Primary Research Reflection
I did a lot of research into my four interests, My primary interest gave me an idea on the amount of people follow the same interests as I do which will help me when deciding the target audience for my project.
Everyone who answered my survey said that they have gone to the cinema and continue to go as they think it has a great atmosphere and all round better experience than watching films at home. However most of them don’t go as often as they like, which is due to the lack of films or how expensive it is.
When doing primary research for music the questions were really open and didn’t give me much to go on. Later I decided to focus on soundtracks for movies and theme songs, this is what I did my secondary research on. So the primary research was not helpful in the end.
The same with games the questions were to open so didn’t really narrow anything down for me to use, but almost everyone did play games but not on a regular basis. I may need to make a new survey for music and games.
When researching TV I decided to focus on sitcoms. This turned out to be a very bland topic, not very many people watched them and didn’t really enjoy them. I may changed this to something that is a little more enjoyable and maybe has more of a following which would be TV series like The Walking Dead, Breaking and Game of Thrones for example.
I made another survey about TV series rather than sitcoms and the result were far better than sitcoms was. Everyone who answered would like to see an apocalypse inspired film and focused around the rebuild of society.
Secondary Research Reflections
I looked into the history of cinemas and the first projector came up which I looked into called the Magic Lantern, there was also a story of the first film shown to a large audience. It was interesting however I felt it had made no progress toward what I’m going to produce.
Unlike the primary research for music I focused on soundtracks for the secondary evidence. I discovered that this is one of the important aspects for films as that is what people remember the most, I found a video which featured some of the most famous soundtracks I recognized most of them however had not seen all the films. This has made me realize that the soundtrack is one of the main elements of films so need to take that into account when I produce something.
When I researched games I looked specifically at motion capture as this is a really interesting topic and also is used for games which I talk about as well. This is impossible for me to achieve as it is very expensive equipment however I can take inspiration from films and games that use it such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
My secondary evidence for TV was about sitcoms, this was a boring topic and based on my primary research no one is interested in them. Therefore I am going to change this to TV series because they have a bigger following and do another survey on this then take inspiration from that. I made a quick survey on TV series and games. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MLY5VSJ
What is it that makes me do my project?
I really enjoy apocalyptic films like ‘Mad Max’ or ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and they have inspired me to create my own.
My personal experiences that influence my choices?
I’ve always liked the ideas around apocalypses films whether its zombies, infections or just the results of a nuclear war. The idea of strangers grouping up and putting full trust into each other to survive and keep the human race alive along with other people with completely opposite intentions. All the laws are gone, there are no authority figures to follow so it is completely up to the individual about who they become.
What is basic premise of my project?
A short apocalyptic film or scene of a group of people sitting around a camp fire at night talking about how it was before.
What do I seek to achieve and how it relates to my target audience?
I would like to achieve a short film that I am proud of and that the actors that help me can be proud of. My target audience is a wide range of ages however would be people with similar interests of apocalyptic films or shows, but the majority of people who watch The Walking Dead are between the age of 18-49 so it is more likely that my work will target the same audience.
What are similar media products and how does you work relate to them?
My idea for a short film could relate to shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ or films like ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ where there is a group of people who survived some sort of pandemic.
How have similar media products influenced your project?
A specific scene from the film ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ makes me appreciate these sorts of films more, The scene when they restore power at the gas station and music starts playing the film is very serious throughout as they are fighting day in and day out to survive and there are no more luxury’s so when they hear the power come on and the music play they are all so happy and take it in and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. This scene made me want to recreate the feeling it gave me in some way. The camp fire idea came from the scene from ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ in which the three men are laying by a camp fire talking. The lighting and shadows in this scene is what I want to try to recreate in my work as I really like the way it looks and makes the scene feel.
(Austin Dest, 2007)
The camp-fire scene from ‘howl like a wolf’ in the video below is set in a back garden, this could be another setting for my short film to really show the downfall of society that they are camping in back gardens.
What can you learn from similar media products?
Like I said earlier I specifically like the lighting from the camp fire ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ and would like to recreate that in an apocalyptic style, for example I could have it so that everything in the background is completely pitch black to add the effect of the unknown, not knowing what’s out there. And I somehow want to recreate the same feeling the gas station scene had from ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’.
Production and Content Research
For my project I am going to do a post apocalyptic scene of a group of people sitting around a fire. They will be talking about how life was before and the start of the apocalypse to give a bit of back story to how it all started.
There are multiple different types of apocalypse scenarios to choose from  (Evan Hoovler), some examples are Global EMP, Flooding, Overpopulation and the obvious zombie apocalypse. I am going to mix global EMP with overpopulation so there is a mass starvation and food production is slowing down therefore a big majority of the world’s population have become cannibals as the human race is slowly dying out but also the added annoyance of no power.
The scene will involve a camp fire in the woods so I will need to figure out a way to have one in shot without the risk of danger. I will test a natural camp fire and try to find a suitable location with limited amount of flammable objects and surrounding it with rocks to minimize the risk of a fire. I had the idea of using a recyclable BBQ and again surrounding it with rocks so that there is nothing surrounding it that may catch alight I can have this as a backup plan in case it raining the day of shooting and the firewood is wet.
I will use a lot of slow pans and close-ups as it’s a very relaxed scene with just dialogue.
Actually lighting the scene with the camp fire in mind is a harder task, I want to try to capture the scene at night as then it gives the effect that the characters are more vulnerable. I could use the three-point lighting set-up but modified for the use of this scene, the camp-fire could be the key light and I could use soft LED lights as back light and fill light. However I want to try and capture shadows on the characters faces so in some shots I may not use the fill light. A way around the added difficulty of filming at night could be to film at dusk in a shaded area (www.creativecow.net) instead as then there is less hazard of an accident and easy to light. I could then just alter the lighting in post to make it look as if its night-time. To add the effect of a flickering fire to close-ups of the actors I could use an orange reflector and shake it slightly while a light is being reflected off it.
(RocketJump Film School, 2015)
The video above gave some really good advise on recreating a fire flickering for a scene as fire can be very unpredictable.
There will be around 3 characters, 2 that start off together and then 1 drifter who stays alone. The two will eventually see a fire in the distance then meet the drifter who invites them to take a seat, which will then lead to conversation about who they once were and what happened to the world.
For the sound I will use a shotgun microphone on a boom pole, this will allow me to focus on specific actors while there talking. I can also use lapel microphones as a backup in case the boom audio messes up or isn’t how I wanted. I can get the all of this from college.
Most of the scene will take place in the woods around a camp fire, I need to find a location allows the use of camp-fires and slightly out-of-the-way so that there will be no interruptions from the public. There also needs to be as little danger as possible so flat, clean ground would help limit the fire hazard. There is two places that I will need to look into and visit, Clowes Wood and Thornden Woods. They both have spots that I could look into from past visits however I will need to check to see if they fit the scene and are safe for the scene. I am also going to have a shot of the characters running through empty Canterbury, to do this I will need to go there early in the morning when there is no one around and is gloomy.
The scene where the characters run through empty Herne Bay is going to be similar to the scene above when he’s running in the field.
For the props I wont need that many as it’s quite a simple scene. There will be a few weapons to add to the apocalyptic effect, it will be based in Britain so there will be no firearms but I could add some cricket bats or pipes for the characters to hold as there is no violence in the scene either. I will need some rucksacks for the group to carry to also add to the wandering feeling of an apocalypse. I need to make sure there is no electronic powered objects as that would go against the global EMP story.
The costumes the actors wear will also be quite simplistic as they are all ordinary people in a strange situation. All the characters will be wearing normal clothes, shirts, t-shirts, jeans and jackets but they will be made to look dirty and old as they’ve all been wandering for a while. This also means that I wont need to spend that much on outfits as they will be wearing casual clothes.
I would like 5 actors overall but due to filming during exam period and whiles people are at work I may need to lower the amount of actors I use to about 3. I also need a crew, I need a person on lighting, a person on sound and a person holding an orange reflector so it mimics the light of the flame on the characters face.
I wont add any scenery apart from the camp fire as I need it to look like a forest so nothing needs to be added to create that effect.
My target audience is between the age of 15 and 50 but could go above or below, the main audience will be people who have an interests in apocalypse films and TV shows.
I went to Dane John in Canterbury and took these pictures as I am going to have a scene with 2 characters running through it while its empty. I’ll do this while early in the morning between 5am and 6am that way it will be quiet and light. It will have the effect that they are running from something.
This is another angle of the path, I will record both and decide which one to use in post.
I learnt some valuable techniques to help me towards completing my project, I learnt how to effectively use a light and a gel to create the effect of a fire and how well it works for the final project.
Austin Dest (2007) Oh brother, where art thou. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXFmccYme2g (Accessed: 2 May 2016).
Hoovler, E. (2014) The ends of the world as we know it: Ranking 14 apocalyptic scenarios. Available at: http://www.blastr.com/2014-4-22/ends-world-we-know-it-ranking-14-apocalypticscenarios (Accessed: 20 April 2016).
mosaicendk (2010) 28 weeks later escape scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVnz6hlC3pQ (Accessed: 5 May 2016).
RocketJump Film School (2015) DIY TIP: Fire flicker effect. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1mH-qp4cLE (Accessed: 3 May 2016).
WatchMojo.com (2015) Top 10 memorable movie campfire scenes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaxKYVXZy34 (Accessed: 10 May 2016).