FMP Evaluation

My proposal was for a parody trailer of Hollywood B-movies from the 50’s, specifically the Monster movie genre, that became popular after Godzilla’s success. The trailer would feature a lot of tropes common with movies at the time, for instance, having a screaming lady be the start of the trailer, font styles reminiscent in some way of the main theme of the movies. And of course, linking the disaster to Nuclear Radiation in an attempt to attach a moral to the story, or make it seem like it has depth. I also wanted to recreate the look of these trailers, so everything is black and white, there is a damaged film overlay on the video, I used aforementioned fonts and cheap practical effects to make it look like it was made on a low budget and pushed out the door to compete with larger film franchises.

I felt that my proposal was quite ambitious. For my idea to work I would have to learn how to use several programs which I had little or no experience in. Some of these programs were not used at the college either, which meant that it was up to me to teach myself how to use them, which meant if something went wrong, it could have been crippling for the project.

 

For research I looked into various B-movie trailers, seeing what themes they have in common and what filming styles are popular throughout each movie. I did a lot of secondary research for this project, looking at trailers, reviews (both written and video) in order to find out how to best emulate the style that I wanted for my video. However due to the nature of the project that I was doing, it was difficult to do Primary Research, as many of the actors who starred in these films have passed away or faded into obscurity and have no way of being contacted, this meant that I was basically only able to do Secondary research as there was no-one left to talk about their experiences on set of one of these productions, which I think is a great shame as it would have been a great opportunity to find out more about how the films were made and would have helped me greatly when it came to filming my own movie.

While I think that the sources that I selected were interesting, I think they were somewhat limited by their nature, I would have loved to have been able to speak to someone who worked on a B movie or find restored footage of one, to better make out some of the footage, as now-a-days it’s quite hard to make out what’s on the camera, due to damaged film and just the overall bad quality that cameras could record at during that time period.

As I developed my ideas I began to focus my references down, while at first I would look at a range of B-movies from various genres and times to find ones that better represented the final product that I wanted to produce. So I went from looking at trailers for things like Dracula and The Swarm, to more relevant films, such as The Monster that Challenged the World and Gorgo. These newer more relevant references helped me focus on what type of film I wanted to create. I think however, my film would have been better if I had been able to get some Primary Research, I feel that knowing more about how the films were made behind the scenes would have greatly improved my own.

 

I had quite a few grand ideas when I first proposed my idea, I wanted to use After Effects a lot more than I ended up doing, I had to scale back on After effects because as the deadline approached I found myself having more and more issues with it, that was hindering the development of my film. I also developed how much I utilized the cat, as during recording he was somewhat un-cooperative when it came to knocking down the buildings, this meant that I had to use the majority of the trailer time having the characters react to the monster while showing it sparingly, this ended up working in my favour however as it actually ended up emulating those old movie trailers more accurately. I also had to trim the video a bit as the music track wasn’t quite as long as I needed, so I had to find areas to trim a bit of unnecessary footage in order to make sure the video fit the length of the music track.

My work ended up stalling for a while when the Pre-Production was suddenly dropped on us, this meant that I ended up with a lot less time to film and edit that I had initially anticipated. This was bad time management on my part as I was caught off guard by the sudden addition to my work load and ended up panicking a bit, so my progress slowed and harmed the production of the film. None the less, I was able to complete my film on time and submit it, though I wish I had had the extra time to go over the film and fix any faults that may have been present in the final version I ended up submitting.

 

For my project I did a lot of research into various B-Movie trailers, this was to give me an idea of what kind of things I’d need to emulate in my own film. The links that I found the most useful were to trailers such as ‘The Monster that Challenged the World’ and ‘Gorgo’ which were monster movies similar to the one I wanted to parody. I also looked at trailers for films like Dracula, and while they did share similarities in style, they weren’t quite as focused as I wanted. It was a different genre to the one I wanted to recreate.

While I didn’t ask any proper film-makers what they thought of my project. I did receive a lot of support from my classmates, who seemed very interested in the movie I was going to make, despite them not knowing much about it which helped my confidence in the project.

As I developed my ideas I began to focus my research so that it was more related to what I was hoping to create. Changing the focus of my research to better reflect the project I wanted to create, helped to identify what tropes were common with the genre and what styles they used when filming. Narrowing down my research helped me create a better image in my head of what my FMP should look like, so as I worked on my FMP more I looked at more B-movie trailers, narrowing down the style of trailers that I looked at until I was only looking at the most relevant for my project. This meant that while early on in the research stage I would have looked at films like Dracula, later on after I had focused my research to the most relevant results. I would only be looking at Monster movie trailers such as the one for Gorgo

If you look at other people’s work before starting your own then it gives you the inspiration that you need to start a project. For instance, the inspiration for my FMP first came to me when I was working on the Vox Pop project, I had based my Vox Pop around the B-movie genre. Looking into B-movies while researching the genre gave me the idea to create my own and that thought stayed with my until the FMP, where I realized that it was totally possible to make a trailer for one, so I set about planning it.

 

When it comes down to Problem solving. I did encounter a few issues, some of which I have briefly mentioned in previous parts of this evaluation. When it came to the Pre-Production, the main issue that I faced was a lack of understanding what some of the technical language used and some of the questions it asked, which had gone largely unexplained. This meant that I panicked a little when faced with something I didn’t know how to solve. I solved this issue by speaking with my teachers and fellow classmates so that I could figure out what the questions on the paper meant.

During Production I wasn’t as troubled as I had been during the Pre-Production and Planning phase however I still encountered a few issues here and there. For instance, when I was filming with the cardboard city. The wind was constantly blowing down the buildings, meaning they constantly had to be reset and so the City never really had a consistent look to it. To solve this problem, I used Blu tack and tape to secure the buildings down, while keeping them loose enough for the Cat to knock down on his rampage. Another issue I had was that when recording my actors reading their lines, there was occasionally background noise or the actor made a mistake which meant we had to reshoot the scene. It wasn’t too much of a hassle as the scenes were short so we didn’t have to waste too long, but it did end up wasting a bit of time that I would have liked for a bit of additional editing time.

When we started editing I did have a few issues. I find Premiere Pro CC to be slightly less intuitive than CS6, I don’t think the User Interface in CC is as good, I think it’s a bit more confusing especially when it comes to the placement of Keyframes, which I remember being very easy to do in CS6, however in CC it isn’t quite as easy. These issues were easily solved. An issue I had more problems with was the green-screen, while it mostly worked, there were some areas where the green-screen became visible and I’d have to use another Key to get rid of these blotches of green. I couldn’t use the Key too much however, otherwise the actors would start disappearing. So I had to balance the amount of green and keeping the actors visible as best as I could. This meant that in places throughout the video, there are splotches that appear on the screen where I wasn’t able to totally get rid of the green. Luckily, thanks to the style of my film and a damaged film overlay over it, it usually just makes it seem like the film is even more damaged, this is because the Green isn’t distinguishable as the entire film is in Black and White.

 

This project has developed my skills in After Effects, as I had to use the program a few times to create a scene present in my film. Before I didn’t have a great idea of how After Effects worked, having only used it once previously, however thanks to this project I have learned more about it, and am now able to create basic video effects. Such as a Bolt of Lightning launching out of someone’s fingers.

 

Learning about After Effects was quite interesting, I actually found it a lot easier to use than I had expected. Which means that if I’m required to use it again in the future, I’ll be more confident in my ability to use it. This project also taught me how to use the Green-screen. Which I used extensively during the project. It actually turned out to be easier to use than I had anticipated, as all I needed to do was ensure the screen was flat against the wall to keep a consistent shade of green across the whole thing, ensuring there were no creases or shadows. If there were, then the greenscreen effect would be ruined and I’d have to reshoot almost the entire production.

I think my interests and strengths have mostly stayed the same. Though I do feel as though that I have gotten a bit better at sound editing and technical problem solving as I had to find sound effects to fit my production as well as edit some of the recorded dialogue as it didn’t stand out very well when played alongside music. As for the technical side of things, I had to learn how to use After Effects for a scene in the film. As we did not learn After Effects as part of the standard curriculum, I had to teach it to myself. This like Green-screen was easier than I expected, which was fortunate as it helped me complete my film before the deadline.

 

I think my outcomes were relatively successful. I was able to successfully use Adobe After Effects in my project despite having little experience in using it, and I think my FMP does a good job of recreating the B-Movie style I was going for.

If I were to do things differently, I would probably change a lot of the scenes where I shot the cat doing something, as I felt they were a bit weak. I would use a Steady-cam device for some shots so that there wasn’t as much shaking in the camera. I would also have liked the City to have a more uniform layout, and have it painted so it actually can pass as a model city. I would like to get more low angles of the cat as I believe that the high angles made the Cat seem less of a threat as he was supposed to be presented as. I would also like to try recording the narration again, as my mouth was too close to the microphone during the initial recording. Editing the narration audio is also something I would like to try again as despite it being good for the video, It didn’t capture the 50’s narrator style that I was hoping to recreate in the FMP.

If I were to change anything it would probably be the use of Greenscreen, while I think it looks good in the actual FMP, I think it was used too much, and having some actual locations for the characters to stand in would have looked better than what I decided to go with in the end. Though the use of Greenscreen in the FMP did mean that I didn’t have to waste a lot of time searching for locations to use, as I only needed to use the TV studio in the end.

I think my strengths came in my editing. Though it took a while, I was able to edit all the footage I had into a cohesive movie trailer that the class found quite entertaining. I was able to successfully use Adobe After Effects to create a scene for my film despite little prior experience in it, and then export that scene into my FMP in Premiere Pro CC. I think my weaknesses once again showed in my Audio, as I was unable to edit my Audio to create the desired effect that I wanted and I didn’t use a boom or zoom to capture the audio of my Actors, The Narration audio, though captured on a zoom, wasn’t as good as it could have been as I had held the zoom to close to my mouth and so had picked up some interference. Next time I think I would like to explore After Effects more, and see what else is possible with the program, as I only used it for one scene in this project and it was a rather basic effect that I created.

I believe that my outcomes have communicated my theme quite well. I think that the presentation of my project communicated the idea that the film was a parody of 50’s monster movies. The use of Black and White and a Damaged Film overlay would have at least told viewers that the film was supposed to be a vintage movie. My use of common tropes in B-Movie trailers would have also communicated that this was a satire of the genre. However only people with a familiarity of the Monster Movies of the time would really be able to distinguish that, as many people now-a-days haven’t seen these old films and so wouldn’t be familiar of the tropes in the genre. Despite that, I believe the visual identity of the film would be enough to clue them in to the era of film that it was parodying.

 

Learning the basics of After Effects will allow me to experiment with more complex effects in the future, and using custom fonts for the project means that now I know how to download and install fonts on computers for use in my projects. Learning how to use the Greenscreen will be very helpful for future projects as I won’t be as limited when it comes to settings for my films.

The issues that I encountered during filming and audio recording have taught me how to better use Zooms and to invest in a steady-cam as these will increase the quality of my productions.

The research process I employed in which I selected various research sources and narrowed them down until only the most relevant remained. This meant my FMP was more focused and coherent than it otherwise might have been.

The issues I encountered when shooting outside have shown that if I plan to use an outside environment in one of my films, then I have to plan it a lot more thoroughly. As I had issues of props getting blown over which meant that scenes kept having to be reset.

 

In Conclusion, I believe that while the filming aspect went mostly alright, I should have planned more when it came to shooting outside as the wind kept on knocking props over and I had to stop filming after a while as it began raining and as the prop city was made of cardboard, I couldn’t keep filming in case it got damaged.

I felt I was strongest when it came to editing I think I was a lot stronger. I experimented with Green-screen and Adobe After Effects and both of these turned out much better than I had expected. However, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the text appeared on the screen. I would have preferred it if I could have added some transitions in the film so that the text coming on screen was more interesting than it just appearing out of thin air.

The audio needed work. It wasn’t bad but I spoke too close to the zoom when recording the narration so the narration got slightly distorted. I also think I reduced the sound of the music too much in places as there were points where the music became really quiet and was barely audible. This happened mostly during the narration segments.

I think that the overall style and presentation of the final product was very good, I think it succeeds in emulating the style of 50’s monster movies. The music that I selected, which was the main theme of ‘The Monster that Challenged the World’ which fit the film, but wasn’t long enough, so I had to extend it by cutting out a segment of the song, copying it and pasting it onto the end, before moving the actual end of the song to the end of the track. This actually turned out well and you could barely distinguish the point at which the track repeated itself.

I think that my time management on the project could have been improved as I often came across an obstacle and found myself floundering for a while trying to figure out what to do, this wasted a lot of time that I could have used more effectively if I had been able to discover the source of my problems or asked somebody for help. The death of my Great Uncle towards the end of the Project did not help as it meant I had to go up North to attend the funeral which meant I couldn’t work as much as I wanted too for a number of days.

Overall I think this project went very well, I believe I achieved my aims and I think my film projected its message and theme to the audience quite well. And I think the editing that I did was quite good, though it could have been improved in a few places, namely with the way the text appeared and the audio levels. I would have liked the footage of the cat to have been shot a little better but what I have in the film works. This project has been a learning experience for me in many ways and at the end of the day I am very happy with my Final Major Project, even if it could still be improved in areas.

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FMP Evaluation

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