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.

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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.

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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.

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COMBINING POSTERS AND ILLUSTRATIONS


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In order to experiment with poster ideas, I used Jannath’s artistic talents to replicate the work we researched together concerning illustrate film poster. Above is an early draft Jannath put together using a still from our film.

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Above and to the left are examples of illustrated film posters from the Star Wars series. These have remained some of the finest and most famous examples of this technique of construction. The painted faces create an appealing look that Jannath and I wanted to replicate. In the video below, you can see the process I undertook in PhotoShop in order to enhance the image and match it to the style of Screen Three.

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Despite the success of the image above, Jannath wanted something more detailed and so she independently pursued a painting that would be used for the poster piece. This technique of creating images is far better than the pencil drawing since it offers a much nicer, authentic look.

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I made a number of alternations on PhotoShop to the high quality image I captured with my Canon 600D camera. Examples of these stage can be seen above such as adding darkness to areas of the photo, and adding text to create the poster. Our final piece can be seen below.poster 2 edit

ADDITIONAL SOUND RECORDING

The majority of the sound in regards to the first scene of our film, Screen Three, was recorded whilst we filmed. Recorded externally, I synced up the audio with the footage on Final Cut Pro’s timeline and worked to create the desired sound perspective and quality for the dialogue however, some sounds needed to be added in post production.

I wanted the “Youths” to be as aggravating as possible. They’re intended to irritate the film’s protagonist and also, the audience and so, in order to emphasise this idea, I recorded myself munching on popcorn and added it in when the footage needed it. When Gareth’s character bites into the snack for the first time in the scene we hear a loud crunch which arguably suggests his ignorance in his quiet, hushed enviroment and quickly gives the audience a first glimpse into his personality, especially when paired with the bashfully delivered dialogue.

Professional Sound Recordist, Grant Bridgeman, on set doing his thang!

Professional Sound Recordist, Grant Bridgeman, on set doing his thang!

The BFI Film Academy course I’m undertaking offers filmmakers, like myself, the chance to meet industry professionals to help us improve our talents. Recently I was lucky enough to meet Grant Bridgeman; a sound recordist who has worked on productions such as ITV’s television series, Mr Selfridge. He went through the do’s and don’ts of recording sound and made a short video clip highlighting errors inexperienced recordists like myself might make. This included distortion, interference with elements such as traffic and an insight into sound perspective. Sound perspective concerns a sound’s position in space as perceived by the viewer given by volume, timbre, and pitch. Getting it right is vital in creating the right effect. For example, if a wide shot makes an actor appear as small as an ant, having the dialogue he’s delivering seem close to the viewer and loud is very distracting and unnatural.

His job concerns“the art of capturing sound without comprising the image”.

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IMDB’s page on Grant Bridgeman displaying parts of his impressive filmography.

Despite the lack of light, warmth or energy to much of anything, my father and I visited when he keeps his vehicles to record additional sound. With the Zoom H1 digital recorder and a pair of my UrBeats headphones, we recorded a range of actions such as the car starting up, lurching forward, braking to a halt and finally the engine simply running whilst the car’s stationary. Thanks to my headphones I could check for any interference while I was recorded and so I ended up with great quality sound that went straight in my film. I also recorded the pushchair falling over and a female scream to add to the intensity of the finale.

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If you look below you can see an area of my timeline during post-production on Final Cut Pro. Each file is explained on the left of the image.

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IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

One half of Electric Egg -  Steven Hatton

One half of Electric Egg –
Steven Hatton

During the first few sessions of the BFI course at Lincoln University, as a group we were lucky enough to be taught by the video production, photography and animation company; Electric Egg. This consisted of Neil Baker and Steven Hatton and amongst the vast knowledge they handed over to us to feed off concerning the origins of cinema, the manipulation of film reel, how to “read” a piece of filmmaking and much more, a book was mentioned to us as valuable learning material. It was stressed that us students got our hands on it and as days passed I began to hear more and more about this book, such as from my Media Studies teacher who also recommended it to me.

In The Blink Of An Eye

My copy of Murch’s masterful “perspective on film editing”.

The book is “In The Blink Of An Eye” by Walter Murch, which serves as a “perspective on film editing”. Editing is a huge part of making a film. The “puzzle”, which is a word Murch uses to describe the process of piecing together a movie in post-production, can make or break a piece. It can create and stimulate effects whilst being capable of r undermining or destroying others and so the editor, or the editors in some cases, play a vital role in the creation of a film, or any form of moving image for that matter.

Murch’s book works to my advantage through the “wealth of first-hand knowledge” it communicates and every page thrives with information from an experienced, talented and intelligent film editor. Early in the book I realised the significance, the freedom and the true, inevitable effect editing has on the audience. It is not an element of filmmaking to be over-looked and should be taken very seriously and executed with much care and thought.

As Fred Zinneman describes in the book, Murch’s piece acts as “wealth of first-hand knowledge about the mysteries of giving birth to a film”. As a “perspective on editing”, it truly helped me identify the psychological reasoning behind a cut and the vast possibilities a sequence of clips can have if edited together differently. It has significantly influenced me by giving me a deeper understanding of how editing works and the priorities a film should have. Murch’s “Rule Of Six” puts “emotion” at the very top of a filmmaker’s priorities, and this idea is something that has significantly influenced my filmmaking for the better. The second half of the book discusses the change to digital editing that has occurred over the last decade and details Murch’s experience with Final Cut. This serves me nicely since Final Cut Pro is the editing system Jannath and I will be using to assemble our film, Screen Three,

“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.