Sunday, 20 March 2011

Evaluation - Question1

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

The famous establishing shot from Halloween
Looking at real media products, we can see that there are common reoccurances in most if not all media texts. Starting from the beginning of a film,  we often see the company ident's which are in partnership with the film and the company who distributed it, usually the text moves onto a beginning to the film, we call this an introduction. Usually there will be a soundtrack, along with titles which sometimes are animated or sometimes not which explain who the cast are, who directed the film or many other roles in the production of the film, a common colour for a title is white, this varies depending on genre, in some cases such as Rom-Coms  where we see the titles in the mise-en-scene, where-as in horror it may be red to signify the idea of blood/danger. In most media texts they start with an establishing shot. A famous example of this is the Steadi-Cam shot in Halloween. Most media texts follow the 180 degree rule and shot/reverse shot. To make scenes more interesting there is often cross-cutting, which is when the film is edited so that we can see what is happening in two places at once as the camera is cutting between shots. Usually the protagonist/antagonist is the focus in a scene, we can see this as they take up most of the frame and are often tracked throughout a shot.
Famous Opening Credits from James Bond.

Clear examples of font types.
The sound in a text can either be diegetic or non-diegetic , in a reasonable amount of openings there is non-diegetic music playing, such as in James Bond with the classic opening credits being played with non-diegetic music over the top. Usually in the horror genre, fast paced editing is used to create tension and suspense, whereas in other genres, such as Rom-Com or Comedy, a variety of different styles are used, often longer takes as you are focused on the dialogue. There is a consistent style of narrative in recent movies, using Todorov's theory of equilibrium. This is where there is an equilibrium at the start, something happens which creates a problem, we call this a dis-equilibrium, the characters in the film try to fix the problem and when they do they create a restored equilibrium, we call this the new equilibrium. This theory is used in most films but not all. We see a clear representation in media texts, often the binary opposition between genders, races and different sexuality's  (explained in later questions). Another key part of media texts is to anchor what genre the audience is watching, this anchorage is provided via exposition from most of the things seen on screen such as dialogue, titles, mise-en-scene and more. From titles, we can see if a serif or sans-serif font that the genre is either a comedy/rom-com or horror/zombie etc. by the shape of the font, if we see rough sharp edges, it signifies that the genre is horror/zombie etc. as the sharpness of the font represents death, knives, weapons etc.

One of the protagonists from Shaun of the Dead.
In media texts we have a stereo type of characters, such as, a blonde busty female who is represented as a helpless, dumb prostitute who needs to be punished for her sins. We also have the stereotypical "Final Girl" who usually ends up being the obvious, final girl. She is usually brunette , smart, a virgin and wears not so "revealing" clothing. Sometimes we have a "counter-type" which completely tricks the reading portrayed by the audience, where the blonde is the one that survives, and the typical final girl is killed.

The weapon used by one of the Protagonists in
Suburban Zombie.

Suburban Zombie follows the basic conventions of a zombie text, as it has fast paced cross-cutting, non-diegetic sound, diegetic sound. It has the idea of surviving in it, as the protagonists are in a derelict house at the start, they use weapons which are seen in the famous Shaun of the Dead. Later on in Suburban Zombie we have a final girl who is the last surviving person in the film. One thing that we dont have a clear view of is Todorov's equilibrium as we do not see the normal state before the infection takes place. We have 2 company idents, which real media texts have too, along with serif titles.

Feedback from our ident.
Key Conventions of the Zombie Genre:
Conventions of the zombie genre are such things as the undead braindead bloodthirsty infected ghoul-like creatures which were first created by George A. Romero, this concept was first seen in  Night of the Living Dead, this really did spark off the start of the Zombie Genre. The Zombie Genre is a form of horror, so mixed in with conventions of it, are conventions from horror, such as the very effective Dutch angled shot and the idea of surviving. Fast paced editing and one of the most common, key features of the genre is gore, lots and lots of gore. This anchors the fact that it is a zombie film as it is what most people who watch the genre watch it for. Overall the key convention is flesh eating undead creatures, and gore!

Suburban Zombie(SZ) meets up to most of these convention as it uses everything from the typical Romero Zombie to the use of fast paced editing. We see the characters in SZ hiding in a huge derelict house, this is common in most zombie films as they have to get rest and keep quiet to make sure they are not found by the zombies.

Audience Feedback in from Suburban Zombie mainly made us rethink the plot as in the first rough cut we got alot of feedback about the narrative as lots of people did not "get it" it was quite confusing, we then moved on after the plot being changed  onto our 2nd rough cut we once again got feedback of the film being too confusing. On the 3rd time lucky we eventually got a good plot, so we continued and got good feedback from roughcut 3, and now we have a final cut which is better after the audience feedback.

We also asked for audience feedback on our ident, we were once again guided into making it better, from the image below you can see the before and after product.

here is the first rough ident we did:

here is the final ident after audience feedback:

Overall I think that we did well to come out with the final cut that we came out with. I think we we'rent as organised as we wished we could have been and we were let down by a lot of people not appearing when they said they would , but despite this we still managed to be successful. If i was to do the same task again I would be a lot more organised and would try to manage our time better.

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