title sequence evaluation jordan s thomas 28 03 14 n.
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  1. Confidential TITLE SEQUENCE EVALUATIONJordan S Thomas28 03 14

  2. Q-1 How does my product challenge, develop or use the forms and conventions of real media products?

  3. Q-1 [Narrative and Genre] The title sequence I developed is for a media product idea my group created called Arctophilia. Arctophiliais a psychological thriller following a photographer (and former investigator) who reintroduces himself to his previous work to assist in the capture of a man guilty of several child homicides. The Narrative of my media product follows a relatively conventional plot when compared to other crime thriller such as Se7en or the more recent Batman films. Like the previous examples, the storyline features binaries of good versus evil, order versus chaos and common protagonist and antagonist traits, pitting a hardened and logical detective against a ruthless, elusive and possibly deranged serial killer.

  4. Q-1 [Camera, Editing and Special Effects] In order to build tension and to allow the audience to identify the genre, I used various Camera angles, edits and special effects that I thought were appropriate to the genre. In many of the shots I used close-ups of objects as they create feelings of tension and claustrophobia when combined with low-key lighting. As most of the shots were of objects, close-ups that focused on them allows them to appear personal or important while they would appear meaningless if viewed in a mid shot or wide shot. To reinforce the psychological aspect, much of the editing focused on jerky motions and visual distortions that have been placed in parallel to the soundtrack. The mix of audio and visuals make the distortions feel far more violent and give them presence.

  5. Q-1 [Lighting] As I wanted to capture the atmospheres often found in both psychological thrillers and noir films, I used conventional lighting conditions, with many high contrast, low-key and silhouetted shots, and adjusted the hue of the scene through both editing and physical objects such as transparent gel sheets and coloured beverages placed in front of a light source to enhance the red and earthy tones for a more dull or menacing look. To reinforce the genre and narrative, I also decided to use dark rooms with office lamps to create very high contrast shots with intense light focusing on particular elements to generate an interrogation room vibe due to the police interrogation room being deep-rooted iconographic imagery.

  6. Q-1 [Character Introduction] My title sequence focuses on the introduction of the antagonist and the crimes and traits associated with him. In the short period that antagonist is shown in the sequence he is silhouetted and shown to be standing and slowly raising a teddy bear. The silhouetting of the character introduces an enigma and makes the audience question who the character is and why he is closely inspecting a child’s stuffed toy. This also helps to identify that the character is in fact the antagonist as the true identity and motives of antagonists are often revealed towards the end of conventional thrillers.

  7. Q-1 [Title] As I wanted describe a large part of the plot (specifically the motive behind the antagonist’s action) to the audience in a way that was simple and effective I decided to simply name the product ‘Arctophilia’ The simplicity of the one word title allowed for such a major plot point to be given to to the audience while offering little knowledge to what the film is about, presenting an enigma to the audience to intrigue them and produce suspense through that fact that the audience will not know what to expect. The decision was also made due to character representation (covered in Question 2)

  8. Q-2 How does my product represent particular social groups? [age, gender and class] In my title sequence I have represented the victims in the plot as teddy bears, reflecting the innocence and age of the victims. The antagonist in my media product is a homicidal male character, who I represented with a partially shaded wind-up clown that slowly sways and various effects used in the title sequence. I used the clown’s movement, along with jittery effects, camera edits and visual distortions to inform the audience of the antagonists twisted and violent personality and hoped to evoke uneasiness and fear by exploiting the fear of clowns that some people have. In the original plot, the antagonist was a kidnapper and was intended to hold a child ransom. With influence from SE7EN we decided to turn the antagonist into a serial killer and after combining our influences with the original plot we decided on a serial killer who had an obsession with collecting teddy bears, hence the title Arctophilia(Love of bears // Love of collecting teddy bears). To represent the victims we used teddy bears in several shots, as they directly relate to the plot, and a recording of a music box as the soundtrack as they effectively reflect the age of the victims. The soundtrack was slowed and reversed and the shots were visually distorted and jerky to reinforce the idea of a distorted mind and to connote a corruption of innocence through violent means.

  9. Q-2 {cont.} Part of the reasoning behind the title ‘Arctophilia’ along with the shot of the antagonist with the teddy bear was that I wanted to evoke hatred and uneasiness by drawing parallels to pedophilia. While the character does not actually have this trait (though it was considered in previous ideas after a brief analysis of London to Brighton) I wanted to bring the ideas of abjection that Julia Kristeva developed so that I can create a character that is genuinely feared or hated by the audience. This also allows for the audience to sympathise with the protagonist’s struggles more and view him as a symbol of order.

  10. Q-3 What institution will distribute my media product? Due to the themes that may be more disturbing and unpopular in the US [Child Homicide // Parallels to pedophilia] and my desire for the initial distributor to be British I have decided that Vertigo are the best distributors for my media product. Vertigo are known for the distribution of a number of products with varying themes (including London to Brighton, a film with similar themes to my product) and are very supportive of independent British films. For the funding and airing of my product I believe that Channel 4 would be most suitable as they support films of all age ratings and various themes and are more tolerant of violence and profanity.

  11. Q-4 Who would be the target audience of the product? To determine what age group to aim my product at I presented multiple people with a questionnaire to retrieve data on their tastes and expectations in thriller films and TV shows. The retrieval of data from the potential audience is a crucial step in developing a media product as the overall success and popularity is entirely decided by the viewers. After analysing the data I found that crime and psychological thrillers were the most popular amongst the group, a large fraction of them were interested in suspense, complex plots and deep or relatable characters, and many of the expected mature themes like murder and loss or betrayal of loved ones. From this I determined that my product would be aimed at an audience of ages 18+ due to the demand for complexity and maturity and the fact that all who participated in answering the questionnaire that were in the age group of 13-18 years old were in the upper region of that age group. While it is possible to achieve both with a product aimed at lower ages it is much harder to produce due to the reduced amount of subject matter that can be explored.

  12. Q-5 How does my product attract and address the audience? With the use of the audience questionnaire I allowed the audience to have an impact on the development of the project, providing them with a chance to steer it towards their preferences. As many people were interested in psychological thrillers and suspense, I created the title sequence in a way that identified the project with both of those aspects through camera use and editing.

  13. Q-6 What knowledge of technologies have I gained over the course of this project? Through this project I have developed knowledge of both the physical and digital technologies used to create a media product and alternatives to such technologies. CAMERA AND LIGHTING Through the filming of the title sequence and research on previously made films and sequences I have learned of the various techniques used to create particular shots (such as the famous tracking shot in Citizen Kane) and generate visual effects using lighting. During the filming we used a Panasonic Full HD video recorder and filmed the shot in 1920x1080. While using the camera and a lamp I created high contrast shots by altering the camera’s and lens settings to draw emphasis of particular features of the scene. To create a scene with a unique watery effect I found that rather than spending large amounts of time in a visual effects program I could use a faster alternative to technology, being a bottle of watered down Dr Pepper. Creating these scenes helped my to improve my skills in adjusting the camera’s settings and using lighting to affect the overall tone and aesthetic of a scene. EDITING Through the use of Adobe Premiere CS6 I have improved my understanding of the editing process and the tools that can be used within editing programs. Using audio, camera footage, visual effects and fonts I learned how the tone of a sequence can be changed both mildly and drastically by using varying arrangements.

  14. Q-7 After looking back at my preliminary piece what knowledge do I feel I have gained? When looking back at the previous task I feel that my abilities using a camera, my editing skills and my understanding of shot composition have vastly improved. However, I feel that my planning and organisational skills have not developed much as I faced similar in both tasks during the filming phase due to the lack of sufficient planning and a finalised storyboard. In terms of the development process and the roles and components involved in creating a media product, I feel I have a much greater understanding than I had prior to finishing this project.