Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thriller Feedback

Positive aspects:
- variety of camera shots and angles
- the music towards the end was very good and mirrored the intensity of the moment
- the heavy drumming makes the simple and innocent scene seem tense - it contrasts well
- brilliant soundtrack, enjoyed change in beat when shot changes
- like the quick fast cuts throughout the opening sequence 
- like where the beat speeds up to what he sees happening in the future/newspaper
- the use of props is effective, good visual to tell the viewers what happened
- fast slideshow of pictures worked well with music
- close up on the eyes is used well to show a strong, powerful emotion later contrasted with a weak, worried emotion
- use of non diegetic sound is good and keeps the piece flowing until it's interrupted by the diegetic sound of the toast which draws attention to the emotion he's feeling
- close up of words in paper, characters eyes = effective
- music was good throughout and close ups were good
- build up of crash and newspaper shots - way it quickly changes is effective
- effect of shots of newspaper
- different camera angles, 360 degree, music throughout made opening really fluent

Areas of improvement:
- music is uneven, some shots go on for too long
- the newspaper article he reads is different to the images, editing/directing needs to improve
- pace could do with being quickerover the breakfast scene, name at the end makes it look like a trailer
- soundtrack could be a bit quieter
- music is repetitive
- feet and hand images look amateur, use better blood/sfx silicone
- soundtrack was quite repetitive, use more variety of sound loops
- I would change the background track, got annoying
- put effects on the titles
- use emphasis on the diegetc sounds and make them louder than backing track to give sense of normality
- plot was not understood, make it clearer
- I don't really like the backing music as it doesn't fit with the theme of the thriller
- maybe some more dramatic sound as well as the ones used would have created more tension

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Title pane


Pane 1: The lighting we used is natural, to create a better sense of reality. The first location we used was that of a natural street to also create a better sense of reality.
Pane 2: The second location we used was a normal kitchen to highlight the man's everyday life.
Pane 3: We used props in the kitchen scene such as tea, a kettle and toast to build the suspense with the noises.
Pane 4: Costume: We used a normal businessman's outfit, of a shirt, trousers, shoes and a laptop case, to highlight his normal walk to work.
Pane 5: Our title's font is didot, and we used the effect of earthquake and strobe to make it shake.
Pane 6: This pane shows a new angle, in the form of a high angle
Pane 7: This one shows the special effects we used including the distortion of the picture, a thriller convention as it is extraordinary events happening in ordinary moments
Pane 8: Another camerawork pane - close up and zoom into the businessman's eye to show his vision
Pane 9: Still image of the newspaper article. Shows the thriller convention of the enigmas in the film (the fact he has realised he is psychic) as he does not know what to do

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Production company for our film

A good production company for our film would be Spyglass Entertainment.
The film 'The Sixth Sense', 1999, directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, has an extremely similar storyline to ours - a boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they are dead, he has visions of these dead people but can do nothing to stop them, similar to our protagonist. The Sixth Sense was rated a 15, as ours would be.
Spyglass Entertainment supported this film, and, due to the similarities of the our media product and The Sixth Sense, our film would appeal to their audiences.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Planning for our shoot - 05/03/2011


The weather for Sunday is grey but luckily rain is not forecast, so our filming should go to plan.

The grey weather could be advantageous to us, in aiding the thriller in intensity.

Social groups portrayed by the media in cinematography

There aren't any major social groups portrayed in our film opening, aside from maybe the stereotypical businessman. However, we have tried to keep our film separate from themes showing social groups in specific ways, in an attempt to avoid any discrimination, or to make our film seem generic, however, we have used a stereotypical business man in our film. We did some research and found the film 'Falling Down', which is based on the bad day of a businessman (played by Michael Douglas) who loses his mind as his day gets progressively worse as he tries to get home for his daughter's birthday.
This is another example of a film where an 'average joe' businessman's day is turned upside down by something extraordinary.

This scene is an example of where the man is annoyed and takes it out on innocent bystanders:
Falling Down 'Wammybear' Scene

Film Rating

The thriller movie "Rift" will be aimed at a 15 audience, for a few reasons:

Firstly, we are hoping to have a relatively dark atmosphere in the movie, with a sense of peril throughout, a sense of pressure too adult for a rating below 15.

The film will also involve adult topics such as violence, and vulgar language throughout. These scenes would be used tastefully, however the use of such topics will rate the film at a 15.

Below are the guidelines in which a 15 is rated against:


The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.


Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.


Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.

Imitable behaviour

Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.


There may be frequent use of strong language . The strongest terms may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.


Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.


Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.


No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.


Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Titles Practice

This is the second time we have practiced with our titles. This time, we've used a different song which we have edited ourselves on Garageband.

Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco is a thriller about an FBI undercover agent who tries to catch out a mafia mob, but eventually he finds himself identifying more with his mafia life, which puts his family in danger.
The titles are small and white, like a typewriter’s. The title of the film does not appear any larger than that of the actor’s, and as it’s a name, it implies the character is a real person. As this film links to a true story, this will intrigue the audience.
The first thing the audience sees is a pair of eyes, which is a thriller convention. The eyes belong to a man, most likely the protagonist. The non-diegetic sound of the 1970s music almost relaxes the audience until the slow, strings music starts, which builds up the tension. The use of photographs links in with the ‘crime thriller’ genre, as policemen take photographs. The soft, seamless transitions between the photographs make them seem like moving images. The colours used are mostly black and white and sepia tones which add a dark quality to the images, making them seem more sinister. Towards the end of the opening, the images appear and disappear faster, almost a flickering quality which adds tension, as they seem to be leading up to something. The fact the images have circles and drawings on them imply they are policeman’s photographs which links in with the genre of a crime thriller. The music also increases its pace at this point, becoming higher and faster, which adds suspense, making the audience feel uneasy. The unusual settings of these images, such as a poolside, imply the people were being spied on. The music then slows down again, as do the transitions between the images. The photographs turn into close ups of the man’s eyes again, implying he has been looking at these photographs.

Monday, 28 February 2011


The film i have choosen to write my essay about is called BlackOut, it is a claustrophobic thriller about a group of individuals who become stuck in a lift during a holiday weekend in their apartment block, in the small space the 3 people become agitated and their tempers start to fray.

The opening titles are very edgy as they use the same sort of effect that we have choosen for our media project opening titles, the flickering titles give the effect that something is not quite right. As the actual film comes into view we can see an old house, the furniture in the house is very old fashioned at first and gives us the feel that there is something mysterious about the house. Next the cmaera begins the pan across the room which is still giving the same effect as the intital shot, the house seems very old and the slow panning gives the viewer an eerie feel. As the camera is panning round the room you can hear the dripping of a tap or shower, this noise is very creepy as we later find out in the pan that the dripping is infact the dripping of the blood onto the floor, behind the hand coming out of the bath we can see a man, although we can not make out what he looks like as the shot is focusing on the hand and arm coming out of the bath. At first we think that the man sitting in the background of the shot has murdered the girl in the bath, but the next shot of the man is when he is sitting in the background and the arm is once again in the foreground which could once again make us think that the man is looking over the work he has done however the shot moves from focusing on the arm to actually focusing on his face, that seems striken with grief. This could tell us that he has either come in the bathroom to find the girl with the slit wrist or he has fully realise what he has done and is now coming to terms with his actions. The man starts to "narrate" his thoughts on what he has lost, however we can not fully trust him as he may be an unreliable narrator because things are coming from his side. His eyes aren't looking at the slit on the girls wrist but he is infact looking at the girls face, showing that he has a connection with the victim because he doesn't care about the slit he only cares about the look on the girls face and her eyes.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Our Thriller Poster


We used photoshop to create this image. We copied the eye in colour into a black and white layer of the whole image and added text. We used the image of the eye as it is significant in our film about seeing the future, and is a traditional thriller convention.

Production Logo Ideas


We have chosen Sandbox to be the name of our production company. We decided to create a futuristic logo for Sandbox Productions, and decided to keep the image somewhat generic to allow a variety of different films to be produced by the company in the future, without limiting it to a certain genre.

The programme used to develop the image was Adobe Photoshop, and we found the images online and the text on an online text generator.

Titles Practice

This is our Titles practice. We used the font 'Didot' and the effects of earthquake and strobe. We feel these effects fit in with the name of our thriller film 'Rift'.

The section after the initial title was added in a quick attempt to show what the in-movie titles will look like, obviously having the text over a moving image in the final production.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Location Recce

 Location Recce - Kitchen
Here are some images of my kitchen which could potentionally be used a the film set for the kitchen scene in our thriller "Rift" the ideal scene in our head would be to see the character doing his morning routine but having extreme close ups of mundane things such as the kettle boiling, stirring the tea and buttering the bread, my kitchen has a seating area in which the main character in our film could potentionally pick up his newspaper to reveal the shocking news about the car crash. The kitchen is very bright as there are two large windows plus a conservatory next to it meaning there could possibly be alot of natural lighting or we could use the blinds and close the doors and provide our own synthentic lighting to get the feeling of an early morning. I have taken 4 shots of my kitchen, one being in each corner of the room to get a real feel for the space.


Titles Practice

Titles practice screen shots

This is a screen shot of the titles we have been practicing for our thriller film project in Final Cut. We used the Text tool to create our titles and then added the effects of 'Earthquake' and 'Strobe'. The image of the kitchen is the kitchen we will use in our final project.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Potential area to take pictures of the accident

Below are some pictures of the street right outside my house. Below are some reasons as to why this street is ideal to film on.

  • Apart from the houses further up the road, there is only one access route to the road to ensure the area is safe at all times. We can easily have one person just keeping an eye out for the odd car wishing to pass.
  • The road is wide, meaning this road can be indistinguishable between a busy inner-city street and this.
  • Minimal distraction - there are very few people that travel up and down the road so that means there will be barely any onlookers or distractions.

Potential area for the kitchen scene

Below are some pictures of my kitchen. I believe this kitchen is a potential area to film due to the correct props in the scene and can have harsh lighting, should it be required.

Test shots of the 360 degree spin

Below are two potential ways in which we could choose to film the 360 degree shot signalling the start of the vision, either using a dolly or handheld.

Using a Dolly
When we used a dolly, we received varied results. The overall consensus is that the dolly made the filming really smooth on the surface we chose to film on. However, any bump on the surface, created a noticable jolt in the filming process. We also cannot gaurantee that the surface that we choose to film on in Cambridge will be perfectly smooth like the one we chose in the college grounds. The final issue of using the dolly is the sound made by the wheels on the ground. This is only a minor issue because we will be planning to have a soundtrack playing over the filming.

Filming without a dolly
We decided that filming without a dolly was much easier than filming with one. We decided this for many reasons, first of all, if the cameraman/woman uses a steady hand, then the filming can still be very stable and have minimal jolts. Filming without a dolly also eliminates any problems associated with the street surface, seeing as it is easier to alter the position of the camera in your hands opposed to changing the height and position of the camera whilst attached to the dolly. The section of the clip where the camera must zoom in on the character's eye is also much easier when handheld seeing as the camera user can literally move the camera towards the actor and zoom at will.

Font Ideas for our Titles

Font idea for the title 'Rift':

Screen shot 2011-02-15 at 13.39.20

We like the look of this font for our title because the effect is very thriller-like. The jerky letters link to a 'rift' in the font, just like a rift in time and space in our opening.

Screen shot 2011-02-15 at 13.58.57

We also like this font as the breaks and cuts in the letters also link to our title. It gives a hint to what is to come.

Screen shot 2011-02-15 at 14.02.46

Another font is this one - all the fonts we are interested in using have breaks and cuts in the letters, linking to our title.

Screen shot 2011-02-15 at 14.09.05

This is the fourth font we are considering for our thriller opening title. It has a broken effect like the others but the boldness compared to the white gaps really stands out and sets it apart from the other fonts.

Props & Costume

The costume for our protagonist - the only character you see in our opening - is a black business suit and a black briefcase. This represents his job and portrays him as a normal every day businessman. This fits in with the thriller convention of extraordinary things happening in an ordinary environment.

The props we need include:
- briefcase - for our main character
- broken glass/plastic, fake blood - for the car crash images
- newspaper - for the kitchen scene
- cup of tea/spoon, plate/knife/butter - for the kitchen scene

Screen shot 2011-02-15 at 13.20.10

Friday, 11 February 2011

Sonic Moodboard

This is our sonic mood board that includes pictures that we are going to use in our final film. We used final cut to create our mood board and added in the 'Time drone' sound to create a tense atmosphere, which is the atmosphere we would like to use in our opening.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Example of diegetic sound shown in kitchen scene

This clip from Shaun Of The Dead is an example of the types of shot we are hoping to have in our Thriller Opening. We are hoping to film longer, slower versions of the tea stirring (at    ) and of the toast spreading (at    ).

We wish to use different versions of the tea scene (With slower stirring - In a more tired manner) and the toast (With more tired spreading and cutting) clips.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Children's Film Analysis

We could have improved our childrens film in a few ways, here are three ways in which we could of improved it -

  • Plan - We didn't succesfully plan our media project so therefore we wasted too much time on the preparation of our set and props instead of planning our script and camera shots.
  • Script/Shot List - We didn't set up a proper shot list which would have allowed us to know what shots we were doing as we were filming, also we hadn't prepared a script therefore we didn't know what our characters would say.
  • Sound - We didn't really try to make our sound fit in with our childrens film because we spent too long editing the film and didn't have time to correctly choose the soundtrack for our childrens film.

Improvements On Children's Film

  •  Planning - We came up with an idea and how to film it, but we left our mise en scene until last minute which resulted in less time to film.
  •  Editing - Basic editing was used, to make our children's film fit into its genre we could of used a variety of editing techniques to meet the conventions of children's films.
  • Angles/Shots - This was also more basic, after seeing other groups children's film openings I saw that we could of used more angles/shots to make it more appealing for the audience.

Why Thrillers Thrive

Why Thrillers Thrive

I think that the main points made by this article are telling us that a thriller is a different from most other types of film, because of the sense of “danger” we are putting ourselves in seems great however in our subconscious we know that we are fine. It also talks about how a thriller is different to other films, they allow the viewer to think more about what they are watching, instead of going to the cinema and seeing a romantic film where they know what the plot will be whereas when they watch a thriller they will think up numerous plots yet none of them will be correct because thrillers are the most diverse genre. They can do what you expect but have a twist at the end or they can have a twist at the beginning leading to a bigger twist at the end.
A thriller gives you thrills but not the kind that leave you fearing for you life, like the sideshow the news article talks about, this is a different kind of thrill, a thrill that people didn't like because it made them feel vulnerable, whereas a thriller you will always be safe even if you feel like the antagonist is standing over you and breathing down your neck.
It is quite amazing how this article is from the 1930's yet you can read it like it was written today, this is because it is talking about thrillers and thrillers will always stay the same yet they will always be so enjoyable, whereas other films move with the times and they change.

Children's Film Analysis

Three things we could improve upon from our children's film are:

1. Camerawork - we did not include a variety of shots, angles or movements in our opening which would have made viewing a lot more interesting for the viewer. We should have used a shot list to plan our camerawork more carefully.
2. The script - we did not write or rehearse the script ahead of time, so it was quite poor.
3. Sound - we focused so much on the mise en scene of our film that the sound suffered and the music did not fit in well with the plot.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Risk Assessment

With filming, it is critical that every aspect is risk assessed in order to ensure saftey as a group, so that no-one gets in trouble or in danger of being hurt or worse.

Below is a list of all of the things that could prove a potential hazard to the group and with the risk assessment we will hope to avoid all the dangers in filming:

  1. Filming on/near the road
The road can be very dangerous, especially in the peak times that we will be expecting to film. the main hazard is obviously walking out in front of a car. The way we will hope to avoid danger near the road is to simply be careful and make sure that there is always one person watching the traffic and making sure that the group don't stray too close.

     2.  Filming in the road

For one scene of our film, we will be required to film laying down in a road for the crash sequence, this will require great safety as we would not be able to close the street itself because it is clearly a public place. The way in which we wish to solve this problem is by filming the scene on a quiet street near one of our homes, a road well known to the members, and outside peak traffic times. We will be looking at numerous locations to film the scene to find the best place.

     3.  Dangerous props

We don't have many dangerous props in our opening, however, a few of the objects could be dangerous if we are not careful - items such as hot tea, broken glass and the knife used to cut the toast and spread the butter. Most of these can be avoided so we will just need to be careful. 

Shot list

The date 'February 7th, 2009' appears on the black screen. 
Then, a man in a smart business suit is walking down a street in the morning [variety of shots: long shot, close ups of his face/suit, low/high angles, tracking movement], obviously on his way to work. 
He freezes in the middle of walking, his face a picture of horror.  A 360 degree pan around him adds to the surreal effect. with a zoom in to the man's right eye. [photographs - close ups of the crash]
He has seen a car crash, and photographs show parts of the crash such as broken glass and a crushed car. 
The next scene, a flashback, shows the date 'February 20th, 2009' with the man sitting in his kitchen in the morning   [long shots, close ups of his face and actions], buttering his toast and drinking his tea, reading a newspaper of that exact crash he sees in the next few weeks [close ups on newspaper's words such as crash, dead].     

Location: Street
Shot 1: (Present) Long shot of the front of the man walking, establishing shot
Shot 2: (Present) Close up of his hand holding his briefcase
Shot 3: (Present) Close up of his face
Shot 4: (Present) Long shot from behind him, showing him walking
Shot 5: (Present) Medium close up of his feet walking
Shot 6: (Present) Close up on his face, horrified
Shots 7-25: (Present) 360 degree around him
Shot 26: (Into man's mind) Zoom in on his eye
Shots 27-34:(Man's vision): Photographs of the crash
Shot 35: (Present) Medium close up, the man drops his suitcase in shock

Shot 36: (Present) Long shot on the man reading a newspaper in his kitchen
Shot 37: (Present) Close up on man's eyes scanning the news
Shots 37-40: (Present) Close ups on him stirring his tea, buttering his toast
Shot 41: (Present) Medium close up as he picks up his newspaper
Shot 42: (Present) Close up on his eyes reading his newspaper and the shock that registers when he reads about the fatal crash
Shot 43: (Present) Close up & photographs of the newspaper article
Shot 44: (Present) Medium close up on the man looking shocked

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why "Thrillers" Thrive

The article about why thrillers thrive was really intriguing. It revealed that human nature needs 'thrills' in our life to feel fufilled, but, because of our 'sheltered civilisation', we must experience them second-hand, through the cinema. When a thriller is well-made, the audience do not just watch, they participate, so they leave the cinema feeling like they have really experienced the events themselves, with a 'subconscious assurance of absolute safety'. Horrors, in contrast, can leave the audience feeling unsafe and can cross 'the line between horrific and horrible', horrible being unacceptable in the public's 'healthy mind', and because thrillers are about what you don't see, not what you see, this is why they will 'thrive' in the cinema.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

After watching Amir's presentation on Planning and Shooting, these are the three main points we learnt:

  1. Do some research on the location
We were told, in the presentation, that one of the most important things that a group can do is research the area that the filming will be taking place in. 

This is important because there are problems that can arise that the group cannot forsee, but if the group is well planned and scouts out the area first, the group can avoid these dangers/problems.

Some of these problems involved can be:
  • Outside noise, such as traffic sounds and the public.
  • Certain time restrictions such as shop openings and closing, and rush hour crowds etc.
The way in which we will overcome this, is by visiting the location of the filming before the final filming date and doing a location recce.

      2.  Digital Storyboard

We were told in the presentation that we should take photographical evidence of the locations for our film, we should take different angles, frames and shot types and then print them off as a reference for filming. We could then map out our filming route onto google maps and this would allow us to know where we would walk and do our filming. If we were going to use a Close Up shot then we could try taking a Wide Shot aswell to see which shot we preferred once we got back to our planning stage.

       3.  Storyboard

I believe the most important phase of the planning, is the storyboard. I think the storyboard is easily the most important aspect to the planning for the simple reason that on the sheet, you can see every important feature of the scene, such as camera angles, positioning etc.



The date 'February 7th, 2009' appears on the black screen. Then, a man in a smart business suit is walking down a street in the morning, obviously on his way to work. The shots then become photographs as he freezes in the middle of walking, his face a picture of horror. He has seen a car crash, and photographs show parts of the crash such as broken glass and a crushed car. The next scene, a flashback, shows the date 'January 20th, 2009' with the man sitting in his kitchen in the morning, eating breakfast and drinking his tea, reading a newspaper of that exact crash he sees in the next few weeks.

Above is a brief explaination of the plot of our Thriller opening, we will be sure to include a more detailed script and storyboard on the blog page.


Donnie Brasco
Donnie Brasco Opening

The idea of using photographs to establish the story came from the thriller 'Donnie Brasco'.
'Donnie Brasco' uses photographs to create an almost moving image, yet the image focuses more on the details of the shot, which is what we want for our opening.
The transitions between the images in 'Donnie Brasco' are smooth, making the film visually pleasing to the viewer.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Our Idea Feedback


Our feedback from the group pitch -

  • Need to be safety conscious whilst filming certain scenes.
    • When filming in the road - Ensure that the road is either fully closed, or quiet enough to film on. Another thing that the group can do to ensure that the road is safe, is to have someone further up the road to point out when traffic is coming etc.

  • Make sure the special effects are adequate to look realistic enough.
    • Initially we were prepared to use something such as ketchup to imitate blood, but we discussed the matter and have come to the conclusion that fake blood from a joke store would look more realistic. 

  • Practice our shots - for example, our idea of 360 degree panning around the man could be difficult, even using photographs, so we need to practice this.

Psychological Thrillers

The central theme of identity in the psychological thriller genre can often be twisted to give the viewer a very different perception of the protagonist/antagonist’s psyche. Common examples of this include mistaken identity, stolen identity, dual identity, doppelgangers, confused identity and amnesia.
 Directors of psychological thrillers often use the effect of an altered perception of reality, often making the protagonist/antagonist have a different view on what is right or wrong. This may make the viewer cautious as to whether or not to trust the lead character, keeping the atmosphere tense.
The stream of consciousness is a device used in psychological thrillers to give an insight into the psyche of a particular character’s, usually the main protagonist.
Directors can often use the unreliable status of a narrator or central character to keep the viewer on edge throughout the performance. For instance, if the character is a convict or suspicious in any way; their view may be unreliable.
Imagery is one of the easiest devices to use in cinematography to convey the psychological thriller genre. Eyes are a frequent motif.
Technical devices such as flashbacks and repetitions in editing are common within psychological thrillers. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Subgenre: pyschological thriller

Overall Idea: A normal business man is walking to work, and in his mind has a horrifying vision of a fatal crash. Thinking it was his imagination playing tricks on him, he forgets about it, yet a few weeks later he reads an article on the exact crash he saw in his mind.

Characters:  the man is the only character in the opening

Locations: the man's kitchen, street

Costumes: man: black business suit (representing his lifestyle)

Lighting: (in the house): bright, sharp, muted colours from lamps
(in the street): natural light, representing normality of the day


The start of the opening shows the date, and sees a man, formally dressed, walking down a busy street, as if on the way to work. From here we will have a mixture of camera angles to give an artistic view of the character, some of these shots will include, a camera following the man jerkily in a handheld form, shots looking over his shoulder and looking on at him as he walks past. We will also include some shots from the man's perspective as he looks around at the environment. From this perspective we will also include some shots of close up objects. The shots will also establish the scene, such as the street name. Whilst the scene is unfolding, we will have a soundtrack gradually picking up in volume and intensity in a cresendo style. The climax of the scene will see the camera do a fast 360 degree spin around the man, whilst moving closer to his eye and we may use photo stills for this, as it will be easier. We will need to do test shots of both these ideas. Once the camera reaches the character's eye, we will insert a rapid selection of close-up images of an accident - things such as a limp arm in the road, shattered glass, a dented car. The scene will culminate in a fully shock white screen where the black word: "Rift" will fade in slowly, to the peak volume of the music; which will fully stop and go silent.

The opening of the second scene will start with a date, a few weeks after the man sees the crash and will only use diegetic sounds (such as the spoon clinking in the man's mug, the sound of butter spreading on toast, newspaper rustling etc). The visuals of the scene involve the audience seeing a man reading his newspaper in his kitchen in the morning. We have a variety of shots and sounds emphasising his morning routine, such as the sound of his spoon against his cup. All these sounds will build the suspense. The camera shots will show the article of the crash - the same one the man sees, which is shown with the name of the street etc.

- Another idea is that a voiceover could be used as the photos start to show the protagonist's confusion. This is using the psychological thriller convention of a stream of consciousness - and maybe an unreliable narrative.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ideas for our thriller opening

Idea One.

  • Centered around a crime - murder (but the audience don't know that at first)
  • Jerky handheld camera movement representing the victim's point of view, so the audience can only see suggestive moments such as the victim's eyes (thriller motif)
  • Black & white, with dark red lighting - representing danger + anger
The scene revolves around a murder that takes place however the audience doesn't know about it. The location is unknown to the audience as the camerawork is all close ups and quick cuts, which adds to the suspense of the opening and making it more intriguing to the audience. The characters are anonymous. The shots will switch between the characters and the titles. 

Idea Two.
  • Crime Thriller
The opening scene is the murder of the victim in the film, the rest of the film will be finding the murderer. The opening scene will show the victim walking down an alley naturally, with odd camera shots from high and low angles, showing the victim walking, from the point of view of the antagonist. The audience do not actually see the murder but it is suggested as the shot blurs and the pace of the cuts increase, building the suspense.

Idea Three.

There are clips of a regular man on his way to work, dressed formally. We will have multiple clips of both him walking towards the camera and of the camera following him both at a distance and over his shoulder as he is walking, as if it's someone watching him. Then, all of a sudden, the man must freeze and have a rapid series of 360 degree's stills, transitioning into rapid stills of a car accident, speeding up throughout to the cresendo of the music - ending in a white out. The scene then resumes a number of days later in the man's home, where he is seen to be eating breakfast. The man then grabs a nearby newspaper to see an article of an accident involving someone the man knows.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Student Thriller Openings Analysis

P2-37 Delirium Tremens

The fact the opening is in black and white adds to the gloomy atmosphere of the film, as does the slow music and long shots, which uses the thriller convention of the microelements building suspense. The panning at the beginning establishes the location of the film clip. The urban environment adds a sense of mystery to the clip and begins to make the viewer wonder what the rest of the clip will ensue. Towards the end of the scene, we have a trunk shot showing the protagonist staring in horror at the open boot, which shows the protagonist may be 'in peril' before a resolution, another thriller convention.


This opening is very professional, with parallel editing showing fire and a struggling scene. This could imply the film centres around a crime, a thriller convention, or an act of violence. The drama is in black and white, like Delirium Tremens, but the shots of the fire are bright red on a black background, both gloomy colours, suggesting impending doom. The close ups show a girl struggling, yet the audience cannot tell what she is struggling against - an unknown figure, potentially psychological. In the end of the opening, the struggle gains colour, and the fast cuts and short shots of editing highlight her ongoing struggle.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Crime Thriller Conventions

-Variety of characters, gangs or duo's of criminals, dopey sidekick (normally eccentric)
- Central topics often include a crime or number of crimes e.g murder, kidnap, robbery
- Tragedy motivates someone to do something but the line between right and wrong is blurred
- Narrative follows the planning and execution of crimes, not always successful
- Protagonist, outsider often have characteristics of antagonist

Action Thriller Conventions in Bourne Identity

- Lots of fast paced action from the start, which is shown in Bourne Identity as the fishermen save Jason from the water at the start.
- The protagonist is a traditional action hero, though he is sometimes framed or mistaken for someone else, or is confused with his identity, which happens to Jason in Bourne Identity. He has no idea of his identity and his skills, which adds to the suspense of the film.
- The flaws of the protagonist are unlikely to be physical - they are most likely emotional/mental, such as Jason's problem with his identity. This makes the protagonist more relatable.
- High value motive (money, secrets) also adds to the suspense of the film.
- Contropuntal sound and non diegetic sound - the contrast between the music and the action is vital to enhance the action. Contropuntal sound is not in Bourne Identity yet the fast paced, upbeat music adds to the pace of the fights.
- Manipulation - possibly of government or people adds to the audience's anticipation
- An action involves quite a lot of violence, weapons, lots of violence is involved in Bourne Identity as the protagonist is involved in a lot of fights, although we don't find out why in the opening.
- Brute force as a way out of difficult situations for the protagonist and Jason Bourne is a perfect example of this - to get away from the bank he fights with the guards.
- More blood than your average thriller, but not necessarily from violence - the beginning of Bourne Identity involves a man removing bullets from Jason Bourne's back

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Memento Review, directed by Christopher Nolan, 2000

The film Memento uses a main thriller convention by being centered around a crime. The crime is introduced to the viewer right at the start with the polaroid image of the dead man.

As soon as the music starts the audience already feel the suspense. The long notes of the strings are slow with a sense of sadness which subtly builds up suspense.
Another psychological thriller convention used is the unreliable narrator. The voiceover used as a stream of consciousness gives the viewer an insight into the psyche of the protagonist. The protagonist is talking to himself in third person and seems confused and unstable. This ambiguity highlights his unpredictability and the use of the voiceover, camerawork and music let the audience empathise with the protagonist.
The protagonists perception of reality is unstable and the sense of a flashback adds to this and confuses the audiences sense of time. The reversal of time is not immediately understandable which disrupts the viewers sense of continuity.
The close-up on the protagonist's eyes is another psychological thriller convention which links to thriller imagery. Eyes are a frequent motif in psychological thrillers and this is no exception. The rapid eye movement and blinking adds to his sense of instability.
Another micro element used to highlight the protagonist's instability is the mise-en-scene. When we see the hand holding the polaroid, we see a small glimpse of the tattoo, which could imply the protagonist's dangerousness.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thriller Opening Review

Rear Window
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

In 'Rear Window' the plot is centered around a crime - the murder of Jeffries' neighbour, a common thriller convention, which sets the scene for the rest of the film. The protagonist does have an 'Achilles Heel', a broken leg, but in this opening we do not see the antagonist exploit this weakness. However this weakness could imply future incidents for the protagonist. The opening of this thriller does not give any clue of the genre, it seems an ordinary situation. This is another thriller convention Hitchcock used - the way the narrative is an ordinary situation where unusual events happen. This convention makes the extraordinary events even more surprising when they do happen.
As the audience, you feel as though you are in the position of voyeur - we are watching Jeffries' neighbours' lives with him which we feel we shouldn't.  This is another thriller convention Hitchcock has used to make the audience feel more involved in the film.
The main characters are established in the opening sequence. The whole setting is also established as the camera pans around the apartments.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Preliminary Task - Joe, Lucy, Mark, Alannah

- establishing shot
- close-up shot
- match on shot
- reaction shot
- long shot
- filming a conversation
- the 180 degree rule
- editing the conversation