Evaluation of Thriller Opening Sequence. Joanne Hooton 4415. Filming Process.
For our filming, we decided to use two cameras, so we could capture the same piece of action from two different angles, sometimes with one on a tripod to capture mise en scene and to frame still moments in the narrative, and one hand held to follow the action. This technique was successful, as it help to keep the continuity. We also filmed the same piece of action twice to create even more different angles.
Our thriller opening sequence ‘Captured’ was inspired by the thriller film ‘Se7en’.
A convention both the films share is fast editing with visual and sound. It uses many thriller conventions seen in typical thriller films.
Our film used the thriller convention of a crime at the core of the narrative, the kidnap of the protagonist, played by Annabelle Miles, by the antagonist, played by Aaron Clapham.
It also uses the convention of a complex narrative structure, as when Annabelle looks at the photos of herself, she has flashbacks of the memories she sees in the photos. We have developed this convention by still using the still images she is looking at, but by changing the lighting and using audio footage to represent the memory.
No enigmas are established as such, as this is the first few minutes of a thriller, and giving anything away to the viewer at this stage in the film wouldn’t make for a very thrilling narrative. However, some questions could be provoked in the viewers mind such as why are there faces scribbled out in the photos? Why is the protagonists face left in the pictures? What has the protagonist done to be kidnapped? How did she get blood on her face, and is it her own blood? Who is the man who has taken the protagonist? (as we don’t see his face).
There are themes of identity in our Thriller opening, as the protagonists life and friends around her in the pictures have been scribbled out. Also, the idea of there being something ‘special’ about the protagonist to the antagonist, and why has he chosen to kidnap particularly her?
Mirroring is used in our film when we see firstly the antagonist looking through the photos at the desk, and then the antagonist looking through them as he did, but with confusion and fear.
Suspense is created in our own film by only using close-up shots of the antagonists hands and over the shoulder shots, avoiding his face to beg questions such as, ‘Who is this person? Why aren’t we shown his face? What is he doing and why?’ This is similar to the way shots are framed in ‘Se7en.’ The mise en scene of ‘Se7en’ has an eerie and uncomfortable atmosphere that we wanted to produce in our own thriller sequence, we did this by copying the use of dim-lighting
We challenge the typical thriller convention in our film of the protagonist screaming for help, as we felt it would give our film a more realistic atmosphere. It could also be an indication of the girls character herself, as often in thrillers the protagonist in the opening minutes isn’t the main character of the whole film. They are often an example of what the antagonist is capable of, and therefore not a very deep character, being killed off in the first few minutes. We decided to depict our female character as a sensible and intelligent person, not a screaming bimbo.
Diegetic – We used the diegetic sound recorded by the camera alongside the video, as they were clearly recorded and were evidently perfectly matched to the action on screen. We did however use sound from different clips in some cases in the film, as there were distracting noises from outside. Where we used different chunks of audio, we cross-faded them as to not get a clicking noise where they started, as this would be distracting to the audience. This helped to keep the continuity.
Non-diegetic – We used various added sounds typical to a psychological thriller to create a suspenseful atmosphere.
The first of our non-diegetic sounds is a sweeping sound as the titles come in. The sound is synchronized to the motion in which the text appears. We used a clicking sound, which I repeated very quickly, matching up to the letters of the titles disappearing one by one at a very fast pace.
I panned both these sounds from extreme left to extreme right, to give an effect of surrounding the audience.
The thriller conventions we have used suggest that our film is a psychological thriller, showing similarities to films such as ‘Se7en’ and ‘One Hour Photo’. Both these films show obsession with people through photographs, which is very similar to our own thriller. We analysed both these films so we could create a similar sub genre feel and successfully create a psychological thriller with the theme of a stalker using photos.
Emphasis is on the characters just as much as the narrative in our thriller, another element of a psychological thriller.
The protagonist is exposed to danger as a result of the antagonists disturbing behavior as a result of a mental obsession.
The snapshot on the left shows how the titles of ‘One Hour Photo’ are introduced, with a flash of light to represent a camera, linking this logo to the film itself. In our own thriller, Daniel used Adobe Aftereffects to introduce the titles with a lens flare, which gave the effect of immediately introducing the main theme of the psychological narrative.
The snapshot on the left, again from ‘One Hour Photo’ shows a shot from the point of view of a waitress looking down at them, it is a revealing shot but not a point of view shot. As the shot shot on the left, a shot taken from our own thriller of the antagonists hands, is not a point of view shot as well, it creates a sense of voyeurism for the viewer, as they know they are looking in on a private activity.