Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Updating blogs - Making decisions as a group

It is clear to us that a lot of discussion/planning is happening at the moment in your groups and this needs to be shown on your blogs, particularly if you are still hesitating between two options. Reading about your decision-making would be interesting.

Now that you have presented your pitch, you need to continue meeting and take minutes of points discussed and decisions made. One group still needs to upload their presentation.

Some groups have already encountered some practical problems with some of their ideas. You really need to consider the following questions (and be able to answer tehm all with a yes) when making decisions from now on:

1. Is it practical?

2. Is it an idea that works to the strengths of the group?

3. Will it show off the skills you have learnt so far on the course?

4. Is it something you can reasonably shoot and edit in the time available?

5. Can you get access/ permission to shoot in the chosen location at the chosen times?

6. Can you organise lighting to use in that location?

7. Have you included dialogue? If so, will it work to shoot conversation in that location?

8. Do you have guaranteed high quality reliable actors to play the characters?

Finally do please start to answer the Evaluation questions. All members of the group should be aware of them. See previous posts.

FILMING - Health & Safety and other information

Important Health and Safety information for when you are out filming:
It is important to be safe when you are out filming. You will be focusing on your filming but don't forget that you still need to be aware of traffic and people around you.

Always be polite and respectful when interacting with the public.

Do not try to film anything which could be construed by a passer by as illegal.

If you are going to try and film in a public place, you need to approach the people who are in charge of that place for permission.

Do not film in dangerous places.

If you encounter problems, ring the school on 0208 952 2803 and ask to speak to one of us.

Carry the letter we have given you to show to anyone who is asking you what you are doing and why you are out of school.

IMPORTANT: You cannot borrow the school equipment until your parents / guardians have signed the relevant letter. Make sure it is returned as soon as possible.



Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Analysis of your preliminary task and other practical work

Now that the preliminary task has been shot and - quickly - edited, you need to reflect on the process and the final product.

1. What lessons have you learnt about the pre-production and production processes?
2. What mistakes did you make and will learn from?
3. What can you do to improve the continuity in your sequence, including refining its editing (i.e. the final cut as opposed to the rough cut produced so far)?

If you haven't finished your rough cut, find me asap to complete it before the end of the week.

The "Day dream" sequence needs to be up on your blogs as well with a short evaluation... There are some classic continuity mistakes that I hope you can learn from, but you need to identify them first. Live it; learn it!

The evaluation questions - Thanks to Long Road

Now that you've started the pre-production for your film opening, you need to think about and start answering the evaluation questions in earnest. You should discuss them and make notes in your groups (and keep minutes on your group blog) but you need to answer them individually in detail on your individual blogs.
Evaluation Questions and Sub Questions

Work hard and take care over the quality of your written expression. Some of your posts need some serious editing for added clarity.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Thriller moodboard

Just a quick model (I did this far too quickly, just to demonstrate). I really need you to spend time searching for exactly the type of thriller you'd most enjoy working on. Create a mood - the mood you would like to re-create in your own work, or simply films which will give you some inspiration... Try to illustrate the thriller conventions.
I think that a couple of themes are emerging from my own poster... Worrying, really...

Check out Hasina's moodboard!

Thriller opening

The opening of "The Silence of the Lambs" directed by Jonathan Demme.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

blog update + what to include in your blogs

Some of you are really showing progress and have successfully started your blogs. However, for others, it's not too late to wake up... Two students still haven't started and Akash, please sort it out - it's still not working.

Below is a list of what you should aim to include in your blog. A lot of personal research and consolidation now needs to take place as you need to develop ideas for your project and your groups need to start meeting out of lessons.

What to include in your blog (fairly standard list for schools delivering this unit):

1. moodboards - visual representations of thriller
2. Useful weblinks
3. Film sites
4. Explorations of theory discussed in class applied to films or scenes of your choice, and...
5. ... Short thriller sequences with analysis (such as film openings work done in class)
6. Film stills with analysis
7. DVD covers with analysis
8. How to. . . clips - for instance how to convey continuity, fx etc (see 'The Birds' task)
9. Definitions of the genre and its sub types, with your own examples
10. Research on a particular sub-genre you are interested in
11. Notes from your reading around the genre
12. A record of your thriller screenings - yes, you need to watch some thrillers on your own or in your groups - not much time in class!
13. Discussion of thrillers that have inspired you
14. Your own thriller related stills - for example trying to photograph / capture shots which could be used in your sequence
15. Research into a particular director who interests you
16. British film research, particularly UK independent thrillers and thrillers from the past
17. Audience research

18. And of course, you need to personalise your blogs at some point so they reflect the thriller genre.

In short, much to do... Ms Lyall and I will direct some of your 'home learning time' but you need to become more and more independent and focused.

Good luck!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Foundation Portfolio Brief

This is the actual work to be produced:

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue.
This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

Main task:
the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.

All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

Home Learning for next Tuesday

1. Complete the continuity exercise below based on an extract from The Birds.

2. Write up an analysis of one of the practical tasks undertaken at school, either the 'Audience Positioning' task done last week or the film opening using the school building.

There is a post below with guidance questions to help you develop your analysis (designed for the film opening / school building task but still useful for the other task). Ideally everyone would have worked on the film opening but many of you were away that week.

Finally, if you haven't done any practical work so far, watch someone's work and analyse that!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Sunday, 11 October 2009

'Vertigo' and 'North by Northwest' - videos

Videos to support this week's lessons:
Opening titles and roof top chase from Vertigo and opening titles for North by Northwest.

Opening titles North by Northwest

Opening titles Vertigo

First sequence from Vertigo - roof top chase

Evaluation Questions

As the groups are about to be put together, you have to start discussing, researching and planning.
Remember that you will have to answer the following questions as part of your assessment:

Evaluation questions

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
5. How did you attract/address your audience?

6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?
7. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Basics of Video Editing

Last lesson, we looked at some of the basics of video editing from the OCR book's resources. We talked about the 180 degree rule for example.

Here's the accompanying video (you were given a copy of the handout).

1. How many shots are there?

2. Where is the camera positioned for each shot?

3. Which principles of continuity editing have been followed?

Continuity in Film

Watch this sequence from Hitchcock's The Birds. It's an excellent example of continuity and uses the techniques we've seen in class last week.

After watching it, write an analysis of shots and techniques used in this sequence to demonstate your understanding of them.

In your groups, you also need to write about what you achieved last lesson and comment on what was successful and what you learnt in the process, for instance what mistakes you made or how you would improve your different sequences to facilitate audience's positioning.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Home Learning - PLEASE READ

The home learning tasks set help us to assess your progress and therefore need to be completed much more diligently than what has been produced so far.

REMINDER: Hand in your improved film poster tomorrow (or else), leaving them in reception if you cannot find me.

The Home learning for next week includes some research and you need to post your work on your blog by next Monday.
There is also an analysis of the first 10 minutes of a film of your choice to complete. Bring that to next Tuesday's lesson.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Examples of preliminary task from other schools

Watch and write your comments after viewing.
What did you think was effective and why?
What wasn't so successful and why?

Enjoy! The last video is actually made by teachers and includes two versions of the preliminary task.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Film Opening - Project 1 - Using the school building

Questions to address and answer as a group:

1. What genre did you decide on for your film and why?
2. What choices have you made to allow the audience to understand which genre your film belongs to? Include the different options you considered and how you eventually agreed.

3. What difficulties did you experience during the shoot? How did you overcome them?
4. What lessons have you learnt in the process? (lighting, shooting, camera angle and movement, sound etc...)
5. Are you happy with the footage you have and what would you like to shoot again and why? Do you feel that you need to add more sequences to improve the clarity of your narrative?

6. What have you learnt to do? What skills do you still need to develop?
7. During editing, did you end up making changes to the original idea / storyboard and why?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Welcome to the course!

Over the last couple of weeks you have been introduced to some key media studies concepts. Make sure you learn the jargon in order to use it in your own work and responses.

Now that we are starting our first practical projects, you need to get used to writing your responses in blog form. In school you'll be practising and launching your first group blogs, and very soon, I have no doubt that you'll be the experts.

Do remember to read carefully through and sign the "Blogging Policy" document and return it to your teacher.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

And thus the blog is born!