CONSTRUCTION OF A MAGAZINE REVIEW

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As part of my research into similar media products concerning magazine film reviews, I thoroughly analysed the medium which can be seen in this blog here however, this was very much an individual exercise to expand my knowledge. In order for Jannath, my teammate, and I to learn more about film reviews, we found a vast range of examples to look at together. You can see us doing this above.

After understanding the conventional composition of the reviews, we put together a draft featuring two photos and a layout that drew inspiration from the products we studied. The video below illustrates parts of my construction process of Adobe’s PhotoShop and shows a number of problems I had to overcome to get the high quality review I wanted. You’ll see how I tackled getting the right font and how I correctly arranged the different elements in the piece.

After many attempts towards this layout, I found that it wasn’t what I wanted. It didn’t quite capture the mood or tone of my film, Screen Three, which film reviews tend to do. I thoroughly experimented and continued to contact Jannath through Facebook to discuss the successes and failures of the piece. Facebook works as an effective and accessible way to send images and receive response and you can see below. During the editing processes when I wasn’t with Jannath I could easily update her with what I had in mind and we could evaluate together to get the best result possible.

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Below is a video showing the composition of our film review. The clip reveals every element that we pieced together to create our review such as the images, the different layers of text and the shapes involved.

EDITING

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Editing was a process Jannath and I collaborated on. Above you’ll see the finished edit consisting of a number of video files cut together, audio files and text.

In order to get a further understanding of the editing process, I read Walter Murch’s “In The Blink Of An Eye” which is truly a goldmine for editors. It explains the reasoning behind every cut which you should consider and offers a in-depth analysis of the editing process.

In The Blink Of An Eye

Below is the basic composition of what my timeline appeared like throughout post-production. The blue file is my footage; the visual file recorded by my Canon 600D which I’ve imported. Below that you’ll find a piece of media that is green. This is audio, and in this case, this is audio that was recorded externally using a RODE microphone and a Zoom H1 digital recorder. What’s left is the other audio that plays over the entire first scene; The Night of the Living Dead soundtrack. This is present in the timeline in order to tell the audience a movie is being played and adds digetic sounds into the scene.

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Due to the hand-held look I was going for in this moment of despair for Peter, I managed to feature one of our film-making lights into the frame which completely ruins the magic of the piece by revealing this equipment. Someone might assume this footage is unusable but that someone would be wrong! By keyframing the video files movement in relation to canvas we have to work with in Final Cut Pro, I could successfully zoomed in the footage and move it up over time which carefully and successfully hid the light. With the help of the letterboxing this was also accomplished.

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Making cuts is easy with Final Cut Pro. One can either change from the arrow manually to the Blade tool or simply press “B” to begin cutting. All that needs to be done once this tool is selected is to find the right point and click!

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In order to make audio appear smoothly and naturally, often I used a fade for my audio files so either the sound begins silent and becomes louder, or it is loud and gradually becomes silent. You can see my using it below.

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PUTTING A FIRST EDIT TOGETHER

In order to begin our film poster, Jannath and I needed a clear understanding on the purpose of the media and how it was constructed. We did this by looking at a range of film posters from all sorts of pieces, but especially from those belonging to the drama genre.

Whilst both being dramas, He Got Game (Spike Lee, 1998) and The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999) are two very different films and their posters illustrate this.

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We had the photo we wanted to use so our next move was to open it within PhotoShop and begin editing. By studying the content and composition of various posters of films, particularly those from the drama genre, I had the knowledge of how to put together this poster and PhotoShop allowed me to put it together. Using the website, Facebook, Jannath and I could easily share our feelings towards elements of our poster at different stages. We were able to discuss what worked and what didn’t work, and you can see this below.

discussion

I sent her screenshots of the two images below. This provided her with a visual presentation of what I had been working on and together we could come to a conclusion on an issue. In this case, we were discussing where the time should go; above or below the central image.

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22 layersAbove is the image I manipulated as the main element of my poster. By adding adjustments such as “Contrast” and “Levels” and masking on PhotoShop, I was able to make a much more stylistic image that was true to the tone of the film. It also made a more appealing photo that more easily fitted into the poster’s black background. To the left here is the alternative layers that worked together to create the final piece. Images in PhotoShop are composed from a series of layers such as smaller images, shapes and text and layers. If a layer is above another layer in the layers window, such as “Layer 14” is to “Layer 13”, it will appear above it in the workspace. Many layers were pieced together to make the final piece below.

The majority of the layers in my poster were text which consisted of different fonts set out differently; having alternative spacing and sizes. Manipulating the settings of the text was vital in getting the right look, rather than sticking to the default settings.

poster edit 1 swag

“HOW DID YOU DO THAT?” – IMAGE MANIPULATION AND ENHANCEMENT

This post is all about the processes and technologies behind beginning to create a poster for our film, “Screen Three”. In the video below I talk about editing Jannath’s sketch, taking this image as inspirational for our poster photo and editing this photo on PhotoShop.

The slideshow below will give you a closer look at the plans we did for our poster. Clicking on each image will enlarge them and will feature more details and them and how they’re made.

The original sketch that served an a draft for our poster communicating content and composition.Art by Jannath Hussain.

The original sketch that served an a draft for our poster communicating content and composition.Art by Jannath Hussain.

The edited poster plan achieved through Adobe's PhotoShop.

The edited poster plan achieved through Adobe’s PhotoShop.

THE COMPONENTS OF A FILM POSTER

This video nicely demonstrates how a film poster is constructed in a very conscious way  where every element in the piece is strategically chosen and positioned. The purpose for a film poster is to advertise a film and attract attention for a production which is achieved through a number of ways.

Described in the video as “the first line of attack” in getting people to see the film, film posters must give suggestions to answer two important questions about a production; what’s the mood of the film and what genre does it fall into? For example, if we look at The Silence Of The Lambs movie poster there is a sense of unease as an emotionless face stares back at us while a grotesque moth rests on the mouth of this person. It’s disturbing and sinister, and the dark atmosphere it communicates suggests the film its advertising is a horror or a thriller of some kind. It appears to be a serious looking film due to the lack of emotion and has a important quality of successful film posters; it’s eye-catching and memorable.

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The poster for The Silence of the Lambs drew from the dark work of Salvador Dali, shown above. Investing time researching artists might work to our advantage for our poster production.

Posters can communicate cast. If we return to The Silence Of The Lambs movie poster we seen Jodie Foster who upon the release of the film was an established actress and a familiar face to many from both T.V. and cinema screens with such roles as Iris Steensma in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976). Although posters can feature no cast or an ensemble, featuring a member of cast who audiences will recognise will be rewarding for the production and increase interest. With our poster however, we only have amateur actors who, despite being brilliant, won’t ring bells when viewers see like as though they saw a Robert De Niro or a Tom Cruise perhaps. Having the cast on the poster is a great way to tell viewers what the film’s about and might also create attraction for the movie if they’re interested in the actors they see.

The composition of these characters amongst the poster is also very important and you can see this below when the annotated image I created.

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THE TITLE

Within the first few days of editing, Jannath noticed the blank screen accompanied with “The Night of the Living Dead” soundtrack could be put to better use. She thought we could have our film’s title there to introduce the production and I think this will add a great touch to the production. It would add to the effect we planned out to achieve with the seemingly non-digetic music becoming digetic, which means it purports to be from the world of the film.

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With the help of “dafont.com” Jannath and I were able to find a font that suited and said something about our film. This had to be a very concious decision and we both took time in deciding what to look for. I began with looking at more messy-looking fonts to be reminiscent of the chaos that is to come later in the film however, soon it came apparent that I was looking in the wrong place. We began looking at fonts similar to those used in cinemas since we thought using one of these will more thoroughly set the scene of the movie theatre and add to the atmosphere, which is created by the sound of the film being played. There were dozens to choose from and we came across “Bellerose”.

dafont pageAfter installing the font, for free as dafont supplies, I took to PhotoShop to experiment. Part of the editing process I did can be seen at the top of this blog as I messed around to try and get the title I envision. Bellerose had the balance between the old-school-cinematic-look and a certain quirkiness I think our font needed. You can judge for yourself by looking at the lists of its characters below.

BELLEROSE

THE SHOOT – 11/11/13

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After months of scripting and storyboarding and organising actors and locations and getting continuingly shot down, Monday 11th of November saw our first day of principal photography. I was over the Moon to finally get behind the camera and to get the chance to shoot what Jannath and I had brewing in our minds but thanks to my determination in getting things on the road, we got there.

I spoke to my actors over Facebook and arranged a date and a time period for shooting that would suit their schedules before talking to The Red Lion Theatre’s Chairman in regards to the same matter. It was far more sensible that I set a date my actors were happy with rather than organising with the establishment and dragging them along. As the date grew closer and closer I was preparing more and more for the shoot by learning the script for myself as a director  and finalising the shot list for the scene.

Thanks to the Media department at school we were able to book out valuable pieces of equipment that really helped the production process. I had two tripods in my own possession however, these would only serve purpose for the two cameras that I had and yet, I still needed something to hold up my lighting equipment. The department were helpful enough to let us borrow two tripods, sound recording equipment that you can read about here and a dolly and track. School also helped me significantly by letting me have a projector over night to create the cinematic effect. The pressure was on since this was an expensive piece of equipment that was cost me and Jannath considerably if it got damaged. With all this equipment I was taking to the shoot I didn’t think twice about preparing a checklist to improve my organisation and to make sure I had everything I needed. You can see this list below and the “BEFORE” column concerns what I brought to the shoot in my car whilst the “AFTER” is in regards to what I took home with me. This proved as a great tool to help me organise everything.

ChecklistThe location was as perfect for our production as I remembered upon visiting it. The classic red seats, the lighting, the size of the room, were all what I had envisioned for the scene. I was more than happy to work here and after greeting Shirley, the Chairwoman, inside I couldn’t have prepared for the shoot any quicker. From my car, Jannath and I unloaded our equipment and although we couldn’t use the light-box (seen in the top right of the image below) I confidently compromised in carefully setting up the projector with my DVD-playing-laptop in the ledge next to it (hidden by the curtain). Despite this set-back, it turned out fine and perhaps more effective in that it was lower to our actors which made a more dramatic effect. We set up the dolly and track, attached the lights to tripods and arranged popcorn as the actors came in right on time. While we were preparing our “set”, the actors went away to rehearse theirs lines as I instructed and were happy to do so. It was at this point when I knew we had something promising in that their line delivery which I overheard was great and far better than what I had expected.

a shoot 5Filming itself went great. Jannath controlled the lights by adjusting their intensity from low to high creating the film projector that would have been in the cinema. I focused on the actors, the camerawork, directing the production and managing the team’s time so we could collect enough footage and complete the scene.

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