Within this lesson out group started to look at how the next part of our production could look like, we started to piece the types of costumes and props that would be suitable for the office scene. One of our group members began working on a fake newspaper article that would be placed on the desk within the detective’s office which would add to the effect of the scene.
Next we started to look at the evaluation process of our developing piece, by disussing and note taking the types of information that we would need to include within the evaluation process.
- In what way’s does your media product use, develop or challenage forms and conventions of real media products?
Our media products of Film Noir uses many different factors that alter the stereotypical film. Within a certain scene in our piece we see a stalker following a young female character. When filming we decided to present the film in black and white, as from our research and questionnaires that many people distinguish this genre of film from other genres quite easily. We believed that this type of style would be easier for the audience to identify the style of our film.
However, when following the conventions of Film Noir it was an option that we were going to film our piece in colour which would have challenged the overall effect of our piece. Perhaps creating a more enjoyable movie watching experience, as some audiences do not like to watch black and white films and find them to be boring and old fashioned. But, we believed that if we make the product as modern as possible it may have attracted more people to watch it even it it was in a black and white format.
The surrounding environment see lines of modern-day cars which is a developing factor for Film Noir, this factor has dramatically subverts the elements of Film Noir. However, we still use the same conventions of this genre, with the costume layouts. Our stalker character wears a long black coat with a black trilby hat covering his identify, which is a common trait that we researched by using inter textuality from the 1940’s film Double Idemnity which collaborates the same costume style which is what we were aiming for, creating a costume layout creating a shadowed effect over his face which follows the films conventions. We also decided to challenge the film noir conventions by including a stalker character who also has a weapon (gun) which in some respects is a modern day design, in this case it challenges the film noir forms. this type of convention has been taken from a more modern Film Noir such as Sin City. Our group still decided to use the idea of a damsel in distress but changing it slightly by incorperating our own twist on the plot which could be seen as unusual which could work to our advantage as it would help to hook our audience into the plot layout. By keeping the female character she is seen wearing a shortish black skirt with high heels and a long coat over the top of a blouse, this follows the conventions of how a typical femme fatale character would be dressed while still revealing some skin which matched the critera of a typical femme fatale.
Within our production we used many theme music types which added feeling and effect to our Film Noir piece, the one type of music that we used for the scene where the woman was being followed was a copy write theme song from the film ‘Heat’ which added effect to our scene. We wanted to keep traditional Film Noir music as we felt as a group that this would give the best overall effect, for the genre that were following.
Our group wanted to keep the conventions as traditional as possible by keeping the typical detective outfit the same with the conventional representation of him wearing a hat combined with a smartly dressed suit. Our main intentions were to remain with the audiences expectations of what they expect to find in a typical film noir film by using the results form our questionnaire that we gave out to a variety of people. From this feedback, we found that the majority of people associate film noir to be in black and white which is what we did by keeping the style the same as many recognise this coulour scheme to be film noir. However, along with the colour scheme we didn’t want our audience to believe that our film was old and out dated so we made no effort to remove the modern day scenery which can be seen as the modern day vehicles.
We also used intertexuality which refers to references to other pieces of text. An example of this is the main character Detective Spade. This a direct reference to Humphrey Bogarts character in the Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade. We also looked at extra research on other media texts such as the 1958 film Touch of Evil with the Detective/Police character Police Captain Hank Quinlan cast by Orson Welles.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
In our production piece we use many different social groups which are represented in various ways, our film constructs an anti-hero which is our stalker character that is seen following the female victim who appears in the cameras viewing frame as the main victim. We discovered that from numerous research and questionnaires that black and white films are not the overall favourite for younger audiences of todays society as if given a choice would choose to watch a film in colour.
The idea that it is represented in a modern atmosphere may attract a younger social audience, we made the choice that we were going to film a modern environment by using up to date vehicles with modern houses. This type of effect would attract a younger audience as they would be more familiar with this type of environment. Through many types of research we as a group decided that this was probably the best option as younger people like to have familiar settings or even futuristic settings compared to a very old style setting.
In the first scene with the female character is very repectably dressed with a pencil skirt that isn’t too short with high black heels creating a feminate look to her image, creating an upper class facade about her appearence. The fact that she is a politicians daughter gives the impression that she is an upper class woman which adds to the modern social society of today Her dialetic is very modern and is not American (New Yorker) style as they are in the older films, we chose this option as it meant that it fitted the critera that certain social groups do not corny dialects. . The main woman of any film noir concept usually uses her body as a sexual item, however, within our piece we decided not to use this factor but to instead use her as the inoccent victim. The camera work that is used was mostly shaky cam, we thought that this might have been the best way as it would make the audience believe that they were the characters which gives the film modern twist compared to those in the 1940’s.
Our stalker character is very stereotypical as we have a male character who gives the impression of a lower class man who seems that he has an average sort of life. His plain black trousers along with the long black coat with the added hat to hide his face suggests that he’s not someone who has the money to afford upper class clothing which suggests to the audience to think he’s lower class along with his actions. The unknown factor to the audience is why this character is following the woman, this was an issue that we wanted to leave to the audiences imagination. This creates suspense within the audience making them feel for the fear of the woman. Here we used camera techniques such as a shaky cam which would give the feeling that we are the stalker character following the woman.
The next scene that is seen is the two middle class detectives dressed in their smart suits and trilby hats which represent the middle class detective character. Both of which are discussing the investigation and mysterious and sudden death of the young women who is seen getting shot at the start of the film.The character approaching the office of what seems to be a more respectable detective seems to be better dressed which gives the impression that he is a more authoritative detective. With is a complete opposite to the detective in the office who seems to have given up on life due to his scruffy appearance and darkened atmosphere. While the well groomed detective is trying to persuade the scruffy detective Spade into helping with the investigation as he is the one that always seems to save the day. The character that we discover to be Jim gives the impression that he takes more pride in his apparance as he stands confident with his smart suit which show that he takes more care in his line of work. The second detective character that we are introduced to when Jim enters the office which he learn to be called Detective Spade shows the the audience that he doesn’t take care of his apparance at all, due to his slouching position over his desk and the drawn back blinds. The setting of his office atmosphere is extremely messy which suggest to the audience that he has a stressful life and has given up on all hope of picking himself back up again.
The camera techniques used within this piece were quite modern and skills that are used in present day films. This for example included techniques such as ‘over the shoulder shot’ from the detectives POV which allowed the viewer to be able to see part of the other character as well as the person who walked in.
The various techniques that we learnt within this process was how to bulid a script successfully, this took a few attempts until we managed to get the right combination of dialectic.
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
By studying other films that use the same genre that our piece is based around, it seems quite obvious to use an institution that has distributed this types of films. Our production is similarly based around the same type of setting as the film ‘Heat’ as it seems to portray the same type of style. The whole film noir genre isn’t very popular in comparison of the films made today expecting lower class campanies to create such films. Our film noir is a very low budgeted film as it has not genuine plot basis and would only have a small company to distribute it. When producing our film we had many influences, the various institutions that created different Film Noir. The sort of institution to distribute our film would be a small independant company.
Comparisons between our and other film institutions modern and post modern, we started our research studying companies that made older films such as ‘Notorious’ released by RKO Radio Pictures who seem to be quite a popualr studio for releasing these type of films. Another type of company to distribute our sort of film would be the type of company Theodora Productions who released such films as ‘The Big Combo’. Unlike other film distributors such as MGM which are a respected film company that releases blackbuster films the smaller companies like Theodora Productions still manage to distribute low budgeted films. This type of film company would probably be best suited to our type of film as it fits all the critera to fit this.
Bigger and more modern distributors such as Warner Brothers, Sony and Universal Pictures are unlikely to take risks that may jepardise their future repretation. It is more likely that they would focus on films that will make them more money that they spend on the actual film gaining more profit for themselves. They are likely to support Film Noir’s such as ‘Bladerunner’ which was released by Warner Brothers Pictures, bringing in a collosal profit. Our piece was also almost the same as this modern type of Film Noir as we used a current setting which bought our film up to date. It seems more probable that a smaller institution such as BBC films or RKO would be more suitable to releasing this type of film mainly focusing on independant films.
When our gorup were first thinking about the bacis foundations of our production we had several main ideas that were finally influenced by films such as ‘Double Indemnity’ with the main woman character being seen running down a long highway setting. These types of scenes influenced how we wanted to piece out scenes together with the main femla character running away from a suspiciour male character.
Disney is a worldside company who are famous for distributing films for younger audiences not forgetting the animated films, therefore our production wouldn’t be a suitable choice for a company such as Dinsey as it doesn’t fit in with theri previous films as well as the fact that our production isn’t a big budgeted film.
Another institution we would consider would be to look at different film releases. A classic exmaple may be BBC films which generally distribute and fund films which are low budgeted which tend to have a dramatic plot. Such exmaples may include: Jane Eyre.
4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
By looking at the information gathered from the past questionnaires that had been devised before we started filming, it seemed from the feedback that the type of audience that would be interested in this type of genre would be those who have watched past films following the Film Noir conventions. Many people who answered the questionnaire seemed to have a pretty distinct image of how various characters should look and dress, giving the thought that perhaps the type of audience would be those in their late twenties. They gave answers such as the actor Humphery Bogart. As well the type of violence involved, it wouldn’t be suitable for people under fifteen to watch a film like this. Traditional film noir genres from the 1940s/50s generally deal with serious situations such as murder. This was mainly the setting of a dark genre which drew in a more mature audience. The films genre during the era of the second world war and after showed the world as a much darker and risker place to live. The objective that we tried to get across was that our piece reflected the somber lighting and graveled environment.
The representation of our piece was set out in such a way that we wanted to attract an age group that would understand the language used in our Noir we as a group figured that more educated adults would understand the concept of our opening therefore making the targeted audience older as oppose to young teenagers. It might be a good experience to get a younger age group to be interested in black and white films as well as still watching colour. We achieved this by using a modern atmosphere with up to date vehicles which would still make our audience interested in this type of genre. Eventhought we used typical film noir character we still kept the dialectic to language that younger audiences would understand compared to the 1940’s scripts that consisted of words that todays younger society would have no idea what it meant. By looking at past Film Noir films some of the dialetic uses language that could be considered to be racist as in today’s society is is looked upon if any type of film uses this type of language. Most of these films use the type of American accent, our group decided to override this by using english accents instead of the traditional American gangster type of verbal dialetic.
When looking into Film Noir films we had to think about the impact of filming institutions, what sort of filming company would draw in the target audience. Even when looking at Film Noir companies we still had to consider modern and well as post modern film companies. The audiences within this time would find film instiutions such as RKO Radio Pictures would have been as popular as Warner Brothers of today’s society.
We also had to think about our film world wide such as what would this film be like if it was released some else else apart from the UK and Europe. We had to devise our piece in such a way that it would appeal to those all over the globe, by using a certain themes that would be recognisable. This would have to include locations, costume and even the choice of music. The type of film may not have been successful in other films as other countries may have not even heard of this type of genre before. Even though it was quite influencial within the 1940’s when released from America.
5. How did you attract/address your audience?
To attract our target audience we as a group decided that the best way to achieve this would to used a variety of Film Noir conventions to make it into a tradtional film noir experience. We wanted our porduction to have a distinct opening which would address to the audience that this was from a Film Noir category.
When placing together the title sequence we wanted to use a certain text that isn’t the same as everyday film texts that are used in modern day filming studios. Such as a modern Film Noir such as Bladerunner or more recent films such as Sin City. By using a more unique type of font it would draw the audience back into the style of Film Noir as they are attracted towards the type of font.
The first type of convention that would draw in our audience would be the change in colour scheme and to achieve this effect we needed to add a black and white filter as well as turning the saturation of the footage down to create a darker, dimmer look. The saturation effect makes it look completely different to modern day films with the twist of modern day scenery would make it different and attract in a new audience type. We wanted to still keep a conventional type of scenery by setting the atmosphere in the dark/nighttime the fact that the day we were filming was a rainy day helped to add to the effect of dull and dingey atmosphere. We wanted to create an atmosphere which would make the audience feel tense and nervous for the female character as she is walking down the street, along with the theme music form ‘Heat’ we wanted to cobine these elements to make the audience feel that they were the female character and put them into the her shoes giving them the feel of what it would be like to be stalked in the middle of the night.
Another key convention that we decided to use was the idea of femme fatale to be a young attractive women which would give the implication of why he was following her, due to his sleazy appearance. The idea of keeping the camera focused on the victims feet emulates the idea that she is speeding up as she tries to escape the fear of the stalker character. Along with the theme music from ‘Heat’ combined with the gradual speeding of the footsteps creates the sense of fear which attracts the audience into watching the rest of the plot. The appearance of the anti-hero the character of Detective Spade as well as the antagonist played by the mysterious unknown stalker.
The sudden unexpected effect of the stalker vanishing creates the sense of fear, wondering where the character has gone and creating the idea that it might have been her imagination which makes the audience feel even more for the woman’s safety. The constant filming of the woman always looking over her shoulder draws the audience in to wonder if it really was her imagination. The personal camera view with the shaky cam of the woman walking down the alleyway, gives the sense that we are the woman character and that we addressed the audience to feel the same fear as the woman as she is walking down the alleyway.
The last scene of this part is the stalker pointing the gun at close range at the POV camera view, which addresses to the audience that this woman may have committed something towards the man to make him have the urge to kill the young woman.
The next scene with the Detective Spade and assistant detective Jim, the formal dress and formal atmosphere gave the idea that this may be an important matter that attracts the audience to believe that this may have some link to the woman who had just been shot. the office and numerous messy papers, folders and newspaper articles on the table in the darkened office addresses to the audience that this Detective may have been successful once before failing.
6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
Within the process of piecing together this Film Noir project, I feel that I have benefited an amount of new experience from all of the technology used, which ranged from using the HD cameras, photography technology to provide evidence for the filming process and to show the changes, the different types of computer technology from the Mac’s to the iMovie to create the film as a whole to the editing process. And the final process of using the studios to create the voice overs to be placed into the film over the top of the music that is in the background.
From the beginning of the year I had no idea how to change the settings on the camera and even how to edit a piece of film from the camera onto the computers by using the programme of iMovie. I realised the importance of how our media product would be a higher quality when we used numerous technologies which helped to enhance the product. In the preliminary task was the first and only experience of carrying out any filming. This meant that I only had little experience of how to use the HD camera’s, which surprised me as I felt that the whole process of using the cameras seemed not as hard as I imagined them to be. With almost no knowledge of how to upload files onto the Mac computers, after we as a group had finished the filming process of the alleyway scene and the office scene I discovered how to upload it onto another programme to start editing it into a smooth movie process. Here I learnt how to change the saturation and brightness from simply changing it to black and white to create the typical Film Noir environment. During the editing product I felt that I had picked up new skills from the technology such as exploring how to cut clips down and merging the cut clips together to create a smooth running film without any pauses or jittery moments.
With the HD camera we had learnt how to lower the image pixillation to a TV mode rather than a full movie mode on the camera which would help our group not the fill too much of the computer’s server which would cut down on overall space. The camera was used in a numerous amount of ways to create the best results for our piece. While we were filming at the same time a Nikon photography camera was also used to take pictures of the filming locations which would be used as extra evidence to be placed on our blog to give evidence of what we used and the changes that we made to show the places that were improved to provide a higher quality. The most suprising factor was the evidence that we finished most of our editing completed within the first week which was a major achievement considering that we as a group had little experience of how the use all of the new technology. This also gave us some extra time to look over our product and to make any changes either to the effect such as saturation and brightness which would benefit the overall quality.
The camera gave me some extra experience about all of the advantages that you can gain from shooting at all different directions can give various effectsto increase the quality of the filming experience.
In general I feel that I have learnt may various skills from this experience which will benefit massively when we move up to A2 level. By picking up new techniques of how we could improve the products quality by the major importance of editing, as we could change the effects if certain scenes as well as deciding the various camera angles which would accentuate the products value. During certain editing processes our group discovered that we could have used more camera angles which would have helped when it came to cutting the clips down. This seems like an extremely important factor when it came to creating a Film Noir production type. I believe that it would have benefited our group massively if we used enough lighting effectively in the office as some of the lighting seemed to light for the effect that we wanted to achieve. It would have also been a major benefit if our group could have manipulated the scenes to increase the effect of the lighting.
Another problem that we encountered was the cast production, eventhough we managed to find someone to act as the stalker quite rapidly before also finding the person to act out as the Detective Spade. However, as the days became increasingly shorter and shorter we seemed to be running out of time to find the other two charactes. In the end we managed to find someone to be the other Detetive character, but still had no choice from who to cast as the female victim. Eventually we cast a character from our group the play the part of this character, from the past experience of finding people to cast i have learnt that it is a benefited option to cast people well in advance before the filming process which means the acting quality would have been much improved.
Planning also seems to be an important factor, which seems that carrying out more intense research into those who would be cast into our production, which would have given us a clearer idea how to portray out characters. Eventhough we gained much of the information through our questionnaires, it might have been an effective option to have also given them a range of people as oppose to younger adults.
7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
When carrying out the prelimary task I felt that we didn’t necessarily spent much time on looking deeply into the lighting, editing and so on as it was only a practise run on how the cameras would feel to use and manuve. When starting the Film Noir project our group had to focus onto how we wanted certain scenes to be portrayed. The main factor that we wanted to get across was to symbolise the characters importance by using certain techniques such as lighting and scenery as well as the different camera angles to show how important ceratin characters would be to the storyline. Another process that i have learnt how to successfully owkr is the editing process, as we didn’t have the experience to use the editng process in our prelimary task. A key aspect which is important to take into consideration is the continuity of the filmimg process and how it is importance to keep this in balance as not to create errors as it seems to be an activity that happen without us even noticing.
When reviewing our plans which were made before filming had some changes made to them. Some of the frames that were constructed in the first planning stages were not finally used in the finishig production. This may have been due to the fact that we didn’t follow our storyboard close enough which meant that when changes were made it didn’t exactly flow with the rest of the constructed frames. We finished most of the filming, the planning project played a big part. While carrying out our filming production we had the script and camera angles which we could always refer back to when we felt confused at any time.
Mistakes that we encountered during the filming process
During our filming experience we experienced some mistakes within our piece. This included some scenes where parts of the scenery were in the way and we had to spent time editing and cutting out this type of mistakes. We also managed to include modern day moving cars which we would have prefered to just had the parked ones that were lines up along the side of the road. We also felt that it would have been a consideration to include more camera angles which could have made our editing process a little easier when placing the various scenes together. Within the scene when the victim was being followed there was a shaky cam which infers that there was someone following the victim when it was just surposed to be a smooth camera angle.
The office scene would have been made better if there was better lighting which would have benefited in the scene where it changed from being dark to light when the blinds were opened, this effect that we were aiming for didn’t show as clearly as we had imagined.
Here there were some items placed on the office table that were later removed, the original idea were to use a bottle of half full alcohol and a tumbler glass, this type of item would fit today’s society and obessions for drinking. On the detectives table we also had first ideas to use a newspaper article that explained his situation. With this prop we decided to use quite modern font types and the same layout of a modern newspaper article. This would make younger audiences feel in modern times even though it is set in a different time era.
Eventhough we had scripted almost all of our scene there still seemed to be parts that we altered and changed around, however, we didn’t actually change that much which made it easier for us when it came to filming. When filming certain scenes we encountered some continuity errors espcially in the office scene. We had to ensure that our detective was either going to enter the office with or without the hat, as there were certain scenes where the character would be seen walking in with the hat and then seen within the office with no hat and it leaves the audience wondering what happened to the hat.