My project is going to be a short thriller/horror about a girl experiencing strange things in her living room while home alone. I want to experiment with lighting as part of my project and use household lights as well as the light from technology such as phones and televisions turning off and on to help create a strange and chilling mood. The reason that I want to create a mysterious atmosphere within my project is so the audience are more intrigued to keep watching as they want to see how it will end. I will keep the audience’s attention through the abnormal activities such as the flickering lights and TV changing channel by itself, however the main way I hope to evoke a tense feeling is through making the audience aware of things that the character is not.
The concept of my project is ultimately to create suspense through the use of visuals which is why the media format I have decided to use is video as I believe this is the best form of communication to present lighting which is the main focus of my film. As I only need one location which is a living room this is not something I will need to research, however I will need to do research regarding my props. I will need to look at how I can effectively make household lights flicker and will also need to research clips I can play on the girl’s telly such as news footage or the effect of a TV suddenly turning off. As I aim to create tension in my film and there may be horror related elements such as the dark figure at the window, my target audience would therefore likely be people of an older age group such as 16 or over as it may be too intense for younger children. My role in the project will be to direct and operate the cameras and sound and I will have someone else acting in it. I decided not to be in my film and to take on all the other roles so that I have full control over these elements and can decide on the best angles and shots for the project. The technical requirements of my project will include a tripod so that the scenes are shot steadily and smoothly and camera with a lens that can zoom in and out for the final scene of my project in which the camera zooms out of the girl to reveal the dark silhouette at the window.
I plan to reflect on my work by thoroughly looking over the clips I film to ensure I pick the best parts for the project and if they are not right can re-film any I need to. I will also take photos throughout the filming process and make notes so that I can effectively document any changes I make to my film such as altering angles or add any extras that I feel are needed. As I will have others to help me through the process this will positively impact my evaluation as they can help to observe any changes I make while I am filming.
I have decided to use video as my means of communication as my film will have no dialogue and the storyline will unfold visually. Through the use of video I will be able to present the characters emotions and actions to the audience which is something I would not be able to portray though other forms of communication such as radio. Radio can be a great form of communication when it comes to conveying a message to a wide range of people and age groups, however if I was to use radio the emphasis would be on the sound and the audience would not be aware of elements of the film such as the lights flashing on and off which is a main factor of my film. If I was to use print as a form of communication I would be give a detailed description of the scenario and what the girl is experiencing, however I would not be able to use sound and as we needed to base the project on the word hello i personally think hearing a character saying it would be more effective in helping us to connect with the character. With print I would also not be able to use music which is one element of my film that I hope will help to build suspense and tension within the audience.
The first thing I did when it comes to planning was thinking of an idea. Once I had an idea I decided to make a bullet point list of different scenes I could use to make the film effective then narrowed it down the main things I wanted to include in the film and created a storyboard so I could visually see how the film would look and which shot types I could use.
Shot 1: Establishing shot of the character watching TV – side view allowing the girl and her surroundings such as the television to be in shot.
Shot 2: Front view of the girl and lamp as the light starts to flicker
Shot 3: Close up of the TV changing channel after the girl leaves to get a drink
Shot 4: Panning shot of the character coming back into the room
Shot 5: POV shot of the character changing the channel back
Shot 6: Wide angle shot of lights flickering behind the character
Shot 7: Behind shot of lights flickering at other end of the room – back of character and lights both in shot
Shot 8: Medium close up – lights turn off and the character shines a torch towards the camera
Shot 9: Over the shoulder shot of the paper on the table falling to the ground
Shot 10: Medium long shot – the camera pans around the character in a circle to display her panic as the lights have turned off
Shot 11: Close up of the phone screen as the character calls 999, the light from the phone will light up character’s face
Shot 12: Wide angle shot of room as the lights turn back on
Shot 13: Medium close up of girl sitting down in chair starting to calm down, only the girl and chair in shot
Shot 14: Camera slowly starts to zoom out of the girl to reveal a person standing at the window
Shot 15: Wide angle making sure all characters are in shot when the person knocks on the window. Camera cuts immediately after they say hello, we see the panic in her face for a brief moment but do not see her turn around
- Making sure all my props such as the lights are fully working and that I have as many as I need
- Finding a YouTube clip of a news report about missing people
- Going to my location to make sure it is suitable and big enough for filming
- Making sure I have found actors for my film that are available for filming at the same time
- Asking someone to help with the technical elements of filming such as making the paper fall to the floor
- Gathering all the appropriate equipment ready for filming such the camera and a tripod
- Looking for any props I will need online
- Research my location and if it will be the most effective location to use
The main props I will need for my project to go well will be a range of different lights such as household lamps and fairy lights that I can place in my location in order to create the best mood and so there are a range of different lights that will flash on and off therefore creating more suspense. A prop that I may need for filming is light bulbs that are made specifically to flicker on and off as this would make the filming process much easier, however this is not something I completely need and is only an option. Another prop I will need is a phone and one scene involves the main character calling her mum in a panic and she also uses the torch of the phone when she is looking around, however this prop will be easy to access. Similar to this I will need a TV to create the effect that the girl is just at home relaxing when the strange things start to happen and I will also play a video on the TV to create the effect of it changing channel by itself. I will also need an arm chair that I can place in front of the window so that when the girl sits down the other person is directly behind her. Luckily nearly all the props I need are things I can find around my house however I will need to do research to find an effective news clip to use as part of the film on the TV.
Flicker Flame Light Bulb
My location for this project is very basic and is just a normal living room in my house. I decided to chose this as my location as it is easy to access and so that it creates a sense of normality within the audience. One element of my location that is important is that there is a large window in the living room so that when the girl sits down the audience can clearly see the dark figure standing behind her through the window. I also need the room to be quite big itself so that I could place lights around the room so it looks like lights are flashing all around the character. Something else I need to consider is when I film as I want it to be dark outside to create a more formidable atmosphere and to make the dark figure look creepier at the end as they will be standing in the dark. Then means I need to research at what time of day it would get dark at the location I am filming at which is Whstatble so I can make sure my crew come at the right time and we will be able to film as its getting dark.
Time of sunset in Whitstable
Now that my film has been made I am pleased with the research I carried out and found that doing it helped me to be more prepared when it came to filming as I had gathered all the props I needed such as the different types of lights and knew which time of day I needed to film at. One thing I had not researched however was how I would effectively get the paper on the table to fall to the ground as I presumed that simply blowing it would work. I ended up using a fan which I had not planned for but was not an issue as I had one in my house, however I now this should have been something I researched in more detail. I did not need to use flickering light bulbs for my project as my friend that was helping me film was able to go behind the sofa and table and flicker them from the plug socket, however I am glad that I had researched this area anyway so that I was clear of all my options.
All of my project was filmed on 30/11/16 and before filming I had to wait until it was starting to get dark outside so that I had the most effective lighting to create a spooky atmosphere. Most of my film was shot in order to that when I shot the final scene of the window it would be almost completely dark outside. I had two of my college friends with my to help me film, one being the actor and the other being there to help with any technical elements such as the flickering the lights. As I was doing the camera work and directing I would not have been able to control the lights as well which is why it was important I had someone to help me. We effectively worked as part of a team to ensure the lights flickered at the right time and she hid around the room when turning them off to make sure she was not seen by the camera. This has helped me to understand the importance of working as part of a team in the media industry and how vital communication can be when working with others.
As you can see from the photos I wanted to try a range of different angles for the first couple of shots to ensure I had a variety to chose from and would be able to pick which looked best. I decided placing the camera directly in front of the camera would be the most effective in showing both the character and the lights flickering. When it came to the scene in which all the lights turned out at once it took a couple of takes to get this right but overall I am happy with how it came out. Once the room was dark and we were filming the phone scene the light od the phone was not as bright as I had planned so therefore I decided to use a small light and place it under the subject to light up her face for the audience to see more clearly. I then shot the TV clips and as a part of this had to make sure the camera stayed in the exact same positions while I filmed the news clips and turning off effect so that when it came to editing it looked realistic. The scene in which the character says hello was shot in one take as it was fairly simple and I had ensured for this I had a microphone to record the sound. I then shot the scene of the papers on the table falling to the ground which took a while to shoot as we could not get them to fall effectively and eventually had to use a fan so that when they fell it was abrupt and made a clear noise which I then recorded the sound of. The last scene took a while to film as I needed to communicate with both actors and make sure the actor playing the dark figure knew when to knock and the character inside knew the right time to gasp. It was after filming this scene a couple of times that I decided I did not want the scary figure outside to say hello and thought that just the 3 knocks would be more effective. This was the main change I made to the film and the only main alteration from my storyboard however I took good consecration and asked the opinion of my team before making the change. Overall we completed the whole film within the couple of hours we had while it was getting dark outside and I am happy with the professionalism and team communication that took place in order to make the film at a good quality.
The genre of my film is a thriller as throughout the film suspense is created and the audience are constantly left in anticipation about what is going on and how it will end. Different elements of my film that would make it a thriller include, the television changing channel by itself, lights flickering off and the main one being the person standing at the window behind the main character. The fast paced music would also help to class this as a thriller as it helps to build an anxious atmosphere.
One piece of semiology that can be depicted from my project is how the person standing at the window in the final scene is lit up. I decided to use a small light under the character’s face to create an under lighting effect which is often used in horror films to create shadows and make someone look un-nerving. Personally as the light is fairly bright I think it makes the character look ghost-like which then presents a supernatural element into the film and allows the audience to question the reality of this person if they depict it in this way. Another element of semiotics is the colour correcting I have used as I deliberately chose to give the film a red tint as I feel this presents connotations of danger, allowing the audience to feel worried for the character.
I decided to chose an ordinary living room as my location to create a sense of normality within the audience so that they be able to imagine themselves in the characters position, therefore creating more suspense when the unexpected things start to happen. The main component of the mise-en-scene in my film is the props as this is what ultimately creates the tension and makes both the character and audience think that something strange is happening. I decided to chose a teenage girl as my main character so that other people of this gender and age group can connect with her and sympathise with her vulnerability of being young. I also decided that I wanted the dark figure at the window to be a teenage girl so it would go against obvious stereotypes of villain type characters being men as appose to female and young. The TV is also used to emphasise this being the girl’s everyday life and I was able to use the prop of the television to further the plot and create more suspicion by it cutting to news footage of someone talking about a missing girl.
My film would be classed as having a linear narrative as the story is told in chronological order. It also has a single stranded narrative as there is only one main story line which is following the teenage girl in her living room. I decided to not use any dialogue other than the word hello so that the focus is on the visuals and what the character is experiencing. My film would also fall under the open narrative category as it ends on a cliff-hanger and the audience are left unknown about the character’s fate and what will happen regarding the person at the window.
My hello project is a short thriller about a teenage girl experiencing strange occurrences in her house and creates suspense within the audience about what is going on and what the outcome of these occurrences will be.
One thing I changed throughout the process of filming was the actual “hello” itself. I originally wanted the person standing at the window to be the one to say hello but after trying and filming the scene a few times I felt it did not work as well as I had hoped and more tension was created in the person simply knocking at the door. I then thought it would be effective for the main character to be the one saying “hello” as she looks around the room confused about what is going on as hearing the character’s voice may help the audience to connect with her more and imagine themselves in her position. I also decided that for the scene in which the TV changes channel by itself i would not make this apparent to the character and instead have the channel change back to what she was originally watching by the time she came back from getting a drink. I did this so that the audience would know something that the character does not therefore building up more tension and worry towards the character, something I learned director Alfred Hitchcock. Apart from this I mainly stuck to my original story board and followed it carefully to ensure I did not miss out any scenes and was able to carry out everything I set out to. Looking back at my storyboard however I do see it as being fairly basic and I ended up adding some extra shots at the beginning on the film such as a close up of the girls face watching TV simply to help establish the scene and allow the audience to understand this is the character we will be following throughout the film.
I think a strength in my project is my sound as most of the things that can be heard in my film were Foley sounds created after I had filmed, an example of this being the knocking on the window and the phone ringing. I think the syncing of my sound and video went well and I am happy with how the sounds fit into the visuals. Another strength I would say is the piece of music I chose for the film as I deliberately chose something that increased in tempo as the song went on therefore also increasing the tension that is built up leading to the last scene. The fast pace of the music playing when all of the lights turn off also corresponds with fast beating of the characters heart in the film.
There is one element of my film that could be seen as both a strength and a weakness which is the colour correction I added during editing. I decided to add a red tint to my clips as I associate the colour red with danger and thought that by subtly adding this colour into my film the audience may also depict this hint of reed to mean that something bad may be about to happen. The reason this could be seen as a weakness however is that using the colour correction compromised the overall quality of my film and the resolution doesn’t look as high as the original clips before colour correcting. Despite this, I am glad I made this change and am happy with how the colours help to build the overall atmosphere that the character is not safe. One element of my film that I had not originally planned was lighting in my last scene. When thinking about mise-en-scene before hand I decided that I wanted it to be dark outside so that the right mood was created in the film. However, I had not thought about the fact that without a light the character behind the window would be hard to see on camera. I decided to create an under lighting effect with a small light so that not only would the character be easily seen by the audience, it would also create a sense of horror and may make the character look somewhat ghost like.
I am happy with the range of different shot types I have used to help connect with the audience such as using a POV shot to put the audience into the characters perspective and allow them to see what she would be seeing along with the shot in which she shines a torch towards the camera as the camera acts as the audience and creates the feeling that people watching are there with the character and the light is being shone at them. If I was to re-make my film I would change the final scene by zooming out of the character slightly more to create a bigger wide angle for the final moment so that the living room and characters would all be clearly in shot. I would also zoom out much slower to create more suspense before the audience sees there is someone at the window.
Overall the filming took a lot longer than I expected simply because small things such as making the lights turn off at the same time and making the papers seemingly fall to the ground by themselves were harder to accomplish than I thought, however I think this helped to give a more accurate representation of the film industry and how much time and effort needs to be put into making only 2 minutes of footage.
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