Friday, 28 December 2012

Garageband Tutorial

We found this tutorial on how to use Garageband so that we could use it in order to help us create our own sound and music for our film opening. It is useful for us as not all members of our group have previously used Mac software, and this tutorial is easy to follow and learn from.

Melissa Hudson

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Thriller Mood Board

We chose to create a mood board on the genre of thriller in order to help us decide on the 'look and feel' of our opening. As well as this it was helpful to look at all of the different aspects used within the genre, as this gave us a better visual overview of the genre.

Melissa Hudson and Chloe Barker

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Blog Feedback

We have recieved feedback on our blog after presenting it to the class. It has given us ideas of how we can improve and progress with our blog.

Kira Welland, Melissa Hudson and Chloe Barker

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Location Research

These are photographs which I took as I felt this was a suitable location for our film opening. As we are creating a thriller, this building is ideal as it is similar to those in other films of the same genre. The smashed windows and overgrown trees and plants surrounding the building are also commonly found in thrillers which creates the atmosphere necessary for this kind of film.

Laura Witt

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Abandoned Buildings

In our research for locations we've come across a few photography websites of abandoned buildings. These can also help us think about how we're going to film around them, as well as the varitey of types of abandoned houses there are.

Kira Welland

Monday, 17 December 2012

Genre Ideas

Last lesson we were discussing what type of genre would be good for our film opening, and we decided on thriller. We talked about the different shots that could be used, and then drew a picture to experiment with different ideas for shots.

Kira Welland

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The History of Thriller

Early thrillers, 1920's–1930's – the first thrillers
-Alfred Hitchcock – The Lodger (1926) à based on the story of Jack the Ripper
-Alfred Hitchcock – Blackmail (1929) à his first film with sound
-Fritz Lang  (1931) à based on the life of serial killer, Peter Kurten

1940's and 1950's – Murder and war thrillers
-Alfred Hitchcock – Shadow of a doubt (1943) à based on a 1920’s serial killer known as The Merry Widow Murderer
-Rear window (1954) à a man who is being convinced that his neighbor is a killer
-Robert Aldrich – Kiss me deadly (1955) à about a detective encountering a nuclear apocalypse

1960's – Psychological thrillers
-Michael Powell – Peeping Tom (1960)
-Alfred Hitchcock – Psycho (1960)
-Terence Young  - The triple cross (1967) à based on a true story about a man who joined with the Germans during the war and then became a British double-agent

1970's and 1980's – Hybrid genres of thriller and spy
-Clint Eastwood – Play Misty for me (1971) à about a jockey pursued by a disturbed female listener
-The conversation (1974) à a bugging-device expert uncovered a covert murder while he himself was being spied upon
-Brian De Palma – Blow out (1981) à about the effects on a man who witnessed the accidental killing of the governor
Brian De Palma includes themes of guilt, paranoia and obsession in his films. Similar plot elements include killing off a main character early on, switching points of view and dream sequences.

Chloe Barker

Saturday, 15 December 2012


We created a mind map to explore the conventions of a crime genre exploring the key areas of film such as characters, sound, location, etc. It is based around a crime films and TV shows so we can gain a better understanding of what has generally been used so later we can include these ideas in our film opening with links to the codes and conventions.

Melissa Hudson

Friday, 14 December 2012


We created a mind map to explore the conventions of a thriller genre exploring the key areas of film such as characters, sound, location, etc. It has been based around a variety of previous thriller films and TV shows so we can gain a better understanding of what has generally been used so later we can include these ideas in our film opening.

Kira Welland, Chloe Barker, Melissa Hudson and Laura Witt

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Hybrid Genre

A hybrid genre is a combination of two or more genres - e.g. science fiction and crime


Life on Mars - crime and science fiction

The Break-Up - romantic comedy

Woman in Black - thriller/ horror

When looking at The Woman in Black as a 'thriller/ horror', it became clear that the difference between the genres of horror and thriller is not very obvious. Therefore I found definitions of both, in order to allow us to clearly distinguish the difference between the two genres.

Horror - intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its viewers, tends to focus more on the imagery to scare.

Thriller - uses suspense, tension and excitement as its main elements, and tends to focus more on the use of sound than imagery.

Melissa Hudson

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Audience Reception Theories

We decided to look at a couple of different audience reception theories that we thought were particularly relevant to thrillers.

Uses and Gratifications Theory (Katz, E) - suggests that audiences watch films and TV programs for different reasons.

  • Identity - to identify with other's and different cultures
  • Catharsis (emotional experience) - to 'feel' strong emotions
  • Surveillance - to make sense of the world and gain information and understand about the world
  • Escapism - pure entertainment
  • Integrative/ social - to have a shared experience with peers
We feel that the reason that most people choose to watch a thriller is for catharsis, as thrillers make the audience feel strong feelings, whether these are of fear or anticipation of something happening.

Hypodermic Syringe Model

This model is important for us to consider as we need to make our audience feel strong emotions through the use of tension and other factors in our opening.

Melissa Hudson

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Title Sequence

In preparation for our movie opening and deciding on a genre, we looked at a few title sequences to other films to see the elements used to portray the genre. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a suspense/crime genre. Here is a summary of the notes we made on the title sequence:

- Fast pace music: shows the film will be action packed and thrilling
- Close-ups and tracking shots used: secretive, not giving away the full picture. The tracking shots show it as leading up to something, creating suspense as the camera moves slowly
- The shots are cut very quickly, in time with the music, not hanging on one thing for too long
- The low-key lighting and the black and grey tint over everything gives the audience the idea that the film will be dark and mysterious. It also contrasts with the images of fire, which symbolises danger
- There is a running them of liquids throughout the opening sequence, which could link to blood, poison and oil
- The figures in the sequence are presented as quite supernatural, showing that there might be something different about them

Kira Welland

Monday, 10 December 2012

Analysis of Previous Coursework Opening

This is an example of a previous years AS Media coursework of the same task and genre that we are interested in.

- The way editing and camera angles are used at the beginning of the sequence is really effective as it creates suspense, and also creates mystery as it only shows small sections of the bigger picture.
-The use of close ups fading to black creates this mystery as they focus clearly on small details of the figure and also maintain the element of mystery as the shot fades before too much is given away.

- Sound is used effectively throughout the sequence, towards the end of the opening the non diegetic sound of the music could have become louder in volume, or changed to build the tension further.

Melissa Hudson

Analysis of Previous Coursework Opening


I watched the video shown above and picked aspects which I liked
-The use of music, especially the slow music at the beginning as it slowed the pace and connected scenes
-The murderer's face was never shown which created a sense of mystery
-The use of the missing persons report, it was realistic and convincing to the audience

However there were aspects which I didn't like, which we should avoid if possible when creating our film opening
-It took a great amount of time to reach the more dramatic part of the opening
-There were gaps in the narrative, such as the lock not being shown as broken

Chloe Barker

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Film Opening Timeline - Apocalypse Now

I created this timeline which placed key events from the opening of the film 'Apocalypse Now' in a chronological order using words and images. From this I was then able to write specific details off the events such the type of camera shots, the sound, the editing techniques, the mise-en-scene, etc. This enabled me to interpret the opening's aspects in a way gave an insight into the film's narrative.

Chloe Barker

Film Opening Timeline - Halloween

Here's a timeline we used to annotate the opening of the film 'Halloween'. We found annotating in this style helped us determine all the different features easily, as well as spot things like recurring links to time etc. It has also shown us the type of things we need to think about for our film opening, and how we're going to set it up.

Kira Welland

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Preliminary Task

This is our preliminary task, we had to include a shot-reverse-shot, match on action (the door opening and closing on the other side) and the 180 degree rule. We feel that this went fairly well for us, as we learnt the basic camera shots and editing techniques quite quickly and easily. We found that we had trouble with editing our ending so it fit with the rest of the piece because we had not filmed enough footage to allow for editing. 

Chloe Barker and Melissa Hudson

Friday, 7 December 2012

Coursework Context

This is the context of our coursework, which we need to consider when we complete our coursework. We have provided more detail to the context so it is clear to us what we need to do:

Titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of 2 minutes.
All material must be original and produced by candidates

The piece should include;
- Titles
- Use of sound or silence
- Variety of editing techniques
- Show a clear genre
- Use conventions of the genre
- Use conventions of a film opening
- Camera shots and angles relevant and effective to the genre

Melissa Hudson