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Friday, 25 October 2013

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Special Effects (FX) In Opening Sequences

In many opening sequences there are multiple special effects used, these can be seen mainly in a lot of action, thriller and fantasy films. The main special effect is computer generated imagery (CGI), a large example of this type of special effect is the 'Transformers' trilogy, which uses CGI throughout the whole movie as they are the main characters next to Sam Witwicky. Using these in the opening sequence shows the audience the quality that will be in the film if a good CGI is used.
Also, the use of blue-screen's and green-screen's also is a massively used special effect, using this it shows the audience that they have a larger budget than independent film companies because they will have better green/blue-screen quality. This allows the audience to think that the film will have a good special effects scene. These types of special effects help gain a pre-sold audience for action genre films because it makes the film look more realistic.

Also 3D  computer graphics and film may be used, which show that the film has a very large budget and that it will have a strong special effects group, this will only appear in opening sequences if the whole film is going to be in 3D.

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Camera Shots In Opening Sequences

The main camera shot angle that is used for opening sequences is wide shots when displaying the location for instance in the Forrest Gump opening sequence, but when the main character is introduced the camera angle switches to a mid-shot to close-up so that the audience get a clear look at what the main character looks like so they can create their own first impressions of the character.

Also in Forrest Gump there is the camera technique of tracking the feather, which makes the audience subconsciously do the exact same thing, this is effective because without knowing they are actually doing it they are learning everything in the background because they are following the feather which is floating from side to side of the screen showing different landmarks. 

Sometimes there is an aerial shot to also show the landscape, location and environment that the film will mainly be set in. This can be seen in the opening sequence to 'Home and Away', this allows the audience to see the main set location.

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Editing And Transitions In Opening Sequences

Predominantly in opening sequences the main editing effect used is a fade; this implies a montage/flashback as if the main character is remembering what happened during the film or in some cases the previous film. It is also used to take away text and replace it with different credits if it isn't being used to create a montage effect. This effective because it keeps in flow with the opening sequence and it doesn't look out of place, where it would if it just appeared on the screen with no effect. Similarly, the camera pans across to a new credit, which keeps the flow of the opening sequence fluent and doesn't cause it to look abrupt and out of place. An example of this form of transition is in the credits for 'Panic Room'.

There is usually a use of sequence shot where there is both a long take and sophisticated camera movement. The use of the sequence shot allows for realistic and dramatically significant background and middle ground activity. This makes the opening sequence a lot more realistic for the audience.

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Sound In Opening Sequences

This plays a very large part in setting the mood and tone for the rest of the film; if the music is pop and really happy and the film is a horror film like 'Insidious 2' the audience won't be scared because the music doesn't set up the tone of the high pitched sounds when something scary is presumably going to happen. For instance, when this is displayed and the music is all happy it won't be as scary as it would be if the music heightened and then stopped and then there was a scream; the mood wouldn't be set for the audience.

Overall, the sound used in the opening sequence sets up the tone and mood that will then be carried into the rest of the film.
In this soundtrack it creates the mood because of the multiple changes in tone from high to very high and the speed of the music picks up pace, which makes me feel tense because it makes me breathe faster and harder because it is making me worried that something is about to jump out and when it doesn't I start to breathe slower and become calmer but then there is a pause and a very loud, sharp and fast screech, which makes you jump; you expect the worst to be over. The pause creates an effect because you then realise that something else is going to happen and you can't stop yourself from getting scared.

In romantic films the sound used is very soft, calm and relaxing, which makes the audience happy because it makes them relax and enjoy what is happening in the film because of the mood being set by the sound. Whereas, in action films the music is very up beat and is very fast, which makes the audience tense because the sound makes the audience jumpy and makes them want to be in the action and be the character that is in the film because the of the sound use. For instance, if a calm, soft, relaxing sound was used in an action film the audience wouldn't be as tense because the correct mood wouldn't be put across because the action during the film wouldn't link to the sound being used.
If this scene had a different kind of sound other than a heroic soundtrack the audience wouldn't get the excitement gained from the use of the right soundtrack. This is because the mood/tone wouldn't be set, which in this case is excitement about the suit and all the other suits around him.

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Mise-En-Scene In Action Films Opening Sequences

One main aspect of mise-en-scene in action films is that it is mainly about cars. This is how these types of films gain their pre-sold audience because they use cars that people like and want to see and they use these cars to draw in these people's attention to try to make them watch the film. Usually, the car ends up exploding, which draws in more pre-sold audience because of the excitement gained from these explosions.
Another main aspect is that they usually also involve guns, which cause more drama, which then draws in more pre-sold audience because they will enjoy the action caused by the guns because it causes two possible outcomes; the main character could get injured or die, or normally the main character gets injured and then kills everyone. All this is caused from the weapons that are selected in production and filming. Also the choice of weapon can change the genre of the action film for instance, if ninja stars are used it makes the film more of a kung-fu film and if machine guns are used it implies a more war type setting.

In action films the location of the footage plays a major part. If the film is set all in a countryside it will be quite boring but nowadays they are set in 2 different locations; a hot country and then a main city. This is evident in 'Transformers' where it is set in Sam Witwicky's home town Los Angeles and the exotic country Cambodia. 

The clothing worn by the characters implies the amount of action that has occurred during the film, also it allows the audience to relate to how much damage has occurred when people are wearing ripped shirts. The clothing also sets the time period of when the film is set for instance; if they are wearing canvas doublet, breeches, knitted caps, cotton waistcoats, stockings and linen shirts it would obviously be around 1485 like 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. 

The lighting used can suggest the characters role such as a villain would be heavily shadowed or veiled, by using silhouette. Whereas, the hero or main character would have under-lighting, which would make them look less evil because they wouldn't have a large shadow or they would have a spotlight behind them to make it look like the light was shining from them, which makes them look more heroic and angelic, so therefore less evil.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Conventions of Opening Sequences

Opening Sequences Credits

In this opening sequence, you can clearly see that the credit is in the very centre of the screen, which implies that the credit is very important and that the audience will know/ heard of this company. 

One main point of these credits is that there are multiple font sizes. The 'A' and 'Production' are a very small font and can barely be seen from the audience, which implies that this text is irrelevant and is not needed to be known by the audience. On the other hand, the text 'Steve Tisch/Wendy Finerman'  is very large in comparison, which suggests that it is very important to the audience and that they should know this information otherwise it would be the same font size as the 'A' and 'Production.

During the credits the main thing I have discovered is that the main actor/actress in the movie are always displayed first out of the other actors and sometimes they are displayed before the production credits begin; this is to show the audience that there is an A grade actor in the movie. Usually, the directors name comes at the very beginning of the opening sequence and then again at the very end. This is presumably to let the audience know who the director is to help them decide their first impressions on the film before it has even started; if it is a good director they will think the film will be good. On the other hand, if it is a director they think is bad or they haven't heard of they may not want to watch the film but it may also make them think "this may be better than their previous films" and decide to watch the film to see if the director proves his name worthy of being remembered by the audience.

Opening Sequence Analysis

Forrest Gump  

I drew out a detailed time plan of what occurs during the opening sequence of Forrest Gump. Fulfilling this allows to gain a greater understanding of what happens in this specific sequence but it also allows me to imply what occurs in most traditional sequences of this film's genre. This will help a lot when I come to the planning and shooting of my own opening sequence.

From this time plan I learnt that throughout (basically) the whole opening sequence the camera tracked a feather that floated across a city. This cleverly displayed the location the film was set in by making the feather float past notorious buildings that people would know, which meant that the main location of the film was known by people who knew what the buildings were. Later, if you still didn't know the country the feather floated down to the street (with the camera tilting down to catch this) it showed the notorious yellow cabs of the United States of America, this meant that people that didn't know the main location was the USA they now had a clearer understanding because they would be able to link the yellow cabs to a specific location because of multiple stereotypes, which were set by these specific type of cabs.

I learnt that there was a very calm, soft and gentle piece of music playing in the background throughout the sequence. This set the mood for the audience because the calm music made them feel stress free and relaxed, this mood would be carried through to the main film; the first thing they heard was relaxing so they will feel relaxed for the movie and anything that makes them jump, will make them remember it more because they were so relaxed and then a specific part of the film makes them jump, which is hard to forget because of the major change in moods. There is an example of this in the opening sequence; when the feather floats down and lands on Tom Hanks show the music heightens very slightly, which causes tension for the audience because they do not know what is going to happen, it could be something very dramatic or in this case keep the feather (very non-dramatic).

The positioning of the text is all the same (centre of the screen) this implies that all the information is important for the audience to know and understand. The only way they show the irrelevant information is by changing the font size. For instance; the production credits has 2 different font sizes, the irrelevant text such as, 'A' and 'production' are in a very small font; whereas the production companies name is in a font almost 4 times the size, which suggests that is the only relevant information needed to be known form that specific credit.

Tom Hanks is wearing a suit but it looks like it doesn't fit him or it isn't his; to start off with you just see his feet and he is wearing trainers that look to be covered in bird poo, which suggests to the audience that he is homeless or that he doesn't care about what he looks like, otherwise he would be wearing smarter shoes with a suit and tie. Another point of Tom Hanks mise-en-scene is his haircut; it looks like a haircut someone that has a very strict hair style (like the hairstyles for army people, which is based on stereotypes set by other films). This hairstyle makes him look less homeless but it further implies the scruffy look that he has been built up to have, which is first implied from the dirty trainers.

Opening Sequence Analysis

Casino Royale (2006)

This opening sequence is very different from stereotypical action movie sequences. It's main difference is that it contains no real people and consists of animations and symbols. The use of card symbols shows synergy between the title of the film; because they are primarily used in casino's. Also, it implies what is going to happen throughout the film, with the use of the animation acting out scenes from the film and the symbols of the Jack and Queen imply that he is going to be playing in a card game.

CASINO ROYALE (2006) - Breakdown of opening sequence
In this I broke down the main parts of the opening sequence. I wrote about what the specific parts of the sequence imply and what they suggest is going to happen throughout the film. I also wrote about the links between the symbols in the sequence and what they relate to/ might relate to in the film.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Opening Sequence Analysis

Dark Knight Rises (2012)

This opening sequence uses lighting very strongly to portray the mood of the film by using a very dark setting and making the images in the video black and white. This effect makes it look as if someone is tracking down Bruce Wayne and it implies that there is a very dark storyline involved with this film, It looks as if someone is developing photographs of each of the main characters, which implies that they are spying on them, which reiterates the idea of someone tracking them down.

The music used, builds up tension in the audience, which will be carried through into the rest of the film, this music builds tension because of the pitch, which is used. The pitch is very low, which reinforces the dark setting of the video and it heightens when the main actors are shown on the screen.

The movement of the text is very sharp and agitated, which causes more tension because it implies there is a lack of time and there is someone rushing trying to fulfil a task they have been set. At the end of the opening sequence the camera tilts up from the developing and it switches to the frozen lake and Batman's mask in cracked laying on the frozen lake. This suggests that something may happen to Batman during this film, whether it is him dying or he just gives up being Batman. This makes the audience think about what will happen to Batman to make this happen, this then causes tension for the audience because they don't want him to die but from the ending scene from the opening sequence this is strongly implied.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Opening Sequence Analysis

Inisidious (2010)

I chose this opening sequence because it has multiple edits, which create tension and the sound used creates a very strong mood for the audience, which will be carried out for the rest of the film. The lighting used also sets a mood of the film because it is very dim and you can't see a lot of things in the room but when something stands out it scares the audience because it does't blend into the dark rooms. 
This is my analysis of what occurred during the 2 minute opening sequence for Insidious (2010). At the top right hand of the image I have summarized what the opening sequence makes me feel and what mood is being set for the film in these 2 minutes. I feel that the colours of the text imply blood and that the editing of the text creates this eerie mood; it fades away but looks as if it is being burned. Also, the music creates this nightmare scene because it is very high pitched and it heightens when different things enter into the opening sequence, which causes tension and puts the audience in the mood already, even before the film has begun. I found out that the opening sequence stays the same all the way through. By this I mean the setting is the same, it passes through different rooms of one house and the lighting is all the same, the only things that change is the pitch of the music.

The use of the dark implies a very dark storyline and it makes the audience think that something could jump out at any point without you seeing where the thing came from because it is too dark, all you can see is the thing appearing in front of you without any notice of it going to happen. The sound helps this create a more scary mood because before the thing jumps out at you the music heightens in pitch and speed but then drops off and then there is a pause, which creates tension because it makes you think something is going to happen (but you can't stop yourself from jumping even though you already anticipated the thing jumping out) and then when the thing jumps out there is an even higher pitched screech, which makes you even more scared because you are expecting the thing jumping out but not the fast sudden high pitched noise.

The use of silhouettes creates a sense of mystery for the audience and makes them think about who or what the silhouette is and makes them think if the thing is a ghost or the main character. When the audience finds out what it is, it can make them scared or relieved depending on the outcome of the circumstance.

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