Equipment Testing : The Dolly

The dolly is a shooting platform often raised onto a track to create a smooth movement whilst filming. It is like a train track in which you put the tripod onto the trailer and it is pushed along. The dolly creates an even and neat movement; something a cameraman wouldn’t be able to do by holding the camera him/herself.

Since we have a dolly track available at school, we decided to test it out to see if it would be any use of us in our film opening. We took some test footage to see what the dolly can offer as well as how it can be operated.

We thought a sequence and technique we want to portray in our opening is a “through the wall shot”. This is something which we can easily do at our location as well as a technique which can show our filming ability. To show this technique, we set up the camera and dolly going into the computer room. The camera would start outside the room and the dolly would slowly work its way into the room, facing the wall.

Here is our footage:

We were quite pleased with how the footage came out and how easy it was to operate the dolly. Therefore we have decided to use the dolly in our production of the opening. The through the wall shot would create an atmospheric transition in the film against the foggy atmosphere. It will suit the theme and genre perfectly as well as showing our skill in filming techniques.

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Our Animated Storyboards

Instead of just taking pictures of the storyboards normally, we wanted to show them in an animated form. With showing the storyboards on the screen with the duration in which each shot will be on the screen for, this shows what the film opening will look like. Adding the time of the idents which are about 12 seconds long together onto this animation, the storyboards should be almost two minutes long.

Here our animated storyboards:

Script Version 1.2

Taking into account the feedback from the first version of our script, we have designed and formulated a newer version.

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From the feedback, it seems that this script is an adequate final script. The only thing that our teacher was concerned about was the part where the protagonist digs into the ground with his bare hands. To overcome this, I have decided that he will dig with the knife so i will make a final change to that so, our script can be fully completed.

Script Version 1

A main part of the task is to write a script for the opening. This is vital; the script is helpful for the directors as well as the actors. We just completed the first attempt of our script which then, got some feedback from our teacher.

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Above is the finished first version of the script. In terms of feedback it was okay. The tone and style of the script all together is good – our teacher said that he can picture it in his head. However, in terms of content, it isn’t quite enough. Therefore, more dialogue or even more actions can help improve this aspect of the script.

The next version will be very similar to this current version, it will just contain more content to fill up the full two minutes.

The Film Opening Pitch

To show the rest of the class and the teachers our idea for the film opening, we had to complete a pitch. A typical film pitch should be about 30 seconds or so, quickly explaining the plot and the overall idea that we have. Here is our pitch:

We have some pros and cons about our pitch.

The first pro being that we explained the film, to the point where it could be pictured in the audience’s heads. In this case, it was good. We also explained the genre of the film as well as where the inspiration for our film came from; this can range from the inspiration of the aesthetics of the film as well as the actual plot and genre.

The disadvantages of our pitch is that it was quite cluttered however, this was mainly just down to nerves. We did have cue cards which prompted us in terms of what we wanted to say. Our pitch does look messy and it does feel quite long to watch however, it was a bit too long due to simply, our nerves.

Researching Film Openings

To begin the course and get some ideas for a film opening, we watched various film openings (from different genres) to see what a typical film opening contains. The two film openings we watched were: ‘The Lovely Bones‘ and ‘Gone Girl‘. We did timelines of each to see how the two compared and what was shown in each, at different times.

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The Lovely Bones

‘The Lovely Bones’ is described as a “fantasy/drama” on Wikipedia so, it was interesting to see how the film incorporated this genre into the opening.

0:00:00 – 0:00:20 : Paramount logo sequence

0:00:21 – 0:00:40 : Dreamworks logo sequence and calm music begins to play

0:00:41 – 0:00:50 : Film 4 logo sequence

0:00:52 : Fade in of “Dreamworks Pictures and Film 4 Present”

0:01:00 : Fade in of “A Wingnut Films Production”

0:01:07 : Fade in of the start of the scene

0:01:20 : Narrative begins

0:02:08 : Title fades in over scene

NON DIEGETIC SOUND IS PLAYING THROUGHOUT

Gone Girl

‘Gone Girl’ belongs to a different genre to ‘The Lovely Bones’ as on Wikipedia, ‘Gone Girl’ is described as a “thriller”. ‘Gone Girl’ has a very different opening sequence to establish the genre.

0:00:00 – 0:00:07 : 20th Century Fox logo sequence and uneasy and uncomfortable music begins to play

0:00:08 – 0:00:17 : Regency logo sequence

0:00:18 : Fade in of “Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises present”

0:00:20 : Narrative of protagonist starts

0:00:22 : Fade in of “A David Fincher Film”

0:00:25 : Fade in of the start of the scene

0:00:47 : Fade out of the scene

0:00:48 : Names of actors fade in and then fade out

0:00:54 : Film Title is shown then fades out

0:00:57 – 0:01:34 : New establishing shots and names of cast and crew appear every second

0:01:35 : Wide shot and new scene of protagonist stood in the street

0:01:38: Long shot showing different angle of the character

0:01:43: Same angle as opening wide shot but as a long shot

0:01:50: Panoramic shot to show movement and location of character

NON DIEGETIC MUSIC PLAYS THROUGHOUT

From looking at both openings of different genres, it is interesting to see what they both have in common as well as the differences. Both feature a narrative, a non diegetic score, fade ins of the text and the title being shown over the scene which is currently being shown. ‘Gone Girl’ was a lot more fast paced than ‘The Lovely Bones’ and the credits of ‘Gone Girl’ features the whole crew and cast. Both are very similar and different in many aspects but, I will take both into account when creating my own opening.