Evaluation of Final Media Product

Below is a download of the evaluation of my final media product, I’ve also included the evaluation as a post so you can either read it straight off the blog or download.

Media studies evaluation – draft

Media studies evaluation

 

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

 

For my two-minute opening I have chosen to set my films genre as science fiction creating an action/science fiction homage to the weird but consistently wonderful world of 80’s cinema, a seemingly challenging genre and theme due to its vast range of set expectations, codes and conventions all of which can be developed and challenged to produce an innovative final media product, something I will be aspiring to produce. Whilst challenging forms, codes and conventions is key, I also felt that to an extent, conforming to some conventions and codes of a real media product belonging to the science fiction genre would be essential in establishing my two-minute opening as part of said genre. As an easy to follow narrative had to be established in the first minute or so of my opening scene allowing time for the audience to identify specific characters as good or bad setting the film up for possible plot twists, flashbacks or the general continuation and progression of the films narrative. I found that Vladimir Propp’s theory of how each character has a narrative function was helpful with identifying who each character is i.e. the hero, the villain etc. Now as my “film” is only actually going to be the two minute opening I think that the early establishment of every character wouldn’t be an effective use of Propp’s theory and so with I have incorporated some enigma codes to create some mystery surrounding each of my characters in particular my protagonist Thunder Eagle as I don’t want my audience knowing if he’s a good guy or a bad guy from straight off the blocks. However in some other cases such as the Detectives, I will be using some obvious mise en scene techniques and visual codes to present the character as a ‘good guy’ i.e. the patterned shirt and rolled up sleeves etc. making him easily identifiable to the audience but still retaining an element of mystery for example ‘how do they know each other?’ and so on, I feel that these enigmas are key to a films opening scenes success.

 

In order to use, challenge and develop conventions of real media products I relied heavily on the research I conducted at the start of my blog, Identifying typical features of the science fiction genre. An example of how I used a convention of the science fiction genre in my final media product is through the mise-en-scene, more specifically the futuristic eyepiece worn by my protagonist and focal point “Thunder Eagle”. As a typical convention of the science fiction genre is the introduction of futuristic and innovative technology for example fingerprint scanners have replaced doorknobs in Back to the Future part two, I decided that the inclusion of a futuristic technological aid operated by my protagonist would effectively establish my opening scene as part of the science fiction genre whilst also establishing the main antagonist as a rough, tough and rogue one man army. To further develop this conventional aspect of the mise-en-scene I added a point-of-view shot from thunder eagles cyborg eye at “1:04” I felt that this would be an effective development of a standard convention as it acts as a visual reminder of how Thunder Eagle is more technologically advanced, whilst also allowing the

audience to see things from the protagonists perspective suggesting that he is the main or one of the main characters/focal point but also a character that can the audience can sympathise with.

 

Another convention I un-earthed in my research was the interesting use of lighting to convey different modes and tones, referring to the research I conducted on the mise en scene in the film blade runner 1982 I found the film had used a great deal of blue had been used in each frame setting the mood as quite calm and peaceful, accompanied by the music and slow motions shots which further enhanced the mood in this particular scene, all this light was a result of the large, neon corporate signs in the background this idea of corporate structures being dominant is a typical convention of most films that feature a dystopian future. Referring to this, I decided use the convention of strategically placed lights to achieve mood and themes in my film, most noticeably at “1:02” as Thunder Eagle walks down the hallway preparing to eliminate the villains. In the background is a long LED strip of light producing an ominous red glow, I used this to convey a dangerous mood and to visually warn or allow the audience to become aware of the action that was about to ensue. Furthermore I found the point of view shot used at “1:04” was effective as once again the red frame symbolises the danger that Thunder Eagle represents accompanied by all the small numbers, target and digits which also reinforce the idea that he is more technologically advanced and a threat to those who oppose him. I found this to be an effective way at conveying tone as it relays on the visual aspect as does much of my film which makes it easier for the audience to identify specific themes, people and places, this was a common point with my focus group as they displayed interest in the film being visually pleasing, and so in that respect I feel that the alteration of the background colour effectively displayed the mood and its connotations to the audience. If I had the chance to further improve my media product I would do so be adding more lighting with different colour filters as I feel that this is a subtle but effective way of conveying the mode of the scene.

Similarly, another convention that typical of any fast paced action / science fiction film is the editing and cinematography. From the research I conducted I concluded that intense action scenes tend to use a range of different shots and angles but incorporate quick cuts between each to build tension, for example I conducted some research into the gas station scene in Robo Cop 1987 and found that when the thug falls off his bike and into an oncoming car, the camera tracks him (bad guy) using a range of different shot types in a sequence such as the medium shot > close up > long shot as the camera pans right, the editing of the clips leaves the result as a quick and hair raising scene. This effectively presents the carnage of the car crash and amplifies the speed at which the collision occurred whilst also building tension as it leaves the audience eager to see the result or outcome of the event. An example of was I used quick cuts and different angles in my final media product was essentially the entire first portion. I used quick cuts as I felt it was an effective way at establishing the mode of the scene, the fast pace of the scene suggests its tense and rushed, this is further shown when sections of the mise en scene are added such as costume and setting, however the quick cuts also allow for some enigma codes as its fast pace doesn’t allow the audience enough time to completely see what’s going on. This effectively established my opening scene as fast paced and tense something that my focus group expressed interest in and something I therefore regard as a success.

 

How does your media represent particular social groups?

 

The representation of social groups in my final media product is reasonably stereotypical with reason. Media tends to create stereotypical representations of social groups in order to allow their viewers to easily understand who is being identified. In my media product I represented a few social groups, they were gang members, the police force and my protagonist Thunder Eagle.

 

I thought that following the stereotypes and ideas of the social groups that I was representing back in the 80’s would be an effective way at identifying the film as a homage to the 80’s science fiction/action genre. I felt that casting a strong lead actor in the role of Thunder Eagle was almost essential, as I wanted the audience to understand that my main character was super human much alike the 80’s action hero’s such as Rambo or Arnold Schwarzenegger in countless action films, so I was sure to keep this in mind when casting my male lead actor. Another way in which I represented different social groups in y final media product was the portrayal of the detective on behalf f the police force, rather than identifying my detective as a strong character a role that typically occupied by main characters or very strong sub-characters I decided to challenge this stereotype by applying Propp’s narrative theory by making the detective the dispatcher who sends Thunder Eagle on his quest, also to ensure that the detective didn’t come off as a stronger actor than my protagonist I filled the role of the detective with a weaker actor who is obviously below Thunder Eagle in terms of strength and authority, I felt this worked effectively as it further establishing my lead character Thunder Eagle as the indestructible character that I was going for and also successfully challenging the stereotype of the detectives role.

 

Similarly, another way in which I represented social groups in my final media product was through my representation of the countless gang members opposing my protagonist. For this social group I felt it was key to portray each gang member as stereotypically as possible in order to effectively establish the characters as bad guys, naturally avoiding any stereotypes that could lead to offence, I took a more general approach dressing my actors in clothing that widely associated with thugs or ‘rough people’ i.e. hoodies, low hanging trousers etc. Furthermore I felt that if all the bad guys looked similar it would allow the audience to visually identify the bad guys as one mass also giving them no personality or reason for their evil doings allowing the audience to sympathise with the characters eliminating them (the detective, Thunder Eagle) rather than sympathising with the bad guys. In each of the roles for the bad guys I cast ordinary people who were all of a similar stature to further the visual image of all the bad guys being one mass, I felt this was effective way at visually presenting the bad guys and a successful way of allowing the audience to sympathise with my protagonist.

 

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

 

When distributing my film, I thought of innovative and new ways of getting it across to my target audience. After a reasonable amount of planning and research I found that in order to reach the younger section of my male dominated audience who range from 13 – 20 years of age, I found that using social media platforms would be an ideal way at advertising and marketing my film as its very popular with people of this age range and used by a wide range of people, and then using other social media viewing platforms such as YouTube but, but in the spirit of innovation I looked at some other sites to distribute my film, I found that other websites such as vimeo did a similar job to YouTube. The use of social media networks and platforms, I felt would effectively distribute my film as it links with my target audiences interest in the online world whilst also being specific to the genre my film is categorised under ‘science fiction’ involves lots of technology one of the conventions of a science fiction genre film is the introduction of new and innovative technology, so I felt that making use of modern day technology would be an effective way of distributing and advertising my film. Similarly, in order to successfully reach my audience I felt that tagging the video with particular words associated including the name of the film, the director, actors, genre etc. making it easier for the audience to find the film hopefully becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy i.e. as the film becomes easier to find more people watch it, boosting its popularity and making it more well known. As well as 13 – 20 years of age, I also have an older target audience of from 39 – 50 years of age, due to the fact that this age range of people were alive during the 80’s and were in their youth similar to the younger audience I am aiming my film at, to ensure that my film is reached by these people I have decided to use tags on the social media platforms such as ‘1984’ and ‘80’s sci-fi’ to hopefully attract the my other audience. I will still be using the Internet to distribute and advertise my film to the older generation as I feel that the social media forms popularity is not just with the youth but also with the older generations, I conducted some research into how many people of my target audiences age range use the internet and other social media platforms and I felt that the results I had collected were enough for me to continue with my plans to distribute and advertise my film to my other target audience on social media platforms.

 

As previously stated, my main target audience is men and women aged 13 to 20 but on the side I am also aiming my film at those who lived through the 80’s 39 – 50 years of age, the second target audience I am aiming mu final media product at is more like research I’m hoping to see what they think of it and gain some feedback of how its similar to the decade they lived through, id also like some criticism to find ways I could improve it. Back to my primary audience, I found in my research that the target audience of action and science fiction films to day are those belonging to my target audience men (predominantly) aged 13 to 20 the reason for my audience being mainly made up of men is due to the stereotypical view that men enjoy action and violence whereas women enjoy romantic comedy’s and so on. Something I picked up on in my research is that the media industry is reasonably gender specific and so I picked on this when deciding on my target audience. In order to attract this audience I distributed my film on social media platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo as its most commonly used by my target audience, I released a short trailer on YouTube to wet the appetite of my target audience, it displayed all the typical conventions of a film from the science fiction/action genre, I also advertised and marketed my film on other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram which once again are used by my target audience. My audience research helped me when deciding on what media institution might distribute my final media product as it allowed me to identify what age range corresponds with my film genre and using this age I identified what was the most popular way of reaching my target audience which just so happened to be via social media and other platforms of a similar status.

 

Who would be the audience of your media product? How did you attract/appeal to your audience?

 

The target audience of my media product teenagers aged 13 – 20 (mostly male, but some female) I identified my target audience as this age range for a reason, I believe after conducting a substantial amount of research into it that this age range I concluded that it is the most popular age range when it comes to science fiction as they show the biggest interest in the genre. The reason I chose boys but didn’t cut girls out is because stereotypically boys are more violence and action than girls who stereotypically prefer films with more of a happy story line. I also identified this age range as my target because of the distribution factors, most notably the popular use of the Internet and social media platforms by teenagers. I found in my research that teens of the age range I had identified are the most popular users of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, meaning marketing and advertising would be more effective and reach my target audience with more ease if it was distributed and marketed via these social media platforms, as its free and easy to put things online today, I concluded that this would be the most effective target audience and the easiest to distribute to.

 

To appeal/attract my target audience I relied on the research I had conducted, the research I valued the most when it came to attracting my target age range was the audience research including the one on one interview and the focus group. The interview gave me a true understanding of what appeals to my target audience and allowed me to obtain truthful and honest answers, the questions were structured to identify specific questions such as “what would you say is key to a films opening sequence?” this allowed me to identify specific things that my audience would like to see in my opening sequence allowing me to attract/appeal to my target audience. Similarly the focus group allowed me to identify specific things that the group/mass of people would prefer to see in a science fiction film, these answers gave me more of a general idea of what is sought out for in a film of this genre I then used both of these pieces of information to attract/appeal my target audience and draw them top my film.

 

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

 

I learnt a lot about technologies when filming my final media product, both real and fake. As my film was set in the future technology played a large part in the execution of the film, one of the most significant technologies I learnt I believe is the camera and lighting equipment I used to record my film. The camera I used was a Canon 7D, this was a jump from using other canon cameras such as the EOS rebel T3i and other cameras of this range, when compared to the 7D the EOS rebels don’t produce as good a final product, it allowed me to film in the dark and not produce a lot of noise or static on the final product which was successful as my first attempt at making my final media product was awful, the final product was covered in static and grain I believe this was due to the use of the Eos Rebel T3 which is considerably worse than the 7D. The higher frame rate allowed me to slow some of the footage down in postproduction without the final outcome being glitchy which was effective in some scenes most noticeably toward the second portion of the final product when thunder eagle is chased down by the thugs. Finally the camera shot in Raw which although looks bad when reviewed on the camera screen, its actually helpful when in post production as it gives a natural look allowing me to use colour correction to change the final look, boost the saturation or exposure in darker scenes and change the overall tones of the frame to brighter colours. I wasn’t completely acquainted with this camera and I found that I was learning more about it via help from my friend who owns one himself. Adjusting specific features such as the RAW footage and the aperture.

 

I also found that my cinematography skills had improved by the end of the project, throughout the duration of the filming portion of my project I concluded that my filming skills had improved, looking back on some of the older work I had conducted and comparing it with my most recent project I found that things such as angles and framing had been more carefully considered and the movement of the camera and the mood that different angles create.

 

As previously stated I used some lighting rigs throughout the duration of my film which I now feel I have learnt a lot about, I used a 20 strip LED light which was attached to my camera and the frame I used, this was helpful to me most notably in the fist portion of the film as thunder eagle and the detective are talking, the bright light worked effectively here as it was close quarters and I feel it illuminated the scene very well. However in the second portion of the film, which included a wider background, the light didn’t work as effectively as everything was further away and the light wasn’t powerful enough. However I feel that this may have worked in my favour, as the second portion is much darker in theme as thunder eagle is fighting for his life, or maybe the lack of light works? You tell me.

To edit my final product I used Final cut pro X, an editing software which I am very comfortable with and have been using for a long time, I have learnt how to use this software over a sustained period of time but still found myself learning more about it with this project. I feel that the software I sued to edit my product was successful as it allowed me to use some of the skills I had learnt on Final Cut Pro and adapt them to Final Cut Pro X such skills included editing the colour of a frame and adjusting the saturation and exposure etc. also the introduction of other clips on top of other clips and then merging each of the clips together via the screen option, However as stated I did learn some new tricks such as the better quality option over the better performance option which made my final media product more HD rather than better A lower quality of footage.

 

I also learnt a lot from Photoshop, as I used a newer version of Photoshop and was only briefly acquainted with the older version, I used Photoshop to edit my titles and the production company logo, it allowed me to learn a lot about this editing software. New features had been introduced and although what I had learnt on the older version of Photoshop I still found myself learning new shortcuts ad ways to edit a photo. An example of how I used Photoshop in m final media product is through the production company logo, I used Photoshop to create all the different composites for my production company logo, which is visible in the opening section of my film.

 

In conclusion (of this section) I found that my greater understanding of technologies has improved from the process of constructing this media product. I have taken a more careful view and considered and contemplated specific angles and viewpoints and what connotations they have. Looking back on the preliminary task which shows limited understanding of basic media concepts, I feel that I have advanced from this state and now have a larger understating of specific things such as the order of which each name involved in the production goes in the opening credits and how to properly composite a frame to make the audience think a specific thing. Finally I feel that my overall knowledge of the 4 basic and most common concepts of media (mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound) is more informed.

 

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

 

When reflecting upon my preliminary task I feel that I have progressed and gained a greater understanding of typical media concepts, the research I conducted into different aspects of real media products including genre, codes, conventions and marketing etc. which is visible on my blog, gave me a greater understanding of how other, more popular films of the same genre made, produced and marketed their own films which then allowed me to take this on board and work in a similar way.

 

My understanding of framing and the importance of composition became greater, as I found that framing things in a specific way can produce specific connotations which can be perceived by the audience, also the themes and mood the composition of a frame can create i.e. a close frame of an intense scene can create tension as the audience cant get a full understanding of what’s happening all they can see is the fast paced action from a distorted point of view. Similarly I learnt the importance of establishing shots when changing the location of a film and also when setting the mood. This is evident in my final media product as it goes form uptown LA to a grotty bridge in downtown LA.

 

Similarly, I gained a greater understanding of how important lighting is when creating mood and atmosphere, I found that using real lights in the shoot and changing some of the overall tones/colours in postproduction gave each scene a strong atmosphere, an example of where I used light to create mood was in the scene where Thunder Eagle walks down a hallway and toward the enemy, I used along strip of red LEDs in this scene to create an ominous feeling of looming danger. This new found understanding of the importance of lighting fixtures in film has improved since the preliminary task, as no lighting was used in said video, the mood relied solely on the audio and visuals.

 

Another aspect I feel has improved since my preliminary task is my editing, in the preliminary task I used IMovie, which is a basic and consumer friendly editing software and isn’t very good for editing a serious film. When editing my final media project I decided to use Final Cut Pro X another apple editing software which was more specialised, this is an aspect of my work that I feel has improved as I have learnt to use a more specialised editing software to the point that I produced an effective final media product.

 

To conclude this long essay, I have found that when comparing my final media product with my preliminary task there are a lot of aspects of my work that have improved my general understanding of media has improved drastically as I am now more careful and considerate when compositing a frame and adding in lighting to create a specific mood etc. Thanks to my research I now also have a greater understanding of real media products and how they are distributed, marketed and made allowing me to successfully do the same with my media product.

 

cheers

 

Advertisements

Evaluation of the prop weapon’s

In order to create the rouge badass personality for my protagonist in my final media product, i decided to use a few visual signifiers to show to the audience that my main character means business. I feel that one of the most iconic pieces of prop weaponry and successful at representing my protagonist as powerful and off the rails was the introduction of two revolvers. I found that in all the films with a strong lead actor, the protagonist often has a weapon that characterises him or her as strong, sharp and on the ball, films such as The Terminator which showed Arnold Schwazanegger as the T-800 loaded with an M1911 and a scope. But the weapon i was most interested in was the revolver used by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, more specifically a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. I felt that this weapon perfectly presented my protagonist as a strong character for a number of reasons. Firstly its powerful punch means that whoever uses it has to be strong. Secondly, the limited capacity for ammunition suggests to the audience that whoever uses this weapon must be and extremely sharp shooter, once again reinforcing the bad ass personality that my protagonist has.

d8bf62118d16669b85fc1ab5ce947739.jpg

imagens-armas-t-800.jpg

I conducted some research into weapons often used by the specific social groups i was identifying in my film, including the police force, gangs, thieves and so on. For the police force i found online what gun was wily used by officers over in the states, i concluded that a Glock 19 was the most common gun used by the United States police force and so i used a prop gun the replicated the Glock 19 for my detectives weapon. I felt that this was a successful introduction of a weapon as i found that it characterised the person who was using it, something i was aiming for when deciding on what gun to use. The Glock 19 is a neat gun with a sharp shooting range and is very accurate, this is something i wanted to reflect in the character i had constructed.

Glock-19-Left-Side.jpg

Similarly, for the two bad guys in the first portion of my final media product, i aspired to use weapons that reflected the gritty and harmful society that they live in. I looked at both shotguns and semi automatic rifles. I felt that a shotgun would work well when reflecting the poor lifestyle of the user as it is an easily available weapon, its not a clean weapon meaning it doesn’t tend to leave one hole in its victims but rather cut them in half. The same goes for the semi automatic rifle, i felt that this weapon was effective at characterising the user as it is a weapon that sprays bullets, causing severe harm to whoever is on the receiving end, especially of the user is nervous and suffering fro a severe case of trigger finger. Also, i found that both these weapons were readily available and easy to buy, suggesting to the audience that these thugs aren’t trained criminals, they are just thieves with weapons.

tristar-cobra-force-12-ga.jpgjgvz61.jpg

In conclusion i found that the guns used in the opening to my film were successful when constructing specific personalities of the people using said weapons.

Creating a poster for my film

 

Prior to my poster i conducted some research into old, 80’s science fiction film posters. The research i conducted helped my when i was designing my now as i had already identified key aspects of what makes a cinematic film poster. Below are some of the posters i focused on in my research.
Blade-Runner-LB.jpg
MPW-87199.jpeg

Following this cinematic theme, I decided to make a classic science fiction poster advertising my film in all its 80’s glory. To acheieve this I used Adobe Photoshop to composite all the images I had taken screen shots of from my final product.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 14.01.18.png

Firstly I captured the most interesting aspects of my 2 minute film opening, after doing this I selected the photos I thought would look good on the poster and via a process of selection I narrowed it down. After selecting my photos I opened up photoshop and opened a new canvas with the dimensions of a piece of A4 paper. I then used the magnetic lasso tool to cut out the characters and pull them away from the back ground. Once this was all accomplished and each photo was moved to the right place, I selected the background for my poster. As it was set in LA during the 80’s I opted for a beautiful photo of LA at night, I felt this highlighted the cinematic aspect that all film posters have. On top of this I placed a large picture of a nuclear cloud, a royalty free image I found on the Internet, when cutting this image out I was sure to blend the edges which is visible all around the the nuclear mushroom cloud as they blend with the background.

After some touch ups with the lightening and darkening tools, I was ready to add in the titles. For the main title “thunder eagle” I opted to go with the same logo I used in my final media product. To create this logo I once again opened up photoshop and created a new canvas. I then selected the paint bucket tool and changed the colour of the background to green (so it could be keyed out in post) I then opened a text box and typed the words “thunder eagle” changing the font to VCR and the size of the text to 72. For the graphics on the text I selected gradient, and poets for the desert theme, I then messed around with the colours changing some to neon pink and light blue, I also changed the severity of the gradient and where each colour ended. Finally I added an outer glow to the text to give it a shiny effect. For the ref of the title “rise of the cyborgs” I simple created another text box and typed in the text, I then changed the text size to 67 and the font to “still time” finally changing the colour to pink.


For the bottom half of the photo, I decided to add in the text seen on the bottom of all film posters. The small caption of text that contains all the producers, actors and directors and obviously the date in Roman numerals. To accomplish this I researched different posters trying to find out what was consistantly on each of them, I concluded that the producers, main actors and writers etc. Where always on there I took this on board and wrote my own. Using the VCR font once again. I also displayed a small image of my production company logo in the bottom right hand corner.


 

Editing update – Audio

The second part of my 2 minute opening is focused around the narrative that will be recorded explaining whats happening in the scene and so on, its pretty key to the films opening and establishment of the main protagonist so its got to be down right. As already stated in a previous post on the script of the film, the narrative had already been scripted and was ready to be recorded however due to the films shorter duration i have had to make a few changes to the narrative in order for it to fit. It is now as follows

Back in the year 1984, i was taking a walk home when i detoured and went under the bridges on the lower east side it was quicker but riskier. i was in a bad mood so taking the shorter walk seemed better. As i came out from the other side is saw a dark hooded figure walking towards me so decided o turn back and go around but just as i did some thug in a mask jumped me. I ran as fast as i could but there was no escaping them. It was the height of a gang war between LA’s most notorious gangs and i got swept up in it, beating me to near death and robbing me of my wallet. Left to die on the cold hard ground, i felt my heart beat become slower and slower, then i was struck by lightning and i blacked out. I swore an oath that day against injustice i would fight it thats when i became … Thunder Eagle! 

Editing – Titles

This post is dedicated to the opening titles and credits including the logo at the end of the 2 minute opening.

For the logo i aspired to create a classic 80’s style title so i conducted some research into ’80’s style logos’ and it produced some interesting  ideas, most followed the blue and pink colour scheme with bright neon lights and interesting fonts some of my favourite logos have been posted below.

80s-12.jpgab1c95a808906156b86bb0ead099ef9f.jpg80s-01.jpg

After establishing what specific features made an 80’s style logo i decided to go ahead and make my own. I opened up photoshop and made a bright green background (so i could key it out in post production) i then opened a text box on the same layer and typed the name of the film ‘thunder eagle’. I then went on to the internet and downloaded a VCR font which produced the old font often seen on VHS cameras stating the date and time and so on. I then loaded this font into photoshop and set the titles font to VCR. To make my logo look more like the images shown above i decided to add a gradient to the text, by simply clicking on FX and selecting gradient, i then changed what type of gradient i wanted eventually selecting the brown and blue gradient. After this had been selected it was just a matter of colour correction, i changed the titles gradient, mildly adjusting the colours to make them darker and lighter whilst also editing where the gradient would end and so on. After this was done i added an inner and outer glow to the text and it was complete.

The rest of the logo was simply the STILL TIME font, another font i had found on the internet. I added a custom text box to my timeline in final cut pro typing in the rest of the films name ‘Rise of the Cyborgs’. To make it look more like an 80’s logo i added a glow to the text and made it 3D by clicking the 3D option and then adjusting the text, moving it and changing the direction of the shadow and so on. For the background i placed a star filled sky image i had found on the internet and some red neon bars. Rounding it off with some flashes and sparks to make it look bright and bold.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.18.28.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.18.19.png

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 13.12.44.png

Below is an image of the way the titles are arranged on the editing board in final cut pro, i have arranged these in a specific way with reason. Firstly the addition of the slim grey boxes at the start of some of the clips is simply a transition effect in this case its cross dissolve, as you can see the duration of each of the transition effects is different as i wanted different sections to become more clear quickly than others. I put no transition effects on the actual title as i wanted it to burst forward with sparks and lighting, and if i used a transition effect on it it would be too slow and not pack enough punch!

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.18.44.png

Editing – Explosions, lightning and guns

The lightning strike

For the lightning bolt i used an image of a bolt of lightning on a green screen, an image i found on google i pulled this into the timeline and trimmed it down to 2 frames, i then pulled the ‘keyed’ effect on to the clip which keyed out all of the green in the background leaving the lightning bolt on the screen, i fiddled with some of the keyed settings to make the image just right. I then clicked on the clip of my actor and hit the letter B on the keyboard which brought up the blade toll, i then trimmed a hole 2 frames long which was lined up with the lightning bolt image. I once again clicked on the clip of my actor and selected the exposure and colour correcting menu changing the overall tones of the scene to a light blue and boosting the exposure levels so they were brighter and bolder on the screen. To round off the scene i imported a video of some small explosions/charges that i had bought a while back for some other projects i was working on, i added these in once again selecting the portion of the clip i wanted and keying out the black and then finally lining the clip up with the exact time the bolt of lightning hits my actor. Rounding the piece off with some sound effects and its done.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.15.23.pngScreen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.15.35.png

The gun shots 

This section is the transition into Thunder Eagles origin story, its a medium close up of the protagonist as he guns down the villains. For this i had to create a convincing and cinematic muzzle flash. For this i used a few separate elements they were as follows

  • Action Essentials charges pack
  • Smoke Puff stock footage
  • muzzle flash JPEG
  • Desert  Eagle gun shot sound effect

When combined they make a convincing muzzle flash, heres how they were constructed in my film. I levered all the clips first ensuring that they all went off at the same time and when my actor makes the gun firing motion. I then trimmed the muzzle flash JPEG down to 1 frame after keying out the background and adding some distortion effects to it such as ‘Gaussian blur’, i then keyed out the black on the smoke puff and Action Essential charges pack layering them over each other and adjusting the speed of each clip by clicking cmd > r  which brought up a green bar allowing my to adjust the clips speed. Finally some quick flashes when the muzzle flash JPEG is present and the addition of the desert eagle gun shot sound effect made for a realistic gun shot effect.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.16.53.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.16.40.png

Editing – VHS static and colour correcting

And so the post production begins, as my film heavily reliant on VFX and editing to establish it as part of the science fiction genre it means that this portion is going to be the longest part of the process and is the section that will require the most diligence in order to produce a good final media product.

For the entire film i wanted to replicate the VHS static thats present in most 80’s films and as this was the time period i had set part of my film in i thought that the static, sharpened and slightly de colorised picture would add to this theme. In order to achieve this i simply downloaded a royalty free VHS static overlay which is essentially just TV static on a black background, i then imported this into final cut pro placing it above my already imported film clips, i then went to the right hand side of the screen and selected the blending mode, i then set this to ‘Exclusion’ this just removed the black from the clip leaving me with the white static now residing on my clip. To further the effectiveness of the clip and make it look more realistic i added some colour grading affects to the film clip,  firstly i added the sharpen raising it to about 0.7 this function defined the blacks in each clip making the highlights stand out and making the footage look even grainier. Following this was the prism effect which i kept at a low rate 0.1 or 0.2 was enough as it gives the footage a slight distortion and de-colourisation that would have accompanied an old VHS tape. After this it was just a process of colour grading and tweaking the exposure and saturation of each clip as most pieces of footage were shot in different settings with different light sources etc.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.11.22.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.10.32.png

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.13.28.pngScreen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.12.21.pngScreen Shot 2016-03-21 at 13.13.18.png

Some of the images below represent the style i was aiming for when creating my VHS static in final cut pro. The research i conducted into VHS static helped me a lot when deciding on what to do with my film. In the end i decided to go with a VHS overlay i found on the internet, the user when messaged agreed that the use of this footage in my film would be fine. This VHS static was just the right amount as it didn’t show too much crackling on screen or colour distortion, however it did show small grains of static which was just enough for my footage to look like it was straight out of the 80’s

Production

Production has finally begun, the project has been split into two sections, named portion one – the robbery and hospital and portion two – origin story, which will be filmed on two separate days due to location distance and actor availability, as both settings are reasonably well distanced (out of walking distance) we have to film on two separate nights to ensure a lift to said destination can be secured. Further more actor availability is also important as some nights of the week my actors are otherwise occupied with external activities so we have come together using various social media platforms to discuss times and dates that fit everyones personal calendars. Following the script and storyboard to rough degree allowed me to insert and remove particular scenes of lines from the film that i felt didn’t work as well, removing completely or swapping for more suited lines/scenes. One problem with the production was the percentage of charge left in the camera we were using ( Canon 7D ) as we reached the set for the second portion of the film – the origin story we soon realised that the camera was low in battery power meaning we had to use its limited life strategically turning it on when we were all certain of what we were doing.

In conclusion i found the whole production process to be a success, i feel that all went smoothly as i relied heavily on a lot of the work and research i had conducted prior to the shoot, next is the editing process which i will include with screenshots on this blog.

pre – production

This is my plan as to what needs to happen prior to my production, including final script checks, finalisation of costumes and props and ensuring that my actors are prepared for filming. I had to check that both locations for filming were available, the first set which was were the robbery and hospital scenes were set to take place were fine however the second portion of the film was set to be shot under Hilddeshiem Bridge but due to an abrupt gypsy establishment we have been forced to with hold filming for this section until the settlement has moved on, as it could endanger some of the crew and or actors involved in this production.

Both portions of the film take place at night to further emphasise the films dark and mysterious themes, consequently this also means that filming is going to be harder as the noise levels at night tend to be higher than they do during the day as not a lot of light is let into the cameras lens. This therefore means that lambing equipment will have to strategically placed in order to reduce the noise imbalance and boost the films quality. However the noise/static on the clip can be passed of as VHS style static and therefore linked to my 80’s theme. For this project i will be shooting on a Canon 7D, a cinematic camera with a 55mm lens. A high quality but relatively cheap camera that produces high quality clips and is ideal for my production. i have also equipped a 12 strip LED light to the camera to make the outside shots more visible, making them easier to edit and colour correct on post production.

I also brought the script, storyboard and shortlist as a guideline for my production, although i added in a few lines here and there that i thought would improve the overall quality of the film and make it more interesting for the audience. I also brought the props, these included the hockey mask for the second portion of the film and the guns and costumes for the first portion of the film.