AFP Media Course 2016-18

HORROR FILM UNIT (AUG-OCT 2016)

GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM

  • Distorted and weird (edgy shapes & shadows)
  • Exaggerated movements/emotions
  • The set is often described as bits of broken glass
  • The plots of german expressionism inspired movies have been said to be nightmareish

IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • Manipulation
  • Hypnotism
  • Control
  • Power
  • Mind control

EXAMPLES OF SOME GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM INSPIRED MOVIES ARE:

  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Metropolis

DON'T MOVE - an award winning short film

TECHNIQUES USED:

  • The use of silence - it's silent for the majority of the film, exaggerating every breath that the victims take, making every death just as tense as the next.
  • The use of a demon (like a ghost)
  • There was no set-up shot - just an Ouija board, implying that something has been summoned.
  • An excessive use of blood, only adding tension to the audience for each victim's pain and death. The fact that the last person is walking around with blood all over her face makes it seem like she's dead already.
  1. ACT 1 - establishes characters - where they are, what time of day it is, who they are and what kind of relationship they have with each other.
  2. ACT 2 - introduces conflict.
  3. ACT 3 - resolution/recovery (not all horror films must have a resolution).

*Most horror films have jump scares around act 2-3.

FILM NOIR

  • Film noir was developed during and after WW2 - taking advantage of the post-war ambience of anxiety, pessimism and suspicion.
  • Modern day Noir is often called Neo-Noir.
  • Often thrillers
  • There was always a gullible male protagonist
  • There was always a "femme fatale" - who lured the protagonist into doing things they normally wouldn't do (manipulative) and are often dressed in red (sexual promiscuity)
  • Typically set in bars, motels or empty streets.

J-HORROR

  • Engages with fear of women
  • Many demons in this film type are women
  • The use of sound effects are essential
  • Brought in the mix of diegetic and non-diegetic sounds (diegetic being the sound of the world within the film such as a sound of a remote clicking or simply dialogue, non-diegetic being added sounds such as a backing track)

The 3 steps to a jump scare

  1. Setup
  2. False scare
  3. Real scare
Re-creating the shots list because the plot of the story was been changed by the director. We also decided to add in a more experienced actor (Alex Gostick) because he does drama and is able to express his feelings through drama better.
Shreya, the cinematographer, testing the lighting by taking pictures and videos of the set with me in the frame. In this picture, there was a glare of the white light coming from one of the light stands. This is why it's important to test the lighting first before recording - if the audience can see the flaws during the production process, it has a high chance of ruining the "hypodermic needle" affect theory throughout the audience.
Still in the pre-production phase, we watch clips of popular TV shows or movies where a character is shot in the eye. I noticed that their ideas were much different to ours - rather than having the character shown suffering, the character either either passes out or dies instantly (one example is the scene where Carl gets shot in the eye in "The Walking Dead"). I then realized that this scenario made more sense, and that suffering should be saved for injuries to the abdominals or limbs. When the injury affects the head, they have a faster blood loss, thus making them pass out quickly. It is important to keep in mind to manipulate the audience's minds to be in favour of whoever's being shot, so that they actually care about their death. If it's the death of someone who, for example, has killed many people in their lifetime, and it's clearly portrayed that they are an evil character, the audience would feel relief or joy.
Pre production phase. Adjusting the lights in the foreground you can see Shreya. Adjusting the saturation of blue and yellow lights on the left are Joy and I. At the table is my brother, setting up the chess arrangement so that the arrangement makes it look like, from a professional chess player's eye, Blair is winning. Although there is dialogue on this, we want every audience member to feel like this horror movie had an effect on them, regardless if they play chess or not, and since there will be an extreme close-up shot on the chess board, a fault in the pieces would lose the interest of people who play chess. We're not going to take any chances.
Still in pre production phase - Shreya, the cinematographer, came over so that I could practise my acting in extreme close-ups and review and reflect on my acting so I can look over my strengths and weaknesses.

31/10/2016 - after watching all of the other videos, I noticed that the majority of them had a sufficient story and great build up to the plot. Other members of our group noticed too, and we then saw immediate improvement points - if we were to keep Alex in the movie, we'd need to build up on his character. There would be no point in having the first scene at all if it doesn't all link back together in the end (we decided to cut him out earlier). We only showed the kitchen scene onwards as we had no more scenes with Alex in it. One other improvement point I can point out is the coverage. I think there could have been more coverage as I'm getting the milk from the fridge - maybe a hand grabbing out to reach the cup, then back to the original torso shot from the counter. Although our movie didn't turn out exactly how we thought it would, I couldn't have asked for a better group to make this movie with.

The final movie!

TELEVISION MULTI-CAMERA UNIT (NOV 2016-JAN 2017)

JOB APPLICATION LETTER - Vision Mixer - Feedback: "Good formality and examples pertinent to the position. You've got the job." It was indeed difficult for me to think of examples pertinent to the position, as in previous years talent (which was the role I was in the previous unit) wouldn't have been marked - I think that talent probably wasn't the best position to put on a job application letter as it requires almost no knowledge of cameras, editing equipment, etc., meaning there's less "talent" required to be the talent (and therefore less you can add to a job application letter). Regardless, I found some examples that were related to Vision Mixer and gave in all information required for this role (I will admit, I used WikiHow to get an idea of how to structure this piece of writing).

Research on my given role (Vision Mixer) on the TriCaster

The role of the Vision Mixer, according to esfmedia - "Plans for using TriCaster to incorporate all elements simultaneously - music, all 3 camera feeds, graphics & VTs". The video I watched isn't exactly the same as the TriCaster that we've used, but the main idea of it is roughly the same, so I watched it for further insight on my role.

  • To do this role, you will need to:
  • Be able to work on a variety of different vision mixing desks and equipment
  • Have a good understanding of the language of the transmission
  • Be able to stay calm and react quickly and accurately under pressure
  • Have high levels of concentration and stamina
  • Have the discipline to respond to cues accurately according to predetermined plans
  • Have the confidence to take the initiative and deal with unforeseen circumstances or problems when they arise
  • Be able to multitask
  • Have excellent organisational abilities
  • Pay precise attention to detail
  • Have excellent verbal and written communication skills, showing diplomacy, patience and sensitivity
  • Have effective team working skills
  • Have basic IT skills
  • Have excellent visual and aural awareness, combined with artistic and aesthetic abilities
  • Have excellent colour vision
  • Have good sense of rhythm in order to produce accurate and sensitive transitions
  • Be able to read a musical score, or to bar count
  • Have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures
  • ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM VIDEO:
  • Ignore the numbers and figures in the bottom right corner of the screen/along the bottom (they're unimportant for what we're doing in this unit)
  • Top left hand corner - sources/channels (camera feeds, graphics/VT, black screen [for the end] etc.)
  • Top right hand corner - the Television - split into 2 windows. On the left is the preview window (what you have selected but isn't playing) and on the right is the program window (what the audience/screen is currently seeing).
  • Underneath the sources - the "mixer" or "M/E" (Mix Effect).
  • It's smoother to play live footage straight after a VT if you have the live camera feed selected in cue while the VT is playing - once the VT is finished, the live camera feed will automatically start playing.
  • NOTES TAKEN DURING REHEARSALS & FILMING: always be 100% concentrated and on the ball, listening to what the Autocue/Director (or whoever's calling out the camera change) is saying.
  • Don't try to concentrate on what is being said to the camera operators and others on set - it doesn't help. If anything it slows you down/breaks concentration.

*I also used this research on the Vision Mixer to help structure and build my job application letter.

TV MAKE ANALYSIS: CBBC: Blue Peter - How to make your own Christmas card

"What makes an interesting 'make' (to the target audience)?"

There are many key factors that have a role in making a make interesting to the aimed target audience, such as the set design and decoration, the organization of the make table, graphic elements, the presenter and use of language, camera coverage, demonstration, and overall flow of the make. This TV make analysis of Blue Peter's "How to make Christmas cards" will cover all these areas and the overall effects on the target audience.

Set design & decoration - The examples of the Christmas Cards are up on display for the target audience to get an idea of what the make is going to be, with additional decoration in the background of massive hanging paper snowflakes. With children’s TV shows and makes, floor designers often exaggerate stereotypes of themes in order to carry a message or theme across to a younger audience - in this case, one thing that Christmas is related to is snowflakes, with the theme of this set being a “Winter Wonderland”. When children browse through TV channels, they often don’t look at the content, but whether or not it's visually appealing. This piece of information is key if they're trying to attract a younger audience - which they are. This still applies to older audiences, but to an extent - a 'make' for adults may be visually appealing (like cooking shows with jars of food in the background) but if they're making something they don't have interest for, like if someone were watching a visually appealing cooking show with no motivation to cook, the make wouldn't appeal as much to them. In terms of the Uses and Gratifications theory, I think this show would fit under "diversion needs". A wide angle shot is used in the small breaks when the presenter isn't making the make so that they can make use of the decoration of the whole set.

So that there aren’t any awkward moments where the presenter is struggling to keep talking, there are points where he introduces a step, shows how to carry out the step and instead of finishing it, brings out the finished product. This is how they condense the time needed to do the make. On one side under the table, the presenter keeps the finished product ready for showing, and on the other he discards whatever he had before to keep a clean make table. The make table is covered in silvery/shiny wrapping paper to match the set design of the Winter Wonderland theme.

The resources needed are listed at the beginning of the make, using a picture of a list of the resources needed with Christmas presents, mistletoes and paintbrushes scattered around it (this is the only text that is shown on screen and for the younger audience it may be difficult to focus on the make if it's not visually appealing). An animation of falling snow is added to it to only add to the Winter Wonderland theme. At the very beginning, an intro is played using the “Blue Peter” logo to communicate the identity of the programme (also probably for copyright purposes). During the demo, the presenter used a picture from the bbc website to glue onto the card, so they used this to their advantage to advertise the bbc website. A link was animated to remind the audience where to go in order to get the ‘perfect’ image for a Christmas card. The link leads to the Blue Peter’s website (self promotion).

In this make, there is one presenter who is aiming to demonstrate how to make a Christmas card. He is wearing a black long-sleeved shirt with white patterns on it to draw attention. What I’ve noticed is that not only does he explains what to do, but he also makes personal connections to the card and to the viewers, at one point saying “it’ll take pride of place on my mum’s mantelpiece, which is exactly where this one’s going, no doubt”. When presenters make personal connections with the audience, they’re making the “make” more interesting to watch. It’ll make the children watching think, “I’d really make my parents proud if I made something like this!”. One more technique the presenter uses to keep the audience connected is the use of pitch and tone in his voice, as well as attitude. During this make, the pitch, tone and volume of his voice vary as he jumps around, his body language open and confident (chest out/open, arms outstretched at the beginning to welcome the viewers, etc) doing one step after the next, with his attitude being bubbly and upbeat. It’s very colloquial, like the kind of language children use, making it easier for the presenter to be able to make a connection with the target audience - audience who develop a better personal connection with the presenter are more likely to 'stay tuned' into the channel/make. BBC often use the same crew and presenters for their shows, so this could potentially file under "personal identification" in the Uses and Gratifications theory as the target audience will be 'bonding', in a way, with the presenter of the make. The presenter's voice is at a steady pace, not too fast that the audience won't be able to understand him and not too slow so that the make goes overtime in it's designated time slot.

There are a total of four different shots used in this make. The opening shot is a wide-angle shot to introduce the set and the presenter to the audience. Camera 4 is an overhead camera zoomed into a close up shot of the presenter making the make. Whenever the presenter pauses to talk, it resumes back to camera 1 - the wide angle shot. There are then two cameras (camera 2 and 3), one at each side, each for extreme side-on close-ups of the presenter demonstrating the make. Camera 2, 3 and 4 are all shots for clear images of the make. ***NOTE: the diagram drawn above is my own interpretation of where the cameras are placed - Blue Peter may have had different cam numbers for their production. This is where I believe the cameras are placed. The numbers displayed labelling the cameras are for my own full-depth explanation of cameras and their angles/shots.

And as for segments, I can identify four different segments in this make - intro, VT, demo and outro. It’s best to use segments in makes so that the make has a sense of flow to it, also providing structural variety.

TV Show Analysis - Orange is the New Black (OITNB)

***BEFORE YOU READ*** this TV show's target audience is aimed towards the older majority of the "young" audience (approx. 16-20 year olds) meaning that there is mature content - this analysis, however, will be focusing less on plot and more on how the producers, cast and fans of OITNB are using developing technology as a marketing tool to market towards their target audience.

A post requires at least 200-300 "upvotes" (likes) on a 9gag to make it to the "trending" page. To make it to the "hot" page, a post requires more than 1,000 upvotes within 10 days (and it has to go through the trending page first). If you're lucky, 9gag's FaceBook or Instagram page will post your content (only posts on the "hot" page are posted on the official 9gag page) and it has a chance of going viral. On March 3rd, Donald Trump became a nominee to be the president of the United States, and one smart user came up with a meme regarding both the television show "Orange is the New Black" with real-life political issues, which skyrocketed up to a total of 45,000 upvotes (*it is possible to downvote a post. So, including the downvotes, the post had an overall number of almost 46,000 votes. This does not include the people who saw it but didn't vote, so potentially hundreds of thousands of people could have seen it).

People instantly loved the post because it linked the two worlds of political issues and entertainment, and it's been reposted thousands and thousands of times throughout different social media platforms. The post went 9gag viral within days, even being posted by the official 9gag page on both Instagram AND Facebook (I would post screenshots but 9gag posts at least 10 times in one day and it would take hours to reach March 2016). Producers didn't even need to pay for this form of advertising. At the same time, another viral trend was going around - the slang term "Netflix and Chill", which is a term that was made purely by teenagers. Long story short, it became internet slang for having sex. People were using it jokingly regularly and it spread quickly on every social media platform, originally starting on twitter, which boosted the popularity of Netflix. With Orange is the New Black being the most popular Netflix Original, it was easy to find a way to advertise the television programme on the homepage. All these viral trends only built up a perfect storm. The popularity of Netflix and the popularity of OITNB from 9gag both being boosted at the same time at around March 2016 gave interested viewers 3 months to watch what series were already available until the next season came out - and Netflix played their cards right when they were advertising the build-up to the release of season 4. One month before the release, Netflix had a countdown at the bottom of the main page counting down the days, hours and minutes until the next season of OITNB was released, which was June 17th.

According to the measurement service, 6.7 million people watched the show’s season-four premiere from June 17, when it debuted on the service, through June 19. Over the same period, 5.9 million people watched the season’s second episode. That places OITNB in the same league as the most watched shows on cable for the same week. In Nielsen live-plus-three ratings, the June 19 episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was cable’s most watched show with 10.4 million total viewers. The June 13 season premiere of TNT’s “Major Crimes” ranked second with 5.8 million.

Controversy

Despite the overload of fans and popularity, there's also a lot of controversy that people are arguing about OITNB throughout social media. One of the main debates people are discussing with this show is the fact that Netflix has shaped viewers' perspectives on prisoners, exaggerating their lives in prison to make the audience feel like they have personal connections with prisoners. This fits perfectly into the Uses and Gratifications theory of Social Integration - when watching a TV show becomes hyper-real and the audience begin to become attached to the people and the stories they are watching. The show exaggerates the stories and feelings that the prisoners are put through to make it seem, to the audience, like they're innocent people and they're becoming "better people" through time when they're all criminals, having had to do SOME kind of criminal act in the first place to get them thrown in jail. This is one side of the argument which states that someone watching OITNB will develop emotional connections with not only the prisoners on TV, but for the cold-hearted prisoners in real life as well (proof of the hypodermic needle theory, stating that after watching a sad story, or any kind of story really, on television, the viewer will have an emotional reaction and feel sad, or react differently emotionally depending on the situation).

Other people argue that the humanizing of people who have been incarcerated has a positive effect on viewers, giving them insight on how even the smallest crimes could lead to permanent scarring in prison. Take Piper Chapman, for example - the main character of the popular television show, who accidentally smuggled drugs across the border into Berlin, being sentenced 15 months in jail. Piper was innocent at first, but harsh prison life forced her to mold into the shape of a tough cell mate, dealing drugs, setting up her own illegal business in jail, hiding the dead body of a prison guard, beating up someone who threatened to kill her - she even lost her fiancé, who was supporting her from outside of prison, along the way. Some say that this show is a perfect example of raising awareness for criminal justice and prison issues.

This storytelling approach “gives you a full, 360-degree sense of why they did what they did; how being poor or black or being born into a certain neighborhood drove them toward committing a crime,” says Maurice Chammah, a staff writer for the Marshall Project, an online publication focused on criminal justice.

Social Media Platforms & Fan pages

A new bunch of episodes in a season is released once a year. Television programmes like "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" release new episodes every week. So, how does this TV show still thrive if it only has 5 minutes of fame every year?

Orange is the New Black has official accounts on THREE of the top four most popular social networking platforms - Facebook (Orange is the New Black , 6.98million likes), Instagram (@oitnb , 3.3million followers) and twitter (@oitnb , 1.79million followers). Pictures and videos are posted weekly of sneak peeks of the filming in progress as well as sneak peeks into the daily lives of the actors and actresses involved. One example below is a recent sneak peek of what looks like Laura Prepon wearing a black robe and holding a clapperboard. To a normal person's eye, it's just a woman wearing a robe about to shoot for a television show, but fans take it to a whole new level - interpreting every little detail, like the fact that she isn't wearing any makeup and she's wearing a black robe instead of the prison uniform.

A lot of the time, the only thing people who run pages like these need to worry about is staying up-to-date on news and developing technology. The most popular time of the year for them to start binge-posting is when a new season comes out, which ties in to a quote by Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group: “Networking becomes even more important during periods of rapid change,”, which is an extremely important point to observe - on the day that Season 4 was released, the official page posted a total number of TWENTY-NINE photos and five videos of the cast all pumped and eager for its release. That would mean posting at least one picture per hour, or if it was over a series of 12 hours, more than 2 pictures per hour. When a viewer opens Instagram, the posts by the page reminds them to watch the new episodes released.

Orange is the New Black also seems to get a lot of support from fan-made accounts who not only post about what happens on set, but off set as well. The most popular fan account which is still active is @oitnb.uk on Instagram. Why do people make fan accounts, you ask? When fans are passionate about something, they like making their passion known. It's also so much easier to find others who have something in common or the same interests as you through social media than in real life.

Only by these screengrabs, even if you knew nothing about the show, you'd be able to tell that Orange is the New Black provides not only an English version but an English version with subtitles of other languages. You can see French and Spanish are 2 languages they provide it in as they have appealed to people commenting in Spanish and French. You would be able to watch it in other languages as well, but this information is just taken by interpreting these screenshots.
Production Notes/Rehearsal Schedule
Roles:
  • Presenter - Aryan
  • Director - Jeremy
  • P.A. - Anshumaan
  • Floor manager - Sachin
  • Vision Mixer - Sophie
  • Sound mixer - Harvey
  • Camera 1 - Jason (also in charge of VT)
  • Camera 2 - Cai
  • Camera 3 - Matteo

(all planned on Messenger since we all had Facebook)

7 DEC 2016: Group chat was made --- 12 DEC 2016: I decided to hold a vote in order to settle the debate about the idea of our 'make'. I switched to 3 so that 3 had the majority vote.
29 DEC 2016: here we decide what's going to happen in the following lesson and organizing equipment/ingredients needed.

Equipment/ingredients needed:

  • A bowl
  • Dish soap
  • Paint (any colour you want)
  • Water
  • A straw
  • A spoon
  • Tissues (just to bring along to wipe down the table and spoon after rehearsals)
JAN 3 2017: a check-up to see where the group's at.
JAN 4 2017
JAN 7 2017: And, of course, someone had to check whether or not our make actually WORKED. Doing this also prepared the examples that our presenter showed later on in the make (now that I think about it, we should have put it up on display on the table) ***NOTE: there are chats in between the screenshots. The screenshots shown are all examples for organization and communication outside of school within our group.
Sachin's set design plan (he was the floor planner). He left out the space for the vision mixer but it's in between the P.A. and the sound mixer in the control room/TV box.

Distribution Possibilities

In order to market our make towards our target audience, which was ideally an audience ranging from 10-15 year olds, we could have put the video on YouTube and advertised it through Facebook, because for their age group, despite some ages being under the minimum age limit, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for that age group, with YouTube coming in second.

We have shared our make onto Youtube and have all had the option to be able to share it onto Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with our friends, with our family or just keep it to ourselves.

The Script (before & after Abby edited it)

Before (the script was made by the director, Jeremy, while I made minor adjustments to the grammar and added in the short phrase "it'll make you look like the next Picasso" to make it more colloquial to appeal more to our target audience)

A video of the rehearsal behind the scenes. It took me a few tries to get used to the TriCaster, but everything ran smoothly (with one hiccup of a switch to a camera which wasn't ready) in the final take.

The final product!! (my apologies for the 10 second gap at the beginning)

Final Evaluative Production Report

This whole new process of making the 'make' was definitely something new and especially since I was trying out a role I wasn't quite used to, it made me step out of my comfort zone to learn new tactics and ideas. Being the Vision Mixer working with the TriCaster and being able to get this experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity (unless I branch off to work for live television programmes) and gave me a lot more insight on what goes on behind the scenes in, not just makes, but live TV shows as well. I felt like this unit was better for me as I learnt more behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera (I do enjoy both, however I felt like I learnt more from this unit working behind the camera rather than in front of it). Choosing the idea of the make didn't seem too difficult for us because we had lots of short DIY videos to look at (see 5 minute crafts on Youtube). Learning about qualitative, quantitative and desktop research on millennial habits made it much easier for me to break down the distribution possibilities. So that it would be easy to stay in contact both inside and outside of school, we made a group chat on Facebook. The rehearsals were a bit of a bumpy road for me as it took me a few tries to get used to the Tricaster, but everything went smoothly except for one part when I accidentally switched to Camera 1, which wasn't ready. I think that stepping out of my comfort zone, which is usually in front of the camera, was something that was new to me, but I felt that I learnt more this unit than I did the last one. I also think that I was put in a great group with people with a broad range of skills who were a lot of help and were always there when I needed help (on messenger, of course).

Created By
Sophie HAFNER
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