Colour Grading

One of the important things we had to do in order to get the effect we want, as well as showing skills, was to colour grade/correct our footage. Like I have said many a times, David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ inspired our film opening: from the sequence to the soundtrack, this film gave us lots of ideas for our film opening. However, the aspect of that film we were inspired by the most was the colour scheme. We set to work on creating a suitable colour palette and scheme for our film. This is how we did it:

  1. We began exploring the filters Final Cut Pro had to offer and we found one which we thought was perfect: ‘Cool Tones’. At first, we only applied this to one piece of footage; to see what it looks like. Then, we applied it to the whole opening to see how it looked all together. We were really happy with how it turned how but, we still needed to do some more altering.

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2. Like I said, the colour still needed some more altering. At the moment, the footage wasn’t even throughout: when the character moves through the setting and he goes into the sunlight more, the colours will look different to how they did in the previous scene. To make it even, we fiddled with the colour corrector but, specifically focussing on the exposure (this basically helps with the brightness and darkness you are trying to create). After we finished this, our colour correcting was complete and we are really happy with the results.Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 15.05.20.png

 

 

 

 

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Colour Palette Inspiration

This blog post will not only talk about the importance of a colour palette; it will also talk about how we will incorporate colours into our shots. A way directors and film makers create a mood and theme is through mise-en-scene but more specifically, a colour palette of a scene or the whole film in general.

A film which has taken our interest for the production and creation for our own film opening is the David Fincher film: ‘Gone Girl’ starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The film is described a thriller and the overall atmosphere of the movie is very tense and quite dark too. The film’s plot contains themes of murder, mystery, death and dysfunctional relationships. Evidently, the colour palettes of the scenes are not going to be full of life and containing colours such as yellows or pinks.

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As seen above is a colour palette for the first scene shown in the entire film. A film opening opens the audience up to what they can expect from the film as well as the atmosphere and the genre. Editing has obviously been done to make the scene more dark toned as well as blue toned. The colour blue has connotations to sadness and using a very dark, almost black blue mixes in that tense and mysterious theme.

The idea for our film has lots of dark themes in and using a dark colour palette in the first few seconds will open the audience to what they would/will expect for the entire film.

The Remake of the ‘Lucky You’ Poker Scene

Since our ‘Reservoir Dogs’ opening tasks wasn’t the best it could be, we had another task to do. This time we had to recreate the poker scene from ‘Lucky You’ – a 2007 drama film directed by Curtis Hanson.

Planning

Instead of being in one big group for the task, we were separated into two groups. For the planning, we didn’t really do much. I watched the clip and wrote down what types of shots we needed to focus on and how long the shots shown for. Kieran, another member in the group, wrote down the pivotal card order for the scene to make it look as much like the scene as possible. Finally, Grace drew storyboards for the scene.

Unlike the previous task, we didn’t need to focus on costume or makeup. We needed to focus on the camerawork which made the filming process a lot easier.

Filming

For filming, instead of filming the whole thing in order, each shot separately, we decided to film the whole thing about 6 times, all in the types of shots we needed to do. Since we didn’t have long to film this, filming it in this manner was the quickest option. The script was quite hard to memorise and to our advantage, we were in a location (a classroom) which had a whiteboard in it. To make it easier for the actor who played the main protagonist, writing the script on the board made it a lot easier. To help the other actor with their lines, we wrote them down on a piece of paper which she then placed on her lap.  There were some complications with the filming. For example, the camera battery ran out around four or five times so it restricted the filming time even more. However, we did get it filmed in the end.

Artefact

Here is the finished recreation. In the footage, it plays the actual scene and then it plays the recreated version I edited.

Evaluation

In terms of a finished product, I thought it turned out okay. The timings were okay (they could have been better) and the shots were very accurate to the actual scene. Since we didn’t have a very long time to film it, for a scene which was filmed in about 30 minutes, it didn’t turn out too badly. In terms of improvements, I would most definitely make the shots match up with each other so there are no continuity errors. All in all, I am quite happy with how the recreation turned out.

Holmes Under The Hammer

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of ability/disability using the following: Camera shots, angle, movement and composition, editing, sound design and mise-en-scene.

In the lesson, we watched the first episode of the tv show ‘Sherlock’. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. We studied the opening with the four key elements of textual analysis: camerawork, editing, sound design and mise-en-scene.

Camerawork: one of the most important ways to show emotion and what is actually going on the scene. 

In the first few seconds of the opening, the point of view shots of the war zone shows that the main character has this in his mind still and he is unable to disconnect from his thoughts. For audiences who don’t know this at the beginning, it introduces them to an intense atmosphere. The lens flare which is also featured in this clip (if it is actually done by the camera), shows that it is closer to reality and more realistic. These flashback/dreams are all handheld footage which can relate to the state of his mind: cluttered, all over the place and unable to connect to anything else.

The scene then cuts to a downwards shot of the character laid in bed. Since he is alone, this shows his vulnerability as a person. This is also very voyeuristic as the audience watch what he is doing and whats going on in his mind. This can link to the later scenes as Watson (Martin Freeman) is visiting a therapist (who looks at what is going on in his mind). Perhaps, this can make the audience become the role of the therapist with the very voyeuristic feel to it.

The dolly outwards of him sat on the bed by himself shows that he is unable to connect to anyone as he is alone. A few seconds later, the camera dolly’s out even further to show a walking stick lent against the desk. The audience then can link the walking stick to the character and his disability.

The next shot is Watson placing an apple and a mug onto the desk. The shallow focus of the mug shows the army logo. This brings the audience’s attention to it. It also links back to the dream sequence (the war zone) – he can’t leave the army lifestyle behind.

In the next scene, composition has been thought out well. The shot where Watson is sat in the therapist’s office. He is very separate from the surroundings which obviously show that he away from them. This can also mean that Watson cannot adjust to the life that he is and he is very far away from reality. Finally, when the camera dolly’s into Watson at the end of the scene, it brings the audience’s attention and connection is towards him – he is the main focus of the scene/shot.

Editing

In the beginning of the scene, there is fast paced editing to show how fast and quickly his life went. However, when it shows shots of Watson in present life – the editing pace is very slow. This shows the difference in the speed of what his life is like. During the war, he had the ability to do anything and run, walk etc etc. In present day, his life is very slow due to his disabilities.

During the scene where Watson is having a meeting with his councillor, shot reverse shot is used frequently. This not only shows the reactions of each characters when the other has said something but, it shows the contrast between them. This shows Watson’s disability to connect with others and find things in common with others around him.

Mise-en-scene

The flashbacks/dreams regarding his past experience of the war feature: gunshots, shouting, camouflage suits, tanks and much more. These intense images have obviously traumatised Watson and he is unable to forget about this lifestyle. This contrasts with Watson’s clothing and room; the interior and the costume are very simple and plain. The differences between him in the present day and the flashback he had shows how simple his life is now.

The colour palette used for the scene where Watson is sat on his bed during the night creates a sad and hopeless atmosphere for the audience. Since he is sat on his bed just after having his flashback, the dark and dim colours used shows how he is now upset that he is unable to forget about his previous occupation and lifestyle.

In the same scene, Watson’s walking stick and his eye level are directly opposite from each other. This shows that he is constantly looking at it. It shows how much he relies on it. Linking to the question, this shows that he is unable to disconnect himself from it; since he has to use it in his everyday life.

The shot later on in the extract, where Watson places the apple and the mug onto the desk, also shows the contrast in his present and previous lives. The apple next to the mug with the army logo on it, shows his two lives; simple and exciting/intense.

Sound Design

At the start of the extract during the war flashback, there is a constant stream of echoes. This is can be seen as diegetic sound as it purports from the world of the film and, it is been heard in Watson’s mind – therefore, the character can hear it. These constant echoes display the distortion and trauma Watson faced during this time and, he is unable to forget about it all. The trauma he faced his then displayed by him later on in the scene, where he wakes up and the diegetic sound of his heavy breathing shows that he is in shock.

The scene where Watson is placing the apple and the mug into the desk whilst looking at his laptop shows the main character’s isolation and disability to connect to others. The diegetic sound of the distant car horn shows that he is far away from others and the city.

The sound bridge in the same scene where he opens his laptop links the blog to his treatment. Watson opens his laptop and at the same time, the therapist begins to speak. The lack of writing on his blog relates to the disconnection between himself and the therapist. This also helps the audience know what the blog is in relation to.

The Remake of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ Opening Task

For our next task, we had to remake one of the most famous openings in the history of film. We worked as one big group to recreate the opening of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ – a 1992 action/thriller from the famous director that is, Quentin Tarantino.

This is what we had to recreate:

Planning

This was what we obviously started with. We discussed who would be which character, where we would film it, costumes, makeup, props, how we would film it etc etc.

The characters are: Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), “Nice Guy” Eddie (Chris Penn), Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker) and Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino). We then decided who should play each character, this concluded with: Adam playing Mr. White, Owen playing Mr. Orange, Katie playing Mr. Blonde, Sean playing “Nice Guy” Eddie, Kieran playing Mr. Pink, Millie S playing Joe Cabot, Grace playing Mr. Blue (was originally going to be Emelia but, she was not here on the day) and finally, Millie P playing Mr. Brown. I took charge of the camera.

Costumes were quite simply a black blazer, black tie and black trousers – with the exception of Sean who needed to bring in a blue jacket and a gold chain for his role. However, for makeup, girls drew on moustaches and beards, if necessary. We drew on chest hair for Sean so, he fitted the role even more. For props, we bought in fake cigarettes, a toothpick and a homemade, pretend cigar. For the diner scene, we used a tissue holder from the canteen like it shows in the diner in the film. Another key prop/costume essential were: sunglasses. These were key as most of the characters needed them. They were easily brought in by the people who played these characters.

For location, we decided to film in the school canteen for the very start of the opening where the characters are in the diner. For the actual walking and opening credits, we found that the best place was to film in the “drive way” of the school. This part of school allowed the dolly track to be set up and moved easily here.

Filming

This was the most difficult aspect of the task as we didn’t have a whole day like the original film did in order to film the opening. The English weather is also very unpredictable so that proved another difficulty.

We started off by filming the part in the canteen. This was because, it gave us a starting point and, that it would be easier to edit together since it links in with the opening theme. We did two takes for the scene in the canteen as we only had one lesson to film it. This scene was fairly easy to shoot since it just required the camera to be placed onto the tripod and kept in the same place for the whole of the scene – it required no dolly track. The most difficult part was making the shot look exactly like the one in the film.

After we filmed that scene, we went outside to do the main part of the opening: the walking and opening credits. For the crab shot, we set up a dolly track by the side of the drive way. The cast placed themselves like the characters were stood in the original opening. They walked at a normal speed and, I pushed the dolly along just a little bit behind them. This meant that I wasn’t ahead of the characters at all so, the audience get to see all of them come into the shot.

For the close ups, I placed the camera on the tripod and I put it in front of the characters, slightly zoomed in. The actors then walked on the spot to give the illusion that they were actually walking. To film the final shot, the camera was placed in the middle of the driveway. The actors then walked away at a normal pace.

Editing

In terms of trying to get the opening to play exactly like the original, this part of the task could arguably be the most important. I started off by playing the original opening next to the open FinalCut Pro window. This meant that I could compare the two whilst I was editing and made sure that I got them the same. I exported all of the clips into the blank project. I put the audio of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ opening onto the project and put the clips on from there. I removed all of the audio from the clips to ensure that the background noise was not interfering with the soundtrack and so, that I could start off with a, you could say, “blank canvas”.

I cut the clips down in time with the real footage, which meant putting it time with the music. The hardest part was definitely putting the transitions in and finding the right ones. However, once I got the hang of it, I found it quite easy. The text was also very difficult to get exact especially finding the perfect colour for it to look as accurate as the font in the real opening credits. Another difficult part was making the text move up the screen. Even thought it was a challenge, I finally got it to work.

Artefact

Here is my finished remake of the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ opening sequence.

Evaluation

There are some good things and bad things about my remake.

Pros

I think the cuts between scenes worked really well as they were very close to the original. This also links to the similarity in transitions with the fade outs. The font I chose was a very close, if not, perfect replica of the real thing; the colours also suited it too. I also think the timing of each shot and scene were very close too. Even though it was difficult, it worked out in the end. Another difficult aspect was getting the right composition of each shot as well, especially to get it as similar as the real ‘Reservoir Dogs’ opening. However, with the right placements, I managed to achieve the right close up as, it still had some of the environment in the background.

Cons

I could definitely improve on the steadiness of the camera whilst filming the first walking scene with the dolly track. This was because, the camera wasn’t tightly put onto the tripod when moving along the track – this caused the shakiness. Continuity was also a big issue as at the end of the opening, the characters have their backs towards the camera in the wrong way. This meant it looked like the characters walked around in a circle.

Obviously, if I did this task again, I would definitely correct the improvements to make the opening as perfect as possible. Overall, I do think it was a good remake with a limited amount of time and for a first time.

 

Textual Analysis : Mise-en-scene

In filmmaking, mise-en-scene is anything which can be seen in the film, which is not covered by: camerawork, sound design or editing.

Actors 

The actors can be judged on their appearance. In terms of appearance, this includes: hair, makeup and costume. Not only that but, the actors’ actual performance classes as the appearance. Their actual performance includes things like: dialogue, expression, gesture and techniques used like “blocking”.

Lighting

To help create the ideal theme in a visual way, lighting does just that. Lighting creates an ambience of a scene. An example of this is bright lights or bright lighting; which can be used to represent happiness or hope. On the other hand, shadows can be used to create a sense of foreboding or happiness.

Setting 

Location, props and set decoration all come under the setting. The elements of the setting are carefully chosen based on the plot and what is happening in the scene at the time. Sometimes, directors use it for symbolism. These “symbols” may not be shown so obviously but, they may have a meaning to the story/scene itself.

Colour Palette

Colour shown in a film has a big influence of how the audience feels whilst watching the visual story. The influence power has on the audience allows the director to subtly manipulate the audience’s thoughts and feelings – this can change the feel and effect of the film. Colours are used to not only show the temperature of the scene but, to tell the story.

Textual Analysis : Editing

There are three forms narrative editing: contiguity, continuity and temporal structure. Continuity is things happening in a sequence, contiguity is multiple things happening at the same time and the temporal structure is how you show time passing in various ways.

Contiguity

  • Cross cut: things happening in a parallel order.
  • Action match: moment in one scene matches movement in another.
  • Graphic match: the shape of something in one scene matches the shape of something in another scene.

Continuity

  • Establishing shot: a shot which “establishes” the setting at the start of the scene.
  • A cut away: where you show something else in one scene in vicinity – adds information/context.
  • Glance/object: when a character glances at an object and then you show the object.
  • Match on action: https://11jacksonjac.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/match-on-action/
  • Reaction shot: the shot of someone’s reaction to something.
  • Shot reverse shot: the most common way to film dialogue. https://11jacksonjac.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/shot-reverse-shot/
  • Master shot: recording of an entire dramatized scene, from start to finish, from an angle that keeps all the players in view.

Temporal Structure

  • Fast forward
  • Frame skip: like fast forward but skipping frames.
  • Freeze frame: freezing the scene/frame.
  • Slow motion
  • Time compression: when time is compressing in the video, this is making the duration shorter than real-time.
  • Juxtaposition: two different shots (to highlight the contrasts/differences).
  • Montage: collection of videos in a sequence.

Post production effects

  • Colour correction
  • Filters
  • Visual effects

Transitions

  • Dissolve
  • Fade
  • Wipe