethink the scene and imagine it taking place elsewhere… nonetheless, getting the coffee was an essential part of the plot as the stain on his shirt physically marks him to be the ‘clumsy, useless and dissatisfactory man’ that society views him to be. Even more prominently, we liked the idea of filming in the cafeteria as it showed off more of the school and allowed the audience to find the setting more believable.
To improve the quality of the sound, I imported the files into a program called Audacity and applied some noise reduction effects which decreased the level of background noise to the bare minimum. Nonetheless, by doing this, the quality of the sound that we wanted to keep was also brought down in quality.
We are extremely disappointed in the quality of this sound as we believe it really effects the overall professionalism of the film. If I was going to re-edit the film, I would re-record the audio in from the cafeteria and dub the cleaner audio over the footage to remove the uncomfortable change in sound quality between this section of the film and the rest.
Secondly, there is the lighting.
This issue grates on me less than the audio from the cafeteria however if I was going to re-film After Hours, I would make changes to the lighting. The issue lies in the fact that the film is set at night. This was inevitably going to be tricky since we were filming in a public area that has regulated opening and closing times, yet we hoped to recreate the look of Don being trapped in school, at night, alone. In result of this, some shots look strange as they were filmed during the day and therefore the natural light seems somewhat out of place when the audience are led to believe that it is the middle of the night.
To overcome this issue, I manipulated some shots to appear to be night by bringing down the brightness, the contrast and the white tones, whilst equally changing the white balance to more of a yellow colour to create the effect that Don is being lit by artificial light and decreasing the temperature by adding more blue tones into the colour grade.
With the occasional shot, I took it into After Effects and placed masks over areas where I believed the light was too strong. This created very dramatic looking light, particularly in the shot of Don sliding across the corridor in a wheelie chair.
We had initially planned to overcome this issue with lighting by organising the shots set at night to be filmed earlier on in the shooting schedule since the sun set around 4pm, meaning that we had around 2 or 3 hours after this time to film when the light was appropriate. Nonetheless, due to our actor’s availability, we could only film on Tuesday evenings and so to film after school in such short blocks of time may have taken us into May to finish filming. To overcome this problem, I suggested to film for a much longer period of time on a Saturday, nonetheless, the school was only open between 6am and 5pm on a Saturday, hereby meaning that we were going to face problems with natural light no matter what we tried to do.
Despite both of these issues, I believe that our film has merits within it which make up for the problems regarding lighting and sound. Nonetheless, if I was to remake this film, I would definitely make these adjustments as it would greatly improve the product.
These are the two designs of poster that we created for our short film ‘After Hours’. We found it difficult to decide which we believed was more effective because we found that many people agreed that the poster on the left was more fitting to the dark-comedy genre of our short film, nonetheless, the poster on the left has more of an impact on the audience due to it’s more mysterious appearance and the more professional use of Photoshop. These two posters show the advancement of my skills in Photoshop and developing understanding of the conventions of film posters.
We believe that the first draft of poster leans further towards the comedic style to our film as the stained shirt, dirty lanyard and embarrassing ID image connote the uncoordinated characteristics of Don and furthermore hints towards the foul luck with which he is met throughout the film. On the other hand, however, I believe that our second design for the poster is much more effective due to the way in which it leaves the story open in mystery which lures audiences into watch the film. Additionally I believe this poster is more effective at appealing to an older, more sophisticated audience who would appreciate the nuances buried in the film’s narrative.
For the second draft we decided to place the image of the school at the top of the poster, upside down to connote the ‘topsy turvy’ events in which Don becomes victim to. Equally, I believe this design’s more sophisticated appearance is more effective in highlighting the more serious undertones to the film that comment on the hegemonic values in society.
Whilst writing the article for our film I couldn’t help but feel a mixture of genuine joy at the level of hard work that I have put into my film, but equally I found writing as an on looking critic and speaking about myself in the third person was sufficiently cringe-worthy. Effectively, we can agree that this article pushed me out of my comfort zone. This doesn’t however mean that I disliked writing the piece. I found the chatty and relaxed tone a refreshing style to write in and I believe the activity allowed me to take a step back from my critical mind-set, which is currently squirming at every tiny detail of the film that I find less than satisfactory, and enjoy the successes of my finished product.
I took influence from EMPIRE magazine’s layout and Sight and Sound magazine’s tone and content to produce this double page spread. I have made sure that there is enough visual content to attract the reader into engaging with the page and additionally, I have broken the text down into short paragraphs so that the article is not over-facing and off-putting for a reader.
What makes a good poster? Is it the colour? The image? The style? The famous names plastered across the top? The listed awards won? What catches your eye and makes you want to watch a film?
Below are some of the most memorable or most impressive movie posters of all time:
These posters all make an impact for differing reasons. Whilst the Star Wars poster attracts attention from audiences due to it’s intense pop of colour and the advertising of the multitude of characters in which viewers will meet in the film, the Skyfall poster relies on a suave minimalism to sell the preconception of James Bond that surrounds the sophisticated appearance of the character. Equally, the Exorcist poster attracts it’s audience by generating a sense of mystery through the low key lighting which denies the audience of any detail in the figure’s appearance. Whilst these posters are effective, I don’t believe they are the best posters ever created, below are some independent film poster which I believe show off a wider range of skills and consequently are more eye catching.
These four posters are simple yet have an extremely powerful impact on the audience, but mostly I believe that the thing each has in common is the sense of mystery created by each. This mystery is what will attract an audience to watch an independent film that may not have a starring actor like Collin Farrell to draw people in. I will use this generated sense of mystery when creating my film poster for the same effect.
There are many film magazines with pages and pages of reviews which have been helpful in my research:
Whilst Empire and Total Film are similar in their style of article and the films they choose to cover, Sight and Sound is a film magazine which is published by the BFI and therefore is somewhat different to the mainstream magazines on the right hand side. The BFI are known for their independent and artistic taste for film. They are constantly seeking out new talent and it would be somewhat surprising to see the next Guardians of the Galaxy film being plastered on the front of their magazine due to it’s mainstream appeal. Sight and Sound, being a British magazine, also pays attention to the world of short films which is overlooked by the other two magazines. The reason for this? Their audience. The audience of this magazine are of a higher social rating and are conventionally arts students or otherwise much older than the target audience for the likes of Total Film.
Having said this, it is mostly likely that our film would be seen in Sight and Sound magazine due to the fact that it is a short film and it follows a conventional British style. For this reason, I will look at the writing in Sight and Sound to gain a feel for the type of writing style that my article should follow. On the other hand, our target audience is somewhat younger than that of Sight and Sounds so I will look at the designs of articles from Empire and Total Film instead of Sight and Sound in order to make the look more appealing to a younger audience.
How are reviews written?
Often film reviews have a relaxed tone which is not informal but definitely of a chatty and personal manner, using colloquialisms, slang and joking language frequently to engage the reader. The reason for this is because film reviews are intended to entertain as well as inform, describe, analyse and advise. Often reviewers add their own personal quirk to their writing in the form of illuminated phrasing and cross comparison. For example, the review above of ‘Handsome Devil’ describes the film to have ‘ a scrappy optimism reminiscent of Sing Street’ and for one particular character to go ‘all Dead Poets to teach the class to be themselves’. This language style is appealing to a reader who is engaged in film and additionally helps to give them a taste of the film’s style if they don’t know anything about it prior to reading the article.
Writing a review for ‘After Hours’
When we come to write our review of ‘After Hours’ I will include comparisons to Edgar Wright’s quirky, British style as well as mentioning elements from other films that I have managed to capture, including the awkwardness seen in Sixty Six, the character of Lester Burnham from American Beauty and the lovable characterisation seen from Bill Murray in many of his masterpieces. Additionally I will use a relaxed tone as I have seen in other reviews to ensure that I engage my younger target audience.
To further my research on film reviews I have been watching interviews with critics such as Mark Kermode to gain a more rounded understanding of the way films are analysed and discussed.
Rick Stoker is the man who single handedly makes Don Walters feel like a useless, waste of space. Rick is loved by everyone and represents the ‘perfect’ man in society: he is successful, cheerful and philanthropic. Nonetheless, to Don, his ‘American-apple-pie’ enthusiasm is sickly and grating.
At one point in our film, Don stops to look at a display board which expresses a message to ‘aim high’ in life and be the best version of yourself. Rick’s face beams from the center of the wall display. The image is of his time spent teaching in Africa, he holds a ‘best teacher’ mug tightly his hand, supposedly given to him by one of these students.
To create this image, we took photographs of our actor against a green screen in several different poses so that I had plenty of compositions to play about with and find a suitable background to drop him into. On set I had a print out of some of the images that I could have used. This allowed our actor to understand what the finished image would look like, but also to give him more direction on his poses so that he could fit in with the image’s scenarios. Moreover, these print outs allowed me to understand where the light would have been coming from in each image and therefore informed me on how to lightly image successfully.
We used a software program called PhotoKey to combine the background into our imagoes Rick. This program is especially for editing green screen images and so you upload a foreground image (the one with the green screen) and a background image and then the software automatically replaces the green with the background image. Additionally, this software even colour grades your images to the closest temperature,saturation and light intensity so that the two images can sit together effectively.
Lastly, I took my image into Photoshop where I over-layed the original background photo on top of my image to make Rick appear to be standing behind the children. I used the blur tool of harsh edges and blemishes to make the image appear even more realistic.
Finally, I realised that the image that I wanted to use was holding the wrong side of the mug to what I have already filmed. To overcome this problem, I took the still image from my film and placed the correct side of the mug on to my image.
This video is a demonstration of how you can use LUTS, Colour Correction, Pallets and Light Leaks to develop a style to your video work.
For this video, I wanted to develop an old, celluloid-film-style appearance to the footage so I manipulated the footage using the Lumatri Colour controls. I increased the ‘faded film’ toggle and decreased the sharpness of the image. Moreover, since I wanted to add a specific colour pallet to the film, consisting of blues and pinks, I decreased the temperature but changed the tint of the highlights to a soft pink.
Additionally, I decided to add several light leaks on top of my footage to add to the celluloid-film style. To do this, I dropped the light leak over the top of my footage and changed it’s blend mode to ‘screen’ which effectively removes the back drop and only leaves the footage’s highlights to add over your footage as an overlay.
Colour pallets are used in many modern films as a stylistic device to create a consistent and striking filmic appearance to the footage. The two most obvious examples of directors who are very fond of sticking to strong colour pallets are Wes Anderson and Tim Burton:
Directors add colour pallets to their work to put a signature stamp on their films and make them instantly recognisable to the public as their own.
In Damien Chazelle’s recent little gem, he chooses to stick to a colour pallet of blues, yellow and oranges. This particularly adds to the feel of his film as it heightens the ‘perfect’ appearance of Hollywood that the film breaks down in it’s narrative.
When filming in a public area, it is important to gain permits to film in the location and gain permission from all those involved in the filming to prevent any possibility of being sued or prosecuted. This is mostly important whilst filming scripted and planned productions, however in low budget films, it is more likely to be filming in a looser structure. Productions like gorilla documentaries can get away with filming without any permits through following a strict set of rules:
- Research the location prior to filming: scout the area for any individual who might be vocal in their displeasure towards you filming there.
- Ask for permission: simply asking may be enough to get the go ahead whilst filming in a public area.
- Plan your shots: this conserves time and allows you to quickly get in and out of your location — this is also important if the location is paid — saving time is saving money.
- Think about all of the possibilities: Do you have to shoot in this particular area? Could you find somewhere similar to film?
- Go small: make sure you are sticking to the bare minimum of crew – a skeleton crew. Less people, less hassle, less of an issue for your location.
These tips can help you succeed at filming without any permits or permissions, however, it is far from the easiest way to film without any risk of being shut-down. For ‘After Hours’, we are filming on the basis of granted permissions but no formal permits. This is mostly because we don’t have the time or money to be granted permits, as many other short film producers equally struggle to do so.
This list below shows my permission to film my extras in the scenes in corridors and in Don’s classroom. The highlighted names are those who I do not have permission to film and therefore will not use them as an extra. This sheet also gives me permission to post my finished film, with their extra work, online and to show it around to different audiences.
Moreover, this screenshot shows my email to our school’s supervisor, asking for the permission to fly a drone in and around school, the email also addresses the issue of being allowed into the school during closed hours. This email acts as a warning and a questioning of ability and levels in which I can take my film to.
Who are the BBFC?
The BBFC, or the British Broadcasting Film Institute, are an organisation that regulate what is distributed in the UK. All films, television programmes and video games have to be regulated via the BBFC. These are the people who crush the dreams of school boys who are aiming to get into the latest instalment of ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’.
Each film, TV programme and video game is given a rating: America who are regulated by the Motion Picture Association of America have a different set of ratings to that of the BBFC’s. In the states, motion pictures are regulated according to G, PG, PG13, R and NC17, whilst British texts are rated according to U, PG, 12A, 12, 15, 18 and R18.
Texts are regulated in three stages:
General – Context, Theme, Tone & Impact
Specific – Discrimination, Drugs, Imitable, Behaviour, Language, Nudity, Sex, Threat, Violence
Other Matters – Photo or pattern sensitivity, Motion sickness , Reaction to low frequency sound, Release format, Titles
The reason for regulating films, TV and video games in this way is to protect the public from being exposed to any material in which may harm them mentally and emotionally. Usually, two examiners review a theatrical film and a senior examiner confirms recommendation.
On Tuesday we filmed scenes 16 and 17 in Rick’s classroom once Don is locked in the school.
In this scene, Don begins in Rick’s classroom in the hopes to claim revenge on his colleague for the years of embarrassment and over shadowing. He holds Rick’s ‘Best Teacher Mug’, the sentiment mocking him; he shakes in anger as impulse runs through his blood. We think that he will drop the mug but it lands neatly on the table top. Don fights with the frustration of wanting but not acting on his jealousy and as he sits down at the desk, he knocks a pile of sheets over, picking them up, one sheet catches his eye: a radiology letter addressed to Rick. He is struck by a whole world of emotions: upset, confusion, respect but, still, the jealousy underlies his feeling. After a moment, he finds a book on Rick’s desk with the word ‘happiness’ on the front, he flicks through and realises how Rick does it everyday.This is the point where Don realises that he is the only thing in the way of his own happiness. From this moment on in the film, he begins to try to enjoy himself.
Yesterday we assigned roles to ensure that filming ran smoothly and efficiently:
Jacob: Assistant Director, Boom Mic, Lighting, Set Design/Managing, On set photographer
Myself: Director, Camera Operator 1
James: 2nd Assistant Director, Boom Mic, Camera Operator 2
Additionally, we stuck to the shooting schedule to ensure that similar shots were shot together to prevent going back and forth between setups and hence, wasting time. In this shot, I am filming through a perspex sheet to create the illusion of being a able to see through Rick’s desk. In order to ensure continuity, we photographed the table setup so that it could be easily moved across to the real desk for the rest of the shoot.
Here, you can also see that I am using the slider to add subtle movement to the shot.
The image below shows our main actor, Simon Aske, the shot was taken for continuity purposes so that we can remember how his hair was, how far his sleeves are rolled up and whether he was wearing a tie, glasses or lanyard. Additionally, the image demonstrates how important it is to keep an upbeat, friendly atmosphere on set due to the length of filming and it’s repetitive nature. Finally, the image below shows a more technical aspect of continuity: sound recording. We took a photo of the settings on the microphone to make sure that all of the footage comfortably knits together and to prevent sudden changes in noise or tonal quality.
Our test flight of the Phantom 3 Standard… getting the hang of taking off and landing successfully without accidentally… seriously… wounding anybody or the drone itself!
Top notch way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
(PS. it is here that I would formally like to disclaim that I have not yet crashed the drone once, that has been the doing of both my brothers… ha.)
Follow this link to have a look at my professional portfolio
This evaluation video explains how we used camera movement, lighting and editing to help tell the story of the short film. I also discuss what improvements could be made and how I could make these improvements on my short film for submission, ‘After Hours’.
On productions involving many participating bodies, it is natural that things will not go as planned. In these situations it is important to understand that it is your motivation, enthusiasm and positivity that will keep the ball rolling.
As we were unable to film today, I have rescheduled the shooting plan as follows.
A line that has been repeated, parodied and muttered buy mouths who assume that ‘The Italian Job’ is about ‘some sort of plumber or something’.
So this is probably the fifth time I’ve watched this class and every time I find it more interesting that the last. The hour long explanatory video allows us to enter the mind of one of the greatest British actors; Michael Cane, and we are able to learn how we can ‘blow the bloody doors off’ of acting to camera.
Hacked Off is a campaign which claims that IPSO is biased, unfair and is no improvement to the previous regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission. The campaign believes that IPSO allows big newspapers to bully, lie and intrude on the personal lives of those in the eye of the media.
Whilst the IPSO claim to be ‘new and superior to the failed PCC’, Hacked Off suggests that the organisation is truthfully ‘a puppet of big newspaper corporations’. Despite the fact that the organisation is supposed to be a fresh start, the company has carried on many of the regulators who worked for the PCC and they have even kept the same company number.
Moreover, Hacked Off further dispute the claims that IPSO support and deliver the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. They suggest that the company only fulfill 12 of the 38 criteria for a successful independent news regulator, leaving papers to bully and intrude on the privacy of individuals.
The final claim, that ‘IPSO are the toughest news regulator in the western world’ is rejected by Hacked Of due to the fact that the pressures and penalties of the corporation are illusions which are only put in place to sheild the newspapers from censure. They claim that other EU countries have far more effective regulatory systems.
When understanding the disappointment held by Hacked Off towards IPSO, we have to remind ourselves of the reason behind the necessity of Leveson’s inquiry:
- Journalists illegally listened to the voicemails of thousands of people, not just public figures, but victims of crime and their family
- newspapers employed private investigators who stole private records – medical, financial, etc
- repeated cases of willful liable against innocent members of the public – Kate and Gerry McCann, Christopher Jefferies and many more
- Invasions into the privacy of grieving families and of ordinary people who happened to be relatives or friends of people in the news
- Some sections of the press had grown so close to politicians and the police that they thought they were above the law
- The PCC failed to prevent any of this behaviour and were often complicit in covering it up
So why do Hacked Off believe that IPSO are ineffective?
IPSO Are Not a Regulator At All
IPSO do not actively seek to regulate bodies, instead they sit back and wait for the public to make complaints and then act upon those complaints. Nonetheless, the company ject most of the complaints they recieve. In 2012 only 15 out of more than 12000 complaints were held up by IPSO.
A Blind Eye To Bullying
The PCC were notorious for denying representative groups and minorities the chance to defend themselves against inaccurate, unfair and abusive reporting.Hacked Off claim that IPSO’s new rules only make this worse.
No Access To Justice
For decades, newspapers have been able to breach individual’s legal rights due to the fact that it has been so expensive and exhausting for ordinary citizens to fight a liable or breach of privacy case in court. To remedy this, Leveson aimed to put in place a system which was cheaper and faster for all citizens who has an issue. IPSO are not delivering this option. This means that only the super rich are able to achieve redress.
Editors Control The Code Of Conduct
IPSO’s industry code of practice will be written by it’s own editors. This is the polar opposite of what Leveson suggested for a new regulatory body.
Supporters of Hacked Off include:
- Ian McEwan
- John Cleese
- Irvine Welsh
- Jo Brand
- Hugh Grant
- Kate and Gerry McCann
- Christopher Jefferies