Second Animated Storyboard…

In order to improve not only the quality but also the usefulness of our animated Storyboard, I decided to read out the storyline over the top of the video footage; this is useful as when the drawings are not too clear, the description will help us and others to understand. Here is our second animated storyboard…

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First Animated Storyboard…

Rather than having to take all of our storyboards with us when filming, Emelia and I decided to put all of the storyboards together into an animation. Not only will this make our filming process more efficient, but this will also make it easier for us to picture the layout of the film and whether it will work or not. To create the animated storyboard I simply took a photo of each frame and put them together on iMovie, I then altered the length of each shot representing how long the various shots will be on within our film. Here it is…

Emelia and I decided to show people our animated storyboard in order to receive constructive feedback. From this, our friends told us that although the content of the shots may be obvious to us, they were not perfectly clear to everyone else and so they suggested that we add audio over the top of the video explaining what the specific content was. Emelia and I have decided, for our next step, to take on this feedback and create a second animated storyboard with an audio of us reading out our screenplay over the top. Other than this, our friends said that the order and flow worked perfectly and the film was fairly easy to understand.

Finalised Idea

From the feedback on our pitch and research into short films within the romance/adventure genre, Emelia and I have slightly tweaked and improved our idea. Here is our finalised idea…

The film will begin with a sunrise over the sea on the beach. We will then show our main protagonist character, with blonde hair and wearing everyday clothes, walking along the beach with her dog. The dog will then run ahead, leading our main character to a message and map in a bottle within the sand. The character will then read out the note in the style of a narration. She will then arrive home and drop off her dog, during this scene the audience will be able to see a photo in a frame of the main character when she was younger with a teddy bear; this will make sense later on in the film. Our main character will then get back in the car and will follow the map to her first location. She will then arrive at the first location which will be revealed to be a Cathedral. The protagonist will then enter the cathedral and begin searching for the “Something Old” item. We will then have a wide shot taken from behind a pew in the cathedral showing the teddy bear sat on the seat. The protagonist will then notice the teddy bear in shock; this bear will be the same bear that was seen in the photo in the frame earlier on. Alongside the bear will be another map leading the character to her next location. She will then once again follow this map which will take her to a cinema. Within the cinema she will begin looking around for the second item but will then receive a request for an airdrop on her phone (the “Something New” item). She will then accept it and the video will be of a map leading her to her next location. This video will lead her to her next location, the Library. At the library our character will be seen looking for a specific book. She will then check this book out and take it back to her car, she will then open the book and a note and map will fall out; this will be the “Something Borrowed” item. The protagonist will then follow this map to a clothing store which is decorated in blue. Within the shop she comes across a coat similar to the one that she is wearing, this will be the “Something Blue” item. Within the pockets of the coat there will be money to purchase the coat but also another map. This map will lead her to her final destination. The day will turn to night and our protagonist character will arrive at her final location; this will be a candlelit table for two with rose petals and an engagement box sitting in the middle of the table.

This is our final storyline! However, we are not setting this in stone quite yet as we may come across problems which will lead us to having to alter our plot.

Research into Film Posters

One of the key aspects to our coursework is to create a realistic film poster for our short film. I have not looked into film posters before and so need to research them before I even begin to think about what mine will look like… I feel as though the best way to research into film posters is to have a look at real life artefacts and analyse the various features within them…

If you click on the screenshot below, it will take you to a PowerPoint that I made to show what I have learnt about various types and features of film posters…

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 22.32.38.png

 

 

Location Ideas

Now that Emelia and I have our basis for our storyline, we have to think about where we would be able to film this. Ideally, Emelia and I would like to film this in a foreign city because we feel as though we could create the best final product by doing this. However, we are perfectly aware of the costs and risks to go with that and so need to think of other locations which could also be possible. Here is a video showing our thoughts into different possible locations…

Emelia and I had our hearts set on filming in Girona. Not only would this be the perfect location for a film with the genres of romance and adventure, but my Uncle lives there and was willing to accommodate for us when filming. However, after confirming this with my Uncle, he received a call from work and became busy during the October half term (which would be the most ideal time for us to film as we would then not be missing school). Due to our filming needing to be done during October half term, if filming abroad, all of the locations that Emelia and I scouted were either way too expensive or fully booked up on the days that we could visit. Because of this, we have decided to film closer to home in either York or Lincoln (or a mix of the two!). Both of these cities hold grand, beautiful and historic buildings and narrow streets, which contrasts with the modern day highstreet running through the centre of both cities. This would be perfect for our film as we could find areas to match our saying “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”. During our AS Level Coursework and Summer tasks, Emelia and I found that we would often think we are finished with filming but then come across a problem during post production and have to film that scene again or just make do. Therefore, having our locations closer to home would also give us the freedom to easily return in order to reshoot scenes. It also means that we will be able to begin filming before October half term as we will be able to visit during weekends and not miss any school.

Our next task will be to find our specific filming locations within York and/or Lincoln. For this, Emelia and I plan to visit the cities in order to find the perfect locations.

Section 1a – Digital Technology

June 2013: In question 1(a) you need to write about your work for the Foundation Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio units and you may refer to other media production work you have undertaken.

1 (a) Explain how your skills in the creative use of digital technology developed over time. Refer to a range of examples from your media productions in your answer. [25]

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Plan… 

Brief Intro

Pre – Production…

  • When writing our script for AS, Emelia and I decided to use a website called WriterDuet. This was useful as it guided you through the various functions that are needed to be included within a professional looking script. However, Emelia and I did not take the time to properly get to know how to use the website and so this, to some extent, limited our success of creating a professional looking script. In order to improve the quality of our A2 script, Emelia and I watched a couple of tutorials on Youtube so that we could make the use of all of the functions available. For example, we found the feature of leaving notes for one another and being able to video chat whilst writing the script extremely helpful as we could both put our input into the script and work on it at the same time rather than being gathered around one computer and throwing around ideas. These features also helped us in the way that we completed the scripts over a shorter period of time, yet arguably to a higher standard, due to being able to do it at the same time when at home rather than having to wait until when we are together in lessons. Because of this we were able to use our lesson time together for more valuable planning aspects, such as when we gave our final scripts to a Drama class and received feedback from them alongside them performing a read through. Our further knowledge into how to use the given features on Writer Duet allowed Emelia and I to put our research into features of a script into place and to create a script to the best of our ability.
  • Last year, Emelia and I created our script but did not carry out a read through as we felt we did not need to. However, when we began filming and heard the dialogue actually spoken aloud for the first time, we noticed that it did not sound natural. It rather sounded very scripted and looked unprofessional on our film. In order to resolve this, we had to reshoot the scenes with the dialogue in with new dialogue which we made up on the spot. In order to make sure that this did not happen again this year, Emelia and I gave our final script to the GCSE Drama class so that they could analyse it as they have done that in preparation for their exam. They also did a read through of our script. Emelia and I decided to use the sound recorder (Digital Hardware) and boom pole in order to film the feedback so that we could re watch it when we created the final version of our script. This would allow us to produce the best quality script and allowed us to be more efficient with our filming as we did not have to reshoot for the dialogue being unbelievable and unnatural.
  • I used various ‘Internet Services’ when carrying out the Pre – Production aspect to my coursework project. Last year, at AS, I used presentation sites such as Prezi, Slideshare and Piktochart in order to display my answers to the seven evaluation questions more than for anything else. However, for A2 I decided to use these presentation websites in order to display my research during Pre – Production as well as using them for my evaluations. This was really useful as the sites provided a clear yet aesthetic way to set out my research and so this made the whole process a lot quicker and more efficient; this is because when I needed to look back at the research that I had previously carried out in order to put it into place, it was a lot easier and quicker to have a quick glimpse at the research and then put it into place rather than having to wade through lots of information before finding the piece that I needed. The aesthetic and clear layout also made it a lot easier for people to give me advice and feedback; this was really useful as advice given from these people have allowed my end film to reach it’s full potential and look as professional as possible. For A2, I also explored the functions of the sites and sat through the given tutorials rather than skipping these and improvising. Ultimately, this made the quality of my products a lot higher than those from last year at AS.
  • Alike last year, for AS, I created a SurveyMonkey in order to carry out Market Research; this allowed me to find out what the audiences would be expecting from my film and so acted as a guide to show me what to include in order to produce a professional and realistic looking film. Last year I simply shared the link to the survey with close family and friends. However, for A2 I wanted as many responses as possible and so decided to use various ‘Social Networks’ such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. With the aim to reach as many people as possible, I also asked my friends with large internet reach, for example having tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, to put the link onto their social media sites. By having the URL link shared on each of these sites, I managed to share the survey with as many people as possible; this allowed me to receive as much feedback as possible and so I could put this feedback into use when producing our film. This was also a step up from the survey feedback used at AS as due to the internet, I could reach not just more people but people from all around the world. This therefore added a variety and cross section to my research which was much more useful. For example, when finding out what people would expect to see within a film such as ours, it was extremely useful as by having opinions from around the world we could appeal to as many people as possible.
  • For the majority of our previous filming projects, Emelia and I have not come across the need to use any props. However, for our A2 short film, Emelia and I needed to include various props (including a message in a bottle) in order for our storyline to make sense. In order to look into how these props should look and for inspiration, Emelia and I used a social networking site called Pinterest to not only see other people’s take on the props, but also how to create our own. For our remake of the Reservoir Dogs, we had to use props such as a cigarette and a cigar. Our group did not look into how to make the props, but rather found real ones. However, on the day of filming we found out that we couldn’t use these on the school grounds and so had to improvise. From this, I learnt to put research and preparation into the props. This access to Pinterest allowed Emelia and I to create realistic props, which added to the final look of our film significantly allowing it to seem professional and realistic.

Production…

  • We have been using a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) Nikon D3100 with a kit lens. At AS, Emelia and I simply used the camera as a piece of equipment to film. This came across in our final piece of work as all of the shots were the same simple still shots. However, through watching various tutorial clips and playing about with the camera in an informal setting, for example on Sports Day, we discovered the various settings on the camera and used these when filming for our ‘Advanced Portfolio’ in order to bring up the quality of our film. For example, throughout AS I used the Auto Focus feature on the camera when filming our coursework piece as this was easier and I had no need to use the manual focus. However, for A2 I decided to learn how to use the manual focus on the camera as this would give me freedom to be able to include a wider variety of shots, for example focus pulls, within my work. In order to succeed at these shots I had to carry out various practise shots with Emelia so that when it was time to film we knew exactly what we were doing without wasting time. By using the autofocus in order to film focus pulls, the quality of mine and Emelia’s film was a lot better and so could be considered to be more professional looking than it would have looked without.
  • Before filming for A2, Emelia and I for the most part stuck to still shots. Although our end products did not suffer from this, Emelia and I wanted to include a wider variety of shots within our A2 short film as the nature of our storyline would not make sense without them. As our storyline included more moving shots than still shots, our teacher gave us the opportunity to use a more advanced Steadicam than the regular one. This is because, when filming our Summer project Emelia and I had the aspiration to have the camera moving at all times and so needed to use the Steadicam. However, Emelia and I found it hard to use this and so most of our shots were shaky. In order to avoid this, Emelia and I used a new type of Steadicam for some shots within our A2 film… the DJI Osmo. Although Emelia and I still found this fairly tricky to use, the end result was much less shaky than how our shots had been when using the school’s other Steadicam equipment. This proved to be extremely useful as our moving shots within our A2 film were steady and effective; this resulted in our A2 film not only looking more professional but also allowed our film to be more interesting and intriguing  for the audience as they were not just following still shots but rather could follow moving shots that revealed things within them.

Post Production…

  • Emelia and I have used Final Cut Pro X on the Macs for the entirety of A Level Media Studies. For our preliminary tasks although I did use Final Cut, I used it primarily as a site to put together the pieces of clip and that is it. Carrying on, when we had to create our Reservoir Dogs remake we had to do it to specific times. During this, I learnt a few new functions such as having the clip from Reservoir Dogs next to and/or behind my footage; this was really useful as I could match my footage to the timings of the real footage. I then also used Final Cut Pro X for my AS coursework. At this time, Emelia and I had the intentions to explore further into the software but as we did not film until the very last minute, we had to edit as quick as possible and so could only use the basic functions that we had already known. It was during our Summer Project when Emelia and I began to look further into the options that Final Cut Pro X can offer. Here we used various different time functions and also explored into using the stabilising function due to our failure of using the Steadicam. Over the Summer holidays Emelia and I watched many tutorials and learnt some new functions; this allowed our overall film to flow better and to look more professional. We also learnt that we would need a lot more time to edit than we had initially thought. Due to us wanting to focus on colour, Emelia and I learnt many functions about how to add colour filters but to an extent where it is fairly subtle. It was critical for our film to have shots that flow together and make sense and so by learning how to use Final Cut properly, Emelia and I were able to produce a professional looking film.
  • Last year for AS, Emelia and I used a software called Motion in order to create one of our idents. At AS, Emelia and I found this software hugely difficult and needed lots of help; this was really useful but meant that we spent way too much of our valuable time together trying to create one small aspect of our overall film. Once we had got the hang of the basic aspects to the app, Emelia and I then found it really difficult to use the Graphics Board for drawing and spent around three lessons trying to figure it out when in the end we ended up using the mouse to draw as we found this a lot easier. For A2, Emelia and I did not want to waste lots of our valuable time once again trying to figure out the Graphics Board and so decided to use the mouse and zoom feature once again but to put a lot of effort into trying this. During AS, Emelia and I wasted more time by drawing random idents on the software and the deleting them. In another attempt to reduce the time spent on our idents, Emelia and I also planned our idents before we even began the process online so that we knew exactly what we were doing. We also carried out a tutorial into how to use the programme and so were able to include some features, such as being able to add enhancing effects to the idents at our own specific times, that we previously could not have done. By decreasing the amount of time spent fiddling around with the software, Emelia and I were able to spend the time on putting in all of our efforts in creating a professional and realistic looking ident.
  • During the first half of GCSE, Emelia and I briefly used Pixelmator in order to create our album covers. We then learnt the majority of the functions available and was confident with using the software. However, when it came to using the programme for creating our second ident at AS, Emelia and I had forgotten how to use the programme almost entirely! Therefore, we wasted a lot of time and had to have a lot of help with simply tracing a picture of an orchid for our ident. This wasted valuable time and took us way longer than it should have. For A2, although Emelia and I were not entirely sure of all of the functions… we could easily use the trace function that we used before. By already knowing how to use this feature, Emelia and I were able to spend more time on perfecting the drawing, which resulted in our end ident being of a higher quality. In our opinion the idents were hugely important in making our film seem more professional and realistic and so it was critical for us to have a higher quality ident and our knowledge of Pixelmator through past experience and built knowledge with tutorials allowed us to create two idents that we were proud of.

1 (a) Explain how your skills in the creative use of digital technology developed over time. Refer to a range of examples from your media productions in your answer. [25]

Essay…

Throughout our media studies course, it could be argued that my skills in the creative use of digital technology has developed hugely. From digital hardware to social networking, the development of these skills has allowed me to make substantial progress from the first preliminary task in Year 12, when we had to simply film two people in a room having a conversation, to present day with our A2 finished short film.

For our AS Media Studies coursework we were given the task to create a 2 minute film opening. During pre – production, when writing our script for AS, Emelia and I decided to use a website called WriterDuet. This was useful as it guided you through the various functions that are needed to be included within a professional looking script. However, Emelia and I did not take the time to properly get to know how to use the website and so this, to some extent, limited our success of creating a professional looking script. In order to improve the quality of our A2 script, Emelia and I watched a couple of tutorials on Youtube so that we could make the use of all of the functions available. For example, we found the feature of leaving notes for one another and being able to video chat whilst writing the script extremely helpful as we could both put our input into the script and work on it at the same time rather than being gathered around one computer and throwing around ideas. These features also helped us in the way that we completed the scripts over a shorter period of time, yet arguably to a higher standard, due to being able to do it at the same time when at home rather than having to wait until when we are together in lessons. Because of this we were able to use our lesson time together for more valuable planning aspects, such as when we gave our final scripts to a Drama class and received feedback from them alongside them performing a read through. Our further knowledge into how to use the given features on Writer Duet allowed Emelia and I to put our research into features of a script into place and to create a script to the best of our ability. In contrast to when Emelia and I simply wrote down our script in different colours for different characters on paper during our preliminary task, our developed use of internet services has progressed hugely allowing us to produce professional looking, realistic scripts which are extremely useful for structuring and helping with filming.

Last year, Emelia and I created our script but did not carry out a read through as we felt we did not need to. However, when we began filming and heard the dialogue actually spoken aloud for the first time, we noticed that it did not sound natural. It rather sounded very scripted and looked unprofessional on our film. In order to resolve this, we had to reshoot the scenes with the dialogue in with new dialogue which we made up on the spot. In order to make sure that this did not happen again this year, Emelia and I gave our final script to the GCSE Drama class so that they could analyse it as they have done that in preparation for their exam. They also did a read through of our script. Emelia and I decided to use the sound recorder (Digital Hardware) and boom pole in order to film the feedback so that we could re watch it when we created the final version of our script. This would allow us to produce the best quality script and allowed us to be more efficient with our filming as we did not have to reshoot for the dialogue being unbelievable and unnatural.

I used various ‘Internet Services’ when carrying out the Pre – Production aspect to my coursework project. Last year, at AS, I used presentation sites such as Prezi, Slideshare and Piktochart in order to display my answers to the seven evaluation questions more than for anything else. However, for A2 I decided to use these presentation websites in order to display my research during Pre – Production as well as using them for my evaluations in post production. This was really useful as the sites provided a clear yet aesthetic way to set out my research and so this made the whole process a lot quicker and more efficient; this is because when I needed to look back at the research that I had previously carried out in order to put it into place, it was a lot easier and quicker to have a quick glimpse at the research and then put it into place rather than having to wade through lots of information before finding the piece that I needed. The aesthetic and clear layout also made it a lot easier for people to give me advice and feedback; this was really useful as advice given from these people have allowed my end short film to reach it’s full potential and look as professional as possible. For A2, I also explored the functions of the sites and sat through the given tutorials rather than skipping these and improvising. Ultimately, this made the quality of my products a lot higher than those from last year at AS.

Alike last year, for AS, I created a SurveyMonkey in order to carry out Market Research; this allowed me to find out what the audiences would be expecting from my film and so acted as a guide to show me what to include in order to produce a professional and realistic looking film. Last year I simply shared the link to the survey with close family and friends. However, for A2 I wanted as many responses as possible and so decided to use various ‘Social Networks’ such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. With the aim to reach as many people as possible, I also asked my friends with large internet reach, for example having tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, to put the link onto their social media sites. By having the URL link shared on each of these sites, I managed to share the survey with as many people as possible; this allowed me to receive as much feedback as possible and so I could put this feedback into use when producing our film. This was also a step up from the survey feedback used at AS as due to the internet, I could reach not just more people but people from all around the world. This therefore added a variety and cross section to my research which was much more useful. For example, when finding out what people would expect to see within a film such as ours, it was extremely useful as by having opinions from around the world we could appeal to as many people as possible.

For the majority of our previous filming projects, Emelia and I have not come across the need to use any props. However, for our A2 short film, Emelia and I needed to include various props (including a message in a bottle) in order for our storyline to make sense. In order to look into how these props should look and for inspiration, Emelia and I used a social networking site called Pinterest to not only see other people’s take on the props, but also how to create our own. For our remake of the Reservoir Dogs, we had to use props such as a cigarette and a cigar. Our group did not look into how to make the props, but rather found real ones. However, on the day of filming we found out that we couldn’t use these on the school grounds and so had to improvise. From this, I learnt to put research and preparation into the props. This access to Pinterest allowed Emelia and I to create realistic props, which added to the final look of our film significantly allowing it to seem professional and realistic.

During production, Emelia and I have been using a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) Nikon D3100 with a kit lens. When shooting our preliminary task for the third time, Emelia and I were left alone with the equipment and fiddled around with the settings not really knowing what we were doing; this resulted in our final preliminary task being blurred throughout. In order to avoid making this mistake again, at AS Emelia and I simply used the camera as a piece of equipment to film. This came across in our final piece of work as all of the shots were the same simple still shots. However, through watching various tutorial clips and playing about with the camera in an informal setting, for example helping to take photos and videos on Sports Day, we discovered the various settings on the camera and used these when filming for our ‘Advanced Portfolio’ in order to bring up the quality of our film. For example, throughout AS I used the Auto Focus feature on the camera when filming our coursework piece as this was easier and I had no need to use the manual focus due to the still, simple nature of our shots. Although this did not ruin our film opening at AS due to the genre of the film, Thriller, not needing numerous different shots, for A2 I decided to learn how to use the manual focus on the camera as this would give me freedom to be able to include a wider variety of shots, for example focus pulls, within my work. In order to succeed at these shots I had to carry out various practise shots with Emelia so that when it was time to film we knew exactly what we were doing without wasting time. By using the autofocus in order to film focus pulls, the quality of mine and Emelia’s film was a lot better and so could be considered to be more professional looking than it would have looked without.

When using the sound recorders for the first time during our first preliminary task, Emelia and I managed to film the whole task without actually recording the dialogue; this was because neither of us really knew how to use the recorders as in previous tasks at GCSE they were not needed. This proved to be a huge hinderence but did not matter hugely as we had learnt from our mistake during the preliminary task and so could learn from this and improve for our real coursework. We then asked one of our teachers to show us how to use the sound recorders and boom pole properly so that we could practise using the equipment properly when filming our second take of the preliminary task. Before filming for AS, Emelia and I asked one of our teachers to once again go over the basics with us, however once again we did not succeed and so had to rerecord the sounds and add them into our film in post production. By making mistakes each time before, Emelia and I made sure that for our A2 project we knew what we were doing. Emelia and I had also not before used the clapperboard and so decided to use it for A2; this made finding each specific sound for each specific shot a whole lot easier during post production. Thankfully, we were able to use the sound recorder to the best of our ability and so were left with high quality recordings which we could easily fit in during post production.

Before filming for A2, Emelia and I for the most part stuck to still shots. Although our end products did not suffer from this, Emelia and I wanted to include a wider variety of shots within our A2 short film as the nature of our storyline would not make sense without them. As our storyline included more moving shots than still shots, our teacher gave us the opportunity to use a more advanced Steadicam than the regular one. This is because, when filming our Summer project Emelia and I had the aspiration to have the camera moving at all times and so needed to use the Steadicam. However, Emelia and I found it hard to use this and so most of our shots were shaky. In order to avoid this, Emelia and I used a new type of Steadicam for some shots within our A2 film… the DJI Osmo. Although Emelia and I still found this fairly tricky to use, the end result was much less shaky than how our shots had been when using the school’s other Steadicam equipment. This proved to be extremely useful as our moving shots within our A2 film were steady and effective; this resulted in our A2 film not only looking more professional but also allowed our film to be more interesting and intriguing  for the audience as they were not just following still shots but rather could follow moving shots that revealed things within them.

During editing and post production, Emelia and I have used Final Cut Pro X on the Macs for the entirety of A Level Media Studies. For our preliminary tasks although I did use Final Cut, I used it primarily as a site to put together the pieces of clip and that is it. Carrying on, when we had to create our Reservoir Dogs remake we had to do it to specific times. During this, I learnt a few new functions such as having the clip from Reservoir Dogs next to and/or behind my footage; this was really useful as I could match my footage to the timings of the real footage. I then also used Final Cut Pro X for my AS coursework. At this time, Emelia and I had the intentions to explore further into the software but as we did not film until the very last minute, we had to edit as quick as possible and so could only use the basic functions that we had already known. It was during our Summer Project when Emelia and I began to look further into the options that Final Cut Pro X can offer. Here we used various different time functions and also explored into using the stabilising function due to our failure of using the Steadicam. Over the Summer holidays Emelia and I watched many tutorials and learnt some new functions; this allowed our overall film to flow better and to look more professional. We also learnt that we would need a lot more time to edit than we had initially thought. Due to us wanting to focus on colour, Emelia and I learnt many functions about how to add colour filters but to an extent where it is fairly subtle. It was critical for our film to have shots that flow together and make sense and so by learning how to use Final Cut properly, Emelia and I were able to produce a professional looking film.

Last year for AS, Emelia and I used a software called Motion in order to create one of our idents. At AS, Emelia and I found this software hugely difficult and needed lots of help; this was really useful but meant that we spent way too much of our valuable time together trying to create one small aspect of our overall film. Once we had got the hang of the basic aspects to the app, Emelia and I then found it really difficult to use the Graphics Board for drawing and spent around three lessons trying to figure it out when in the end we ended up using the mouse to draw as we found this a lot easier. For A2, Emelia and I did not want to waste lots of our valuable time once again trying to figure out the Graphics Board and so decided to use the mouse and zoom feature once again but to put a lot of effort into trying this. During AS, Emelia and I wasted more time by drawing random idents on the software and the deleting them. In another attempt to reduce the time spent on our idents, Emelia and I also planned our idents before we even began the process online so that we knew exactly what we were doing. We also carried out a tutorial into how to use the programme and so were able to include some features, such as being able to add enhancing effects to the idents at our own specific times, that we previously could not have done. By decreasing the amount of time spent fiddling around with the software, Emelia and I were able to spend the time on putting in all of our efforts in creating a professional and realistic looking ident.

During the first half of GCSE, Emelia and I briefly used Pixelmator in order to create our album covers. We then learnt the majority of the functions available and was confident with using the software. However, when it came to using the programme for creating our second ident at AS, Emelia and I had forgotten how to use the programme almost entirely! Therefore, we wasted a lot of time and had to have a lot of help with simply tracing a picture of an orchid for our ident. This wasted valuable time and took us way longer than it should have. For A2, although Emelia and I were not entirely sure of all of the functions… we could easily use the trace function that we used before. By already knowing how to use this feature, Emelia and I were able to spend more time on perfecting the drawing, which resulted in our end ident being of a higher quality. In our opinion the idents were hugely important in making our film seem more professional and realistic and so it was critical for us to have a higher quality ident and our knowledge of Pixelmator through past experience and built knowledge with tutorials allowed us to create two idents that we were proud of.

Overall I am happy with how my skills in the creative use of digital technology have developed over time. The development itself has allowed me to make progress with my projects from my first preliminary task at the beginning of the AS year to my final short film during the A2 year.

Film Review – Now You See Me

As Emelia and I are stepping out of our comfort zones of producing a coursework piece within the genre of a thriller, I feel as though it is important for us to watch as many films as possible that could be considered to be within the Romance or Adventure genre. From this, I hope to be able to recognise reoccurring features and characteristics that I can include in my final short film product with the hope that it will seem more genuine and realistic. However, not only this, we are also planning on watching films from other genres as they may contain shots that we love the look of and may try to re create for our film. I also hope to come across some shots, within the films that I plan to watch, that I like the movement of as they will help me to structure the shots in my final film; this will be hugely useful as Emelia and I would like to incorporate movement of the camera within our film and so I plan to watch many films with this movement to try and get my head around it!!! Hopefully, this will add a professional touch and will add to my final piece’s overall look and feel. The first film that I watched is actually considered to be within the Thriller/Crime genre! However, I chose to watch this film because I had previously seen extracts from it on Facebook and Twitter and was amazed by the camera movements and fast pace of the film. I wanted to watch the entire film so that I could look at the movements as inspiration for some of our camera movements.

The first film that I chose to watch was “Now You See Me”, which was directed by Louis Leterrier. The film was released on the 21st of May 2013 in New York, followed by the rest of the US on the 31st of May and generated $351.7 million at the Box Office. Now You See Me was awarded with ‘the Favourite Thriller Movie’ at the People’s Choice Awards in 2014 and also received nominations for the Empire Award for Best Thriller and the Saturn Award for Best Thriller Film and Best Music.

Plot: The film begins by showing four individual magicians using their magic within the public for either their benefit or to create trouble. For example, the magician Jack Wilder (played by Dave Franco) uses his magic trick as a distraction whilst he robs the person challenging his magic of their watch and wallet. Another magician, Merritt McKinney (played by Woody Harrelson) uses his mind reading and hypnotism skills to bribe a cheating husband by telling the wife that the husband has been cheating on her with her best friend and then asking the husband for money to erase her memory. A mysterious figure, with his face hidden by a hoodie, is shown to be at each of these four performances. It is then later revealed that each of these four magicians received a tarot card that lead them to the same empty apartment in New York where they come across information from an unknown source. The film then skips to a year later when the four magicians, collectively known as the ‘Four Horsemen’, are performing at their Las Vegas magic show which was funded by Michael Tressler (played by Michael Caine). Their main trick appears includes one member of the audience transporting from Las Vegas to their bank in Paris. Here, at the command of the Four Horsemen, the fans within the vault begin to suck in all of the millions of Euros. The millions of Euros then fall from the fans within the Las Vegas stadium leaving the audience in awe as a video clip shows the vault to be empty. When the police get involved, they have no evidence to hold the Horsemen and so have to let them go. The two detectives on the case, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes and Interpol agent Alma Dray, then speak to Thaddeus Bradley (played by Morgan Freeman) for help as he is the number one in working out how a magic trick has been done. He explains to the detectives how the Horsemen staged the vault, as it is truly by the stage in Vegas, and must have previously stolen the money from being inside on a shipment. At their next show, the Horsemen play Tressler by transferring millions of dollars from his account to the bank accounts of members of the audience who have been denied insurance from Tressler’s company after Hurricane Katrina. The two detectives try to capture the four but they escape. The female detective, Alma, then does her research and finds out that the Four Horsemen are connected to the magical group, the Eye. Through further research, she then finds out that one of the members of the Eye called Lionel Shrike had previously been exposed by Thaddeus but then supposedly died during one of his tricks. Alma suspects that Shrike is not actually dead and is the fifth member of the Horsemen. This research, alongside tracked mobiles etc, lead the detectives, and a force of police, to the apartment where the Four Horsemen have been staying. When raiding the apartment, 3 of the Horsemen escape. However, Jack stays for important documents and leads the detectives onto a high speed car chase; this leads to Jack supposedly losing control of the car as it flipped and caught fire. The detective, Dylan, then tries to save Jack but can not before the car explodes. He only had enough time to retrieve the papers, which showed that the next plan for the Horsemen was to steal millions of dollars out of the Elkhart Safe. When the detectives find the safe, it has been filled with part balloon animals! The Four Horsemen then announce that their final show will be that night at ‘Five Pointz’. The Horsemen do not stay for long as they simply deliver a brief speech and then jump off the building, resulting in fake money falling from the sky. The fake money simply acted as a distraction as the crowd went crazy making it almost impossible for the police to keep up with the Horsemen. The money is then planted into Thaddeus’s car and he is arrested. Later on, Dylan is shown to visit Thaddeus in prison speaking about the Horsemen to him. It is then when Thaddeus has the epiphany and realises that Alma was right and Dylan the fifth member! He then later reveals that he is Shrike’s son. At the end, it is revealed that Dylan did all of this for his father. He stole from the Elkhart Safe as it was them who provided the faulty safe that led to his Dad’s death, he got Thaddeus arrested for ridiculing his Dad and stole from the bank in Paris and Tressler’s Insurance company for not paying out afterwards. It is then when the Four Horsemen are invited to the Eye. However, at the very end it is revealed that not everything was planned and Dylan has fallen for Alma and he did not see that coming!

I am really happy that I watched this film because the constant movement of the camera has inspired me to want to add movement into my final product rather than keeping all of the shots still, like Emelia and I did at AS Level. The film also has many different locations within it and so I have been able to look at how they have used establishing shots in order to help the audience to navigate themselves and find where they are. Emelia and I will need to incorporate some establishing shots within our short film as we can’t jump from one location to another without introducing it to the audience because if they hadn’t given establishing shots within this film then I would have had not a clue! I was also a fan of the lighting and colour palette within this film as it helped to keep the atmosphere and tone of the film light hearted and bright. However, the creators used dimly lit shots when it came to the mysterious aspects and this is a good example to Emelia and I as we will be tackling lighting our scenes for the first time. Finally, ‘Now You See Me’ was a really useful film to watch as I could see how the creators incorporated the genre of Romance and Mystery into a Thriller genred film; this is useful as I am merging two genres together myself and so watching examples such as this will hopefully help my end product to seem professional and realistic.

Here is the trailer for “Now You See Me”…

 https://youtu.be/KzJNYYkkhzc