Monday, 25 October 2010

The 5 Theorists

For this lesson Meg, Paige and I worked together to research information on Roland Barthes so that we could do a presentation on him on Prezi (see below). We found out facts about him and also his theory. 

We included this research that we found about Roland Barthes into the presentation to present to the rest of the class.

Roland Barthes
His theory basically states that once you look further or deeply into a text, you find out lots of different meanings. This links to Hot Fuzz because when you look at a shot you can pick out lots of meanings or interpretations of your ideas just by looking into whats in the shot and its surroundings.


Merlin Analysis

What representations of gender are constructed by the extract through the use of: Mise en scene / Editing / Use of camera / Sound?

The Mise-en-scene in the clip show males to be represented with higher importance. This is shown because the main character himself, Merlin, is infact a male character. Also, a majority of the other most higher or well-known characters are also males themselves, opposed to females. This could represent that at this time that it is set, males were seem as more dominant and powerful, and therefore that is why they are shown to be in a lot of the clip. Also, they are represented as being more powerful than women. For example, this is shown when they go out to fight and are in army gear. This again shows them to have the more dominant role in the clip which again suggests they are stronger and more powerful than women. They also appear to carry some sort of weapon such as swords, whereas women in the clip are only shown to look pretty. This could suggest that they are classed with higher importance due to they are the ones who seem to protect the women. This suggests that women are of not much importance and don't have much of a reason as to why they are there, but they are just there to look good. Also, in the first shot Merlin the main character is seen to be reading from a book. This could suggest that males are somewhat knowledgeable.

However, women are shown throughout the clip, but not as much as men. One example is when a witch vanishes into mid-air. This could suggest some sort of power. However, she is represented to look like an old 'hag' by the clothing and lack of tidiness. She is also represented to look somewhat unattractive. Also, because she looks like the stereotypical 'witch' this implies to the audience that she is an evil or bad character.

Also, men are also shown to be of higher importance when a woman is seen to be walking towards a male character (that is possibly the King) is seated in a throne. The fact that he is also seated in the centre of the shot also shows that he is of higher importance as he is the centre of attention. He is also seated on a step which shows higher importance because he is being looked up to, and also, looking down on people. He is also shown to be wearing a crown which suggests he is a royal member, and therefore of very high importance. Later on, he is shown to be very dominant which suggests he has power.

Editing also makes the male gender to come across to have more importance as Merlin's eyes are edited to look very magical. This is shown by the effect of a shine or glimpse in his eye which suggests that he is powerful, in some way or another. This is also shown when some sort of magical whirlwind circles around Merlin. This again shows a very important and magical role, compared to women which are shown to have neither of these in their roles.

The use of camera angles show men again to be of higher importance as they are seen to be powerful and dominant. This is shown by the use of a high-angle shot of the King when he is talking. He is also seen to be stood on a balcony talking down to people. This shows power and dominance because he is talking down to people, and we are looking up towards him which again suggests importance.

Sound in this clip is quite upbeat in order to fit in with the fantasy theme or setting. There are no song-words or lyrics, it is just a catchy tune. The effect this has makes the whole clip seem somewhat magical and keeps the audience interested by gaining their attention. The characters voices are shown to be very posh, the stereotypical 'British' voice. This could therefore suggest that it is set in a quite old-fashioned period of time. It could also suggest importance of the characters because we already know that some are of royalty and therefore need to talk Standard English to keep their reputation. However, only men are shown to be speaking in the clip which again suggests that they have higher importance in the scene.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Hot Fuzz' Producers

Universal Studios
Universal Studios is one of the six major movie studios. It is one of the oldest American movie studios that is still in production as it was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle. The studios is a subsidiary of NBC Universal as in 2004 the majority of the company was sold by Vivendi universal to General Electric, the owner of the NBC.
It owns a film library of cinema and a collection of TV shows. It also has rights to several filmmakers' works from other studios.
Its production studios are at 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Universal City, California and has other offices in New York City.

Studiocanal is a French-based production and distribution company that owns the third-largest film library in the world. The company is part of the Canal+ Group, owned by Vivendi SA. It was founded in 1988 by Pierre Lescure.
Some of Studiocanal's most notable productions that it helped finance from its early years include Terminator 2: Judgment Day, JFK, Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Under Siege, Free Willy, and the original Stargate movie.

Big Talk Productions
Big Talk Productions Ltd. is an English film and television production company. It was founded in 1995 by Nira Park. The company is located in London and has produced films such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It is also known for its British sitcoms such as Spaced and Free Agents. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey are several actors that have risen to fame under Big Talk's production banner.

Working Title
Working Title Films is a British film production company that is based in London. It produces feature films and several television productions. The company was founded in 1983 by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe in 1983. The co-owners of the company are Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan. Some popular examples that Working Title films has produced are: About a boy, Ali G Indahouse, Billy Elliott, The Borrowers, Bridget Jones, Nanny Mcphee and Notting Hill as well as Hot Fuzz.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Magazine post-production


This is the production for the front cover of my magazine preliminary work.

Magazine production

To begin with, before I started making the magazine covers I had to take photo's that I wanted for the pages. I made sure that I took at least 5-6 photo's of each shot so this ensured that I definately had a good picture as not every picture would of been perfect. To create the magazine covers, I used photoshop.

Magazine pre-production

For the pre-production of the magazine I had to create a draft copy on paper of the main front cover and the contents page. I used some inspiration from the pictures below, which I got from Mr Smiths blog.

For the front cover I had to choose what I was going to call my magazine which had to related to school, Lutterworth College. I chose to give it the name 'Couture' because I wanted to do something that related to the textiles department in the school so that my magazine could be related to fashion, which I am very interested in.

I then had to design what I wanted on the front cover and the layout of which I wanted everything. I chose to put the main photo in the centre of the cover (as this gains the most attention and stands out more) with the writing/headings around it. I ensured that I kept the masterhead at the top of the page because this is essential for a magazine as it shouldnt be anywhere else on the front cover. I also had to annotate it saying what fonts, sizes, colour etc that I would want for the writing. I made sure that I didnt use more than 3 fonts and colours.

For the contents page I also had to design the layout of where I wanted everything that I will be putting onto the magazine. I chose to do a big picture at the top of the page with the heading 'Contents' underneath it. As we had to have at least 4-5 photo's on the page, I had to ensure that I had enough room on the layout to put the pictures. I also came up with the idea that I wanted to use a film clip down the right-hand side of the page to put the photograph's in as this will look a lot more interesting. I then wrote up the contents including the page numbers in the magazine. Again, I made sure that I didn't use more than 3 fonts or colours. I also had to annotate my ideas down on the page.

Filming post-production

In the lesson, we uploaded the film footage that we did in the previous lesson onto the Mac computer so that we could edit it. We then went onto iMovie and imported the footage onto it so that we could put all the scenes together. We cut out certain parts that we didnt need and then put some scenes in the right places so that the end result was continuous. We found it easy to do the editing but we found that it was quite confusing to cut the scenes and then change them so they were in the correct order. We then uploaded the end video onto a youtube account so that we were able to post it onto our blogs.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Filming production

For our filming, we had to film a scene of a character walking down a corridor, opening a door and then sitting down and having a conversation with another character. We worked in groups of 4 using a storyboard from another group. I worked with Paige, Meg and Sam. Meg was character 1 and i was character 2. Sam did the filming using the different camera angles whilst we all helped organize how we did the acting and shots using the storyboard. Overall, it was rather simple to do the filming as we didn't find any difficulties. However, we did have troubles using the other groups storyboard as it was quite confusing to read and we got mixed up with how to do the scenes as it wasn't annotated clearly enough.

Filming pre-production

For the pre-production of the filming, we had to create a storyboard of the scene we were going to do. The scene was to film somebody walking down the corridor, opening a door, closing the door, sitting down and having a conversation. We worked in groups of four.

In our groups of 4, we split each section into 4 parts. They were: walking down the corridor, opening/closing the door, sitting down and having a conversation to another character. To create my part of the storyboard (walking down the corridor), i split my section into 4 sections:
1) long shot of the room, zoom in on character
2) mid-shot (zoomed in on person) character starts walking
3) sounds of footsteps, character comes in on scene with other character (low angle shot)
4) close-up shot of character sitting down face - serious face
Then we put all the parts together from our group to create the whole scene.

I found using the different camera angles together easy. However, I found putting the 4 sections together difficult as I had to ensure continuity so that the scene would flow and work.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

American Beauty

In this lesson, we watched the film 'American Beauty'. We payed particular attention to the opening sequence and looked at the techniques with the use of camera angles, sound and mise en scene.

The techniques of camera angles in American Beauty are a point of view shot, mid-shot, a close-up shot and a high-angle shot. The point of view shot shows the audience Ricky Fitts point of view of Jane so we can see that he is looking at Jane. This makes the audience feel part of the action as we see it from his perspective. It also gives an amateur effect as he is using a video recorder. The mid-shot is of Jane. This implies that the two characters know each other very well. A close-up is used to show Lester’s facial expressions, this way it gives the audience knowledge of his emotions and how he feels. The use of the high-angle shot overlooks the village which provides us information of the setting and the area.
For the sound in American Beauty, the audience can hear the conversation of the teenagers (diegetic). The use of this gives us an insight into the relationship by what they are saying to each other and the way they talk to one another. It also gives us ideas about the father of the girl as they mention him in the conversation. A repetitive soundtrack is also played in the background noise (diagetic), which could add to the tension of the film. It could also make it more upbeat and therefore draw the audience’s attention by making it more exiting and dramatic. You can also hear the sound of the video camera working in the background which shows there is an amateur film taking place. The sound of an alarm clock also happens in the scene which is abrupt and adds to the scene.
For the mise-en-scene in American Beauty, I could suggest the girl in the bedroom lying down. This could give the audience the impression that it is an intimate moment between her and the boy. We also get a very dark, depressing idea of the scene because of the dull lighting and clothing. The clothing and pale skin makes the girl look very gothic looking which adds to the depressing mood we get. The title of the film is shown in red writing on a plain black background. The connotation of the red gives the audience the impression of passion or danger which could give a negative view on what’s going to happen later on in the film. We also see that it is set in an American neighbourhood with widely spread houses. This could show it is a suburban area which infers that it is a reasonably wealthy neighbourhood.

Hot Fuzz analysis: What is uniquely 'British' about Hot Fuzz?

-  Posh ('snobby') e.g. Queen
-  Council estates (run down)
-  Countryside
-  Private schools
-  Self-deprecating (take the mick out of ourselves)
-  British music e.g. pop era, punk era
-  Bad teeth
-  Irony
-  London (capital city)

There are many things that are uniquely 'British' throughout the opening scene of Hot Fuzz. For example, the sound of the British police siren is used in the film for the police cars. Vauxhall Astra's are used which are the stereotypical British police car. British police uniforms are also worn by the characters in the film. We know this is 'British' because they were the police badge with the queens crown on it.

Quotes from the film also reflect the 'Britishness' throughout the opening scene. For example when he says 'born and schooled in London', 'attended Cambridge university' and 'Metropolitan police force'. All of these are uniquely British because they are places in Britain. The film also represents the 'British' politeness and manners when he says 'I beg your pardon'. This is uniquely 'British' because it shows the stereotypical view of British people being posh as it represents our good manners that people would associate with British people.

English places where the scenes are shot for the film are also uniquely 'British' as it is shot in London in places such as Soho and Chinatown. This is associated with 'Britishness' as London is the capital city which is the most known place in England. However, shots are also filmed in Sandford which reflects the countryside of 'Britishness' as this is also associated with Britain.

'Britishness' is uniquely presented in the fact that some parts of Hot Fuzz are seen to be rather self-depricating. This is shown on the front cover as it has copied the cover from the film 'Bad Boys' but took the mickey out of it. It is also shown when he is shot cycling opposed to driving a car. This adds to the humour in the film.

Youth in the film also show the film to be uniquely 'British' as they are represented as ugly/geeky kids that British kids are thought to be like. They also have bad teeth which is also seen to be 'British' as other countries associate British people to have bad teeth. There is also a Harry Potter lookalike (with a cone on his head) which is also uniquely 'British' as Harry Potter is a very popular book and film series that is British.

Spike Jonze Presentation

In this lesson, we worked as part of a group in order to research the director that we were given. In my group, I worked with Max, Harry, Toni and Daisy. We had to do a presentation on Spike Jonze. We all had separate roles to do for the research. I decided to find out video clips that Spike Jonze has made. The favourites we chose to use were a clip of his well-known movie/TV series: Jackass, his TV commercials for: Ikea and Gap, and then one of his music videos called 'Sabotage' by Beastie Boys. Max researched about Spike Jonze' biography and style, Harry found out the audience and Toni and Daisy helped set up the presentation. We then wrote up our own script so that we could talk about our particular part on the presentation.
In the next lesson, we had to do the presentation in our groups and listen to the rest of the classes presentations about other directors. We wrote down some notes about the directors: background information, style and the audience.
The part I found most difficult was the research as this was quite hard when I had to think about what clips would be best to use, and what were best to describe and give examples of Spike Jonze' work.