Lights Out – Short to Feature

‘Lights Out’ started out as a small short film directed by David F. Sandberg and was released in 2013. It had an original concept where the monster or ghost only exist in the dark and the filmmaker shows the monster with a light that is behind the monster or ghost but not directing the light at it. It got a lot of praise and attention until a big horror film director called James Wan watched it and wanted it to be a feature film. He talked to David about working on a feature film together and he agreed. So how does a small, neat idea turn into a big feature film? Well David Sandberg put out an idea that he had without really thinking about it. He put it out to show people what he could achieve and James Wan noticed him, saw he was a good indie director and hired him to direct a feature length film.

The moral of the story is if you have an idea, go for it, because it might take you to bigger and better places.

Video On Demand

Video on Demand is a service that online and TV providers use to let their audience catch up or stream shows they are watching. TV providers use On Demand as a catch up service like 4OD, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub etc. and online streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime etc. For most of these you’ll need to pay a monthly fee or obtain a TV license so the provider can confirm you are allowed to use their service. A lot of these companies try and find the most effective way for their customers to watch videos on their service and the best way for people to do that is if the service is on mobile and tablet. The study underneath shows that tablet is used to watch on demand services more than mobile. Even though tablet is used more than mobile to use on demand services, people like to use these devices because they are easy to use and able to watch when ever, where ever with ease.

A lot of these services have a target audience they want to please which is the age range that uses technology the most, 12 – 34 years of age. From 35 up, technology falls off which makes the On demand services loose interest and sticks in the age range that is popular with Youtube and Netflix. The length of the videos are also crucial because most people get bored while watching  videos. The picture below shows the average amount of time people tune into videos on YouTube, Podcasts, Ted Talk’s and Slideshares.

Movie Posters

A poster is an advertising strategy to promote a film or TV series to show off characters and style/tone. Normally you would see a main character or an object to represent a plot point or the tone of the film and the poster I have chosen to use as an example is Mad Max: Fury Road.

This poster follows the ‘Z’ poster rule which I have demonstrated below. At the top is a tagline which can be, in this case, a quote from the film which can also be a slogan to tell the audience more about the film. Then there is an image of the main character, in this case Mad Max, and then there are a bunch of cars signifying Max is being chased by the main villain, the ‘Immortan Joe’. That image draws the readers eyes down to the main title of the film, cast and the date it is set to release.mad-max-fury-road-poster-fully-coloured

That is one of the main types of poster that are commonly used to promote films. Our poster follows the same rule as the poster above. The only difference is that the slogan and the title is switched round.

Blog of the Week #3 – I get a bit wet

(Monday 26th September – Friday 30th September)

I didn’t enjoy this week. We started to shoot our ‘Design to Sell’ film which consists of an opening scene and a trailer for a full-length film idea. As I’ve said it is about a man being washed up onto an island and he must survive there until help arrives. But there is also a monster on the island and he must last as long as possible. It went back and forth but in the end, I became the actor meaning I must be the one that is washed up onto the beach. It was a very cold morning and I wanted to get it over and done with as soon as possible. The shoot lasted for around 2 hours and we tried to get all the shots we wanted for the opening scene. We weren’t worrying about the trailer yet as we wanted to get the opening scene done before moving on. Everything went smoothly as we were getting as much footage as possible so we have some freedom later in editing.

Editing the video was simple and easy with a few VFX shots which I’ll complete later. It’s a simple sequence with a man being washed up and no real complexity to it. The only difficult part of editing was the audio because we were shooting by the sea the audio kept changing for different shot so what I did was get a 5 minute audio track of the sea so the audio stayed the same. I changed the volume each time there was a cut depending on how far away the shot was from the sea.

I will now complete the VFX shots consisting of an explosion, smoke and removing foot prints in the sand. Hopefully it will be simple enough to do with research and tests.

Blog of the Week #2 -All hands on deck

(Monday 19th September – Friday 23rd September)

So this week we have begun research into the ‘Design to Sell’ and have started another project with a different lecturer, Pedro.

For design to sell we are researching different types of movie posters and how each one can represent the different genres in film. I will be uploading and publishing my analysis on the different posters soon and also showing off my poster for the film we are making. We are hopefully going for a Castaway type film but with some sort of secret/mystery or a monster. We won’t show the monster as that would just be too hard to pull off but hopefully with a lot of TLC we can make it as good as possible.

For Pedro’s project we are told to capture 10 seconds of sadness and happiness from 10 different people. We will be filming our group of four then finding 6 different strangers who are willing to be filmed. Hopefully we will get the right amount of people in the short amount of time we have.

Blog of the Week #1 – Guess Who’s Back

(Monday 12th September – Friday 16th September)

Guess who’s back, back again, College is back, tell a friend.

It’s been a long Summer but I have finally started my second year at Plymouth College of Art. The 11 weeks of Summer have come to an end and now I need to put everything I’ve got into the second year to get the best result I can possibly get. I have learned what I need to improve on from last year and how which I’ll keep in mind for this year.

We had a brief on our next project, Design to Sell, where we have to create a opening scene/title sequence, poster and a trailer for a feature film we aren’t going to make. This project will show us the different ways companies get their content out too their customers and which way is the most effective. I’m in a team of three and our idea so far is a Castaway type film but with some sort of creature or monster hunting down out protagonist.

We are also using WordPress for our blogs in the second year which is a big improvement from Tumblr as now we have more freedom and creative control with what our blogs look like.

What Happened

I was given a scenario that if I could travel back in time, ‘Back to the Future’ style, what would I change about my FMP. I’m pleased with how my final film came out and the grade I got from it l but I don’t think there is a single director out there who thinks their film is perfect and for me, I think I can improve on my final piece.

So what can I change? Well let’s start in pre-production and move through the categories to post-production. Pre-production started out well but decreased as time went by. Organisation was a big part of pre-production and I wasn’t the best at it. I think I need to take more time and care into the script and shot list/storyboard to understand what and how I’m going to shoot each shot. Also I wished I made the story a bit shorter, maybe in the 8-12 minutes range as I think my film sort of dragged on a bit and I should of focused on short and cinematic films a bit more.

Production was frustrating at times. Some of the scenes had to take place at night which was a big mistake on my part. This meant later nights and of course it had to rain which meant multiple night shoots, 3 in one location and 1 in another. I think I’ll try and avoid night scenes as much as possible in the future because it was so hard and frustrating getting actors and trying to shoot with little to no light. I think in the future I should try to simplify the scenes and make it so I’m able to pull the shots I want off.

The main thing with post-production was I wanted to improve the colour correcting and grading. It was a last minute thing and I wanted more time to perfect the tone of the film because I rushed it and mainly copied and pasted presets to speed the process up. I’m happy with the results but I think if I dedicated more time into the grading, I could pull off a much better result.

The advice I would give myself at the start of the FMP project would be shortening the length of the film. Stick between 8-12 minutes long and avoid night time scenes as much as possible unless they are necessary to the story.

I think for this year’s FMP I’ll put more time in perfecting the script and planning the shots a lot better. I sort of rushed the storyboards and shot list so I didn’t put much thought into what I wanted. I’m also wanting to do more tests with colour grading so I can get a good grasp with what I want and how I can achieve the look I’m going for.

I think with the next FMP, I can improve and fix mistakes which I had with the last one. Let’s just hope I get a distinction on my film again.