Preliminary Task

During the filming of our preliminary task, we used basic camera shots, movements and techniques, such as mid-shots, close-ups, over-the-shoulder shots, hand-held techniques and panning. We mostly used mid-shots throughout this task, however we shot a close-up of a hand on the door. We used the panning techniques a few times during this task, and we completed the task with a flip camera, using a hand-held camera technique throughout.

In order to start filming our preliminary task, we had to find a suitable room which provided appropriate light and spacing. It was important for us to film in a light room as we wanted to ensure that the audience could see the facial expressions given by the characters shown, who are myself and Megan. We needed to ensure we was in a spacious room as we needed to rearrange the tables and chairs in order to suit or plans. After rearranging the furniture, we made a few plans as to where we were going to stand and what we were going to say.

The filming began outside of the classroom, with me walking towards the door and pushing the handle down. I stood with my hand on the door for a short while as I wanted to ensure that I did not move before Alex stopped videoing. However, I held my hand on the door for too long so if we was to film again, I would make sure that I did not hold on to the handle for as long. I then opened the door, walked into the classroom and sat down on a chair in front of the table we had set out. After this, Megan and I exchanged a small amount of dialogue using over-the-shoulder shots of me speaking and medium shots of Megan replying. Finally, we used the panning movement to turn the camera around in order to see my reaction to Megan’s piece of dialogue, however as the camera was hand-held, it was very wobbly. When we film our main task, we will definitely make sure that we use a tripod in order to create a smooth panning movement.

When we edited our preliminary task, we cut to a close-up shot of my hand on the door handle, however we could hear voices in the background so if we was to film this again, we would have made sure that it was quiet before we started filming. We also used the editing software to slowly fade into a black screen and then we had the credits roll over it.

During the making of this task, we used the 180 degree rule. This is where there is an imaginary line between two characters in  a scene and the shots which were taken within an imaginary 180 degree arch. For example – in my preliminary task, Megan and I were sitting opposite each other at the table and the shot used was taken over my shoulder. The 180 degree rule is important as, from this, the audience would be able to understand where the character’s are looking and what they are focusing on. An image to show a 180-degree shot is shown below.

180-degree rule & evidence

Another rule we followed whilst creating out preliminary task was the match on action rule.  This is where the cuts used between each shot/scene are made less noticeable, to create better continuity. This was used in our preliminary task when I walked to the door, pushed down the handle, walked into the room and shut the door again. If match on action was not used, the audience would become bored very quickly and easily.

Match on action

There are many improvements which could be made and we will make sure that we include them in our main task. We used a hand-held flip camera in the preliminary task, this resulted in the camera shaking slightly. We will use a tri-pod to film our main task as this would keep the camera steady, as well as also helping to improve the quality of the film. Also, we will use a dfferent camera to film our main task – one with a better quality and better sound, therefore this would also help to improve the filming.

Another improvement which could be made and which we will use whilst filming our main task, is a bigger variety of camera shots, angles and movements. This would make it more interesting to watch. As well as this, the characters will be using a variety of expressions and there will be a lot more deatil used in the main task.

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‘A Christmas Carol’

A Christmas Carol

‘A Christmas Carol’ is a traditional film. The opening sequence establishes the genre and setting of this Christmas based film. The opening sequence also gives the audience an idea of what the rest of the film will be like. It is important for the opening sequence to be interesting, otherwise the audience may get bored and stop watching the film.

In this film, Scrooge is the protagonist, since he absolutely hates Christmas. The producer of ‘A Christmas Carol’ cleverly uses mise-en-scene, camera, sound and editing to make the film authentic. If the film was not authentic, not as many people would want to watch it as it would not be very good. The opening sequence is created to allow the audience to predict what is going to happen later on in the film.

An establishing shot was used at the beginning of the film to allow us to see the surroundings. From the film title and the establishing shot we instantly know that it is a Christmas based film. To make it look like Christmas, the film-creator uses props, costumes, make-up and settings.

Mise-en-scene was intelligently used to create an authentic Christmas atmosphere. The producer did this by using props and settings. The settings used are snow/snow-covered buildings, horse and carriages and crowded streets and the props used are costumes and musical instruments.

Lighting was also used to make the Christmas-based film look more authentic. It was light outside, which suggests that it was set in the middle of the day, however it was also foggy. The fog provides the Christmas scene with a more creative and authentic effect as fog is associated with winter and Christmas.

The musical instruments suggests Christmas because people were singing Christmas songs to the tune of the instruments, which formulates a very cheerful atmosphere. Streets are always crowded and covered in snow at Christmas time and the horse and carriages symbolise happiness. The costumes used are magnificently appropriate, everyone is dressed in big, woolly, winter clothes with hats, scarves and gloves to protect them from the cold. The realism of it all creates the traditional, but wonderful, Christmas image.

Considering Scrooge hates Christmas, the audience might assume that he doesn’t like cosiness either, as Christmas is a very cosy time of the year. However, the producer deliberately added a lit fire and a lit candle to Scrooges office to make it look coy and to make the appearance of his office contradict his personality.

The men in Scrooges office look highly professional in their smart uniforms. The smart uniforms indicate high income, which suggests power. Low-angle shots also suggest power, which is why the producer used a low-angle shot to look up at Scrooge sitting at his office desk.

The producer smartly uses camera shots, angles and movements to allow us to view the environment from different angles. At the beginning on the opening sequence, when we could see the snow-covered streets, the producer used reverse zoom  to zoom out from the streets. This made it look like the camera was moving, however, it wasn’t.

High-angle shots were used to enable the audience to clearly see everything going on in the streets. A number of mid-shots were also used, one was used when a statue was being shown, this allowed us, as the audience, to see the statue as well as it’s surroundings.

Panning is a camera movement which is used when the camera needs to turn to the left or right. Panning was used during the filming of ‘A Christmas Carol’, when the instruments were being played whilst walking down the street and people were following, singing along to the tune. It was also used when the credits were being shown.

Tilting is another type of camera movement. Tilting is where the camera tilts up and down. This type of camera movement was used when the bird on the stick was being lowered towards the ground. The producer used a close-up shot to film Scrooge talking about Christmas, this was effective as we could see Scrooges facial expressions. this is when it becomes obvious to the audience that Scrooge hates Christmas.

Static camera shots were used in the film ‘A Christmas Carol’. Static camera shots are where the camera stays still and the characters walk past. Using this will provide better quality shots as well as allowing the audience to see all of the action happening on the screen.

All film-creators use wide-shots when they produce a film. Wide-shots allow the audience to see a large group of people or settings which have been expanded. Wide-shots were used in this film to enable the audience to see the large crowds that were filling the busy Christmas streets.

At the end of the opening sequence, the producer uses a reverse zoom to zoom out of a building. Once the camera had fully zoomed out, we were able to see what was going on in the streets.

Non-diegetic sounds, diegetic sounds and dialogue are also used in this film. Non-diegetic sounds are sounds that were added in after the film has been created. For example, background music. Background music was playing for about the first 30 seconds of the opening sequence, its was a strange, mysterious sound. The background music stopped and people began to play musical instruments in the streets, singing to the tune. Again, the music stopped for a couple of seconds then started again, louder than before. Both the instruments and the singing are diegetic sounds; they were filmed, instead of edited in afterwards. Another diegetic sound is the sound of bells. The bells started to ring whilst the instruments were being played, giving the film a more effective and authentic Christmas atmosphere. Then the dialogue, between Scrooge and the smartly dressed man in his office, starts and the sound of the instruments fade, until eventually it stops altogether.

Editing is also used during the creation of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Cross-cutting is used a number of times, this is where the camera shots cut to different scenes. In ‘A Christmas Carol’, cross-cutting is used to cut to different parts of town. Post-production is also used during this film. Post-production is adding parts of the film in after the filming is done. For example, adding non-diegetic sounds, background music and credits. Another type of editing which is smartly used is match-cut. This type of editing is used during conversations, the camera shot switches between the two people in the conversation. This allows the audience to see both the person talking and the person listening. It also allows the audience to observe the facial expressions and other reactions to what is being said.

At some stage in this film, a jump cut is used. A jump cut is where the camera jumps from one shot to another. During this film, it is used to jump from a close-up to an extreme close-up of an object.