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.

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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

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY – SCENE TWO

I feel as though I was more than prepared for shooting this second scene which concludes the film and brings it to its tragic ending. Concerning location, I had done extensive amounts of research, planning and tests shots that really worked to my advantage during the shoot in that I really had gotten the right place to film which lead to no problems shooting there. You can see my work with locations around the area and specifically around the area my group decided to shoot at by clicking on the hyperlinks provided.

Cinematography was not an issue either. I had previously captured the car featured in scene extensively and was more than familiar with its shapes, which made me confident in making it look attractive in my shots. Examples of photos I shot can be seen below.

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I had planned out what lenses to use for each individual shot, such as the first shot, being a wide shot, being filmed with a wide lens (18-55mm). Another example would be the close ups I featured in my scene which I filmed used a 55-200mm lens. Using a lens like this that’s capable of zooming in so far creates the isolated feel I wanted for the scene by compressing each layer in the frame in on each other. This isolated feel is also created by being able to get up close to our actor, Peter Glanfield, which also emphasises his emotion in the shot.

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Here’s the owner of the car, Andrew Bell, posing a model to experiment with lighting before filming commenced. This gives us more time to experiment, concerning intensity and positioning, and more time to shoot.

Lighting a scene is vital in filmmaking. Rarely can you approach a location and immediately start to film. As well as creating an atmosphere, lighting is significant in showing everything in the scene clearly. The camera is not nearly as sensitive to light as the human eye; just because you can see what’s in the frame well doesn’t mean the camera will achieve the same. I used three-point lighting for my scene which I discuss extensively in the video below.

Despite having these three studio lights, I decided to substitute the backlight for the car park’s street light as it seemed to appear more natural. I think the shots looked great with the lighting and everything that’s significant in the frame is lit clearly and effectively.

2The image above was captured at the final position the camera poses during the first shot of the scene which was achieved using a crane. I think this is one of the best lit shots of the sequence due to the focus on the car, the insignificance of the background and the all-around well-lit subject. In order to achieve this shot, I first realised the natural light source was coming from the right side of the frame and so, to make a natural-looking shot, I positioned my key light here, and to balance it out and to light the car’s grill I used a fill light.

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Here, you can see the role the key light played during a shot later in the scene.

3For the safety of everyone involved in the scene, Andrew took the time to go through the actions Peter would have to undertake for the second shot. Under my direction, Peter had to get in the car, appear preoccupied and anxious before starting the car, turning on the headlights, appear to run over a push-chair and show his reaction all in one shot. Using a 200mm zoom lens was how we achieve the effect of running something over. As I mentioned before, zoom lenses compress layers in a frame and so while the push chair was a few feet away from the car, it appeared inches away from the grill. This made the shot safe and unthreatening to those involved.

“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 CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS

So what’s going on with mine and Jannath’s short film production? Thanks to our great organisational skills and my motivation I’d say we’ve worked at a good pace and right now have done a considerable about of work. Despite this there is more to do and it’s time to clarify what’s done and what’s to be done.

SCENE ONE IS DONE. This is the cinema scene and perhaps the most complex and difficult part to film however, it’s over and done with. The footage turned out great, the shots were nicely executed and the actors’ great performances really shine on screen. The audio recording, despite moments of noise, is at a great quality. I’m really happy with the result which has been taken to Final Cut Pro editing software and is almost complete.

What’s next is the second scene and part of this has already been executed by myself. I took the time out to organise the shoot which revolves around a car parking lot. The location and date has been set, the actor involved is ready to go and the car is available for us to shoot. All aspects of our pre-production has been completed and so I’m ready to take on the task of filming when it happens. After this is completed, all that needs to be done is editing it all together, finishing the film poster and the film review page. It’s likely our film will be close to being done by Christmas.