Sunday, 29 April 2012

How we made our music.

I was going to do this as a video post, but I've got a cold and I look like a troll so I decided against it.

When we finished editing together the first half of our coursework, we realised we needed some music to go with it. We searched for ages on creative commons to try and find a song that fit our clips, but then we couldn't find one, because we needed it to change pace at an exact moment. So, we decided to do our own, which turned out to take an absoloute age.

The first thing we needed to decide was the kind of music we wanted, and we decided that we wanted a song that felt a bit like a music-box, because they're really creepy and we wanted to make our opening creepy. So, what we did, was we went onto YouTube and typed in 'music box' and there was this really, really good song by Midnight Syndicate called Grisly Reminder and it was so good, so we decided to do something like that. Then, one day when we were all free, we went into the hall when it was empty and comandeered the spare piano that sits in the back and started putting something together. We decided just to have single, sustaining notes because it would be more atmospheric and create more tension.

Once we'd written down what we'd put together, we then had to decide what 'voice' we wanted to put it in. The keyboards have so many, and most of them were irrelevant because they didn't suit the tone (like the bassoon or the saxophone...), but we narrowed it down to either to bog standard mini-grand and two different 'voices' both called 'music box'. We then decided to go for one of the music-box ones, and the difference was only subtle, but in the end we decided to use the one that was slightly higher pitched, because it sounded creepier.

Then, we had to use GarageBand. BIG MISTAKE. The amount of cables we had to use. We had to find a midi cable for the keyboard, but then that didn't work, so we had to find an input device for the Mac, which worked a LOT better. So, after spending a good few hours trying to work that out, we finally got down to recording. This turned out to be hard, because the output decided not to work, so I couldn't hear what I was playing whilst I was playing it, but we eventually got it right. Even with that annoying metronome playing the whole time. After that was recorded, we looked at effects, but none of them seemed to work with the song, so we just left it as it was. After we saved it, iTunes decided to also break, so we had to listen to it through Final Cut Pro, so we ended up with about ten versions of the song in our sequence list.

But then it was done.

And then we had to find music for the second half. And after the hassle we went through for the first part of the opening, we decided to find some on Creative Commons. There is this song that would have been perfect called Anything by Martina Topley Bird, which was used last year in drama, but it wasn't creative commons so we had to find something like it. We found a song that was like it, called Playful Moaner by Chuck Bettis, and it was great because it progressed at the exact moment our dream sequence did. Bish bash bosh, sorted. So much easier.


 This is Anything - Martina Topley Bird. This song is so good. I love it. The distortiony sound at the beginning and the slow guitar and the instrument I can't quite pick out and the sentiment of the whole song would have worked so well and argh I just can't, it's just such a good song.


This is Grisly Reminder - Midnight Syndicate.

Playful Moaner (w/ Colleen Kinsella & Caleb Mulkerin) (Chuck Bettis & Friends) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

This is the link to say that we can use Playful Moaner.
Coursework Development.
View more PowerPoint from Sarah Byard

Powerpoint is my one true love.
This work came from a table we did in class. Here is said table:

 Please try to get past the fact that my handwriting looks like a spider went on a bender and tried to write a suicide note, the stuff on the paper is actually pretty relevant.

This is the draft before we had music sorted

This is the draft with music

Thiiiis is the draft where everything just changed.

Final Draft Feedback

On the night we showed our films, we gave everybody a questionnaire to fill in. Our group had 56 questionnaires filled in by the end of the evening, and so it took a very long time to analyse it all. However, we perservered and here we go:

The typical demographics questions were asked, and we found that a lot of our positive feedback came from females ages 0-20, showing that they were the audience that enjoyed the film opening the most. This could be because all of the actors in the film are females aged 0-20, but also because our group is all 0-20 females, we made something that we liked which is probably why it appealed to other 0-20 females. Out of the 56 people asked, only 5 listed horror as their favourite genre, although they gave us the highest marks, generally 9 or 10 out of 10. This is really good for us, because fans of that genre would be more critical, because they watch more of them and know more about what makes a good horror film, so for them to like it the most was a big achievement for us.

Question 1) Did you think the choice of settings in the video were appropriate?
Positive comments: 51
Neutral comments: 4
Negative comments: 1
Sample comments: location suited genre; great locations, looked real; they used the park in the vision well. (I haven't purposely not put the negative comment there, they literally just wrote 'NO'.

This feedback shows that the choice of locations we used were a good choice. The comments were mostly positive, saying that the locations were appropriate for a horror movie. Only one person in my specific sample (we split them into 3, I have 18 sitting in front of me) commented on a specific location, the park, which shows that the dream scene was effective and got across its meaning. Although nobody commented on the first half in these surveys, previous questionnaires we produces concluded that the first half location was also effective and atmospheric.

Question 2) How successful was the video in satisfying the conventions of the genre?
Positive comments: 53
Neutral comments: 3
Negative comments: 0

Sample comments: liked that the notion of reality was questioned; good use of music; successful and clear.

This feedback shows that we were very succesfful in satisfying the conventions of horror. The comment which liked the notion of reality being questioned was especially good for us, because our film was specifically a psychological thriller, and that is something present in them. Getting no negative comments made us very, very happy, because that meant that we were very successful in fulfilling our aim: to make a horror film opening.

Question 3) How successful is the editing? 
Positive comments: 53
Neutral comments: 2
Negative comments: 1

Sample comments:  good use of filters in the dream, transitions in beginning were good; built up tension.

This feedback shows that people really liked the rapid transitions in the first half, because they thought it built tension, which is good because that's what we were going for. They also liked the use of the blur filter in the dream sequence, because it distorted reality. This is also what we were going for, so that is also good. I don't have the one with the negative comment, but I will try and find it out from Jess/Hannah.

Question 4) How successful were the choice and execution of camera angles and movement?
Positive comments: 52
Neutral comments: 3
Negative comments: 1
Sample comments: liked the flashback to the past; liked the moment where she looked up after she killed her best friend; some of it was a bit shaky. 

This feedback shows that people were generally happy with our camerawork. The shots that people particularly liked were the high angled shot where Jess looks up after her ritual and the flashback clips. People commented that they thought the camera angles in the ritual scene made the scene more scary, and that we used a variety of camera angles. However, one person thought that some of the angles were a bit shaky, but they didn't specify which ones. However, I can take a guess because there is one angle that kills my soul every time I look at it. It's in the middle bit, after the ritual but before the dream, when Jess and Hannah are talking. My hands are incredibly shaky, so usually we use something to put the camera on when I film, but this time I forgot and there's one moment when it's on Jess and it shakes and every time I see it, I die a little inside. Or they could mean the beginning, when the camera was shaking on the door, in which case, it's meant to be shaky because a straight shot of a door would be quite boring, plus the effect we placed on it makes it shake even more, so it creates an atmosphere, kind of like it's actually a person walking up to the door.

Question 5) Was a clear narrative established?
Positive comments: 48
Neutral commens: 7
Negative comments: 1
Sample comments: yes, you can see that one girl dies due to Jess's imaginary friend; quite clear; not quite clear.

Most people could clearly follow the storyline; however, there were some people who weren't clear on it. This feedback shows that our change of second half was a good decision, because the original discussion with Hannah and Jess in the 2nd draft wasn't very clear; however, most people understood the storyline with the changes we made, showing that we made a good choice. There was one person who put that they didn't get it, so I'll find out from Hannah/Jess what that comment was and get back to you on that one.

Question 6) What section of the film was most successful and why?
Positive comments: 51
Neutral comments: 4
Negative comments: 1
Sample comments: when she killed her friend and the dream; running through the arch; the ending because it was interesting; the voiceovers in the dream.

The majority of the feedback listed either the ritual or the dream as the most successful bit, although some people were more specific. The arch bit, the voiceovers and the daisy were also listed, showing that it wasn't just an overall effect that people liked, there were actually specific parts that built up what people enjoyed. This is good for us, because it shows that we didn't just put a load of things in in the hope it would make an effect, it shows people noticed the little things we put it. Hooray. Once again, I don't have the negative comment in front of me, I'll try to get it off Hannah/Jess.

Question 7 (last one, I promise)) What could we do to improve this?
Positive comments:14
Neutral comments: 31
Negative comments: 8
Sample comments: make story clearer; you don't need to; steadier camera in places.

This one was really hard to gauge whether people thought that something was bad, or whether it could have just been a bit better. Most people put 'maybe' or 'could have possibly', suggesting that they thought that it was good, although it could have also had this in it. The people that did suggest things said that the storyline could have been clearer and that the camerawork could be a bit steadier in places, which I explained above.

Average score out of 10: 9.

From this feedback, we can tell that people generally liked our film. Huzzah.

Here's the specific demographics we got:
0-20: 37
21-34: 1
35-51: 7
52+: 2
Did not say: 9

Female: 30
Males: 16
Did not say: 10

Comedy: 24
Drama: 2
Action: 3
Romcom: 4
Horror: 5
Thriller: 4
Period drama: 2
Spy/detective: 2
Fantasy: 2
None given: 14

Once we finished editing together our coursework (which took a million years thanks to rendering), we decided to put this together. This has nothing to do with our coursework or anything really, we just had too much spare time on our hands.



 This is the final copy of our coursework, Esther.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

I completely forgot to upload this. But here it is, making me realise just how ginger I actually am.


Today, we presented our films to an audience to gain feedback. It was a good evening, although the equipment decided not to play nice. It was a good, though, to see what everyone else had been up to these past few months (we've been so absorbed in getting ours right that we've had no idea what anyone else had been up to) and to see the music videos which we'll have to do next year. And we do now have a lot of valuable feedback to put into our evaluations! HUZZAH.

We also discovered that me, Jess and Hannah are incredibly awkward and cannot talk in front of people. And I also can't bear to watch myself on screen. I think I said "Oh god I'm a troll I hate myself and everything I do" about 10000000 times whilst ours was being shown. I'm so awkward.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Responses to draft one.

I've had the surveys done for a while, I've just been so engrossed in editing to actually write it all down on here. I'd take a picture of all the questionnaires like I did before, but only a few of them are on paper; the rest are via Facebook message or Tumblr message etc etc.

1) What did you feel was the best aspect (camerwork, tone, music etc.) and why?
  • The beginning, as I feel it was a good scene setter.
  • The walk up to the door was very atmospheric.
  • The low lighting and shaky camera work add drama and tension.
  • Interplay between murder and chanting because it adds tension.
  • The murder scene because it was dramatic.
  • The climax of the murder scene because it was exciting.
  • The set up of the Satanic scene with candles and the pentagram.
  • The rapid change between murder/ritual scene because it looked good.
  • The opening shot because it set the scene.
2) What did you feel was not the best aspect and why?
  • The transitions were too sudden, maybe a slight fade might work better.
  • Discussion in the bedroom was a little disjointed.
  • The ending because it seemed rushed.
  • The conversation seemed forced.
  • The conversation in the bedroom was awkward.
  • The dialogue was slightly wooden and confusing (although the confusion could be a good thing, could add suspense) 
  • The chanting wasn't very spooky.
  • The dialogue in the bedroom was completely different to the first bit.
  • The credits seemed random and just popped up.
3) Are there any parts you feel work particularly well? Why?
  • The walk up to the door works particularly well because it adds the tension.
  • The music works well with the walk up to the door because they create atmosphere.
  • The murder scene because it was very dramatic.
  • The chanting because it adds to the spooky feel.
  • The chanting because you don't know what she's saying so it adds tension.
  • Flicking between murder and murderer was tense and the music added suspense.
  • The credits and the shaky camera work add to the effect of horror.
  • The way the music changed pace with the action because it fitted well.
  • The cutting between the murder and ritual scene because it was fast.
4) If we were to make any specific changes for the second draft, what would you want them to be? Why? 
  • The discussion because it's too flat.
  • The transitions because they're a bit shaky.
  • More character development in the conversation.
  • More rapid transitions.
  • Change the discussion because it's awkward.
  • The end dialogue could be adjusted to make the viewer feel more involved in the storyline.
  • Make the chanting more creepy.
  • Change the discussion to something less different. 
  • Change the dialogue to something more realistic or believable.
5) Do you feel our first draft is in keeping with the conventions of horror? Why?
  • Yes: the music, the camera work in the titles and the Satanic theme.
  • Yes: the walk up to the door.
  • Yes: the opening scenes and the music was effective and spooky.
  • Yes: the murder keeps in with horror.
  • Yes: the change from horror scene to normal scene is used in horror films.
  • Yes: the beginning as the camera slowly zoomed in on the door, and the fridge door being open made me wonder if something would be lurking behind it.
  • Yes: it had the ritual and the darkness and the shakiness.
  • Yes: the whole idea of it is a horror idea.
  • Yes: the chanting and ritual scene makes it very horror-like.
From this, we can tell that the discussion between Hannah and Jess in the bedroom was not very well received. This is because people thought that it was wooden, and was not very clear. The three of us made the mistake of being too close to something, and not stepping back and looking at it objectively. Obviously, we understood what was going on because we created it, but to other people who haven't been involved in the process of making it didn't understand, so we now know not only to change it, but to remember to watch it objectively to see whether it makes sense or not. We can also tell that people liked the ritual/death scene, and the establishing shot of the door. They thought that the door shot was a good scene setter and that the ritual scene was very atmospheric, which is good, because that's what we were going for. 

This was very helpful in the development of Esther, because we then knew what to change and what to keep. It also helped us to realise we needed a second half in keeping with the tone of the first half. Taking this on board, we decided to change the conversation into something more dramatic and memorable, because it just sort of fizzled out with the coversation, whereas something more dramatic would mean that the audience will be entertained for the whole of our piece.

(Here are some screenshots of the feedback:)


We finally got around to taking pictures of the storyboard and putting it into some kind of understandable format! It's a really long storyboard, like 60 or so slides long. I hope you have a very long time to read this. Also, the gummy bear has no relevance. It's just ridiculously hard to upload 60 odd pictures with nothing to distinguish them from each other. Ignore it. Pretend it's not there. Actually, that'll hurt it's feelings. Incorporate it in artistically. It's up to you, however harsh you're feeling towards the gummy bear community is up to you.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

On the Wednesday I was in school for Media and I got bored waiting for Hannah and Jess so we could walk home and I came up with this:

I have too much time on my hands.

Filming Diaries.

Here is a collection of the filming diaries over the course of filming. 

This was before we were really aware we were to do filming diaries, so it's not a proper one. It's just a collection of clips that we filmed in preparation for actual filming.

This is the first filming diary we actually put together. This is from the re-filming of the ritual scene on the 29th January.

This is the filming diary from the 15th February. It's quite short because Ralph was dying.

This is the last filming diary, from 25th March.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

So today we are in the mac room. With Macintosh the sassy gay Mac. We've been here since 9 and it's now half 1 and we are COLD and HUNGRY and TIRED and LIVING OFF SUGAR but the coursework is done. Finally. We re-recorded the voiceovers (Jess's scream "I got to scream, it was great" - Satanic ritual, the fun that brought about. WE ARE GLAMOROUS SATANISTS XOXOXOX) and put more distortion on the dream and Hannah mugged off Sir at every opportunity. So yes, we are done. And we are now looking at 6 foot dinosaurs. I want one very badly. And everybody died from a pandemic. Oh, and we added some transitions to the dream, such as dither dissolve and fade in/fade out transition.

We also re-did the storyboard. IT TOOK 5EVER. NO ME GUSTA. But it is now done. It's all neat now and my art is FABULOUS, Hannah does not understand good art. But she does sing good, angelic almost. I want her to sing lullabies to me every night and send me into a peaceful slumber.

TL;DR: Our coursework is done and we did lots of courseworky-things. *Insert media terminology here* *Insert slow-mo high five here* *Insert clever things that make us sound like fabulous media students here*

(Side note: Sir did something nice for us and Hannah bitched about it)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I've been trying since I got home to upload the film diary to YouTube. I got home at half 3. It is now half 9. I'm going to stab YouTube. I have, however, got up the blooper reel we put together quickly today and the second (incomplete) draft of Esther. Today has been so productive and fab, but I'll wait until tomorrow and give a full, proper summary. I'll also put links on to the videos I uploaded earlier, but I refuse to go on YouTube again tonight out of principle.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Vladimir Propp's 31 Functions.

Here are the functions brought about by Vladimir Propp. He analysed Russian folklore and fairytales and came up with those 31 functions which most fairytales adhere to. Our opening credits do not establish these; however, for the purpose of this exercise, Hannah, Jess and I discussed what would happen next in the film and how it would end.

Using another of Vladimir Propp's theories on fairytales, we first had to establish each of his "characters".
  • The villain: Hannah.
  • The victim: we were uncertain as to whether this was Jess, or the people she kills. Jess maybe, because she's hooked by Hannah, but the people she kills definitely because, obviously, they get killed.
  • The hero: we had no idea. We thought maybe the person that uncovers what Jess is doing (obviously not my character, who did discover it, but got killed before I could tell anyone...). Possibly a friend of Jess's, or the family of one of her victims. Probably just one person, though.
Our film includes the following 'functions':
  1.  Interdiction: Jess warns Sarah (apparent from the dream) not to ask what's happening with Jess.
  2. Violation of interdiction: It is obvious from the events that Sarah ignores this warning and gets killed.
  3. Trickery: Hannah deceives Jess into thinking she should kill people for her own benefit.
  4. Complicity: Jess is decieved and goes with Hannah's plans.
  5. Beginning counter-action: this is not shown in the first two minutes, but the hero of our piece would try to stop Jess.
  6. Receipt of a magical agent: Jess receives a book which she believes to be magical.
  7. Struggle: this would be in the film, with the hero and Jess/Hannah trying to dispose of the hero.
  8. Victory: we thought that at the end, Jess would be arrested, leaving her all alone with Hannah in her head, so she eventually kills herself (cheerful chaps we are).
  9. Unfounded claims: the police take all the credit for catching Jess.


As you know, in our filming diaries, we took extra care to point out the health and safety issues we faced. Considering that we say HEALTH AND SAFETY really loudly before we announce a point, it should be quite obvious to see. However, I shall compile a master list of all our health and safety issues and how we dealt with them.

  • The loft: yes, there is a hole to get into the loft. No, we did not fall down it. We couldn't put the hatch back up, because we wouldn't have been able to get back out, but in Jess's loft there are strategically placed raised beams around the hole so that you can clearly see how close you are to it. As long as you're behind those beams (which we were), you won't fall out. I have really bad vertigo, so I wasn't even allowed anywhere near the beams. We also did a surveillence of the loft floor for pins and everything, so we wouldn't stab our feet with them.
  • The open flames: we were very, very considerate of flames. We all made sure, but I double checked because fire terrifies me more than anything and I didn't want to cause one! We made sure we had a bucket of water on hand, which there is a picture of (I'll find it later, I'm on a roll with this typing thing), plus we only had the candles lit when it was absolutely necessary. Jess's fire alarm works, so her family would be aware (not that we wouldn't be screaming FIRE FIRE FIRE BRO FIRE if there were one). Jess's family were aware that we were using open flames and agreed to it. Jess's cloak was also to be tucked in unless necessary for the shot, and then she was to be as far away from the candles as possible. I gave my dad a rough idea of what we were doing, because he used to be a fireman, and he told us that what precautions we took were sufficient.
There wasn't much health and safety to consider here. We just had to be careful not to get the blood on the actual floor, to be honest. When I fell, I didn't just drop like a stone so I didn't hurt myself, although that's more common sense than health and safety. There was no really issues, to be honest.

  • In the park: We did not go into the part which said DANGER, we just took a picture of the sign. We were allowed in the part where Hannah filmed they 'hey, I'm Esther' part, and we also chose a location where there are more staff nearby so that if something did happen, we'd be able to get help. The well was covered over, so we couldn't fall in. We made sure there were no creepers lurking behind bushes before we filmed? I don't know what else to put here.
  • In the town centre: we made sure not to include anybody else, so we didn't have to ask them for permission to use their face; we changed our clothes in the toilets so sexual predators couldn't pounce on us; we made sure not to be a disturbance to other people by being considerate of our noise levels and where we filmed.
 I can't think of any more at the moment. 
For my initial questionairre, I had to get the people to choose between sub-genres of horror. On the actual questionairre, I gave an example of each type of horror, but there wasn't enough space when I tried to put it all into one place to show the results, so I'll do it now. Plus, I have nothing to do because it's Sunday and apparently where I live ceases to exist after 3 on a Sunday.

Body horror: graphic destruction or mutilation of the human body. Other body horrors include unnatural movements or placing limbs in unnatural places to create some kind of monster. Examples of this sub-genre: The Human Centipede, Cabin Fever, Teeth.
Monster horror: a film which features a creature as the bad guys. Examples of this sub-genre: Frankenstein, King Kong, Pirhana.
Natural horror: nature 'running amok' in the form of carniverous insects, mutilated beasts and other harmless creatures/plants being turned into villains. Examples of this sub-genre: The Birds, Jaws, Pet Semetary.
Psychological horror: relies on characters emotions and experiences, sometimes the supernatural, music and other things to build tension. Examples of this sub-genre: Silent Hill, The Shining, 1408.
Slasher horror: characters being killed in sequence, and generally in graphic ways, by one (usually) psychopathic killer. Examples of this sub-genre: Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream.
Zombie horror: features creatures usually depicted as undead or mindless humans, usually revolving around the survival of the 'uninfected'. Examples of this sub-genre: 28 Days Later, Dawn Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead.

Initial Research.

I am a lazy girl so this is only just putting this up. This was important to us, though, because it helped us to gauge whether people would like our idea or not. If they'd have all said no, I have no idea what we would have done!
Add caption

So I finally got around to putting that data into a way that people can actually read it and they're not just taking my word for it. I asked 13 people to do this for me. It seems like an odd number, but I only had enough paper in my printer for 13 copies. I gave them out to people in my classes, to a couple of teachers and I think that's about all I have to say on this matter. Enjoy.

I also realised I should give some interpretation of sorts. From these results, we can conclude that our idea will be well received, as long as we do it creatively and originally. The people I asked were clearly fans of our genre, with all but one choosing it. Psychological horror was also the most popular, showing that I chose an appropriate audience to fill out my questionairre. The majority of people said they liked our idea and liked ritual films, showing that our film would be well received by them if we did it well.

A later edit:
This research was really important to us, because it helped us to decide what form our film would take. We were thinking of doing the psychological thriller, but knowing that the majority of people we asked liked it meant that we knew people would receive it well. The questionnaires also told us that people thought plot was the most important thing, so to really, really focus on that, which we did. We spent so long working on the plot that we basically mapped out the entire film, just so that the beginning would have the best plot it could. We also realised from our questionnaire that we'd have to handle the ritual scene with creativity and that it would have to be interesting and creative, which helped us when doing our storyboard and planning what we were actually going to film, because it forced us to think of something interesting and not just settle for something people've seen before. Most people picked psychological thriller, which meant that we realised we'd have to make it very atmospheric because that fits the conventions of that genre.

Another Coursework Update.

Our second draft is very nearly complete! On Thursday, we set the in and out points of each of the clips and put them in an order. We chose a specific order, because we wanted it to start off with a happy memory or two, then move into the more negative images. We've added some distortion to a clip of a well and sliced in clips of Hannah next to it, getting closer. We looked through all the other distortion filters but we haven't decided which ones we're going to use. We've just written them down in my notebook so that I can have a fiddle around with them on Wednesday. 

We also decided on music for the dream bit. It's called 'Playful Moaner' (...) and it's by Chuck Bettis. It's so creepy, but that's kind of the point. It is creative commons and we are allowed to use it, as long as we're using it for non-commercial purposes, which we are. We have to attribute it to Chuck Bettis, which we will do on our YouTube page ( I'll do it here too. 

 Community Of Commotion (Chuck Bettis) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Is that us covered? I hope so. We'll put the link everywhere we post the video so it should be alright. We just need to go in to school now on Wednesday and Thursday so we can put the final pieces together, put together the remainder of the filming diaries and make sure it looks alright.