Sunday, 23 December 2012

Storyboard and Development

Me and my group drew out our storyboard to see if we had included all the relevant information such as the timing, type of shot, transition etc. We also did it because it gives us an insight on what the opening sequence  may look like. This helps us because we can rearrange shots and see if they work or not, this stops us from making mistakes when coming to filming and preparation for our final piece. Overall, doing the storyboard has been successful as it is a guide line for me and my group when coming to make our actual final piece. It has helped us think about what shots we don't need and what shots to include. It also displayed to us what we didn't have enough of; such as high and low angles. 

This was the first storyboard that me and my group made. After putting everything in order we felt as if we needed to add in shots due to the fact some shots were either too short or went on for too long. We also put titles and transitions in to make sure we were fully prepared when it came to the editing. On each of the different storyboard sections we tried to go into a lot of detail so we would be fully prepared when it came to filming. Below is the second storyboard. Here is where we've changed and added things in. Me and my group are happy with this result as we have thought carefully about each shot and what type of angle, sound, costume will be in the shots. To improve the way we approached the second storyboard I think we should have made the notes more clearer and easy to read so when coming to making out opening sequence our notes will be understandable. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Evaluation of Continuity Task

What have I learnt from it?

From taking part in the continuity, it has evidently added to my understanding of film making process. I have learnt that you must need to make your storyboard in detail. Before doing the task I had a brief understanding on why story boarding was important but I had no idea on the depth of the detail which should be put into the storyboard. In the storyboard, me and my group tried to include all the different aspects of sound, editing and camera. However, we only used terms which only summarised what we needed to include. This did not help us whilst filming as we had to include extra parts, extra shots to make sure the clips flow properly. When making my actual storyboard I now know that I need to make sure everything is in detail so when I start filming I will not need to add and take away aspects. 

The shot list of the continuity task did help me and my group as we were precised. We worked on the timing largely to make sure that we knew the exact times of how long each of the clips would be. From this I can use these basic skills and develop them when making my actual shot list. The filming which took place within my group was very good as, as a group we were very organised. We made sure that we had all the props, actors and storyboard ready so that we could get straight into filming. The only challenged we faced whilst filming was the noise in the background was very loud which would have distracted the attention away from the clips. This has taught me that I need to think about the location of the setting and evaluate the sounds in the background to make sure it is the appropriate place to have the filming at. Furthermore, the editing was successful as each of the clips flowed (apart from a few which we decided to take out) - Apart from that the editing ran smoothly. By doing this I have also built upon my skills with using the software, Adobe Premiere which is good because I will be frequently using it when coming to editing my real coursework piece.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Discuss the ways in which ethnicity has been represented in the extract from Hotel Babylon

In the extract from Hotel Babylon the director represents many stereotypical and atypical constructions of ethnic groups, some of which may be considered and interpreted as negative. The extract opens with a wide shot whilst tracking right, this is significant because it helps the audience recognise the mise-en-scene and body gestures within the extract. The man is wearing a suit with connotes his high social status - the side view helps the audience notice the man brushing his suit down, indicating he is proud of where he works. The extract then goes onto a mid shot of two black men. One of which is portrayed as a stereotypical Jamaican man, the fact that the man has dreadlocks and no top is iconic of the culture. The over the shoulder shot of each of the characters emphasises the juxtaposition between the two opposing men, it also helps the audience see the reaction of each of the characters. The eye line match reinforce the idea of the characters being equal as the are audience are frequently viewing the two characters at the same level, physically. Each of the men have the same amount of screen time, demonstrating the balance in equality between the two characters. It is evident to the audience they have the same ethnicity due to the diegetic sound of them talking about memories and  the colour of their skin which denotes that the ethnicity is the same. Furthermore, the diagetic sound such as the dialogue convey how the upper class man is speaking standard English, however, the Jamaican man is speaking colloquial language. The significance of the two characters being the same sex displays how the gender within the ethnicity can be represented differently.

The extract then goes onto the representation of two Eastern European hotel maids. When introducing the characters, their is a lack of cuts displaying slow paced shots. This reveals to the audience the facial expression of one of the maids, looking anxious and worried. The high key lighting contrasts with her mood due to the setting being vibrant. Also, this is significant due to the atypical representation of one of the maids which juxtaposes with other stereotypically Eastern European maid who is portrayed as a more traditional stereotype of an Eastern European. This is evident to the audience through the diagetic sound such as the dialogue when she states “double for double”, revealing to the audience the idea of prostitution. The gender is also considerably important as the two characters are women, who of which are considered higher in prostitution. The non diagetic sound is parallel as the music is upbeat which sets a seductive mood throughout the scene, giving the reader a more advanced insight on the stereotypical Eastern European women. The long shot of the two maids stripping reinforces and emphasises the stereotypical culture which has been representation in an arguably negative way due to the abundance of the prostitution in Eastern European. The editing such as the shot reverse shot displays to the audience the facial expression on the Chinese man which expresses desire and desperation, representing a stereotypical Chinese businessman. The mise-en-scene reinforce the stereotypical representation as he is wearing a dressing gown, connoting he is used to the luxury lifestyle, representing his culture as wealthy.

Moreover, the ethnicity of the English culture is represented as dominant. The two English managers are introduced with a long shot, revealing the classy, sophisticated costume which signifies that they are of high power. The long shot also displays the surroundings of other characters which are portrayed as a lower status as they remove themselves from the area of which the English managers are walking through. This denotes to the audience that the English people are being represented in a stereotypical way as they seem to control the surroundings and have the power to remove characters when they are in the scene. The two characters are centralised throughout the scene, reiterating the focus on the English characters. The significance of using a male and female to represent the stereotypical English people denote that the genders are equal in the ethnicity. The diagetic ambient sound in the background helps make the scene look authentic and as there is a lot of distraction in the background, but the main focus is still on the two English people, emphasising the dominant state of power in roles which they have. The use of the diagetic sound such as the dialogue reveals to the audience that they are higher class in society as the use of standard English is frequently used throughout.

Furthermore, the opening long shot of the two chefs is significant as it reveals the two opposing ethnicities, one of which is is from Eastern Europe and the other from England. The mise-en-scene such as the costume convey the equality between both of the men as they have are employed as the same position which are chefs. However, the use of the binary opposition of the colour of clothing contradicts this as the Eastern european man is wearing darker colour clothing, signifying a dark side to the him and the representation of the  culture.  However, the Englishman is wearing a full white coloured clothing signifying purity and lack of immorality. The use of the props such as the food and cooking tools help the scene look authentic and reinforce the idea of them both working in the same job despite the different ethnicity. It is evident to the audience that one of the chefs are represented as a stereotypical Englishman, as the diagetic sound such as the dialogue reveals to the audience the use of standard english being frequently used. The second chef is introduced in a negative way due to the recurring mid shots which display his violent body gestures, representing the ethnicity of Eastern Europe as negative. The non diagetic sound is parallel as it creates tension and symbolises the frustrated feelings which both of the characters are portrayed to have. The folly diagetic sound of the knife being pulled out by the Eastern European and the close up of the Englishman looking anxious infer that the Eastern European man is in higher control which contradicts with the previous representations of them being equal.

Overall, the extract successfully displays a group of different ethnicities in a partly stereotypical way. The use of the opposing characters in the various ethnicity such as the Jamaican man and the second maid restrict the stereotyped being represented throughout. However, the director has given the audience an insight on the basic culture of each ethnicity which all could be arguably interpreted negative or positive.


By picking out and analysing the key techniques from the extract it helps me understand the affect of the technical techniques which will help me when coming to filming my coursework piece as I already have a brief outline of what the camera, mise-en-scene, editing and sound do within a piece.

Monday, 17 December 2012

First Attempt of Editing - Recreation

Last week in Media we were given a short task of recreating a title sequence which have been made from previous students. We were given the raw files for the final piece which were all in the wrong order - challenging us to rearrange the files and make clean cuts to make the clips flow. In addition to this, we had to add the sound and titles into the video. In order to do this activity we used Adobe Premiere Pro software which I was not confident with at is a new program to me.

Strengths: The editing was smooth and roughly accurate - helping the extract run efficinatly. Titles were successfully added in the same font, colour and positioning which make it similar to the real title sequence.

Weaknesses: The timing of our video was slightly longer than the original as we did not manage to cut the clips at the right time. The sound did not come in at the time which stopped the video from looking realistic. Lastly, we missed out some of the clips which is why some of the music was hard to fit in.

Overall, I have benefited from this task an extreme amount as from my weaknesses I can highlight the challenges I faced and think of ways to overcome them. The real challenge I faced was using a new software  however, now I have briefly used it I feel confident to use it again in my my real coursework piece as I have got to grips with the main features. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Continuty Task First Cut

Problems we faced  - (First cut of contintuy task)

  • Our story board wasn't detailed enough which is why we ended up adding into the clip extra shots 
  • One of the shots we had to change as we needed a stack of paper but it kept falling over so we decided we need to use a paper shelf so the paper will not physical fall over
  • Narrative was too simple - this restricted our group technically as the storyline was simple, consisting of the same type of shots
  • No non diagetic sound was included - struggled to find the appropiate sound which will fit in with the clip

How we are going to overcome these problems in our real story board?

  • Make sure when we create our real storyboard we go into detail so that we do not have to add in any extra shots 
  • Try out all the different kinds of shots to see if they work so that we do not have to change it last minute
  • Research into different kinds of music - seeing which ones suit the clip and which ones don't.

The software used was Adobe Premiere Pro. I was considerably new to this software but due to the extra lesson and the amount of editing time we spent I have gained key skills which will help me when making my opening sequence. I still think I have a lot to learn with the software, however, me and my group managed to make a successful first cut of our continouty task with the brief, basic skills we have learnt. 

Overall, the filming of the continuity task has been successful in teaching me why the story boarding is significant and how it plays a large roll when making our real one. By looking at and evaluation the specific problems me and my group faced it helps us view and overcome the problems, it also helps us not make the same mistake again. Finding a solution for each of the problems will also help us when coming to story boarding and filming as we can now learn from the previous problems we have faced.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Below is the shot list for our final product.

  • Long shot of the back of our protagonist facing a window
  • Close up of a bottle of alcohol and a glass, and our protagonist pouring liquid out of the bottle into the glass
  • Medium shot, the camera tracks round to a side view of the protagonist
  • Close up of the protagonist's face, as bring the glass towards her mouth
  • Extreme close up of protagonist drinking the drink
  • Extreme close up of the protagonist's eyes
  • Fade to a white screen
  • Fade to extreme close up of teachers eyes
  • Low angle, point of view shot of teacher telling the protagonist that her brother has gone missing
  • Fade to white screen
  • Close up of protagonist looking frustrated/ upset
  • Blurry/slightly out of focus point of view shot from the protagonist as she walks over to the desk
  • Medium shot of protagonist sat at the desk
  • Close ups/ Extreme close ups of the protagonists hands circling/underling words in articles, photographs, finishing drawings etc.
  • Cut to the title centralised on the screen
  • Long shot of the antagonist walking down some stairs
  • Medium shot of antagonist looking at his reflection in a mirror.

What I Have Learnt From Storyboarding

Before we did our practice storyboard, continuity task and spoke to a real story boarder (Sophie who came in and taught us about story boarding) I thought that story boarded at this point had no importance. This was due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of how significant story boarding is to the final coursework piece. Practicing and completing a rough storyboard for myself gave me a brief outline on how detailed a storyboard would be. When I went onto story boarding about my continuity task I already had the knowledge on the amount of detail which should be included. This helped when we started filming as I already knew what shots, angles and how long the clip should last for. When Sophie came in and taught us about story boarding I gained a wider understanding on the key concepts and features a storyboard should consist of. Example - the rule of thirds. I feel that I have achieved an expanded ability  which will help me when I come to make my real storyboard. Overall, the amount of learning and practicing I did on story boarding will help me when I create my story board of my title sequence as I now know what not and what to include. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Targets - Merlin essay

From my previous essay my targets were to develop on my analysis of sound and editing. In my current essay I have improved as I have achieved a higher grade because of my deeper analysis. In this essay which was based on an extract from Merlin I received 41/50. I have improved a lot since my last essay which is good as I am progressing further as I go along. My new targets are:

  • Remember to respond to the question, opening each paragraph by making a clear argument point about representation.
  • Remember to use technical terms frequently and accurately.

This tells me that in my next essay I need to make sure that the point I am making is always connected back to the question. Also, I need to revise Semiotics again as I still am not fully confident in using the different kinds of symbols. This has helped me overall as I can now look into and highlight what I need to do to improve so that I can gain a better mark in my upcoming essays which will help me practice for the exam. It will also help me with coursework as I need to understand the technical terms before I start filming as I do not want to get my filming incorrect.

Story boarding Learning Continued..

In my previous lesson a student who used to take Media Studies A Level and went to University and achieved a degree in story boarding helped me gain a more advanced insight on how story boarding really works. Firstly, Sophie displayed what the key features of story boarding should include such as:
  • When drawing your storyboard do not worry to much about order as often adjustments are made and you will end up changing it around
  • Bullet point your storyboard so you have an idea of what to draw
  • Remember the rule of thirds

By Sophie telling me this I now know that if I draw my storyboard and the order changes it is only for positive purposes which will benefit me and my group. I also know that before I start my storyboard I should make a bullet pointed list so that when I come to make my storyboard I do not struggle in what to draw and annotate. I then found out what the Rule Of Thirds is - before Sophie taught this lesson I had no idea on this meaning. She explained that it meant that the screen is split into three sections and that the main character should be centralised so that it is the main focus. However, this tells me that if I do not want one of my characters to come across significant in the opening sequence I should place him to either side of my screen to make him appear less important. This will help me and my group as we have a more advanced understanding of the positioning on the screen. 

We then went onto watching an animated storyboard Gravity Falls on Disney Channel. Despite the fact that it is animated and it has not got any link to a Thriller. I still need to focus on the storyboard and how it has changed through the use of the storyboard being constructed in a successful way.

Below is the clip we watched -

From watching this clip is is clear that they have followed the basic story board which has helped them produce a successful opening sequence of an animated show. I can look at this and highlight the difference between the story board and the real opening sequence - the main differences are only the images are produced more clear. Even though I am not doing animation because of the characters, lighting, mise-en-scene etc it will create a huge difference from my story board to my real opening sequence. 


Overall, I think my storyboarding knowledge has expanded and I now have a more advanced understanding on storyboarding in general and why it will be important to me and my group. I have learnt that I do not need to draw out every movement of the characters in each shot as I can use arrows to designate the movement. I have also learnt that it does not matter if the storyboard is not in complete order as it may be moved around when filming and it helps you highlight the errors that were made in the first storyboard. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Possible Locations

It was important we found a good location so that we could make sure our setting was appropriate to the story line. The main thing we focused on having is a basic room, with no electronics or decorations as we wanted the room to look isolated. We have looked at two rooms which are both plain and slightly similar but we need to decide which one as they both consist of different color schemes and layout. As we are presenting our antagonist to be wealthy we thought using a marble staircase will be appropriate as it will be able to ensure that he looks higher class. The mirror he will look into is also large which again will emphasis his wealth.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Continuity Editing Task - Storyboarding

In my previous lessons me and my group have learnt how important story boarding is, and how it will help us when we come to sketching ideas of what our final opening sequence will look like. From knowing this we knew how important it was to create a story board for our continuity task which we all will understand easily.  It is important that each of member of the group can understand and read the story board properly so that it will be easy to direct the actors.

Before we started our story board we had to find out what we needed to include such as:
  • Shot reverse shot
  • So NOT break the 180 rule
  • Variety of shots
  • Non diagetic sound
  • Interaction between two characters

We need to create a story line which can include all of the above. This is why The first thing my group decided was to create a short narrative, this simply consisted of a person walking into a room looking through a pile of past papers, stealing answers to an up coming exam, and having teacher walk in and find them. We didn't want anything too complicated and we didn't want to waste time over it because we felt that our time would be better spent on creating the storyboard for the task. Doing this in a short period of time helped us think about the technical side to the filming as we needed to make sure we included the all the camera shots we needed, the sound which we feel would be appropriate for the story line and the dialogue between the two characters.

Overall, I think me and my group approached this task in a successful way as we have created a good story board which will help us highlight any improvements we may need to make when filming and also if we needed to include anything more into the short film. If me and my group were to improve the way we did this task it would be to focus more on the sound we would use. We had a brief idea but nothing specific which was negative as we need to make sure our sound is linked in with what we are trying to display.