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Thursday, 17 February 2011


Sound and Diegesis are a key contributors to an excellent Thriller opening. They create an aspect of suspense and gives you a better feel of the tense thriller setting. Diegesis is the sound that the audience can hear but the characters can't which. This is an extremely good method of creating a tense atmosphere rather than just shooting the scene, as it adds a different dimension to the whole opening sequence.

GAPA Productions' Sounds
For the first part of the sequence it is set in a house. Without the diegesis i can see the audience losing interest but when we added a tense soundtrack then it really brought the clip to life. We decided to get a tense soundtrack that would create suspense, we got this track of youtube. Obviously with youtube, we had to be careful with copyright, but for this track it was only a beat that in the info box it read 'you can use my track'.

For the second part of the sequence set down a nearby alleyway, that looks gloomy and dull. The diegesis will be more upbeat than the the sound before, but still include the gloomy and eerie beat that creates a sense of tension. I created this soundtrack on garageband, by blending sound clips that were already stored on garageband.

Sound Effects

We used many electrical or technological sounds as this signifies that the storyline is based around a powerful technological objects. For example we showed some clips of the protagonist putting his blazer on, with a camera shutter sound to create the correct effect. For the opening credits we also used electrical sounds to get a feel for the storyline and to attract the audience, also we did the same effect for the end title.

Shooting Our Production

When filming we managed to gather a lot of footage and we did this in a short period of time making us efficient. The footage was also captured through many angles so this gave us a variety of shots when editing. We all worked well and knew what our jobs where, Guy as camera man who managed to capture a wide variety of shots from different angles and heights. The atmosphere was very dark and gloomy so this helped to create the right Mise-en-scene as it was very eerie. Also the group had the right props, e.g. clothing so this helped us to create the look of sophisticated business men which also helped us to represent a particular social group.

When filming the only problem that occurred was our location was to rural. It needed to be more urban so with more planning and preparation this could have been achieved. Also when we first initially thought of ideas we kept changing them which wasted a lot of valuable time that could have been spent editing more and adding better effects to our production. We filmed in one location in Peterborough which proved unsuccessful due to not having permission to film in that area. The second time also proved unsuccessful as we came back with little footage and we couldn’t meet requirements of making it 2 minuets long. The third time proved successful as we met all the requirements and got a wide range of footage. We could also create a lot of camera effects from the footage which was beneficial.

We overcame these problems by researching into locations that were darker and would help to create the right effect for our production. We all felt the location we picked was right for our production as it was gloomy and dark creating a mysterious effect. The problem with the camera battery was overcome as we managed to charge it at the location and still film as it was indoors.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Media Evalutaion

Our task in Media was to produce a two minuet long opening of a thriller genre film which we had to plan, film and then edit. The film had to fit in to the thriller genre and contain common elements and conventions that are seen in the thriller film. The opening had to be clear but yet contain an aspect of suspense to keep the audience anticipating and wanting to watch more. It also had to contain a plot that was believable with characters that fitted their roles to be as realistic as possible, an effective dialogue and sound effects that helped to build or break the tension. The location was also key as this helped to create the right atmosphere for our thriller.

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

A thriller is a book, film or play depicting crime, or espionage in an atmosphere of excitement and suspense. Thriller films are usually based around the life of the protagonist and the events that the protagonist must overcome. Typical conventions that thrillers contain are:
  • quick cuts
  •  music that builds the tension
  • lighting and use of shadowing that creates suspense
  •  flashbacks
  • P.O.V shots that make it more personal towards the protagonist.
  • a plot based around the protagonist
  • typical setting of an urban city

In thriller films such as Martin Campbell’s, ‘Casino Royale’ the use of flashbacks in the opening scene create a sense of chaos as the shots quickly cut back and forward. This creates suspense as the audience isn’t fully aware of everything that takes place in the scene.

    Casino Royale                                                Our Thriller

The use of P.O.V shots can be used to create a personal perspective of the protagonist and this is shown in Quentin Tarantino’s, ‘Reservoir Dogs’. The use of P.O.V shots helps the audience to see through the protagonist’s eyes showing vulnerability but more importantly it can be used to show authority. From this low angle shot we can infer that the character looking up has less authority as this camera shot creates a sense of vulnerability. It shows authority from the three males in suits from the way they look down onto this character and also their appearance showing power.

I feel many aspects of our opening have been inspired from other director’s pieces, such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’ and Richard Kelly’s ‘Donnie Darko. These two films that I studied and analysed have given me different ideas on what conventions to use in my opening and on what shots will be the most effective to create effects of suspense and tension to make my thriller opening as spine chilling as possible.

The opening of our thriller begins with the institution that we felt would be suitable to advertise our film “Warner Bros”. We then use a mid shot through a black and white effect of the protagonist answering a phone call. The non diegetic music is tense and has a consistent low beat. The protagonist then begins to open a safe and we use a shot from inside the safe to capture a close up still image with the name of the character. Then protagonist then removes an object from the safe and places it into his bag through another mid shot. We then see various quick cut still images of the protagonist putting on his coat and leaving his house with his case. We then have a panning shot of the alley the protagonist is walking through. A P.O.V shot is taken through the eyes of the protagonist where he sees two middle aged business men pointing and looking at him. The music slowly starts to become more upbeat and we here the diegetic sound of the heart rate of the protagonist increase too create tension and to build it to a climax. We then have a close up still image of one of the business men followed by his characters name and then a chase scene begins. The music then becomes more upbeat to create a sense of chaos. We then have numerous panning shots of the business man chasing the protagonist. We then have a high angle CCTV shot of the two characters running down another alley. The protagonist gets to the end of the alley and we see the second business man and have still image of him followed by the characters name. The protagonist is trapped and then the two business men take the case off him, the protagonist then flees and through a P.O.V shot the business men open the case to find it’s empty. The title of the film “Identity” is then typed on screen with a negative camera effect and a futuristic sound effect.


We used these conventions to create effects of suspense, tension and also to add a futuristic aspect to our opening. The use of flashbacks helped us to create suspense along with ending our thriller on a cliff-hanger. The flashback was a file of the protagonist which was cut quickly to build to the tension. The tension was built using the soundtrack that built the tension to climaxes when the point of action was at its highest. The futuristic effect was created by the lighting on various shots and also the negative effect on the title added to this. We chose to use these conventions
This link is to the soundtrack of our thriller which shows how it was used to create tension at certain points.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Representation of a social group is how that group is presented in a form of Media; the main groups are gender, age, race and social class. The representations of these groups can cause some criticism from the Media in everyday life so as misrepresenting certain groups.  
Our Media product didn’t generally represent any social groups except for mid ages business men. They were portrayed as upper class, intellectual men who were confident and this showed authority over other characters although this may be argued. We showed the business men to be wearing designer suits to signify wealth and power. The business men were also portrayed to be mentally superior as they were able to keep calm in situations and act confidently.  

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

There are many institutes that would be willing to distribute our media product but it was choosing the right one for our film. Such institutes as Warner Bros, DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures and Miramax Films would all be good examples but they all specialise in there own genre. I felt that “Warner Bros” would be suitable through my research and as they have promoted such films as “Goodfellas” and “Inception”. These two films have been rated in the top ten all time thriller films by

Warner Bros would be the most suitable institution as these two films it has promoted are two of the top rated thriller genre films. This fits into the genre of thriller films so this would be the right institution for our film. The company had a turn over of $11.7billion in 2007 showing it is clearly a financially successful business and the directors they have employed are renowned for there use of conventions.

Who would be the audience for your media product?

From the research we did and the answers we received this gave us a clear understanding of what audience best fit out thriller film. We asked such questions as “do you feel PG or 12A films are more popular than 15 and 18 rated films?” and “what conventions do you find useful effective in film openings” in our questionnaire. We also asked demographical question such as age and gender to help us to target a specific group of people. We came to a conclusion that we would target the age group of 12/12A for our audience as the research suggested this age group preferred the thriller genre and also people found PG and 12A films to be more popular. The questionnaire also helped us to discover that flashbacks are most effective in film openings.

British Board of Film Classification
Suitable only for those aged 12 and over. No-one younger than 12 can rent or buy a 12 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game. Films in this category may include infrequent drugs, infrequent use of strong language, brief nudity, discreet sexual activity, and moderate violence.
Our group picked our film to be rated 12 as it has potential to include moderate violence and infrequent strong language. We did consider altering our thriller opening to be less violent and less strong language as we have included some supernatural fantasy, which the younger generation may enjoy, but we decided against that idea.

How did you attract/address your audience?

To attract our audience we had to use common conventions when filming our opening such as flashbacks, sound effects and a soundtrack to help build the tension to climaxes.
These conventions helped to keep the audience compelled on what was going to happen next. The use of various camera shots, such as the panning shots during the chase scene helped to create chaos as the audience wasn’t fully aware of everything that was happening which helped to make the audience feel uneasy as they would be concerned for the safety of the protagonist. Our opening wasn’t very extravagant in the sense that it contained violent murder scenes such as the one in “Psycho” or chase scenes such as the one in “Casino Royale”. Our thriller did contain a chase scene but to fit into BBFC guidelines, as we were producing a 12A film, we had to make sure the scene contained no extravagant violence or strong language. From our audience feedback interview that we conducted we received positive feedback but we also received feedback saying that the chase scene needed to be shortened as it became slightly repetitive. The use of flashbacks of the protagonists file gave a mysterious effect as it quickly cut in during scenes to add the aspect of mystery and confusion for the audience.

I feel overall that we met the needs and expectations of our audience as we targeted it too the right age group which we gathered from the questionnaire, we used a wide variety of camera angles that helped to give a vary of shots, the use of low beat and high beat sound effects to build up the tension and finally by using different camera effects such as black and white and negative.
Also from our audience feedback we received positive and negative feedback that was constructive about our opening of our thriller. This was useful as the feedback we received helped us to improve our opening and it helped us to spot what conventions worked well. They said the diegesis and narrative kept them compelled and wanting to watch more. We added a black and white caption to create a flashback effect and also the soundtrack helped to create the tension.  The only criticism we received was saying that the chase scene needed to be shortened as it became slightly repetitive.

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

Whilst producing the film I learned a wide variety of filming techniques and editing skills. From shooting we learnt that by changing the height of the camera this could be used to show authority and also it could be used to show vulnerability. If the camera was at a high angle it is used to show authority over another character but if it’s at a low angle and is looking up upon a character, it can be used to show vulnerability and weak such as a victim. Using extreme close up shots are used to focus the attention of the audience on the specific thing or it is used to show the emotion of a character. We also learned the 1800 rule which basically means to pretend that there is an invisible line thorough the scene when you are filming and editing the specific scene, mustn't move to the other side of the line, as you need to maintain spatial relationship, meaning the characters must be on the correct side of the camera throughout. When we filmed our preliminary task we learnt that using different camera effects could add futuristic effects or even portray the mood of the characters. Also to be able to edit our footage we needed to be able to use the iMovie application. We had to learn basic skills like cutting scenes, adding sound and fading shots together as a way of transition. Once we picked these basics up we began to add camera effects in to create flashbacks and futuristic effects to our production. We also turned a high angle shot into a CCTV shot by adding a black and white effect and a date and time to create a realistic aspect to our opening.

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

Over the months I have learned a wide variety of skills when filming and also when editing. When we filmed our preliminary task we gained a lot of ideas on what conventions we thought would succeed in making our thriller stand out but when we came to filming we found some of the previous conventions weren’t as effective as we thought. So this meant we had too ref-film our opening not once but twice. The footage we got the second time wasn’t long enough so we had to re-shoot. I have learnt that planning is the key to making a successful opening, e.g. making a detailed storyboard of every shot and the dialogue of every character to avoid having to re-film due to not having enough footage. Overall I generally feel that our group learnt a lot as we progressed every time we re-filmed and we all worked well and managed to discuss our ideas and not experience any arguments.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Other Thriller Openings

When planning our thriller opening we researched other thriller films to give us an idea of what conventions work well in thriller openings.

Casino Royale

In Casino Royale the opening scene was in black and white to signify that scene is a memory or flashback. This is one convention that we were inspired to use in our thriller opening as it helped to add to the thriller genre. The sound effects were also only used during the action scenes to build the tension and also the mise-en-scene is very dark to add to tension.


In Se7en the opening is very unusual in the sense that in isn't a full scene but various clips quickly cut which is effective as it creates a sense of rush from the protagonist. The soundtarck is also very eerie adding to the tension that is created from the gloomy mise-en-scene. 

The Locations of Our Thriller

 This shot is the bedroom we will be using, but we will edit to lighting to create and eerie atmosphere with a tense diegesis. This clip will be in black and white, as this is the location for the flashback.

This shot is the whereabouts of where the protagonist will be walking as he leaves the house. This shot will have an effect on to create more tension.

This shot is the alleyway where the chase scene takes place. This alley was the best location we could find to fit in with the mise-en-scene.
 This is the the still of where the chasers come from as we needed to find an alleyway which had a back alleyway for one of the hitmen to corner the protagonist in and cause him to be in a dangerous situation.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Idea 3

This idea consisted of the protagonist being a supernatural human being, with a mysterious object which leaves the audience is a sense of curiousity. In this case it was a watch that has a certain power, which only the protagonist can control and no-one else can use its powers(Only the protagonist knows this).

-However as he commences on his journey he is stopped by some mysterious men, and a chase scene occurs.
-Then they corner the protagonist in and steal the package, just to find nothing as the powers of the protagonist has caused the package to fanish leaving suspense for the audience.

Location- Ashley's house and then a nearby alleyway.

Costume- Suits to add sophisication.
Soundtrack- A spooky soundtrack for the bedroom, then an upbeat tense track for the chase scene.
-So at the start of the sequence there will be a flashback of the protagonist of conceling the object and leaving the house, heading to show someone.

Idea 2

An extraordinary man is in the park where he is at a standstill, whilst the world blurs past time.
The man has an eerie presence about him, something not quite right. As the camera pans on him there is blood/scars/dirt on his face, however it is not his own blood but someone or something’s blood. Another character then follows him but the protagonist still stands there motionless. As the other character approaches, the protagonist vanishes, leaving the follower distressed.

Idea 1

The basic plot was, the protagonist is lying in bed, and he has a flashforward to something that potentially may occur, this then frightens him and he bolts upright in bed panting. I feel we didn't chose this idea as it didn't coincide with our audience research and it is too conventional as a thriller opening, and we wanted to produce something more unique.

The Plot To Our Media Production

For our Media A Level our coursework was to produce the opening of a thriller genre film. It had to be atleast 2 minuets long and consist of common conventions used in other typical thriller films.


Our idea is about a extraordinary man who moved to England from America as he was a wanted man, and he wanted to start a new life. He wanted to forget his past and stay quiet and live privately, however he had an overpowering love for time travelling. As he was in America he came across a device that could change everything, but he was the only human to have control of it. He now finds out his idea has come to light and many people are after him and his device, so he attempts to protect himself and the supernatural object.

This idea has developed from Idea 3 in our thriller ideas page and we must make sure we use the conventions that contribute to a successful thriller opening. Our mise-en-scene will be eerie as spooky throughout with various effects enhancing the narrative. Also our diegesis will be very effective as most thrillers need a soundtrack for them to work, and it is a real contributor to a hugely successful thriller opening sequence. Our location could be better, but i feel we make up for it as we use various effects and our costumes are effective as the narrative is about a secretive supernatural man, and a suit fits in perfectly.

Independent Films

An independent film, or indie film, is a film that is produced mostly outside of a majot film studio. The term also refers to art films which differ noticeably from most mass marketed films. In addition to being produced by independent production companies, independent films are often produced and/or distributed by subsidiaries of major studios. In order to be considered independent, less than half of a film's financing should come from a major studio.

DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation SKG is devoted to producing high-quality family entertainment through the use of computer-generated (CG) animation. With world-class creative talent and technological capabilities, our goal is to release two CG animated feature films a year that deliver great stories, breathtaking visual imagery and a sensibility that appeals to both children and adults.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros entertainment is a very successful instutution that has distributed many successful films such as Inception, The book of Eli and the Harry Potter sequel. One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank, California and New York City. Warner Bros. has several subsidiary companies, including Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Founded1918 (as Warner Bros. West Coast Studios)
1923 (as Warner Bros. Pictures)
Founder    Jack Warner 
Harry Warner
Sam Warner

Albert Warner