Group 2 'Mute' Finished Opening Sequence

Finished Preliminary task - 'The Transaction'

Thursday, 7 April 2011



But feel free to browse around...

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A Note to the Moderator

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to have a look around my AS-Media individual blog.

On the sidebar to the right, you can find links to my Main teaching blog, my Group Blog, and the list of labels for my posts to make it easy to navigate around my blog.

On this blog you can find individual research and planning which contributed to the overall project, and my answers to the 7 evaluation questions. It also contains my work and evaluation on our preliminary task, completed in preparation for my opening sequence. Both my preliminary task and finished opening sequence can be viewed at the top of the blog, at all times.

Our group blog contains all our combined work towards 'Mute' and you can see my individual contributions by clicking my name in the labels sidebar.

Thanks a lot for having a look around, and i really hope you enjoy my blog and particularly our opening sequence (which we worked very hard on!), 'Mute'.

Robbie Lardi

Candidate Number - 3400

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Evaluation Question 7

7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?


Preliminary Task Brief

Produce a continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom he/she then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. The taskshould demonstrate match on action, shot / reverse shot and the 180-degree-rule.

Main Task Brief

The titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum  two minutes. All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candiadate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

Pre-production stage

We learnt from the preliminary the utmost importance of full scripting and storyboarding, doing location scouting and securing the locations and actors well in advance of our shoots. Problems such as leaking sound from other rooms during the prelim task made us realise that you really cannot just film whenever and wherever you want; it requires permission and much planning.
After the prelim task raised several issues in regards to getting the shots we needed, we decided for our real project that we would do some test shoots for certain sequences in our film. This helped us iron out and work around impracticalities or difficulties which would arise during the real shoot, saving us time and effort.
Here is a video of a test shoot we made, to help us fully visualize and plan our second shoot for 'Mute':

Production stage

The preliminary task focused on continuity, and it made us realise just how much attention needs to be paid to continuity throughout the entire process of constructing our sequence. It is very difficult to create a continuity perfect sequence, as we discovered with the prelim, but giving us some practise at it really helped our final sequences seem as slick and professional as possible. However, we still encoutered some continuity issues with our sequence:

A continuity error in our sequence

The prelim task also showed us how long it really can take to fully complete a shoot. It takes a huge amount of time and cooperation between you and your team, and you need to find an equilibrium between all your creative inputs and your practicalities.
We also learnt from the prelim task that it is necessary to alternate between the various production roles. This allows you to develop experience in directing, producing, acting, lighting, using the camera etc. Because of this, as a group we worked together to ensure everyone was allowed to explore the different fields of production as much as possible; while still creating a polished and successful sequence.

Post Production

From the prelim task, we were extremely limited in our amount of editing time; we only had about an hour to edit it together. However, it was much more basic- the soundtrack and dialogue were very simple, it was only a minute long, and contains no fast paced action. Also, it was all shot within one room, meaning good continuity was easy to maintain as we kept the room exactly the same throughout the shoot.

It showed me just how long the editing process can take, and that you always need to allow much more time that you think is necessary. It also helped us understand how hard it is to create a seamless flowing narrative with limited editing time. Because of this we gave ourselves as much time as we could to edit our sequence together- more time means a higher quality product.

Here is a shot of our group working across the different stages of production:

Evaluation Question 6

6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

While already experienced in several areas of film production, i furthered and developed many skills while constructing our sequence, across all the hardware and software which we used.


I knew how to handle a camera on a fairly basic level before this project, but now my competence with it has increased as we learnt new techniques to help make our project a success.

For the first time, we decided to change the manual settings of our camera instead of just leaving it on the 'auto' setting as we shot. We tried several techniques with the manual settings, changing the lighting, contrast and fps of our footage from the camera itself.

We learnt how to focus pull, and we thought it would look very professional to include a couple of focus pulls in our final sequence (which we did), and here is a short video of us practising different focus pulls:

Using a tripod and other camera attachments were fairly straightforward in this project; as much of our sequence was filmed handheld without a tripod. However, this did make some of our shots shakier than expected, something we did not intend.

While i did learn a lot about the hardware we were using, there were no huge leaps from using a camera and equipment before; so we did not find ourselves too challenged. However, we did really explore the creative possibilities that the new and exciting software could provide for our sequence.


Adobe Premier Pro

The main editing software we used in our project. We had worked with Premier Pro before on our GCSE project, so i already had some experience, but i feel much more confident after spending several more weeks editing our sequence.

We also explored many techniques of editing and grading our footage, using two tools i had not used before: ProCamp and Three-Way Colour Corrector to help color grade our sequence, achieving the washed out colour palette often seen in action movies. We began with absolutely no experience of using these tools, effectively employing trial and error while working, but after weeks of work i would feel confident to work with them again.

This picture demonstrates the use of the Three-Way Colour Corrector tool we used.

Here is a video we produced of our sequence, with different colour grading effects applied:

We also improved our ability to equalize sound between shots, and to use the high-pass effect when Ava removes her headphones; making the transition between music and eerie silence as convincing and professional as possible.

Adobe After Effects

I had never used After Effects before, but we used to to apply the Degrainer effect to some of our footage, after we found it to be much grainier than we expected. This was probably because we filmed in a low light section of my house, and did not fully utilize the pag-light while filming.


The top shot shows our footage before the Degrainer was applied, the bottom shot after it had been applied.

We also used the software LiveType to help make our titles exactly how we wanted them; and to make them look as professional as possible.

If i was doing this project again, i would have fully utilized all the technology at my disposal, much like we did in this project. I would have tried to do a video storyboard and test shoot, which would have helped make the production process run as smoothly as possible.

Evaluation Question 5

5) How did you attract / address your audience?

We attracted our target audience of young people by using a young cast, with the three leads being teenagers. Teenagers can relate to our rebellious lead character, attempting to overthrow the oppressive government authority.

Our film has an edgy and contemporary style which would also hold strong appeal for a younger audience, the pacey editing and thrilling plotline is a good hook for a younger audience looking for thrills in a film. The heavy influence of technology in our film is also appealing for younger audiences, as they can relate to always being on their phones, and 'Mute' provides an insightful social commentary about this dystopian world where technology has taken over. Our storyline contains many conventions of an action film which would attract fans of the genre, such as chase scenes, a 'saving the world' scenario, and a lead hero to propel the narrative, but we think that teenagers want to see something fresh and exciting on their screens as well as the standard conventions of an action / drama film. To do this, we have an intelligent plot full of twists and turns, deaths of main characters, a partially unresolved ending and moments of shocking drama.

Here is the Facebook event we created to attract our audience to our screening. Facebook is a commonly used platform by our target audience of 15-25 year olds, and so we thought this would be the best way to promote our screening. The poster and information mimics the style of the film; it is edgy and minimalistic, creating enigma for the audience and enticing them to come to our screening. 

Being a British film, our primary national audience is Britain. We reflected this in 'Mute', most obviously by setting the film in London and having a predominantly British cast. This is furthered through our choice of music. Not only is drum and bass music such as ours mostly listened to by young people, it also holds strong British roots; you wouldn't find that music being produced in many other countries at all. It helps stick to our British brand identity, and will help attract a young British audience. The gritty style of 'Mute' is also something which our audience would relate to other popular independant British flicks or TV shows, such as Kidulthood (Huda, 2006) or Misfits (British TV Drama, 2009 - present).

We attempted to address the multi cultural aspect of modern day London by including actors of different races; caucasian British, Asian and African-American actors are all present in our sequence, which helps provide an accurate portrayal of London, and will help attract a racially diverse audience.

Racial Diversity in 'Mute'

Monday, 4 April 2011

Evaluation Question 4

4) Who would be the audience for your media product?

Our film is rated 15, and the primary target audience is both genders aged between 15 and 25. It would primarily appeal to fans of the action / drama genre, but as our film has a love story and elements of Sci-fi as well, we think we will attract fans of other genre's too. 

However, the fans of the typical Hollywood action blockbuster may find this film too dark or alternative for their tastes. The 15 rating allows us to include more graphic violence and swearing in 'Mute', as well as an incredibly dark tone throughout the film and several hard-hitting moments of drama, such as deaths of main characters, something not often seen in large scale blockbuster movies. We are aiming for an audience which is looking for something deeper and more intriguing than your run-of-the-mill generic action movie; 'Mute' is smarter and challenges many conventions of the modern action genre.

The film is primarily aimed at a British audience, as it is a British production and has a British cast, but has global appeal as well, allowing for a broader audience than simply Brits. 

We feel the heavy focus on technology in the film will have a large impact on our audience. We believe it will attract a young, tech-savvy audience, of both genders. This also opens up many possibilities in terms of marketing our movie. 

We showed our sequence to over a group of over fifty 15-17 year olds, and asked them to fill out a feedback questionnaire on what they saw. Here is a sample of some of the questionnaires we recieved:

Mute - Filled In Questionnaires

Every rating we recieved ranged between 6 and 10 out of 10, and the majority said they would watch the movie in cinemas, which shows that we successfully appealed to our target audience. 

Evaluation Question 3

3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Our production company is called Binary Studios, and we specialise in gritty British drama's, often with elements of science fiction- such as the dystopian world of 'Mute'. Our films could be likened to other independant British productions such as This is England (Meadows, 2006) or Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007).

British companies are not particularly famous for their action films, and 'Mute' attempts to challenge this convention by providing a large scale, action filled plot, but combined with the strong script, characters and distinctive style which has made British cinema so recognisable and successful in recent years.

Phoenix International are distributing 'Mute'. They are an international company as while 'Mute' remains firmly a British production, we believe it has global appeal due to it's interesting characters and accessible storyline; so is intended to be exhibited nationally to begin with, and then furthered with a limited global release.

An example of a real distributor who might distribute our film is Fox Searchlight Pictures, who do not distribute massive, epic movies such as Avatar (Cameron, 2009), but instead lean towards more independant and British productions such as Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle, 2008) and Sunshine (Boyle, 2007). The two films mentioned are also good examples of British made films which maintain global appeal.

Fox Searchlight pictures, being a division of the much larger conglomerate 20th Century Fox, would also be able to fund any future sequels or franchises if the film was a commercial success.