Monday, 2 May 2011

Face Down Final Edit

This is the completed production of our 'Face Down' film on Adobe Premier Pro. The film begins with the 'garageband' music we created and titles that we used a dither dissolve effect to make it look more professional. To raise the volume of the voice over we use throughout we duplicated the audio layer and synchronised it so there was no echo.

To evoke a stylish and smokey poker room, adhering to the gangster genre conventions we used a luma key effect on every shots varying the darkness depending on the lighting. Using some '' sounds such as low note suspense builders and reverse clangs to give empathises to flashbacks and our stop time effect. Additionally, we achieved our aim of using split screens in the final poker scene, accompanied by a punchy bass line, to show the poker flop whilst maintaining view on both the main protagonists reactions and the main poker game.

Moreover, we showed the IVF motivation through a flashback before Sean goes all in - in which we added a reverb audio effect to make the doctor's narration seem dream like and made a mock medical letter in which we use close ups of the cost £5-10,000 and the chance of success. Finally, we gave closure to our film with a still of Sean dead on the poker table at the end of the credits - catching the viewer off guard by introducing a twist at the very end, which is introduced with an onomous suspense note.

The feedback we recieved was positive and the only major pit fall was the omission of Sean's wife, which is something we would definately include if we had the time. Over all we are pleased with the result of the film as it matches the genre we wanted to reflect.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

How Effective is the Combination of Your Main Product and Ancillary Texts?

Our short film and ancillary texts compliment each other well, as they both epitomise the enigma of our product. The ambiguous teaser poster and mystery depicted in our film concerning Sean's past, reinforce each other - and whilst the film review gives some information away it avoids ruining the twist. We wanted to maintain a consistent colour scheme throughout our 3 media products with black, white and red being prominent colours - which are seen in our poster and film review but more implicitly in some shots of our film such as Eddie in a black suit behind the red backdrop

The pictures of our central characters in the magazine film review displays there characters, with the archetypal villain Eddie staring menacingly down the camera, unsettling the viewer whilst the nervous Sean is shown in desperation looking away from the camera drinking alcohol to calm his nerves. Clearly you can see the difference the character profiles make at the centre of our review opposed to the poster in earlier designs. In addition the mock interview, influenced by 'Empire' gives the director's perspective - informing the viewer of his intention, and humanising the characters.

Our teaser poster utilises the creative dark space, that was used by the film 'Buried' this enhances the enigma and suggests the dark themes within our film. The poker table surrounded by a faint glow symbolises the light at the end of the tunnel for Sean but it is a treacherous path with a host of unseemly characters standing in his way of obtaining the IVF money.

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Whilst creating our film 'Face Down' we have sought audience feedback and learnt a great deal from it. Indeed at various stages of planning on our film and ancillary tasks we asked a variety of audiences to offer their opinions, thus helping us establish our demographic and improving our product.

The audience feedback led us to the poker film idea after comments that our initial football music video idea seeking to emulate Skinner and Baddiel's 'Three Lions' music video would be difficult to produce. Taking this on board we changed to the poker film idea and received more positive comments surrounding this idea.

This is the shortlist of film posters we created on our ancillary task, that we showed to audiences and asked which one they thought was best. The unanimous favourite was the middle poster, and we ultimately used this one heavily influenced by the audience's feedback. Furthermore, we asked general comments about the poster with one media student, Sophie Sinclair citing it 'wasn't something they would go to see' and was 'too mysterious' however a completely different perspective emerged from Oli Kent who thought it 'looked great' and liked the use of dark. From this and other research we established our demographic to be males aged between 17-40 where they can understand the complexities of poker and IVF whilst still enjoying the gangster narrative.

Using social networking sites we could accumulate honest and constructive criticism from a wide range of audiences, when posting our film we received a lot of feedback and took this on board. As well as feedback provoking changes it also reinforces something you weren't sure on. For example we were doubtful about the freeze-frames with text however after asking audiences we received really positive feedback, Dennis King saying it was 'very professional' and younger audiences enjoying the reference to Guy Ritchie films. One shot that came into question following our production was one of our characters leaving the room that was said to break the 'flow' however we felt this was necessary for the continuity, however we agreed that it could have been framed better.

We were always aware that our film could be stilted and boring and this is something that in early edits people found, however after audience feedback saying it was 'slow paced' and 'could be more exciting' we added an explosion and split screens. For this we were told it was the best part of the film, certainly it added pace and entertainment in a stylistic fashion. Another aspect of our film that was influenced by audience feedback was the very end as it was argued there wasn't sufficient 'closure'. Following this advice we added a scene in which we see Sean dead on the poker table, giving a definitive end and suiting the task.

In conclusion we have learnt a great deal from audience feedback and their comments have shaped the product we have now. Our demographic was established by feedback, shots and ancillary tasks changed and aspects reinforced. We are thankful for all the help that a wide-range of people have provided through social networking sites, emails and surveys.

How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Create your own video slideshow at

Adobe Premier Pro - Once the pre-production and filming stages of our project were completed, Adobe Premier Pro was our primary resource in creating our film. The majority of our film was edited and exported using Premier Pro, and by experimenting with the various effects available we discovered the ‘Luma Key’. We used this to provide a darker and gloomier hue to our footage, to further enhance the gritty atmosphere we were aiming for. We also used premier pro during the evaluation stage of our production to edit the footage for both the audience feedback section and ancillary task evaluation

Garage Band - We had a clear idea during the planning stages of the music and ambiance that we wanted to create for our film.  We used Garage Band to produce an original and suitable piece of music, a blend of jazz like rhythm and rock, similarly found in films such as Ocean’s eleven. We also wanted to create a more gloomy and dramatic section of music for the ending of our film, effectively helping to darken the tone and atmosphere.

Facebook - We utilised Facebook to obtain a wider range of audience feedback post-production. By posting our finished film onto Facebook we were able to receive a lot of helpful feedback, which has helped us to critically evaluate how successful our product is and the ways in which we could have improved it.


Microsoft Publisher -Microsoft Publisher was used to create both our Teaser poster and our magazine review. We firstly created the poster, utilising a black background and a minimalist approach to our poster to connote the ambiguity of our film, inspired by the poster for the film 'Buried'. We also used Publisher to create the magazine review, which we were inspired to create by prestigious magazines such as Empire and Total film. By using Publisher we were able to easily emulate a similar style, using font styling and text boxes to our colour specifications.

Adobe After-Effects - So that we could include a suitably ‘explosive’ Afghanistan scene, our group used Adobe After-Effects to add In extra sound, motion blur, bullet effects and the explosion. By getting footage of our main character running through an area that could (with some FX tweaking) be passed off as Afghanistan, the lighting was altered to create the effect of bright sunlight and heat. - We frequently used during our production stages to obtain appropriate sound effects. To create a realistic explosion for our Afghanistan scene we found a suitable explosion sound effect and the 'ringing in the ears' noise that we decided to use after the explosion for shock value.

YouTube - We also utilised YouTube as a quick and convenient way to upload our evaluations, finished film and pre-production tasks to our blogs. This was similarly helpful in uploading our production to Facebook, allowing us to gain useful feedback both from the social networking site and from any YouTube comments.

Prezi - To create a more diverse presentation for our evaluation tasks, we have used several different professional slide show creators and other technologies to respond to each question.
For example, we used the presentation maker 'Prezi' to create a much more interesting and diverse appearance to our answer. Prezi also allowed us to include photos, videos both ours and from YouTube and text to go into detail regarding our finished product.

Animoto - We also used 'Animoto' as a way to quickly and efficiently show the different technologies used in a short image led PowerPoint set to music. The free edition allows a 30 second video, and a wide array of music choices, for which we chose a hip-hop song as it suited the fast pace and effects in the animoto.

Panasonic NV GS230 - For the majority of our filming we used a Panasonic NV GS230 to capture our footage. It proved to be very easy to use, and efficient for our purposes, and the only criticism would be over the short battery life, which on several occasions interrupted our filming process, costing us valuable filming time. However, on the whole it was very useful, as it was portable, reliable and produced good quality footage.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


When it came to the editing process, we started with around 40 minutes of footage, and the first task was to select the appropiate scene and individual shots in order to create a narrative.

Influenced by our music and footage we have made the decision to take further inspiration from the Guy Ritchie films such as 'Rock 'n' Rolla' by introducing the characters with titles, narration, freeze frames and some shots that summarise their character. Additionally, we are going to experiment with split screens to imply a busy atmosphere - these decisions mean that we are seemingly moving towards a more conventinal gangster film however it will exagaratte the contrast of the gangster theme to the underlying IVF theme that is very serious.

Additionally, we have used After Effects with the help of a more adept visual effects artist in the group to create a bomb scene in Afghanistan. We added an explosion and gun shots with a good audio to highten the verisimilitude

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sean- voice over script

Sean- voice over

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly lucky guy
Poker’s a game where luck can come in pretty handy. Take a look (shows his hand of two Aces). But believe it or not this isn’t the type of place I tend to visit often or at all for that matter. First of all, take a look at my fine co-players
That’s Eddy, he’s the ‘Boss’ around here, nothing happens without his say so...He’s quite the poker Player.
This Guy’s Tommy, he’s the muscle for Eddy’s operation, an expert at making people’s life a misery.
As for the others at the table, they’re relatively small fish, most of them junkies and gamblers in debt to the big man, especially the woman; she’s a piece of work.
 In fact, I’ve never met any of these people in my life before, thankfully. They’re not your average upstanding citizen.

You see, I come from a pretty normal background, at school I wasn’t exactly a genius, but I wasn’t thick either. I wasn’t the coolest kid around but I wasn’t a loser either. I was normal. But there was one thing in life that I loved. The army, it was my life. I was a rifleman in Afghanistan, and served 2 tours of duty. And I was good (Trails off)
But I was wounded in the shoulder during operations in the Helmand province; perhaps you’d like to see it

But I guess all good things come to an end. After that the army gave me a leaving present of a disability payment and an inability to work,

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Shooting diary- Desert/Afganistan scene

Today we filmed a very short section of the film which will occur in one of Shaun's flashbacks - the shot is a point of view shot of Shaun running in Afghanistan and then falling back as the explosion goes off (an effect we will place in editing) to show how he injured himself. We used the location of the Verwood Sand hills as the setting looks fairly similar to the Middle East desert and it will be easy to adapt the colour/contrast settings in Adobe Premier pro. We cannot be too sure how the outcome will be until it is imported but we are hopeful that we can create the mise-en-scene of a war ridden Afghanistan - largely relying on the success of the explosion effect. We used a single camera, handheld and ran with it holding it at eye level to create the shot.

Filming day 2

Using the Re-Shoot Shooting Script we were able to film most of the shots that weren't of a good enough standard from the initial filming day. Continuity was a big obstacle - we had to attempt to recreate the same mise-en-scene that we had in the initial shots which was achievable in terms of the set and lighting however we couldn't control actor's appearance, but tried to mask this as best we could. To achieve the same lighting we used a loft light on the top of the door to bring up the light levels as it was naturally darker on the latter filming day. To have the drinks, chips and set in the right place we took several screenshots from the current edit and used this to re-create the set and urged our actors to endeavour to bring the same costume and with some characters grow their beard to a similar level for a more convincing verisimilitude. However, hair length was subtly different and one of our characters lost the black tie he wore in the initial filming and the best we could do was a black tie with white stripes. So varying hair lengths weren't scrutinised we took some shots of the character ruffling/re-arranging his hair to create the illusion that it is merely in a different position opposed to a different length. Overall we are happy with the shots and will look to further the editing and record the narration - we may have to expand the script to coincide with the footage.


For the creation of the soundtrack for our film, we used a combination of musical instruments, including funky bass and drum, emotional piano, rock guitar. These were used in order to create a dramatic, emotional and suspense effect. We took the inspiration to create this music from such films like 'oceans eleven', as the story line follows the same genre as ours.

During the editing part of the production, we attempted to combine the change in beat of music coraponding with a change in shot, for example in the 'stop time' effect, the drum beat came in to signify that he has successfully cheated when looking at his opponents cards, as we felt that this created good effect

The voice over effect was vital in our film as it is the part of the minor amount of dialogue that is evident in 'face down'. To do this, we took the individual with the accent that sounded like he was from the London area, as we felt that this would be the type of environment that is typical in a dark, gangster film. The process was simple as the individual recorded himself reading the script using a voice recorder, from there we imported it onto Adobe Premier Pro. Where we then deleted the recordings that was unneeded, or the ones where mistakes were apparent, and then we corresponded the relevant recording to the correct point in the shot.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Re-shoot shooting script

After importing the initial footage we need add some shots in and re-shoot others due to sound and continuity. Obviously we will need to consider continuity and we intend to re-shoot the main poker game again using the following shots;

Panning shot right to left of players

Wide shot of dealer handing out cards

Mid shot of every player looking at their cards then putting the blind in

Close up of player's cards

Reaction shot of cards (smirk, etc)

Close up of flop

Mid shot of every player checking

Close up of Turn

Remind audience of everyones cards in relation to the flop

Mid shot of Shaun drinking to connote nerves

Over the shoulder shot of Eddy putting chips all in

Mid shot of Eddy going all in

Close up of Eddy pushing chips in (repeat same shots for every player)

Wide shot of all players going all in - one after another

Extreme close up of every players eyes alternatively

Close up of River (last card on flop)

Reaction Shot Eddy happy - 'read em and weep'

Mid shot of Eddy revealing cards

Reaction shot of Thug annoyed

Mid shot of thug throwing cards on table

Reaction shot of Shaun - initially looks worried

Mid shot of Shaun revealing he is winner

Close up of Shaun smiling

Wide shot of dealer giving Shaun chips

Over the shoulder shot of Shaun - Eddy says 'just take your shit and go'

Mid shot of Eddy saying the above

Shot of 5 of the same cards on table

Reaction shot Eddy looks surprised then angry

Over the Shoulder shot Eddy picks up cards

Mid Shot Eddy smacks the table 'that son of a bitch cheated!'

Extra Mid Shot of Shaun, Eddy and Thug - checking

Monday, 7 February 2011


How did your research into institutions responsible for the production and regulations of the media influence your production work?

We researched similar film genres to see who was the distributor, the gambling film '21' used Columbia Pictures to distribute their film whilst '13 Tzameti' was distributed by Palm Pictures, a much smaller company who focus on innovative film. Our film is different in an unusual protagonist and motivation to most films of this genre, however our clip shows many similarities to such gangster films like lock stock and two smoking barrows. Our film is quite artistic with lighting effects, stop-time shots and breach of the fourth wall so is not conventional therefore a smaller innovative distributor or independent company would be appropriate.

How did your research into genre contribute yo your production work?

As we are producing a poker film it doesn't directly fall into one genre but mimics the conventions of various other genres such as gangster, gambling and drama. We were able to find snippets in movies such as 'Casino Royale', 'Rounders', '13 Tzameti' and '21' where we could research the genre and recreate this in our own film.

From our research we discovered that the shots they use in the high tension gambling moments were often a sequence extreme close-ups of the eyes, evident in the Russian roulette scene in '13 Tzameti'. By understanding the conventions in the films of a similar genre we were able to deliberately break them and subvert them for effect, such as the breach of the fourth wall - something we took inspiration from the Guy Ritchie films.

We found that gangster films often have a powerful villain who uses suited henchman to impose his will, and we used this in our film, we also created the typical smokey atmosphere. However our film also falls into the genre of a drama, and in true 'Lost' style we hope to introduce flashbacks mid-poker game. Therefore by researching the genre we were able to follow the conventions shown as well as deliberately subvert them for effect, however further research into poker games on 'Sky' and 'Channel 4' to understand the logistics and meta language of poker as well as the characterisms of the characters when bluffing or raising etc.
3. How did research into the audience help to the development of your film?
During the development and production of our film, we continuously encouraged feedback from our focus group, in order to receive positive aspects of our ideas as well as constructive criticism, this help us efficiently as we were able to get a no-bias response from individuals which gave us a sound indication and direction on where we could improve.
 we encouraged support from external factors on almost all occasions during the production. Firstly, when we came up with the current concept of our film, we asked a variety of different personalities on what their feelings were on the idea gave us solid material to work with. The potential audience originally rejected our first idea for a film, which was a football music video after being inspired by the previous World Cup tournament in South Africa. They believed that the concept would be 'hard to recreate' and 'potentially boring and would most probably be produced badly', this then aided us in agreeing with them and changing our idea and concept, to something for original and interesting. 

Shooting diary

First day of filming- Sunday 29th January

On our first day of filming, we situated the cast and group to our location which was the home of follow partner Sam Tyler. We converted his dining room into a poker scene, and attempted to create the dark, gloomy atmosphere that we wanted by drawing the dark red curtains, so the room was slightly tinted, which helped to create a misty and smoky environment. We also bought green fabric from a local shop, which was placed over the table, to follow in a traditional poker table set, this helped to improve the verisimilitude. Also, in the corner of the set, we placed a selection of wine bottles, spirits and cigarettes, to once again create the typical assets that are apparent in a back room poker game. Therefore, mise en scene was an important factor in our film, in order to make it more realistic and believable.

Whilst filming the poker scene, which makes up the majority of our film, we encountered various logistical problems but it was successful overall. We had to keep in mind not breaking the 180 degree rule, maintain continuity and make sure the shots are well framed and level.

We had several technological problems with the microphones as they didn't appear to be recording sound at a high enough volume, so we had to use the cameras built in microphones however we have little dialogue as most of it is narration which we will record after we have uploaded the footage so it won't be as big a problem as it was last year. Some shots we wanted to attempt weren't possible such as the 360 panning shot of the poker players as the room wasn't large enough to manoeuvre the dolly around.

On the day we made some changes to the plot such as introducing a prior game to the focal poker hand to remove 2/5 of the poker players and giving the audience a chance to see all our characters playing and lowering the number of characters involved in the final hand to intensify the action.

Overall I think the filming was successful and as we filmed using two cameras we were able to gather just under an hour of footage which should hold us in good stead for editing

Potential target audience

The audience that we are attempting to attract in our film is mainly the male gender, as a dark poker film genre is more likely to attract this type of audience as poker is a game typically played by men. We would also be interested in attracting people who have possibly been related to any of the events that occur in the clip, for example being a war veteran who is now down on thier luck, or maybe a loving wife who has problems with producing a child. This may attract this type of audience as they would feel like they arent alone and it would be something that they would personally relate to, and therefore they would get more out of the concept of the film and it would make it more meaningful for them.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ancillary Task- Magazine film review

Above is our near finished film magazine review, as part of our second ancillary task. In order for it to be completed, we would replace the current image that is in the middle, with still images that would be from our film. The design of our review came from the inspiration that we got when flicking through the reviews in the Empire film magazines, a majority of them consisted of a brief description of the details of the new release, such as the certificate, when its released, the stars in the film etc, so we included this in the top left corner of the review. Also an interview from either the actors or the director was a frequent inclusion of the reviews from the magazines, and we thought that this would be a good idea, as we could create a mock interview with our film director, Sam Tyler, and then record it and retype the interview as part of the magazine.  

After filming, we carefully analysed the footage that we had shot, in order to select the most appropriate still images, that would be included as part of our final film magazine review. The pictures that we chose consisted of the two main characters in our film as they are the most influential, and they would be the main advertisers persuading people to watch the film. In doing this, it was important to show the mental state of the characters, to enhance their current feelings and the importance of them winning the game. The top image shows Sean, played by Sam Panton, heavily drinking the last of his spirit, this shows that the game isn't currently playing to his favour and he is now feeling that he may need luck to get him out of this horrible mess, this then enhances the bad times that he is suffering and is now showing his desperation. In comparison, the bottom image show Eddy, played by Edward Wills-Wood, smoking a celebratory cigar, as he is playing the game well, and it is working to his advantage. The facial expression of his face shows a smug arrogance as he feels that he is the only winner in this competition, and he will do everything within his power to reach his goal. 

In order to complete the process, we simply saved the still images from our film footage on Adobe Premier Pro onto a J peg. From there we were then able to import the image onto our film review on Microsoft publisher.