PRODUCTION JOURNAL :
ENTRY 1: THE START
For my first week on the FMP, I have made a proposal for my idea, I did this because it is a document that is required to complete the next stage of the FMP. After making this I had to present my proposal this was on the 8th of march which was a Thursday, I went in for 9am. The presentation was only to a small group of the class, a total of 4 people.
I think my presentation went better than I expected because personally I don’t do well with public speaking as I get very nervous, however, due to the small audience I went first and I didn’t get nervous. My proposal has been accepted.
As said in my proposal, my practitioners that I’ve thought about looking at are Alfred Hitchcock, Oren Peli and Gore Verbinski, the reason I wanted to look at these for my practitioners is because for my horror, I will be focusing on sound design mainly so Alfred is a good example because of the way he used sound in his films, also he is an example of an older generation of horror. I also want to look at Oren Peli because he made the film “paranormal activity” which is what my base idea is heavily inspired by, I like the way that in this film, you never see the ghost or paranormal being which is more realistic and why it has such a fear factor. I also liked how this film uses clever visual effects and camera angles to hide the practical effects making everything seem invisible which is also what I’m inspired by.
Next week I will then go into conducting the research on my two chosen practitioners.
During this week I started my FMP part two, the research. This week I have finished my practitioner research, I researched on two people, Alfred Hitchcock and Oren Peli. I have analysed scenes from Oren’s work, “Paranormal Activity”. This has helped further my idea because from looking at Oren’s work and looking at the scenes in further detail, it has inspired me by looking at what goes into the scenes of paranormal activity. For example it has changed my original idea as I wanted to have a soundtrack but after looking into Peli, I have realised that my idea will work better in his style to create more tension.
While starting my research I was also doing some background idea development. I was writing scenes that I want to include in my horror on my phone during the week so that I could add it later and when I get to the production part not forget about the exact ideas.
These are the new idea developments:
(STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS)
For the intro it will be some shots of the woods which is where the dream takes place, the titles are masked in between the trees to look cinematic, it then cuts to a slow motion close up of the main actor screaming looking passed the camera which
Girl has just got back upstairs and gone back to sleep when duvet starts floating and her foot is tugged by ghost, she grabs her bed edges and sits up in the middle of the bed in a ball, a whip shot from her to the hallway with her screaming “mum come quick” a Foley of feet runs off down the hallway from the ghost.
Scene idea last scene:
Mum enters the room and the girl explains what happened and is scared, they both hear a sudden thump on the window so the mum slowly walks up to the window to look, then she opens the blinds and looks outside, nothing. Suddenly the girl screams and it cuts to her being pulled underneath her bed fast (jump scare) the mum reacts by running to the scene and then looks under the bed where there is nothing there the girl is gone. She walks for the door and calls for her husband, he starts walking up to the door which then slams and it cuts to her banging on the door from the other side. The handle is going made with the husband trying to get inside. The struggling stops and he comes in. He opens the door and asked what happened, she doesn’t reply and goes back to bed.
Alternative: the lights go out so the husband brings out his phone which lights the face from the screen and he uses a torch he opens the door and then shines his torch, the he walks up to the bed because he thinks he can see something and then the lamp turns back on which is when a hand grabs him (jump scare)
Next week, I will be continuing my research and aiming to complete the research by the deadline which is Friday the 22nd.
I have now finished all of my research for my FMP, I got this done by the 22nd which was the deadline and I have done qualitative, qualitative, secondary and primary research. I have done more research on my two practitioners that I was working on last week and have added by doing other research on other areas like competition and target audience. From finishing my research, I don’t think the initial idea of my final major project has changed, however, I feel that from doing the research, I have gained more inspiration and learnt what makes a good horror student and a bad horror.
From reflecting on this week, I have done what I wanted because I did get all of my research done by the deadline. The only thing that I didn’t get done was the Harvard referencing that I ended up doing on the Sunday of the week after the Friday deadline.
Next week I will be presenting my finalized idea, more detail than the original proposal and with the research that I have done. I will be writing the script for my pitch and filming my pitch to then present on Thursday.
I have now done my pitch for my final idea which is part three of the FMP. I went in for 9am to present my pitch like my proposal and filmed the pitch on the Wednesday during the day. I then edited my pitch on the Wednesday evening so that it would be presentable by the Thursday morning. I think that filming for the pitch was fair more effective than if I were to live pitch personally because there isn’t the nerves factor and getting the information wrong. I liked how because I filmed it, I could have more freedom and also be more creative.
I also think that the filming of the pitch was actually more interesting than the original proposal and I got everything that I wanted to get across in there. At the end of the pitch, it was marked and I got feedback on it. No questions were asked at the end which I thought was good because it means that everything that was expected from the pitch was included. I got a distinction for my pitch which I am very happy with.
I have put my pitch video down below but it is also in the blog post for Part three, the pitch.
Reflecting on my pitch, I think what went well is that I included everything that I wanted to say and cut it into sections so that it was easy to follow. I think that what could have been better is that I could have gone into more detail on my settings. The only thing I would change about my edit is the start, the intro that I rendered for some reason rendered in the final with black tearing and artifacts which I didn’t know why it happened anyway but it looks bad.
I only realised this on the day because I rendered out my edit twice, the reason is because the first edit didn’t have nice transitions and felt a bit basic. I then went back and re edited making it better and because this took me longer into the evening, I didn’t have time to re look over the video and is why I only saw the error in the morning which is when it was too late. I still think that the filming is the strongest part because I feel like if I were to pitch this live, I would have made errors and then probably gone over the 10 minutes maximum time limit.
I am now in the PRE-PRODUCTION phase of my final major project. At the moment, I have done my recces and am now working on my storyboards, I want to take the most time on the storyboard because I feel for this project, it is the most important part of Pre-production. I then need to complete my risk assessments and make a script for my short film. I will be finished with my Pre-production by next Monday, the next entry (15/04/2019).
So far I am happy with how my final major project is going because I think that my pitch went well and because I have now got a solid idea unlike the very start of the process. I now feel more confident in what the final outcome will be. I can say that my idea has changed more now that I have started the storyboards because the original ideas that I had about the mum going to the window for example, I scraped, I also scraped my original idea of filming in the woods for the introduction dream scene, as I felt that this was too clecet and decided to film on Dartmoor instead and actually think this will work better because will sell the idea of isolation better as it is a bigger space and location than before.
I have now finished my pre production and will be filming over the next week.
I also had looked at some YouTube videos to further my research in the week. As one of the things that I will be using to make the invisible effect of the ghost’s presents is fishing wire, I wanted to look at some Hitfilm tutorials of wire removal. This is so that I am prepared before shooting so that I could see if wire removal was something that could be done with my shots and how to go about doing them.
I found these videos really useful after I watched them because the way I thought wire removal would be done was getting a clean shot and then the shot and just masking out the wire, from watching this video it actually was easier than I original thought. I watched two separate videos because they were different examples and I feel as though the second video explained a little better and showed me how well the wire removal plug in worked.
To reflect, I am still on target, I wanted to get the main pre production done by the first week of the holidays and then start filming by the second week. I am now in the second week with all my pre production completed as said before.
I have now recorded all of my footage and also done a rough edit from what I have shot.
My rough edit:
I showed this rough edit to some people in class and also one of my teachers. I received feedback from the edit which helped me because for example after doing the edit I didn’t actually like the dream scene at the start because I felt like it loses the audiences interest and isn’t a horror feel at all. The feedback on the intro was what I expected, boring and confusing and Emily (the teacher who viewed) said that “it isn’t needed” which I totally agree on. To change this I want to start on the last shot of the introduction then the titles. The only issue is that cutting this scene out will make my overall duration shorter than I originally pitched and planned by a lot which I don’t like however, I feel as though it is justified because it isn’t needed and would be stronger without anyways. Other feedback is that the colour grade made some of the shots too dark which made it hard to tell what was happening in the shot.
Also the sound has a bad hiss because of the microphone and the fact that in post, I had to turn up the gain of the footage to hear the small details. The solutions I was given was that I should try to use audacity which is what I was thinking of anyways to use for noise reduction which should eliminate the background hiss. The other solution given was to delete the audio all together from the footage and go back and dub all the audio in Foley. I will firstly try the route of audacity fixing because as this means that I will have to noise reduce each audio clip, which is still time consuming, it is easier than having to re-dub each sound but I will do that if the audacity option doesn’t work successfully.
I also got some more feedback from some other viewers which was mostly similar feedback with the noisy audio and that the start didn’t feel correct. Some other feedback was that I needed more impact on the door slams and some other elements like when the character “Lily” falls down, it should be exaggerated with audio of her fall. Something my marker also mentioned is that the shots are too dark and need to be lighter which can be done by a simple colour correction.
This is my second rough edit which I have done because of the feedback that I was given on the first rough edit.
I have now fixed the audio which I did using Audacity and eliminated the hiss the best I could by using “Noise Reduction”, I then got the noise profile of the hissing alone and let the software take that out, I am now much happier with the audio because originally I didn’t like the hiss because it made the audio sound bad and if I needed to turn up the volume as the sounds that I wanted to record were too quite, the hiss which is making the sound quite in the first place would be louder. I have also changed the colour grade entirely making the shots more green to make it have a more cinematic look and made the shots lighter in the grade by taking the shadows up and brightening the image. I have also done the Foley that I have added like the cupboard opening and the glass Foley for when my actor picks up the glass, this felt empty before.
I have also shown this rough to the same people and the feedback I have now gained is that it is an improvement. The only issue now and I picked up on it however this wasn’t an issue on my speakers at home, the audio is too quite in places. I purely think this is up to the device however because I showed my first rough edit twice on Macs and the sound was all how I thought it was. So this time I didn’t mess with the audio levels the only thing that I did do was actually turn some tracks up in volume, I found it strange how the audio was very quite. To solve this I will go back to the edit and just watch the levels of the audio on it’s own to see where everything is at.
Last week I was ill so I didn’t write a journal, while ill and off, I spent some more time editing my film.
This is the third rough edit putting all of the feedback from the second edit into effect. I also had a new idea which was to make the shot of the hand shadow have more hands to make it look more intense but still be subtle. I prefer this shot now compared to the original shot.
To make the hand shadow shot, I just duplicated the main video layer and then masked around the hand.
I then feathered the mask to blend the shadow better. Next when I was happy with the result, I copied the masked layer around 9 times and just re-positioned each shadow around in the frame.
I also added some on the bed sheets with the opacity lower because the lighting is different.
Some last feedback that I got from showing the same people this version is that there should more sound when she is running out the kitchen and up the stairs. Also to add some reaction to when she is pulled under the bed because she doesn’t make any sound or response to being dragged under. The suggestion was something like a “Nooooooo” or some suffering sounds.
I got Charlie, one of my lecturers to add some feedback also, he added:
- Cut on action at the part where the cupboard slams.
- Turn the tap Foley down slightly.
- (suggestion) Hold bed shot at the end and cut the sound all together only having foley playing subtly
- Cut both the end shot and the entire start as it “doesn’t fit and feels like a different genre”.
- Last shot where door slams is held too long before she is dragged under bed.
- Maybe remove the shot where you can see her being dragged under to make it quicker adding more impact.
Soon I will be screening my final version to a larger group in the class to get some more feedback.