Thursday, 29 March 2012

Planning: designing a product

My brief was to create an action film based on a real or fictional video game, so I chose to take elements from a number of real title to create a brand which would be representative of real products whilst maintaining a setting and style which would still be achievable considering the constraints I had in terms of setting, characters and mise-en-scene in general.

A logical first chose of inspiration was EA's mirrors edge
This is a game well known for it's free-running style game-play and also incorporation of action. so was perfectly suited to my brief, however the majority of the game takes place atop sky scrapers which is not possible for me to achieve, there fore I looked to other similar games for setting.

Character Design

I found the Mirror's edge character design interesting.

The costume is simple, but also highly affective so when designing the costume for the characters I took this into account and this costume in particular was hugely influential in the design of the final costume.

Other sources of inspiration for the protagonists costume were:
Jade - Beyond Good and Evil

Cole - Infamous 2


I looked to the Half life series for inspiration on the setting, they had an interesting combination of sci-fi and modern day elements. which would be relatively easy to achieve for my film.

Another game with an aesthetic which could be interesting to explore was portal, the simple white backgrounds could make an interesting setting, similar to the district 13 setting seen in my earlier research.


For the antagonists I wanted them to be highly conventional so they were immediately recognizable as the troops/members of totalitarian regime.
To ensure this I thought about the kind of images I associated with this type of character, and also looked at conventional images. I chose to include my own perceptions as well as research as I am a member of the target audience and I wanted the enemy characters to be somewhat cliche and instantly recognizable for what they were.

I again looked at Mirrors edge as a key source of inspiration:

But also examples from games such as:

RAGE                                                 Beyond Good and evil                                                                 
The look of the Antagonists also borrowed heavily from films such as


To give the film some Grounding in reality I also looked at modern day SWAT teams for inspiration for the antagonists.

The product

The Idea I had for the product was one similar to many other films and games, featuring totalitarian states. the key protagonist is a key member of the rebel group who is vital to ensuring it's victory. Whilst the enemy is enforcing the status quo with excessive force.

From the examples I had gathered and seeing as many of the themes I had already collated leant themselves well to cliche, therefore I chose to name the Fictional game my video will be based on.

"On the Edge"

I felt it was representative of the kind of names seen within the genre, whilst being simple and catchy enough to be memorable. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


From the previous Examples I gathered the thoughts I had starting forming about the titles were to have floating text "in the world".

A previous examples where this could be seen were in the Deus Ex opening, and also slightly in the Crysis opening but those were instead on the various objects in the scene.

The technology being explained in the previous video is the reason why I picked it out as an example, because, like I previously said, incorporating the titles into the environment is where my thoughts are in terms of titles.

The same effect can be seen in this game along the edge of the tracks.

From this research and looking at titles usually seen in action films, I chose to challenge genre conventions and go for a more dynamic way of displaying titles by incorporating methods seen primarily in video games.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Distribution company

As the brief was for the film to appear to be based on a video game, I felt it would be required that the final film be a collaboration between a film and video game distribution company.

From the research I had already done into video game openings a trend I noticed where that they were all distributed by the same company.

EA are a well known distribution company who have published a huge variety of games including many from the action genre so they were the production company I chose to use for the video game arm of my films distribution.

For the film aspect I looked back at many of the example I had already found during my research to try and find a consistent distribution company. however whilst I recognized a lot of the big name production companies,  such as Warner Bros, Paramount and Columbia. none provided a constant trend, in fact every example had a different distribution company.

So in the end I looked at some of the less well known production companies, as from the research I concluded that they are more likely to take risks on innovative and original IP, and also from looking at the types of distribution companies involved in previous computer game to film adaptations, I found that smaller production companies are more likely to take on these kind of productions.

A production company I found through my research was Film district.

they seemed to have a tendency to publish horror and action films, as well as being an indie publisher, therefore making them more likely to take risks.

Summarising, the two distribution companies I chose for this film were EA and Film District.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Audience Research

I already had a key piece of information in terms of audience from my initial brief:

15-25yr old males and females

Because the brief also described the film as a mainstream action film finding out the key genres this target audience tended to watch was unnecessary.

even though 15-25 isn't a large age range, it encompasses a wide variety of people, with somewhat different overall tastes, as the minimum age is 15 then a certain amount of grittiness is to be expected from the film. From this  my thoughts were that to make a film appropriate to the target audience the film should attempt to look like a larger budget production instead of an indie production, as these are more likely to appeal to the target audience as a whole, as opposed to a smaller bracket of it. 

I also looked to IMDB, looking at the kind of audiences action films drew, specifically films based on video games.


Aged under 18 285 6.2
Males under 18 258 6.2
Females under 18 25 6.3
Aged 18-29 8,219 5.0
Males Aged 18-29 7,707 5.0
Females Aged 18-29 469 5.6

Lara croft

Aged under 18 894 6.4
Males under 18 622 6.3
Females under 18 263 6.6
Aged 18-29 35,352 5.6
Males Aged 18-29 28,707 5.5
Females Aged 18-29 6,455 6.0

I also looked at the action film the matrix

Males under 18 5,536 8.8
Females under 18 1,118 8.2
Aged 18-29 254,728 8.8
Males Aged 18-29 218,129 8.9
Females Aged 18-29 34,921 8.4

What was clear from doing this research was that in terms of viewing figures, male viewers far outnumbered females. To combat this the obvious change would be to incorporate a female protagonist, however from looking at both the matrix which has trinity in a key female role and Lara Croft being the main character in tomb raider, it is clear that a key female character alone isn't enough to create a film which would also appeal to a female audience


From this chart and research into viewing habits, I found that on average females tended towards films which focused more on characterisation and story, as opposed to the action heavy films men tended to favour. a way to address the female portion of my assigned target audience would be to have a greater focus on characterisation and story , this would however be addressed in the film as a whole, and would have little effect on the opening.

Therefore from this research it would be best to focus on the conventions of action film openings and use them to inform my own product, as they would already encompass the aspects included to appeal to the target audience in the opening.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Continued research: Computer game Openings

I liked the floating text effect on the title in this video as my thoughts were to incorporate something like this into my own film.

what I liked about these three examples was the close ups on various bits of technology, and in the two Crysis examples how they combined this with action.

As stated before video games will have a large affect on the mise-en-scene, so my thoughts are to have a focus such as this on a close up on a character

To develop/ challenge genre conventions my thoughts were to instead have the close-ups on the antagonists as opposed to the protagonists, then to cut to the chase scene previously mentioned throughout.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Continued research: Chase scenes

I chose to look at chase scenes more specifically, identifying aspects that they typically included. Though many of these are not film openings they do give a look at what is commonly included within chase scenes. which I can build into the final video.

many of the stunts here are too complex for me to achieve but it can still be used to see the conventions  commonly seen in action openings.

This was a good example to look at, because it was a comparatively simple chase scene, without the skilled actions and fighting often displayed.

The stunts seen in this example would be impossible to achieve, as I don't have skilled enough actors, to do these kind of things, however how the actors use the environment was interesting and something I could definitely think about adding into my opening.

From researching into chase scenes, I found a number of shots and styles of filming which would be interesting to incorporate into my own film.

What is clear is that a sequence of this kind will require a lot of planning and choreography to achieve successfully.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Research and Planning

As my brief is primarily to make an opening for an action film, just for it to be based on a game, I know that the focus should be on the film aspect of that brief instead of the video game angle.
The elements which will be most influenced by the video game element of the brief would be the various aspects of  the mise-en-scene.

To begin generating ideas, and to see what action film openings usually comprise of I turned to Youtube, as it is an extremely useful research resource, as I discovered during the A2 coursework.

As my brief was for a mainstream action film, I decided to begin my search by looking at openings to a wide variety of action films. As "action" is a very broad genre and can encompass a wide range of different styles and settings, I found myself looking at many films which were somewhat different form one another, I was however able to establish trends and genre conventions which will be integral to the creation of my own Film opening.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to embed this video, but the James Bond films are classic examples of action films.

I also looked at more stylised film openings, these offered less of a clear cut narrative but would also be clearer in terms of titles and setting up a narrative and tone for the rest of the film.

As my brief was to create a film which appears to be based on a real or fictional computer game, I thought it would be pertinent to also research into the specific genre characteristics associated with game to film adaptations.

Consolidation of preliminary research

One of the key defining conventions seen across all openings to mainstream action films, and also action films based on games, is that they they quite rightly begin with some kind of action sequence. unfortunately large scale action sequences are far beyond the limits of what I can achieve.

However from this research I also found that many action films begin with a chase scene, such as that seen in  the matrix and James bond openings in conventional action films, but also in the opening sequence to the Tekken film, an example of a real media text based on a video game.

Taking this into account my preliminary thoughts on my opening were that it should perhaps consist of some kind of chase sequence. However I wanted to look at openings to computer games as well and incorporate elements from the openings of those.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Preliminary Exercise

The Task 
For the preproduction of our preliminary exercise we had to create a short film with an emphasis on continuity. within this we had to include
  • shot/reverse shot
  • 180 degree rule 
  • match on action 

Pre production

 We also wanted to make it more interesting than a simple sequence of shot/reverse shots with a single match on action. We had many ideas for our film and the idea we went for was the drug dealer style meeting, with a twist at the end.
Production of the storyboard went quite well we didn’t run into any real problems. Some of our shots were a little ambitious and weren’t included in the final film. A key example of this is in the first storyboard where we thought about having a shot tracking George whilst tilting the camera up George’s body. We tried to think forward when creating the storyboard, thinking how the shots would flow together and how we would be able to include the shot's we needed. Also when creating the storyboard we had to make sure we had enough room to do the shot, as some of our first ideas would have meant to avoid breaking the 180 degree rule we would have had a metre space to shoot in which would have limited the shot's we could take quite substantially. We made sure to include plenty of shots where we would be able to show match on action and to make the film flow together. 
we didn't need to write a script as the dialogue was minimal so was able to be included on our story board. 
here is the scanned in images of our storyboard. 


During the production I directed the majority of the film. And also did some of the camerawork. For one of the production days I wasn’t able to help as I had a trip with physics. Overall I feel the production went well. We got all the shots we needed with plenty of footage to edit with. Plus I felt that all of our shots were well framed. The filming overall also went quite smoothly with a minimum of mucking about and we were able to finish the filming in about 4-5 lessons overall. When filming we made sure to never pass the 180 degree line as it would ruin the flow of the film.   
As mentioned in the pre-production post some of our shot’s had to be dropped or changed. These were because they were either to ambitious and we weren’t able to successfully pull them off. Also for some of the early shots in the film we were going to use a dolly to do a tracking shot however the surface we were using it on meant that it was far to wobbly and there was too much noise from the dolly. When combined with tilts and pans it made some of the shots incredibly difficult to achieve for rather poor results.
We normally got three good takes for each shot as this allows plenty of flexibility at the post production stage to choose the best take and also to allow for takes which on reflection aren't as good as we first thought. some of the shots we needed required the use of a long board as the dolly was too high for the shot we wanted, the shot of the feet walking along. this proved problematic as the person we were borrowing the long-board from kept forgetting so we were unable to get the shot 

Post production  

The post production went well I feel. overall our footage was to a high standard and we had enough to be able to edit easily and efficiently. We had all the shot we needed and more so that we could choose the best shot from the footage we had. we had many areas where we could show continuity with the footage as it was well filmed and was easy to edit smoothly together. this is largely due to he thought we put in during the pre production and production to do with continuity and making sure that the shot's we wanted flowed easily together without jumps and continuity errors 
 one of the key problems with this film is the audio, throughout the film there is a constant buzz. however there is very little we could do about it once we had got to the post production stage as we would have had to re-record everything or dub over the audio which would both be time consuming and dubbing over would be incredibly difficult to sync. 
another problem with the audio was also one of the shots we had, had no audio so I had to re-record that audio then dub it over. thankfully the sound is not really noticeable as being dubbed over as I used the same equipment in the same area to try to recreate the original sound as well as possible.
about half way through the film we had a couple of shots which broke the flow of the film. this was because there was too many shots in the period of time and also the editing didn't quite match up so the characters jumped around, this was fixed however when some of the shot's were lengthened and others were removed. 
towards the end of the film one of the shots is mean to fade out however after exporting it to an avi file a weird flashing effect occurred we decided to keep it in though as firstly re-exporting probably wouldn't fix the problem and also we felt that it fit with the style of the end of the film.

The Brief!

A mainstream action film that will appeal to both 15-25yr old males and females.
Your film should appear to be based on a "fictional" or real computer game