Saturday, 24 October 2015

SHOOTS ten tips for a successful shoot

I'm sure there are plentiful more learned guides out there - and I'd always encourage reading video/film-makers' books (Alex Cox is very readable on his low-budget Indie shoots) - but these are ten simple bits of advice based on years of observing student filming, especially the common disasters that happen...

Friday, 9 October 2015

Researching film titles design and fonts

Part of Molly's research from 2015, looking at several films in this post.

Highlighted every year without fail by examiners as a weakness across the national entry, film titles need to be closely scrutinised before you make decisions on how to design yours, thinking about ...

  • what to include (and exclude),
  • the timing (continuous with identical gaps? from the start or later in the opening? when do they end?),
  • the order titles appear in,
  • font (serif or sans-serif? upper/lower case, a mix?),
  • size and any variation of this (within titles and for different roles),
  • the specific wording,
  • the (auteur) convention around crediting the director twice, the wording and order of this,
  • checking if distributor and production companies receive different wording,
  • looking for variation in the presentation of stars, co-stars, new actors (introducing...),
  • the specific roles that are credited (as opposed to dumped into the end titles),
  • colour,
  • animation,
  • transitions (fade in/out? wipe?),
  • other design features (e.g. underline, graphic containers)
  • the main (film) title (is it differentiated?)

... there is a huge amount to think about (and later to explain and justify your choices)!!!

IN THIS POST: Links and video clips to help you with researching and getting ideas for film titles design. I'll blog separately on researching fonts and looking for a specific downloadable font. First, a vodcast - you'll need to create similar video guides...

FCPX plug-ins

Budget limitations may mean you'll have to pay for it yourself, but do be aware there are many great plug-ins out there for Final Cut Pro X (and most major video editing suites).

We looked recently at a very specific example, as students looked to emulate aspects of some depeche Mode videos they particularly admired:
FINAL CUT PRO X CAMERA EMULATOR PLUGINAs raised when looking at these, you can emulate super-8 and 16mm (etc) cameras by purchasing FCPX plugins (this one is $50 - you may need to buy it yourself and carry edited clips from your own Mac to a school one).
[copied across from a post on Depeche Mode and the French New Wave style]

Film Openings: What to blog on

I have covered this in much greater detail, including many examples, here. This is an abbreviated version where I've picked out a dozen key factors. There are of course others you could think about, and these categories considerably overlap ... but I hope this will help to really narrow down what to look for.


1: IDENTS - how many; how long are these; what company type/s are featured: distributor, production?

2: 1ST SHOT - Discussing the semiotics, including Detailed denotation: what exposition is provided/withheld? Is it faded in? How long is the 1st take? Static or moving camera?
  • Don't twist your analysis to fit the genre, it doesn't always match the genre so neatly!
  • Consider exposition, narrative enigma, (non-)diegetic sound, anchorage/polysemy - sound is relevant as well as mise-en-scene.
  • Is the camera static or moving (does the shot/framing change?).
  • What does this shot lead into?
  • Looking ahead, you could apply Todorov's narrative model (equilibrium).

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

TASK: Starting to consider film opening conventions

Your coursework brief is to create the opening 2 mins of a new feature film including titles. Before embarking on any production in Media Studies, you must always thoroughly research and analyse the prevailing codes and conventions (not 'rules') of a given format, then look more closely at those of a specific (sub-)genre once you've settled on a firm production idea.

For the tasks below, you will consider the assessment criteria and how this research fits in, as well as what to consider, before starting to make detailed notes and blog on aspects of one example of a film opening. You will present your findings and take notes on others' findings before summing up your view of what the common conventions are in a series of short vodcasts.

TASK 1: [post] The role of researching conventions in our coursework
Using either your printed copy or an online version, look through the assessment criteria for all three marked sections of your coursework and note in this post any and all elements of this that are linked to researching the conventions of film openings (and film/genre conventions more broadly). Include any relevant Evaluation questions in your list.

TASK 2: [post] What I should look for when blogging on film openings?
We will discuss this in a class, after which you should consolidate your list of things to consider by carefully reading this post.

Ask if unclear about any terms.

TASK 3: [multiple posts] Titles, 1st shot, length of opening
You will each view and analyse ONE film opening, feeding individual findings, including typed detail and plentiful screenshots, into the following posts: