Tuesday, 30 March 2010

grab PrintScreen for Macs

You'll be wanting screen grabs at various points, but probably won't know how to on a Mac.
This web-page (here as a Word doc) shows you how.


There is an alternative I wasn't aware of until reading a post in Emmie's blog (always acknowledge your sources!*): the grab tool. This wiki entry tells you all you need to know!

*and Emmie in turn acknowledges Lucy M actually flagged this up!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Moderator's report

I'll copy in below the exam board report on some resubmitted coursework from this January. If you read through this you should pick up some useful points which have been highlighted in the guides given to you: the importance of coverage (taking the same shot from multiple angles) to overcome problems you later discover with some shots; the need for care with sound; considering the use of titles quite specifically; the importance of planning materials such as animatics and storyboards; and the use of multimedia within your blog (images, links, podcasts, vodcasts and other video) ...
The sample was well packaged. Thank you. The construction was submitted on DVD whilst an active url was provided to access the candidate’s blog.
The Centre chose the Video brief and the candidate produced a film opening in the horror/thriller genre. It is clear that a detailed framework was accessible by the candidate and that they have enjoyed following it.
The candidate used a blog to present their research and planning. This material was comprehensive with some detailed research demonstrated. However, the candidate could have made more use of this research in their construction, especially with respect to titling. Planning materials were included, but a full storyboard or animatic would have benefited the candidate. The Centre's comments were clear and related to the mark scheme, taking into account weaknesses. Therefore, it was felt that the marking of this element was in line with agreed standards.
The construction was proficient and used the forms and conventions which made it readable as a  horror/thriller. It is clear that candidates are taught to carefully consider aspects of framing, mise-en-scene, and the institutional conventions of titling. However, these were not fully proficient throughout the construction. Some of the framing was not fully considered. In one shot the camera-person could be seen in shadow. Some shots were held too long, whilst others were not cleanly edited. Sound was generally effective, especially non-diegetic, but at times it was clear that diegetic sound had not been monitored – camera noise was audible on some shots. ...
The evaluation covered the set questions and made some attempt to use the available technology. Still images were included in the body of the evaluation and a “podcast” comparing the construction to another candidate’s work was embed in the blog. The Centre could explore presenting the answers to the key questions in a multimedia format in order to allow access to the top level marks. Once again the Centre recognised the shortcomings with this element and marks were agreed.
Overall, the Centre has submitted an enjoyable portfolio of work. It is clear that candidates are well supported and that they respond positively to this. Thank you.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Various links lists added

If you look to the right you'll see some new links lists have been added (something you should aim to do in your own blog by the way).
You'll find plenty of guides and galleries on titles, opening sequences and logos, and I'll add more to these - and on the art of editing and additional topics - as time permits.
Remember too that there are many links contained within the posts, not to mention the British Cinema blog...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Some other schools' AS work

Feel free to add comments on the YouTube page for these - these students are hoping to generate some feedback.
There are 4 examples posted at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A1A922DFC0D457C2
Some of the effects used can only be achieved using the more advanced software we use at A2; iMovie 06 does not allow video-in-video effects having a single video track only

Teen/romance [I note they've used the Nickelodeon logo - they shouldn't!]

Teen action

Thriller/horror [again, they've used actual film co logos - don't do this]

[18.1.2011] SEE ALSO:
Exam Board (OCR) blog for Media Studies - lots of links to other schools'/students' blogs
Past IGS student blogs; links include brief description of genre etc
HurtwoodHouse students' productions


Get anyone and everyone, INCLUDING EXTRAS, to complete and sign one of these, and then pass on to me to keep filed in F6 (if you want to keep for your own records, photocopy before you pass it on). This is a hassle for both you and me ... but is actually good practice, and reflective of actual media practice.


Not simply linking into your graded requirement to make links to the real world of media production, but also as it is an important issue in its own right, please ensure you address the potentially thorny issue of image rights. You may recall having to sign forms for the Film Festival certifying your right to reproduce the image of anyone involved, a standard procedure should you want to screen your work in any context. This is a very serious concern for Media Studies, so either design a form yourself or use this template (derived from Microsoft). I'm in discussions with the school on what to do in the case of under-18s, and will post the outcome of this shortly.

If you google 'image rights form template' you'll find plenty more

Release Form for Media Recording DB Edit As                                                            

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Art of the Vodcast

I've posted on podcasting earlier. A simple but effective idea for a vodcast - incorporating video, not just audio - is to talk through some of the films you've viewed and/or researched, using visual stimuli such as holding up a DVD case. This example is part of a series by a US slasher fan; I don't agree with everything he says (how could he dismiss the almighty Jason X?!), but you could pick up ideas for films to research/view from videos like this. Similar efforts exist for most genres.
Example 1: 'Horror DVD Collection Traditional Slasher Films Part 2'

Example 2: 'Slasher Movie Montage: 1971 - 2001'

This is another nice, simple but highly effective idea, and an alternative to typing your research into a post in the usual way, requiring images loaded into iMovie - though in your case with some explanatory titles added! Its useful to note too the community feel created by the comments such YouTube uploads attract. Many of you will be wondering which are the most useful/relevant films for you to view and study - why not use sites such as this - and even more so forums (see earlier post) to tap into the huge online fanbase for such genres?
You can find useful tips in videos such as 'Top Five Underrated Horror Films (you've probably never seen)' [I haven't linked as there may be some explicit material in this] ... and the comments it attracted, which include many other suggestions
Example 3: 'Top 15 Slasher Movies'

Again, a really simple idea, but could be a fun alternative to the conventional post.
Example 4: Total Film magazine's YouTube channel: episode on rom-coms

This is an excellent resource; some insightful comments here on why certain genres are popular for example.
Example 5: Zombies vs. Vampires
This one takes the approach of comparing and contrasting two sub-genres and their appeal, plus strengths and weaknesses and notable examples, plus historical trends.Some of you are melding differing genres in a hybrid genre, so why not consider something like this?

Example 6: 'Fave Rom-Coms'

Again, you'd want some accompanying text/titles to provide some context (and/or audio commentary), but hopefully you can see the potential of just such an approach.

Taking on any of these approaches will help to make your blog a winner!

Just to round this off, although it is vitally important that you use some books to gain the depth of insight and analysis these provide, I would also encourage you to make good use of YouTube and its equivalents. If you read about a director, a sub-genre, actor or whatever, see if you can find a film on there which might enhance your understanding. As an example, I've cited John Hughes to some of you as a director worth looking into. A great YouTube upload for this is 'Directed by John Hughes', which I haven't linked because it does contain some strong language. If you flick a couple of minutes into the following though, you get a useful compilation, or montage, of his work.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

AUDIENCE: The Crazies: $12m hit

A real-life eg of importance of defining target aud: The Crazies


Yet another reminder of why its so useful to keep dipping into the Film Guardian comes this snippet - which highlights the central importance of having a well-defined target audience:
The Crazies proved once again that concepts, not marquee names, are king at today's multiplex. Despite lacking a big star, it was the only new release this weekend to open at £1m-plus, and the only one to achieve a screen average above £3,000. This remake of a little-seen 1973 George Romero zombie-horror benefited from a clearly defined audience and a lack of competition in the genre market, opening not far behind the debut figure of the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (£1.36m) and almost dead level with the first weekend of 2006's The Hills Have Eyes (£1.13m). With a production budget estimated by IMDBPro at $12m, the title is likely to be solidly profitable for its investors and international distributors.
Source: Gant, Charles (2010) "The Crazies lurch to UK box office success", The Guardian [online], 2.3.10. Accessed online 2.3.10 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/mar/02/the-crazies-uk-box-office

To see how the campaign for this film developed, and watch the trailer, see http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/2009/12/21/the-final-poster-for-the-crazies-is-released/

Monday, 1 March 2010

Volunteers wanted...

I'd like to be able to film one performance of the Jekyll and Hyde show (on this Weds-Fri, 730-930ish), perhaps including some behind-the-scenes footage. Any volunteers to film this, and/or operate the boom mike (we'd really need a team for this, as a couple of hours holding this up continuously would be a bit much!). Please add a comment if you're interested, and I'll confirm names tomorrow.

[UPDATE: I've provisionally got Joel, Emmie and Beth for filming on Weds, with Lucy + Helena doing behind-the-scenes material; another 1 or 2 would be useful though]