Sunday, April 3, 2011

Evaluations- Q7

Q7: Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in progression from it to the full product?

A: When I first started working on my preliminary task, I didn't know much about Media as a subject. I had only studied camera movement and angles in theory, having not yet been given the opportunity to implement them practically. When my group for the preliminary task was made, I felt like the most useless member because I lacked in technical prowess in comparison to the others. Though I managed to get a say in the creating of its storyboard, my members felt it best that I didn't familiarize myself with the equipment since they thought that it would take me ages to master them. And since the task's submission date was coming near, this was not a good decision for our group. However, I did get to take a few shots in the movie, and also co-directed and edited with my group members. Towards the end I realized that working in a group is tough and that for now I should try working alone in order to improve my overall media skills first.

So during the making of my preliminary movie entitled as 'Alone', I started becoming more technically strong, and also learnt how to give treatments for my film.

Preliminary task:

There were many technical flaws, but the storyboard looked interesting and I decided then that the storyboard   for my final was to be homogeneous to the idea had for the preliminary. I started observing school life more closely, and this helped me create my final opening title.

Also, over the time I learnt how to handle shooting equipment by experimenting with my handycam after going through proper video shooting tutorials at YouTube. I shot some videos in an attempt to document my media progress and ensure that for the final task I am prepared, since I had decided to do the final task alone. Here is some of the work I did after preliminary task for getting inspiration:

This is a behind the scenes video I made for a project I did with my media colleagues-

So I haven't edited it, I was mainly practicing camera movement and since this is more like a documentary, it was new thing to try out.

Here is also a brief video in which I have discussed my progress a bit:

So after doing all these tasks before the final, I progressed technically and my expertise in the technical side proved sufficient enough for the final opening title which I made for my movie 'Brothers'.

I used to work only on a simple editing software as I mentioned above. But after becoming efficient in using Adobe Premiere along with Adobe AfterEffect through which I designed the logo for my movie, I can therefore say that I did become proficient in media as time passed.

I tried experimenting with POV shots and made a POV movie for practice. This helped me master suct type of shots and I was able to use two POV shots in my final task entitled 'Brothers' to help the audience effectively connect with the main protganist.:

POV movie I made for practicing POV shots(This is not my final task):

POV shots from my final movie are:

POV shot of protagonist looking at his drawing
POV shot of protagonist looking at his brother

Here is the final task:

Through this final task one can also observe that I broke no shooting conventions to ensure my movie remain's mainstream. This shows that I prefer my movies to be mainstream because violating shooting conventions to a great extent might lead to the making of an experimental movie which might not be liked by the audience, thus posing a risk.

Also while researching for my film, I learnt a lot about media products similar to mine. This enhanced the concept I had in my mind for the final task. 

So therefore I can heavily conclude that I learnt quite a lot in progression from my preliminary task to the full product. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Evaluations- Q6

Q6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

A: I learned a lot about the advent of technology and its importance to a media student like me. I learned how to handle primary media equipment like camera,  lights,etc as well as   softwares like Adobe After Effects for animations along with its various plug-ins ;And also Sony Vegas for sound editing and  Adobe Premiere for movie editing. At first I decided to play with Movie Maker a bit, to see how an  amateur software  is different from the more professional packages and also as a first step towards editing.

Sound editing in a software called Garage band, then later in Audacity:

Garage Band

As far as Adobe AfterEffects goes, after experimenting with the tools and 'Effects and Presets' I finally managed to create a proper opening title for my movie and also a proper logo for my imaginary institute Delight Studios through plug-ins like AEF Flame.

I experimented with various transformation tools in Adobe AfterEffect, using Opacity, Evolution, Anchor Point with the Scaling tool as well  while trying to create the perfect opening title for my movie. At first the result was amateur like this:

Now it looks more appropriate:

So this clearly shows that I have gotten the hang of the software to quite an extent. Also I edited and transformed my logo using AfterEffect:

Also, I managed to edit the audio for my movie using a software to make sound called 'Garage band' and 'Audacity'. And learned how to use the software effectively to combine sound effects along with soundtracks to ensure that they function together in sync. I then used the edited soundtracks and effects for my movie while editing the whole thing on Premiere.

Coming to handling equipment, I had a hard time handling my handycam. It took me a lot of time and practice to shoot scenes steadily, and ensure that the camera movement could give meaning to the shots.
for practice to enhance my camera movement and angles.

Here is the movie shot entirely in POV(this is not my final task):

Also I shot a movie practicing conventional camera angles to enhance my skills as a cameraman (This is not my final task):

I managed to become more effective in editing after practicing shooting and here is the result, my final task:

I also learnt about different types of movie formats like wmv and mpg which I then applied to my final task for good results. Since uploading a mpg file YouTube for easy posting on my Blog was impossible since it took a lot of time, I uploaded my movie in wmv format and lowered its quality a bit to make it smaller for easy uploading on YouTube. Thankfully, the quality didn't drop much.  My final opening title is originally in mpg format:

Initially the only software I was familiar with was Movie Maker, due to which my preliminary video turned out to have natural lighting (sunlight mainly) while I used artificial lighting when making my final opening title. And I didn't know much about sound editing, which I later learnt about in school during Media classes.

However, the Internet helped me a lot with my practical work. When designing my logo, I browsed tutorials on YouTube for AfterEffect animations, and did the same when figuring how to effectively animate my opening title 'Sweeping Tides'. And I was able to get responses and suggestions through Facebook, as I easily uploaded my video and responded to the suggestions the viewers gave on it. Also, I was able to discuss problems I was facing in practical work on Facebook with my media colleagues on a private group we had created for ourselves.

Also I learnt using PowerPoint to give visual and auditory presentations as I did when recording my Mohatta Palace trip while searching for ideas to be inspired by for my final opening title. I used YouTube for easy upload of my videos to then simply embed the links and quickly post on my blog.

Also whenever I wanted to compare my media work with others on YouTube, I was able to do so by editing the links' html in my posts. YouTube proved useful throughout my media course and the tutorials on AfterEffect and Premiere proved helpful too.

I also used Google Pictures to analyse concepts similar to mine, but taking a pictorial form. So, I admit that the Internet helped me progress technologically as a media student.

Therefore I learned that technology makes the life of a media student easier. With softwares to help in editing like Premiere, a media student like myself can easily learn professional editing on it along with the aid of Premiere tutorials on YouTube. Also, with the help of softwares like AfterEffect, animation is made really easy. Sound editing is also easy on softwares like Sony Vegas. So, if these softwares are used efficiently, it can really help in making effective media product

Evaluations- Q5

Q5: How did you attract or address  your audience?
Background signifying the creative mind of  the protagonist.

A: I think that the peaceful beginning addresses my audience well enough, bringing a sense of drama and enigma as to what the story is going to be, bringing the audience into the mind of the character and bringing his dreams to the surface along with his primary concerns and problems firstly to ensure that the audience manages to connect with the character.Also the mood is well defined during the shots signifying Ali since I've used a deeply noticeable soundtrack which has an intense effect and makes it clear enough to the audience that he is concocting something creative. The audience will find his room interesting because I've put a pencil box near his bedside to signify that. The POV shot showing him drawing his brothers and himself is interesting and instantly gives the audience an idea as to how his innocent mind works.
POV shot to connect audience with individual's mind

The actor choice will also instantly attract and address the audience because by looking at the young child, the audience can pity his innocence and playful nature. And even by looking at the brothers, they can empathize or end up hating their emotion-less and rude attitudes. Appearances help the audience understand the characters' nature more easily in movies.
Ali- a sweet innocent looking boy
John- An emotion-less macho looking guy


Ouni- A lazy looking boy, wasting time in front of a TV

An important attraction of my movie are the soundtracks which effectively hint at the mood of the protagonist and the situation he is in. For example, when he is drawing, the soundtrack is intense and makes it clear that he is thinking heavily while drawing his brothers and himself.  Then when he gets up to roam around in the house and vainly try to get his brothers' attention, the soundtrack becomes a bit sad as his brothers simply ignore him and makes the audience understand the situation easily.

The sound effects also have an interesting effect on the audience. For example the effect of the door slamming heavily when John shuts the door of his room smirking that he managed to rid himself by his rather pestilential brother (since he considers Ali a pest).

Also, the slow-paced shots in the beginning also manage to connect with the audience as they help them understand the state of mind of the individual properly.

Another main attraction is the logo I've used to show the imaginary institute (Delight Studios) which will distribute my film. The logo looks different and stands out, showing that it is indeed unique. The sound effects accompanying the logo also attract the audience as they give a dramatic sense and making it clear that the institute aims to distribute movies which are intense and dramatic, helping the targeted audience generate expectations from the institute instantaneously.

Imaginary Institute Logo

However, the most important attraction of my movie is the animated opening title 'Brothers' which is shown in an inky black sky and also tells the audience that Ali is thinking about his strained relationship with his brothers and trying to reason as to why they despise him so much..

Attractive opening title

Evaluations- Q4

Q4: Who would be the audience for your product?

A: With the main genre being Drama, I can assuredly say that my movie appeal to a much wider audience. To make it clearer what types of audiences will like my movie and how they wil lrespond to it, I have analysed them in terms of the following categories based on their age, gender, financial status, interest and hobbies and demographics:

Age: I have made it clear that my movie will appeal to teenagers and most probably young adults, if not all. So, I can agree to set an age limit of 13 and above.Since the movie will try to be more reality-oriented, there will be parts in which the protagonist will suffer brutality at the hands of his oppressors (in this case being his brothers). Also, the psychological content of my movie takes a more 'mature' turn which will definitely not appeal to audiences below the age 13 as they will not be able to comprehend the gravity of critical situations  an alienated young brother faces alone , and the aftermath of such life-shattering situations.

Drillbit Taylor (2008-Paramount Studios) was PG-13 and revolved around school life and bullies. Primarily, it had Comedy as a main genre, but had Drama as a sub-genre too. The reason it was made PG 13 was because a person below the appropriate age wouldn't be able to grasp the psychological significance of that film. And there were scenes in which the main characters(three high school victims) suffered violence at the hands of their oppressors(bullies). In my movie similarly there will be such scenes and only an audience above the age of 13 will understand the magnitude of such situations being either familiar or aware of such moments in life.

Gender: The target audience will consist of mainly males as my protagonist belongs to that gender. The Karate Kid(2010- Columbia Pictures) also followed this convention. In the movie, 10 year old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) had a hard time adjusting to his new school in China where he was also abused by bullies of his own age who even used violent means to annoy and scare him. This had a drastic effect on him and at times caused him to hate his life.

Conventionally, boys are more violent and aggressive when compared to girls, who are considered usually soft and tender hearted. Even in the Karate Kid, the protagonist was beat up by BOYS not GIRLS. And out of the many characters who did feel sympathy for him in that move was an adorable girl Mei Ying whom Dre develops a crush on. Therefore boys will be able to understand the movie more fully as their lives are considerably more 'grim' as compared to the fairytale world in which girls usually live in. Girls are able to sympathize with boys possessing qualities considered feminine like gentleness and empathy.

There have been movies like Mean girls (2004-Paramount Pictures) in which girls have been shown more aggressive. However it should be noted that this movie had comedy as a main genre, and though it concentrated on critical social issues, I am not referring to teenagers above 15 in this movie and I am not limiting my movie on purely Western ideology. I will therefore take Karate Kid (2010- Columbia Pictures)  to prove that not all cultures (especially South Asian) believe that girls are more pre-disposed to violence than boys.

Females might like my movie as it revolves around Social problems and my character will have interactions later with some girl to discuss problems he faces at home (his brothers being mean to him, ignoring him, etc). Dre Parker in the Karate Kid does with his so crush Mei Ying. So, perhaps the softer parts of the movie might make an impact on girls as well.

Financial Status:  Since the movie revolves around the life of a slightly upper class boy,  it will appeal to young adults who are strictly middle-class and have gone through a similar school life. However, since the movie is mainly about young children and teenagers, my audience will most definitely be dominated by teenagers who are unemployed for the time being, but might be employed since they are gaining an education and are thus capable enough to work if given a chance too. All the hopes and aspirations a young boy have been put into the character of the protagonist and therefore I am certain that these teenagers will be able to understand the movie as such type of movies are watched by teenagers too, making them mainstream. Boys who are currently gaining an education in schools or colleges will like this movie as it strictly relates to a rather typical school life. So in short I am certain that students will appreciate the content of this movie more than young adults.

Interests/Hobbies: People who are interested in movies revolving around social-related issues will enjoy my movie since the story revolved around social problems like lack of support from siblings.

I think my movie might also appeal to first-world audiences even though it has been made by  a South Asian Pakistani student (me) because movies like Slumdog Millionaire were also enjoyed internationally.

Also, people who are interested in books on people with social impairments like the book 'Daniel isn't talking' by Marti Leimbach will also find my movie interesting as the protagonist of my story will have some social impairment issues and will at times be rendered as incapable to become one with the society, which is quite normal for many boys at similar critical stages in life.

Demographics: The target audience will be representative as it will consist of people of varying age. Young Boys have been stereotyped in this movie and will appeal to teenagers from different cultural backgrounds since the movie is broad-minded in its approach. Adults who find such psychological movies interesting will also be from various backgrounds as the issue of social impairments is global. The audience addressed is global, and is not restricted to South Asian audiences as the movie will concentrate on social issues same all around the world,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Evaluations- Q3

Q3: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

A: Media institutions who have released movies which revolve around social issues are more likely to distribute my movie. Disney can be one of such institutions as it has over the years released movies of varying genres for all types of age groups, with target audiences mainly consisting of young children or teenagers.

The cartoon movie they released 'Cinderella' in 1950, which had been adapted from the famous fairytale story 'Cinderella' had a storyline similar to that of my movie. Because in that movie Cinderella (the main protagonist) was oppressed by the hands of her step mother and step sisters.

However, unlike Cinderella, my movie doesn't take a fictitious approach and the ending is more reality based, not ending in a happily ever after manner. 

Luckily, coming to the modern era, Disney has released movies similar to my story with more of a reality touch, mainly for teenagers which are the main target audience for my movie. 

For example the movie 'Stepsister from Planet Weird' (2000) had a touch of reality even though it had aliens which made it a bit of a fantasy. But, the social relationships between the characters is extensively shown and troubles children of divorced couples have is also excellently highlighted. For example, in the movie the main character Megan Larson hates her stepsister Ariel just because their thinking patterns differ significantly. They work out their differences towards the end, but it takes time as it usually does for a relationship to become healthy. 

Google Rights Reserved

In my movie, the protagonist is well-off, but has difficulty in establishing a strong relationship with his two brothers who seem to find him bothersome and irksome, and don't enjoy his company at all, always alienating him. So, my movie also concentrates on social-related problems and relationships which is why Disney would consider distributing my movie.

Another Disney movie similar to one of my movie's themes is Starstruck (2010), Sarah Olson and Jessica Olson are two different people if assessed in cognitive terms. They always disagree with each others' ideas and Sarah finds her younger sister Jessica quite annoying. In the end it all works out, but this movie also shows a more real-oriented ideology about relationships. Jessica's later developed relationship with another main protagonist Christopher Wilde is also very real, and shows how boys and girls usually get into serious relationship.

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Another institute which might distribute my movie if Disney doesn't is Columbia Pictures. In 2010 it released a movie called the Karate Kid which was very similar to one of my themes because it showed how a boy is treated when people find him bothersome and alien-like. Dre Parker, the main protagonist is bullied by the boys of his school and has a hard time adjusting to his new residence and school. It portrays the grim reality as in the movie Dre has breakdowns and feels like running away from this new life. Same happens to my main protagonist who has more breakdowns than because he is treated bad by his brothers and therefore cannot find comfort with his family unlike Dre who had his mother to comfort him.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Evaluations- Q2

Q2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

A: To begin with, let me first make it clear that the main social group represented in my movie is a primary group-family. Families are extremely important as they believe in one common goal, follow a common structure of living and are there to help the individual whenever his social and academic lives are in disequilibrium.

My movie focuses more on the protagonist brothers as siblings are one of the extremely important members of any particular family. I wanted to make my audience aware of the negative impact on a child if his older brothers treat him badly occasionally, and ignore him when he needs them most. Sibling disputes are very common in real life, however there are times when either of the parties involved cross the limits and ruin each other's lives and images.

For example, looking at the Disney Original Movie StarStruck (2010), the two sisters who were one of the main characters didn't get along well due to the relative difference in age and tastes. However, in the end the older sister sticks up for the younger one when she is in need of her support and therefore change the audience' view about their relationship into a positive one.So, their relationship therefore wasn't strained to a great extent, unlike Ali's brothers' relationship with him.

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Sarah and Jessica Olsen-always bickering with each other

Here is an idea of the degree of relationship Ali has with both his brothers:

John-not happy when Ali playfully comes into his room
Ouni-giving Ali a steely look

So, as one can observe the relationship Ali has with his brothers is strained to a great extent.

My movie also focuses on boys and older boys' predisposition towards aggression as I show in my opening title that the brothers simply ignore their younger brother, John literally chucks Ali out of his bedroom when Ali playfully comes in.

Also, it focuses on teenagers' common characteristics which have been stereotyped and highlighted by society such as using Social Networking sites a lot. John, one of Ali's brothers is shown using Facebook instead of using his time efficiently and doing something constructive.

John- looking at the computer's screen, busy chatting with friends on Facebook instead of  doing something constructive