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Initial planning for our thriller film.

Props Since we have all agreed on the rough idea of a man manipulating and writing into a diary, I decided to source some props that will be suitable for our film. Our main concern was finding the main prop, the diary. The title sequence revolves around this diary, as does the entire plot of the film. The diary has many powerful secrets that could destroy the lives of the antagonists. I wanted to find a diary that had a sense of power, I thought this could be represented by a slightly aged look, as though full of wisdom and experience. Although we did not want the book to be too large as it would not suit that of a 9-13 year old boy. Book 1, (Tree Book) I found a fairly large unused diary in my house that may suit (below). I really like the front cover design for this diary but the interior pages do not work with the thriller style of the film. Every page is watermarked with pictures of buildings. It is possible to take the leather casing off of the interior design, so we may be able to find some more suitable interior pages, preferably parchment style paper. There are also possibilities of using the front cover for animation purposes. I could manipulate the leaf to fall into place from the top of the frame to the natural location shown in the picture below. The symbolism of a withering tree is also effective, symbolising death and decay, reflecting that of the decay of sanity within Kathy Walters. Later in the plan I will show practice shots, taking into account how the book looks when under low-key lighting conditions.

(Simple softbox used to take these pictures)

Book two Pictures obtained from the seller with permission to use.

This book is A5 and is considerably smaller than the first. The case is much more flimsy, much like a paperback book. There is a very nice lock on the front of the book that gives a sense of ownership over the book. The antagonist opening the lock on the book would create an element of trespassing. This book has very small, intricate patterns across the cover. Due to the nice patterns the book would work extremely well with macro shots. We do want to include macro shots as it is usually easy to make the ready uncomfortable by showing unusual details that arent normally seen by the naked eye, such as the scratches on a hand, or ink running down a page. The interior pages of the book are perfect. The pages are cotton paper, without any lines or watermarks. Using loose ink on the pages would work very interestingly as the ink would branch out from the contact point and would almost resemble veins.

Test Shots These shots are practice shots so we can experiment with lighting and to see what the book will look like when under more low-key lighting conditions. We want low-key lighting because the looming shadows and lack of detail creates mystery. Although the left side of the frame may be slightly too dark. In these shots I just wanted to experiment with possible establishing shots, the book sliding into the frame, possibly revealing a title as it moves into the frame. I annotated the picture with possible corrections we may want to make to the lighting, such as the hotspot to the right of the frame and the fact that it is possibly too dark on the left of the frame.

I also experimented with some possible close-up shots of the details along the book and the lock. I was imagining a close up shot of the actors hands unlocking the book, emphasizing the sense of trespassing. I had to light the lock with the softbox specifically in order to create this shot. I also experimented with rack focus across the lock as well as moving the reflector at different angles, making it look as though there are shadows moving over the book.

The shot to the left is a side shot of the pages of the book. This shot could look quite nice if the frame rate was slowed down slightly as the character flicked through the pages. I did not use a macro lens for any of these shots as there was no access to one at the time but I will make sure to source a macro lens for future practice shots. *All these clips were shot at 30fps, we may want to film at a faster fps in future shots*

Possible title reveals These are just a few title ideas running through my mind that we may want to implement into our film. Ink Reveal The ink reveal shown to the left is from a famous youtuber, Vsauce. The creator of the channel has now garnered over 6 million subscribers, and also owns two other channels, sensibly named Vsauce2 and Vsauce3. At the end of every video we are shown a title reveal for the logo of the channel. The green ink falls and splatters onto the floor. As the ink spreads across the frame the logo is revealed inside the ink. This is quite a unique style of introducing text and is very visually pleasing. If we wanted to recreate this style of animation we would need to think about how we could make our Mise en scene fit. We would most likely use some sort of handwriting ink onto the paper of the diary. It would be interesting to use red ink to symbolise death and blood. The technical side to creating this reveal is not hard at all, it can be done easily on adobe after effects and I believe adobe premiere. We would create and animate a mask around the moving ink. The mask would outline the ink as it moves and we would have to follow the ink as it spreads across the page, meaning we would need to animate frame by frame. After completing the animation we would change the setting of the mask so that it reveals the text, therefore making it look as though the ink reveals the text.

Gaussian Blur. Adobe After Effects. This reveal would have the text follow the rack focus of the shot. The text would come into focus at the same time the lock, or its nearest point on the frame. I have experimented with this before and it is a very easy way to embed the text into the video. This effect makes the text look part of the scene. The clips below are my test with Gaussian-blur-text. Link to video :


This is a movement used in the first scene of the film Coraline. I love this use of prop movement to creating an extremely uncomfortable shot. The way the needle pierces into shot and then faces towards the camera and audience is amazingly effective and so unique. I believe our group should try and implement some sort of piercing sequence in our intro as it is so successful in making a tense and unnerving feeling consume the viewers. We would mostly likely have the antagonist of the intro pierce a picture of the dead child and sew it into a page of the book. Foreshadowing the childs death. This shot is inspiring and works so well. The style of lighting in this shot is also very similar to that of my practice shots, with a light coming in from the upper right of the frame and highlighting off the main prop in the frame.

Symbolism I recently reviewed and analysed Shutter Island and found some of Scorseses use of symbolism very interesting. Scorsese uses fire in the film to present the main characters delusions and a false reality. We may want to think about introducing the video by the main character using a match to light a candle to hint to this idea of psychosis and delusions.

This use of fire would also allow us to introduce the low-key lighting whilst using symbolism. This idea of introducing the film with a match strike and the lighting of the candle would be very effective. We could also startle the audience with the loud sound of the match strike, as the light of the fire brings us out of the darkness we were previously shown. We would most likely have to enhance the power of the actual fire-light in post but this.

Filming Equipment. Camera We want to use a small and versatile camera but with very good quality and ability of manual focus and manual settings. We decided that the Canon 70D was the most suitable camera considering our accessibility. We wanted our camera to be quite light and easy to move around because our intro will require many different shots and we did not want to have to lug around a big camera for different angles etc. It would be impractical and would cost us filming time. I used this camera for our practice shots, so our group can be sure that the camera is fully working. Sound Our media department owns a hotshoe mic that is very similar to the picture. In our preliminary we tested the mic and the audio sounded fairly clean. Its also a likelihood that our intro primarily consists of music, meaning that the actual recorded audio will not be so prominent in the film.

Lighting I have some profoto flash heads that are used mainly for photography. The flash heads have a modelling bulb setting. This setting gives us constant light, the only downside of the light is that it is tungsten light. We may try to source some better lighting equipment, but if not the current one will suffice. The practice shots were done with the profoto heads and I can either set the camera to tungsten setting or to colour correct in post.

Lighting Set up

These are two examples of some of the lighting set-ups that were experimented with. All set-ups consisted of a single light source with a reflector opposite the softbox, on the other side of the prop to the softbox. The reflector would give a softer light to the left side of the frame in comparison with the very strong source light.

This small booklet is designed to give our group some rough initial ideas we can develop and expand from when we begin working on our storyboard. And to prepare all of our filming equipment and props so that we are fully organized when it comes to filming. We do still need to find a suitable room to film in with a suitable desk. We also need to start thinking about what kind of music we want to put into our piece, but that can mainly be thought about once in the editing process. Motion tracking would also be a very effective title animation we should think about. Ryan Still, signing out.