In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge
forms and conventions of real media products?
Plot- Our narrative is very conventional of supernatural horror. Paranormal activities begin to happen in the home, such as the music box opening by itself
and the flickering lights, and a mysterious figure appears. This then leads to a death. “The Amityville Horrors” takes the format of this plotline.
We created the supernatural
antagonist as an enigma by not
reviling much information. For
example its gender ,age and ethnicity
is kept unknown. We did this by
cleverly choosing certain costume
and make up to make the figure
Also the low key lighting and
character positioning meant that
the figure was hidden even
Also the fact that there is a lack of dialogue means that the audience will purely judge the characters on their non-verbal language and appearance. This
helps with their exposition as it adds an element of mystery to the characters. The supernatural figure will therefore be judged negatively due to its dark
physique and lack of movement and emotion through facial expressions. Also by creating a mystery it will entice the audience to watch on and find out more
about the characters.
Titles- We used a dark Reddish-brown colour for our text to
connote death horror and blood. This was inspired by the red
writing in Dawn Of The Dead.
Typography- We chose a thin font called „suicide draft‟ It visually works very
well with our opening and is very creepy looking.
We ensure that we kept to the rule of thirds when placing the text so that the
audience’s eyes’ would naturally find the titles and therefore not distract from
the actual footage. We also didn’t animate or make the text moving anyway
on the screen to make sure that all attention was on the footage.
For our main title we also used a red-brownish colour
text. We made the screen fade to black so that the
title was clearly visible as the background would
contrast with the letters. The black background is very
conventional for horror films, for example it is used in
Location- It is conventional for a supernatural horror to be set in the home of the protagonist. Supernatural horrors are set in people‟s
homes because it promotes the fear of something unwanted and unfriendly entering your own personal space, making you feel
frightened in the one place designed to make a person feel comforted and safe, this is what we wanted to create for our opening.
Having it set in what is meant to be a safe environment will automatically place the audience on the side of the protagonist and feel
empathetic towards them because we relate to how we would feel if our own homes were being destroyed. This makes us defensive and
angry at the spirit for ruining what is usually a new safe place.
An example of a super natural horror film which we have researched that is set in a house is Paranormal Activity
Characters -Our main character in the opening is a seemingly normal
girl who appears as harmless. We created her as a relatable typical
girl which is a very conventional character in supernatural films.
Characters within the horror genre are conventionally natural women
with a fresh faced look with simple clothing , this presents the
beautiful female form and doesn‟t project them as sexualised.
The first impression of the paranormal spirit is negative and confusing as
to why its tormenting the ordinary girl.
As many people believe that spirits and ghosts are just stories and not real
life its important to make the idea or notion seem as real as possible. So,
the use of characters in their own home relates them to the audience
watching, this common ground adds realism to make the characters seem
Props Usually in supernatural horrors if
there are any weapons it is, household
appliances, kitchen utensils, ornaments, and
garden equipment anything that is sharp,
long and or heavy. So we have been
conventional by using a kitchen Knife.
This subgenre tends to have less blood and
violence as it is more focused on paranormal
events. However we have challenged this
convention by making it very gruesome using a lot
of prosthetics. This was inspired by Zombieland.
Sound In this sub genre empathetic sound is used to reflect the mood of the characters in scenes of fear, panic and chaos. For example when
Hannah is reading the article report of her own death high pitched violins start to play to connote the fear she feels:
*insert clip of article*
In this genre, especially ones that involve a child-ghost, you can create contrapuntal sound by adding sound that is supposed to be sweet, innocent
and endearing to a scene where something terrible is about to occur. In our opening we have used the delicate music box sound which plays near
the start of the opening and returns at the end when the protagonist has died.
*insert clip of music*
For the non diagetic sound we slowly built in up through out the piece. At the start is low ambient music and then later on we begin to overlay more
sounds and incorporate high pitched sound at certain points. This way would could slowly build tension and apprehension.
Examples of music that inspired us-minor key-reptitive , seven?, crescendo,
N-V lang-mise enscene- deconstruct a frame
Many horror films use POV shots to make the audience feel more involved in the film and to create verisimilitude. The audienc e
will also relate more strongly to the character whose eyes they are looking through. We took this technique from the film
The conventional flickering lights shots are inspired by Amityville. Light flickering indicates that something unatural and
unexplainable and supernatural is about to happen. It creates tension and makes the audience feel uneasy
When developing concept we looked at a film called „The Possession‟
Objects moving unexplainably is very conventional of supernatural horror. It creates
unease and breaks down verisimilitude which would be very disconcerting for the audience
We were inspired by a clip in Donnie Darko. To recreate the clip we used stedi cam and rotated the
camera. The shot created a sense of uneasiness and almost places the audience in the confused
mind of the character themselves.
We used continuity editing through out the piece to create verisimilitude. We achieved this by cutting
on action. Continuity editing meant that the piece is more realistic and believable as many people
wouldn‟t believe in the supernatural figure. The continuity editing gave prevalence to the protagonist
Hannah. This makes the audience sympathise more with her than any other character.
Colour grading- We took inspiration about colour grading from „The Road‟ and „Sweeny Todd‟. They both had a desaturated style. It makes the
footage look more cold, creepy and sinister. So in Post Production on Premiere we desaturated the clips. This illuminated the yellow tint on many of
the shots which appeared due to the over head lighting.
--May go into further detail- talk about transitions and cutting rate?
Swish pan- to break verisimilitude and create something un natural and discomforting
- will add animation and some text boxes to break up text some more
Desconstruct a frame
Social groups- The main Character in our opening is White American
young girl, working class. We chose to use a young main character as
this reflects horrors core audience, so more relatable
The supernatural figure is left unidentifiable in our
opening, you cannot tell the figures age gender or
There are no males in the opening or any other ethnicities other than a White
American. This was unintentional, other ethnicities would have worked in our
opening but our main character established in the opening is appropriate for
The fact that we have not included a broad range of ethnicities and older
generations means that we could possibly be narrowing the demographic
which our film would attract.
Our opening reinforces some of the stereotypical views of women in society, such as them being viewed as over emotional and weak. The Binary
opposition is that a male is strong heroic, in control and powerful, where as a female is weak and not in control of her emotions. This is due to the
patriarchal society that we live in.
In our opening we have challenged the patriarchal society by presenting an emergent ideology. There is a main female character, where as this genre
is usually male dominated and orientated. Also we have thought about the rest of the film and would have a strong female character as the
protagonist, therefore reinforcing the progressive ideology that women are capable of being the hero. Therefore our film would be targeted more
aimed at females rather than males.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
The Supernatural figure is presented as an enigma, this means the
audience doesn‟t know the gender or ethinicity of the character. This
means that there are no clear ideologies about gender based or
ethnic issues in the opening.
Hannah is also represented as quite weak. Her will power is
displayed as low through non verbal language and post production.
She is instantly possessed and walks into the garage. Her eyes
turned black to highlight the fact that she has been possessed and is
no longer in control.
Hannah depicts both negative and positive
representations of women. In some ways Hanna is
represented as the stereotypical final girl. A final girl is often
included in horror films, this refers to the last woman or girl
alive who has to face the killer. The final girl has been
included in many films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th
and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The residual ideology that all
women are very emotional
and vulnerable is highlighted
through our protagonist
Hannah which is very
regressive. There is a CU shot
of a tear streaming down her
face. The non-verbal
language displays the fact she
can‟t hide what she is truly
feeling. This CU was inspired
from the film Amityville.
The CU shot also makes the
audience relate more to the character
and relate to the emotion that she is
This CU shot was inspired by the film Amityville.
However this shot also connotes power as you see herself come back and the
blackened eyes disappear as she is for one moment Hannah again and isn‟t
being controlled. She has broken the power that the supernatural figure had over
her. This goes against the residual ideology that women are weak and inferior to
We have used sound to makes you feel sympathetic for the character. For example as you
see the CU of her face and the fear in her eyes high pitched violins start to play. This
connotes her fear and panic which she is feeling on the inside.
*insert clip of Hannah with tear and high pitched sound*
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of
constructing this product?
The first online tool that we used was our blog on blogger. It enabled us to share ideas in a number of formats such as text, videos,
pictures and slideshows. This made it easy to see each others ideas, what we were looking at for inspiration, any genre development
ideas, sharing research and any location ideas. Comment and interact
We also used prezi. This was very helpful when developing out concept. We could easily make it visual and communicate to others exactly
what we had envisioned. It also meant that we had an easily accessible and managed way of storing our concept development, and if
anything changed along the way it was easy to edit or add too our ideas.
Survey monkey- this was very useful when testing out our ideas and getting recorded feedback. Survey monkey allowed us to create a
broad range of questions with different ways of answering. For example open ended questions and to what degree someone agreed with
an idea. This enabled us to see what our target audience through of our ideas and alter our ideas to meet their opinions.
You tube- Firstly it was very useful when researching title sequences and other horror openings. It enabled us to find out a lot of
information and get a lot of inspiration. Also it allowed us to upload any experimental shots we did before filming the actual opening
sequence, and also we were able to export our finished product. This meant that these clips could receive feedback through comments or
likes and dislikes. Now that our finished product is on you tube it meant that we could market it though various forms of social networking.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter allowed us to show a wide audience of people our opening and receive feedback very
easily and quickly.
-internet- this allowed us to do majority of our research. Such as looking into different horror sub genres, what were there conventions etc.
When filming our opening we used my DSLR camera which is a
canon 60 D. Using a DSLR was very useful as it meant that we
could adjust how bright the footage we were recording by adjusting
the camera settings. Also the camera enabled us to have HD quality
and create different depths of fields. example on this shot the death
of field was very shallow creating focus:
We used a tri pod to achieve still steady shots ensuring that there was no unwanted movement or jerking making our opening look more professional and high
quality. We could easily use the tri pod to move the camera frame to different heights and angles, this made it possible to try out a large variety of shots. The
tripod also allowed us to achieve steady slow pans. These were very effective :
(shot that pans down cranes)
We also used the steady cam for a couple of shots. For example we were inspired by a clip from Donnie Darko where the camera frame tilts and rotates. We
imitated this in our opening and to achieve the shot we used the steadi cam:
The only small issue with the camera was the fact it was quite heavy,
so when using the handi cam and taking the rotating shot it was
difficult to keep the rotation smooth
As we shot at night we didn‟t use any natural light. So in a way it was easier to keep lighting continuity as we weren‟t relying on the weather.
For lighting we used one tall light which could adjust to different angles and positions very easily. This was very useful when we wanted to
create interesting shadows onto walls and faces. We also used the built in lighting in the garage. By having a free standing light it meant we
were able to create a variety of shots and experiment and play with the lighting quickly while on set. It allowed us to create a silhouette when
Hannah has the knife in her hand which created tension :
This meamt that our footage had a yellow tint however in post production we were able to change the colouring.
The only difficult thing about the lighting was ensuring that nothing was too dark, as otherwise the footage would look grainy. So instead we
made the shots brighter than we wanted as we knew that in editing we could dark the shots if we wanted to. Also sometimes if the lighting
was behind the camera a shadow of the camera or tripod would be casted so we had to move around until it worked.
Time strech- when Hannah drops the knife we decided to expand the clips time. This made the clip
appear as if it was in slow motion. We wanted this shot to feel dramatic and focus the audiences
attention on the clip. To do this we right-clicked on the clips and then „time-stretch‟ and decreased the
speed to 80%
*insert clip of Hannah dropping knife*- before and after shots?
In and out points- after first initial editing stage realised how much more we could cur out, also making
the swish pan shots faster made it more dramatic and scary as it meant the supernatural figure wasn‟t
seen as clearly as was on screen for a very little amount of time
I have learnt about the 180 degree rule. It was completely new to me. We
ensured that in our opening we kept to this rule as it meant that audience
perspective would be kept. It was essential that we thought about this rule
while filming through out the opening.:
Compositing shots- mise en scene,
rule of thirds-
ensuring nothing was in the shot- for example in one shot you could see the wires leading to the light
Filters- presets- we adjusted contraast brightness and saturation to create our desired look, we then applied
this to all of the clips
Transitions- fade in and out
Main title- I created the title using stop motion
sound jump sound when monster appeared
non-diegetic background ambient sound constant all the way through
music box noise
high pitch noises for shocking / jumping effect
diegetic = cutting of the throat and chocking
(alex and laurel)