Thursday, 16 November 2017

Video Games & Me

Although I do not currently consider myself a "gamer," I used to play video games over multiple devices when I was younger. As well as playing on my portable DS and smartphone on longer car and plane journeys, I used to play in our living room with my family (normally the Wii) and with friends at their houses (often PlayStation or Xbox.) I also realised that I used to play video games to pass the time, whereas now I have replaced this with social media.

Minecraft Pocket Edition Mission

I had played Minecraft before this lesson on a PC which was very similar to the 'Pocket Edition' that I played on an iPad in the lesson. We had a mission to "build a dwelling that would protect you from the monsters." Although I had managed to build a house but I had lost sight of it when I explored the area, so I took a screenshot of the landscape instead. I think I should've also changed the difficulty level to "peaceful" as I kept getting distracted with aliens and zombies charging at me.

I think one of the main appeals of Minecraft is that it is played alone and lets the player reflect and relax with the gentle, earthy colour scheme of green, brown, grey and blue. I am also aware that the game is available on many different devices, including iPads, some smartphones, PCs and larger games consoles. Due to this I think that it could be played whenever the player wants, whether it be on-the-go or in their houses.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

My Breakfast Show Segment

1. Did you fulfill all the content requirements; both in terms of including all the correct features and as well as the actual choices made.
Harvey and I included 10 second clips from both songs that we chose: Ciao Adios by Anne-Marie and Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran. Both songs are by British artists and mainstream tracks. We also played three jingles which we made ourselves by finding audio clips on YouTube and speaking over them as we played them into my phone where we recorded it. Our two news headlines were also topical and relevant to the whole of the Latymer community and we had a short promo for Mr Pashley. Our celebrity gamble segment was upbeat and included some audience interaction from both a phone-in guest and social media responses.

2. Have you nailed the conventions and style of Nick Grimshaw and the Radio 1 Breakfast Show?

There was some banter between Harvey's characters of Dave (the member of the public who called in) and himself as the news reader, which is conventional on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Like Grimshaw, I was very enthusiastic and loud and the general show was upbeat and reasonably fast-paced.

3. How well did you manage your running order and timings?

Despite only having one practise take and a very minimalistic script, we managed the running order and timings quite well. Harvey loaded our opening song 'Ciao Adios' and the drumroll sound effect on an iPad and 'Galway Girl' on his phone as I talked. All of the jingles were on my phone and we played them live, according to the running order which we passed between us. To cut down on time, we had a dodgy segment between the celebrity gamble with Dave and the news with Harvey.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Current Music Video Analysis: Feels

Feels- Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean

1. Extreme contrast in camera shots/angles

Even though Pharrell Williams is featured in all three shots, there is great contrast between the MCU at eye level followed by the bird's eye view of his boat and finally a LS of him on his boat at eye level. After this, it cuts to a completely unrelated LS of a parrot in a tree. This contrast creates a slightly disorienting sequence but is conventional of the music video genre.
Related image

2. Combination of audio-visual

After the lyric "So I respect you, wanna take it slow," there is a very quick cutaway to a tortoise on the grass, taking a step. This illustration of the lyric is literal and therefore funny to the audience, as well as making the lyric be more prominent in the song overall.
Animated GIF

3. CU/beauty shots

There is a MCU beauty shot of Katy Perry's make-up followed by a MLS of her whole outfit. This introduces her and her bright aesthetic and happy tone to the audience, which reinforces the tone of the song.
Feels GIF

4. Direct address

Big Sean looks directly into the camera and therefore is talking directly to the audience. Although it would be unconventional to do so in Hollywood cinema, it is a convention of music videos to entice the audience and involve them in the video.
Animated GIF

5. Cutting to the beat

The shots cut to the beat throughout the song but attention is particularly drawn to it when the colour of the parrot changes to the beat. In between of shots of Big Sean and Katy Perry, the parrot (framed in a MS) changes from blue to red and disappears very quickly.
Animated GIF

Friday, 6 October 2017

TV Drama Still Evaluation

My shot signifies my chosen TV drama sub-genre of horror through the mise-en-scene. The shot has low key lighting and the main source of light is coming from below the actor's face, therefore creating a larger, creepy shadow on the ceiling and surrounding walls. To achieve this effect, I placed the small light below the actor's face on a dim setting and minimised all other light by closing the curtain and switching the other lights off.

The conventional eerie setting of dark, narrow corridor also connotes the sub-genre and makes the audience feel claustrophobic and trapped. This is increased by the fact that the actor has their arms spread to the whole width of the corridor and is blocking the only exit. This connotes the dominant reading of this shot to be that the actor is the antagonist of the story and the narrative is centred on the theme of good vs evil. This shot portrays the antagonist finding the protagonist, who was hiding from him prior to this still.

I think that the technical code of framing is successful as it is a low-angle medium shot which makes the audience feel inferior to the antagonist but ensures that the antagonist's angry facial expression and eyes that scare directly into the camera can be seen.

In hindsight, I would try to centre the light directly below the actor's face so that the shadow formed directly above his head and on-centre. I would also try to place the actor's hands so that they are symmetrical and frame the shot centred.

However there is a juxtaposition of costume; the antagonist is wearing a jumper with a logo and jeans which are clothes that any normal teenager might, rather than a costume that connotes that he is the villain of the story.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Film Trailer Analysis: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I will be analysing the film trailer for the Marvel film 'Spider-Man Homecoming' that was released on the 5th of July 2017 in the UK. Starring Tom Holland in the leading role, this film is the second Spider-man film reboot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Audience Appeal
  • The primary target audience of fans of Marvel and action films may find the trailer appealing as it features Robert Downey Jr, who will probably be reprising his character of Iron Man
  • This primary audience may also find the trailer appealing as it has many action scenes with SPFX such as explosions and fires
  • In the opening scene, the four bank robbers are shown wearing Avengers masks. Although the real Avengers aren't present, this reference to other characters in the MCU makes the film funnier for Marvel fans and may encourage them to go to see the film if they enjoyed other films with those characters
  • The secondary target audience of teenagers may find this trailer appealing as it deals with issues that teenagers may deal with at secondary school.
  • For example, Peter doesn't concentrate in his lesson and the fact that he is playing a simulated Spider-Man game instead may suggest that he doesn't think school will be useful in his adult life, when he is hopefully in The Avengers and saving the world.
  • The school settings may also be familiar to this target audience

Genre Signifiers
  • The genre of action is signified through the action scenes in the bank where Spider-Man fights four robbers in a physical fight
  • It is further supported through all of the fire and explosions on the boat at the end of the trailer
  • The pace of the trailer increases in the second half of the trailer, creating a faster-paced action tone and demonstrating more shots of Peter in danger
  • Apart from action, the comedy genre is shown through Peter's interaction with the robbers, he leans against the wall, waiting for them to see him, and refers to the robbers with a casual "Sup guys."

Character & Representation
  • The main character of Peter/Spider-Man is presented as an awkward teenager, trying to figure out his way through both high school and saving the world
  • Despite the fact that Peter is presented as an inexperienced superhero, he is eager to improve to become an Avenger
  • Instead of concentrating in his lesson, Peter is presented playing a simulated Spider-Man game on his laptop, which may suggest that he finds school boring or irrelevant to him in adulthood
  • Liz is a character that is presented as a popular girl: putting up the large 'Homecoming' banner in the hallway and later walking past Peter with her friends following.
  • She is also potentially presented as Peter's love interest; he has his hand under his chin and is looking at her dreamily while discussing her outfit, as she walks past
  • Peter's best friend, who remains nameless in the trailer, is presented as his awkward sidekick who may not initially know about Peter's Spider-Man secret
  • Robert Downey Jr's character is connoted as being his emotionless guiding figure, who seems to be helping him in the voiceovers in the second half of the trailer
  • The dynamic between Holland and Downey's character seems to be one of Peter rebelling against Downey; he is heard saying "Stay close to the ground" while Spider-Man is shown towering up the Washington Monument
  • However, females do not have a central role in the trailer as Liz is the only named character in the trailer, another teenage girl and older woman are shown but not introduced or named
  • This may reinforce the representation of the 'damsel in distress' or love interest being saved by the superhero

Branding & Studio Identity
  • The Sony, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios video branding is shown near the beginning of the trailer, after the opening scene in the bank
  • The appearance of Robert Downey Jr in the trailer further supports the Marvel studio identity, as he has portrayed the role of Iron Man in past films in the MCU
  • The reference to the other characters from the MCU in the opening robbery scene creates Marvel's strong branding
  • #SpiderManHomecoming is featured on the end title screen with a link to the film's Facebook page, this may encourage fans to discuss the film on social media and raises the awareness of the Marvel branding

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Continuity Task Evaluation

This is the first video task that we completed in our media course. The brief was to "produce a story featuring an accident in 6 shots, cut in camera." We would try to communicate a story that makes sense to the audience and create a feeling of continuity from shot to shot.

1. Explain the story of your video
In my video, there are two boys (Andreas and Morgan) playing catch with a tennis ball on a school playground. A girl (myself) walks into the action, gets hit with the tennis ball and gives one of the boys a 'death stare' at the very end.

2. How did you attempt to create 'narrative flow' (continuity)?
We attempted to create continuity by following the 180 degree rule that says that you cannot cross the line of vision between two characters. This is because the viewer's sense of direction in the scene would become confused and they would not be able to make sense of the scene. We also followed the 30 degree rule that says that the camera must move at least 30 degrees (if the same framing is kept) to ensure that there isn't a visible 'jump' in footage. An eyeline match was also needed in our last shot to ensure that the girl was looking in the correct direction and angle to follow the story. However, the most difficult rule to follow with a cut-in-camera task was the match on action. This rule meant that the girl had to be the same distance away from the boys as the shots progressed and the girl walked further towards them, to make the story flow through.

3. Did you achieve full continuity? If not, why not?
I think that we were not entirely successful in creating full continuity as there were a few jumps between shots. For example, the female character was walking in the correct direction between the two male characters playing tennis from shots 2 to 4, but in shot 5 she seemed to change direction. To resolve this continuity issue, we should have placed the camera at more of an angle so that the direction is constant.
However, there was good continuity from shot 5 to 6 because the shot changed from a medium-long shot to a medium close-up so the 30 degree rule was not needed and the shots followed through.

4. In hindsight, what would you do differently to improve the narrative flow of your video and tell your story more efficiently?
A main problem with my video was that the introduction of the female character was delayed through the masking of her face in shot 2 and the backwards tracking shot in shot 3. This built up a great deal of suspense regarding her character, which was impactful but unnecessary to the main story that was being portrayed and therefore didn't reward the audience. I would have also trimmed the establishing shot down because it is too long and could potential bore the audience from the very beginning.