4 Person Action (3 min)

Introduction

After producing a two-minute drama, the next task the following week was to create a three-minute action film. This had to include four people with clear character types, such as hero, villain and dispatcher. The character types were first discussed by Roland Barthes in his Prop theory, which explained that every film has fundamental characters that have their different uses within narratives.

Codes and conventions were analysed that are typically expected from the action genre, such as fast paced, fight scenes and a chase scene. I was then placed within a group with four other people.

Preproduction

I created a Google drive folder to store any work. I found this beneficial as anyone could access it when shared with them and any work can be view or edited anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. The group found a use for the folder on the drive, uploading a location plan and I created a list of the cameras angles that was shared in the folder.

I felt that the pitch went well and the lecturer just cautioned us about the location in the university if we would use chase scenes in the corridors. A schedule was then devised, agreeing that a Saturday would be the best day as not many people would be using the university and no classes would be on.

Film Plot

The narrative includes two students walking down the university corridor when someone steals the female student’s bag. In anger, the male student who accompanied the female chased the thief, however, the bag had already been thrown down stairs where it had been caught by a second thief.

During the process of the female student searching for the thieves the chase with the male student continues with the second thief behind them. The first thief ran outside with the male student but before the second could teach the outdoors the female victim slammed a door in her face, making her fall to the floor. The student recovered the bag and knocked out the thief with that very bag.

When the student made her way outside it was apparent that the first thief had attacked her companion. In response she chased the thief, catching up to them and assaulting them. She may have begun as the damsel in distress but shortly became the hero within the narrative.

Production

Everyone arrived on the filming day, however, the original group member who was going to play a female role within the film had an injury and the second possible group member who would take her place also could do so, this meant that I had to be the character within the film. I am not comfortable acting and did not want to do so but I did not want to affect the group and overall film. I found that it was more enjoyable playing the character as previously thought because there was no verbal script which was something I was the least comfortable about. I felt a lot more confident not talking in the film and did not mind the action based roles.

A large variation of camera angles was used, including close-ups, low, high angles, tracking and panning shots. The close ups added impact on the action, such as when the thief first grabbed the bag from the student. This focused the audience’s attention of this action and emphasised the situation.

The tracking shots and point of view gave a sense of speed to the film, creating an action convention. This engages the viewers, positioning them behind the characters as if they were following or from the character’s perspective. I think these shots created an impacting atmosphere upon the action in the narrative and worked well with the genre. It added pace and emphasised the chase scenes.

The low and high angles were used to establish character dominance. For example when the thief was shown a low angle was used to make them appear dominant in the frame and intimidating. However when the victim was shown a high angle was used to connote that they were the weaker character. This was then more impacting when the angles were reversed as the victim became strong and defeated the thieves herself.

Each shot was only a few seconds, creating many takes which would create a faster pace within the narrative, compared to long takes of the same angle. This has produced fast-paced chase scenes, conforming to the action genre conventions.

The characters did not have a particular costume design. Casual clothing was used, however, the thieves were darker clothes to connotes a villainous trait. The bag was the only prop used, although a problem occurred due to the bag being forgotten which meant a different bag was used during the end of the narrative. I do not think this is very noticeable as I tried to keep it out of the camera but from audience feedback, they noticed that something had changed but did not directly suspect that it was a different bag.

Although there were some minor setbacks, including the bag the filming process was still conducted with no large issues and the team members worked well together, making the process enjoyable and faster. The use of an actor that has not apart of our group enabled the group to take part in filming and have extra members not acting to help the composition and ideas whilst filming.

Character Types

A variety of character types were used in order to create interesting characters and to meet the criteria of the film. The two villains were the thieves, the hero was originally the male student but then became the female student. The make student resulted in a false hero and the previously damsel in distress had an interesting twist, becoming the heroic character and strong female. A character that is typical of action films that this film did not include was the dispatcher. Ido does not think this affected the overall quality of the film but could have made more conventions to the action genre.

Postproduction

The film was then edited in Adobe Premiere. Everyone took part in editing and deciding how it should be edited. I had uploaded audio tracks to the shared folder on google drive which was then inserted into Premiere.

Fast paced music was used to accompany the shots. The music was important as it creates further impact and produced more action conventions. Fast beat drums were used during the chase scenes but heart beats were also used when in the point of view of the character being chased, adding suspense and drama.

Only a fade in and out transition was used to start and end the narrative. This created an effective appearance and indicated to the audience the end of scenes or a large gap in time. When the characters received impact from being hit a blackout was used. This was to create impact and connote that were getting knocked out. This was done by simply creating gaps between video clips that would automatically create a black screen.

During a chase scene in the university, a high angle panning shot followed two characters running down the corridor. In editing, this was changed to black and white with a timestamp in the bottom corner. This notes that this is a CCTV camera tracking the chase. I think this worked effectively and added more interest and shot variety to the film.

The editing process was not too time-consuming and everyone took part, making the process less stressful and faster. I think the overall effects worked well and created the desired effects that the group wanted.

Conclusion

To conclude the team effort and input creates an enjoyable experience with a much-improved output compared to the previous film I had created. The planning and variety of ideas from the team produced a faster-working pace, with thought into the shots which created an interesting outcome.

The planning before the shoot helped the filming process and improved the overall quality of the film. The deadline was met and I think the criteria of the film was achieved.

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