Introduction to AS coursework

My name is Ela and my candidate number is 9426. The other members of my group are Amber Mota (candidate number 9114) and Godgift Emesi (candidate number 9044). We are group number 3.

To access my work, please click on the labels on the right, entitled 'AS Research and Planning', 'AS Construction', 'AS Evaluation' and 'AS Preliminary Task' and ignore the rest that is classwork.

My Film Opening Sequence (Group 3: Ela, Gift, Amber) (New Guy)

My Film Opening Sequence (Group 3: Ela, Gift, Amber) (New Guy)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

1. Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What roles did you take and what did you learn? What were your best bits and why?

I enjoyed the workshop shoot day as I had never experienced or performed in a professional shoot before. We learnt how to use professional filming equipment and each of us were involved in helping the team as much as possible. Although, we had to remember importance of the shoot schedule in order to film each set up in time. It was a challenging an tiring workshop but I was pleased with the footage that we managed to shoot.

What roles did I take on?

Acting as the bass guitarist for Group 3: I had not performed in a filmed production before, so this was a new experience. I tried to take on the character of the bassist in Paramore's video rather than act out exact movements, so that it would seem more like the original. It was more difficult than I expected not to sing the lyrics but to perform as a guitarist.

Photos from the rehearsal and performance:

Clapperboard: I had already used the clapperboard for our film opening in AS Media, although it was particularly important for this shoot. It made it easier to organise set ups and takes while editing, and saves time when watching footage. By helping the crew on set I learnt how different camera set ups create different effects when filming (for example, some of the shots required a dolly and some were hand-held).

I also learnt that other jobs on set were equally important, such as cable bashing to keep the backstage area clear and moving the dolly on the track smoothly. It was particularly useful to have the TV screens by the stage, so that the performers could watch the original video before filming and remember specific movements. The director was also able to watch an edited version of the original video for each band member. Although I did not move the dolly, I noticed that we had to keep the dolly moving at the same pace without hitting the edge of the track to get the most effective shot.

Cable bashing
Moving the dolly on the track
The most enjoyable part of the workshop day was shooting takes of the whole song and watching the footage on the TV screen while it was being filmed. It showed us how important camera angles and techniques were in creating the best effect. It was useful to work with professionals as well as our friends and to experience what a professional shoot would be like.

A gif from our final edit

2. What have you learnt from participating in each prelim tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5?

Task 1: Audition Video
  • We filmed and edited a 3-minute lip-synch of Misery Business after having learnt the lyrics and picked up on character's movements in the original video. This was used by the staff team to cast the remake video.

I learnt a lot during this task as it was the first time I had filmed a lip-synch. We took several takes of the song from different angles so we would have more choice of shots to edit. I learnt how to sync our movements and singing to the music during editing, so that the lip-synch would look as plausible as possible. We had a limited time to complete this task so we had to make sure that we didn't waste time and had at least one shot for each part of the song.

Task 2: Learning and practising our performance
  • I learnt the importance of using body language and actions to perform as the character rather than relying on lip-synching.
  • Getting into character beforehand and practising the movements of the bassist was also useful.
  • Practising with the other band members was helpful as the performance became more energetic and enthusiastic when we all performed and interacted. 
  • It was important to warm up before filming. 
  • There were no specific actions for the guitarists - we had to try and get into character and be enthusiastic in our roles.

Warming up before performing:

Rehearsal of all 3 bands:

Task 3: Helping to plan and organise our costume

We had costume references for each band member - which required black and bright coloured clothes that were as similar as possible to those in the original video. Each of us brought in clothing that would be appropriate for any band member and we were responsible for making sure that our costumes and make-up were ready in time for the final costume check.
We noticed that the hair, make-up and accessories were also important as they made the video appear more realistic and creative.

The make-up artists made Hayley's character as similar as possible to the original video:

Bassist character profile and costume references:
My costume

Task 4: The Shoot

Our shoot was the most tiring task for the remake as it lasted from 8am to 8pm, however, I learnt a lot from it -
  • Sticking to the shoot schedule is important in order to film all the set ups and takes.
  • It's more effective to film different camera techniques (some shots were hand-held while others required the dolly and track).
  • While other groups are performing, the rest of the cast should be helping the team, getting themselves ready or practising for their performance.
  • The roles of the director and first AD during the shoot. 

Task 5: The Edit

The editing stage was the most time-consuming as it required us to choose the best takes, sync each set up to the original music, add in effects such as flashes and grade the shots individually. I became more confident in my editing skills although it was very different from editing our film opening. We spent all of our free periods and time after school on this task, and from editing our footage I learnt -
  • How to sync set ups correctly to the original music track.
  • Shots in music videos do not have to follow the continuity rules that films follow.
  • It is necessary to pay attention to details such as framing, width of the shot and grading.
  • The importance of managing time and sticking to the edit schedule.
Before/after grading

3. Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

Remake Music Video:

Amber and Ela - Misery Business SD from Latymermedia on Vimeo.

Footage - 

Overall I was pleased with our footage as we managed to film 23 set ups which did not require many takes each. The hand-held shots were particularly effective as they looked the most like the original music video. We also took several close-ups and mid-shots from different angles, which gave a better view of the stage and band. I didn't expect the costumes and set to look as professional as they did on camera. The shots in which the band interacted with each other were also effective and made the video more energetic.

If we had time to re-shoot, I would have filmed more takes of each set up to make sure we had shots for all the movements of the lead singer. Also, we noticed during editing that some of the shots were the wrong way round, and when we flipped them, the "RIOT" backdrop appeared the wrong way round.

Final Edit - 

I was also pleased with our final edit, as we managed to change the framing of shots so that they matched the original and grade them well. The solo of the main guitarist was the most effective as we synced her movements in time to the music and inverted the shots which worked well. Also, the lip-synch for Hayley looked realistic when we synced it to the music track.

Main guitarist solo footage:

However, some set ups were not filmed from the same angle as the original video, so it was difficult to find certain shots of our band. In hindsight, we could have filmed Hayley's exact movements so it would be easier to find shots when editing. If we had more time to spend on editing, I would have made sure the framing of shots was more accurate and graded individual shots better.

We did not film this shot of Hayley lifting her arms in the original video,
so we had to use a different take.

In terms of editing our remake video, I would have spent less time trying to find the best takes and focused more on effects and grading. Although, our final edit looked much better after grading and adding flashes, as this made it appear more fast-paced. The flash effects were added using the Luma Corrector which we had not used before.

Luma corrector on Premiere Pro:

4. How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

I think the prelim will significantly impact my approach to next term's music video coursework, as I have learnt much more about directing and working on a professional set. I realised that a lot more time and commitment is required to produce a creative and interesting video.

I have also learnt the importance of planning the shoot in advance, to make sure that the filming location and cast are prepared. Producing a shoot schedule and organising the takes beforehand saved a lot of time during the shoot day and allowed us to refer back to footage easily when editing. Reference images from the original video also helped the director and camera man when deciding whether a shot was effective or not. 2 weeks prior to the shoot day, we had character profiles and costume lists which helped us to audition for particular roles and choose the most appropriate costumes. This was useful for planning the shoot as we did not have to waste time on the day finding a costume or deciding on hair and make-up. For next term's coursework, I plan to organise the cast's clothing and make-up in advance so that we do not have to improvise on the day.

Original video set:

Our set was prepared in advance:

From completing the prelim, I realised that it will be necessary to organise a crew for the shoot day. It would have been much more difficult to produce the footage without a director, cameraman, choreographers and make-up artists on set. I would also consider choosing a cast from outside of my media group, so that we can focus on shooting the best footage. We would also have to audition actors as we did in the prelim, to make sure they are suitable for the role.

Director, 1st Assistant Director and choreographers - responsible for organising the shoot, time management, sticking to the schedule, the director decides whether or not we need to re-take a shot.

Cameraman - responsible for filming the shots and making sure the framing is correct

Make-up artists -

Timings are also going to be important, as we did not manage to stick to the shoot schedule on the prelim shoot day, resulting in the final set up not being filmed. The edit week taught me that most of my free time should be spent in the edit suite as grading and adding flashes took longer than we had expected. Our prelim required us to edit lots of small details in the footage, such as the framing of shots, so that it would look like the original video.

What we will need to consider for next term's music video:

1. The genre and setting of the video, deciding on a suitable shooting location
2. The type of characters and their roles
3. Costume references and planning costumes/hair/make-up
4. The framing and composition of shots
5.. Choosing actors based on their auditions
6. Creating a shoot schedule with set ups
7. Delegating responsibilities between the group
8. Choreography and rehearsing with the actors
9. Possible re-shooting or a back-up shoot

A detailed shoot schedule must be made before the shoot day:

1. Creating an edit schedule and using free time
2. Editing by set ups, and syncing the lip-synch to the original track
3. Spending more time on grading so that the shots match
4. Make sure there is enough time to add in creative effects (such as flashes, flips)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

This blog is now closed

Below are the posts showing each stage of production required for our opening sequence. The posts are marked "AS Research and Planning", "AS Construction" or "AS Evaluation" depending on which stage they are relevant to.

Hopefully you will enjoy our watching our final outcome and the progress it has made from the beginning of the project. The finished sequence is in Evaluation Post 7.

Thank you.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Question 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The opening sequence of "New Guy" both develops and challenges the forms and conventions of teen comedy films. Although most of our opening sequence adheres to the conventions of the genre, we aimed to challenge some character representations and stereotypes. This allows our film to be more unusual and original, fitting it into the indie sub-genre. However, we had to consider our intentions of including enough of the typical conventions to attract our target audience. Also, we wanted our characters to be realistic and relatable for our targeted audience members. Our plot consisting of a new boy joining a high school in London is a typical narrative that would be in a 'coming of age' film.



Most teen comedies incorporate social events (such as parties) and create humour for the audience as the focus of the main character usually revolves around their social status or popularity. These social gatherings are intended to show the different friendship groups within a school or university. The mise-en-scene of these settings usually involves dark lighting and loud music, and includes themes such as socialising and drinking.

Using this website I created a photo montage to show examples of films which include the concepts of social lives and friendship groups. (Left to right: Project X, Superbad, Project X, Pineapple Express, 21 Jump Street, John Tucker Must Die, Easy A, The Inbetweeners, Superbad)

How our sequence conforms to this convention: Our opening includes Arthur walking through the corridor amongst segregated social cliques. The other characters are either conversing, listening to music or playing sports with each other which signify the different friendship groups and social lives in the school. 

How our sequence challenges this convention: Our opening sequence does not include a party or social gathering outside the school. The entire opening takes place during the daytime and the idea of social separations is only shown in the school corridor. 


The main character is generally portrayed as different from the others, and ends up alone or excluded. Their characteristics or behaviour could include being socially awkward or having difficulty making friends in a new environment. (for example, Cady in "Mean Girls" joining a new school after having been home-educated). This creates humour for viewers between age 15-24, particularly in "Superbad" as the Seth and Evan's lack of social skills cause them to embarrass themselves. The function of our opening sequence is present the life of an isolated teenager, as in "John Tucker Must Die".

(Left to right: Juno, Desperate Housewives, Superbad, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Mean Girls, John Tucker Must Die, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Jeune et Jolie, Easy A)

How our sequence conforms to this convention: Arthur enters the school appearing confident and easy-going but soon comes to realise that he is disregarded by other students that make rude comments and push past him. He has to find the headteacher's room alone amongst the chaos of the hallway. (Cady in "Mean Girls" also finds herself overwhelmed by groups of students in the corridors).

This still from our opening shows how Arthur feels excluded and alone:


Usually, costume and props play an important role in distinguishing between different social groups in a film. For example, a typically "nerdy" character is dressed unfashionably or in smart clothes whereas the more popular characters would be perceived as conventionally attractive and wearing casual clothes.
The target audience would find Fogel's costume ("Superbad") humorous as he attempts to be fashionable but ends up conforming to the stereotypes of his character.

This scene from "21 Jump Street" reinforces the idea that costume and props depict the status of a teenage character (particularly in a school environment). The target audience would recognise this reference to teenagers being overly-concerned with appearance and infer the status of these characters based on their costume. 

Mike in "17 Again" defies the conventions of a teenage boy

The characteristics of the family in "Little Miss Sunshine" are demonstrated by their costumes (for example, Dwayne is portrayed as an anti-social teenager through his dark hair and casual clothes)

How our sequence conforms to this convention: Arthur is dressed relatively casually to connote his confidence, the audience will expect him to be popular at school. The intention of our group was to initially show characters that are overly-concerned with their appearance, and then realise the unimportance of it by the end of the film. "21 Jump Street" also fits this narrative format. 

How our sequence challenges this convention: Ironically, the more unusually-dressed characters seem to have more friends and look down on Arthur, (the group of goths push past him, other characters make spiteful comments in the background). This inversion of stereotypes is similarly demonstrated in "21 Jump Street" in which Greg finds himself a social outcast despite being good-looking and well-dressed.


Generally, openings of the teen comedy genre are heavily graded and saturated to convey a busy or exciting environment. Teen comedies often include light-hearted humour and make the gritty themes associated with 'coming of age' films seem less serious. This allows the film to include darker themes without losing the comedy element to them. The camera also tends to have a deep focus (wide depth of field) to further portray a busy and overcrowded setting. 

Brightly coloured clothing and props connote youth in "21 Jump Street"

How our sequence conforms to this convention: Actors in the corridor scene wear brightly coloured clothes, these images have been graded to add more saturation to them. This makes our sequence more lively and engaging to the audience. Our film is slightly less saturated than the images in "21 Jump Street" as we have included darker themes (such as exclusion of certain characters, loneliness).

A still from our sequence after grading



Many comedy openings consist of a morning routine with an upbeat soundtrack to introduce the main character. The "Legally Blonde" opening establishes Elle's character by focusing the camera on her movements so that the entire narrative revolves around her life. Comedies and dramas are conventionally structured to present the main character at the beginning and allow their life to unfold later on, (as in TV series "Ugly Betty").

How our sequence conforms to this convention: Our sequence similarly draws attention to Arthur's movements (through the split screen) and includes key iconography in the room such as clothes and a basketball. Arthur is also the only character being presented which puts emphasis on his importance in the film. Our opening also has a fast pace and rhythm to connote the busy life of a teenager. The brief shots and fast camera movement give the effect of an overcrowded school and further exhibit Arthur's overwhelmed feelings.


This Prezi briefly summarises the narrative theories incorporated in our sequence and other media products of a similar genre:

Generally our sequence develops these narrative patterns, as Arthur's role is to move the plot along by being the main focus of the first scenes. Another film which directs the audience to one particular character (Aaron) is "127 Hours" in which there are no other actors present in the opening. In many indie films, the main character is perceived as a 'victim' and the audience feels empathetic towards them, (for example, "Precious" or Isabelle in "Jeune et Jolie"). There is usually a 'bad' or 'villainous' character also, as we have presented Arthur's problems as a result of certain teenagers at school.


Titles of indie or teen films tend to be simplistic, messy or hand-written. For example, the opening for "Juno" incorporates drawings of the setting so that the titles blend in well with the background.

How our sequence conforms to this convention: The 'brain flower' font used for our titles is similar to fonts used in typical 'coming of age' films, but a more simplistic version. Our titles are effective in connoting the indie sub-genre also. They are subtle in our sequence so that the audience's attention is focused on the action of the sequence.

How our sequence challenges this convention: Our titles are not as distinct or noticeable as in "Juno", as they would take the viewer's attention away from the narrative of the opening. Having the titles appear more subtly is effective for our project as there is a lot happening in the sequence.

Examples of titles in our opening:

Titles in the split-screen were particularly effective as they did not detract attention from the main action:

Conclusion - Overall, we conformed to and challenged certain conventions of the teen comedy genre. This allowed our audience to relate to characters as well as reconsider their preconceived ideas about high school.

Question 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

We aimed to represent social groups within a British school by including stereotypes such as nerds, sports players, goths and hipsters.


The film "Little Miss Sunshine" effectively represents teenagers (in relation to their family). Dwayne is first presented as a moody teenager as he refuses to speak, ignores and disregards his family members. However, towards the end of the film he defies these conventions of anti-social teenagers by talking to his uncle and participating in his sister's beauty pageant.


Arthur is initially presented as arrogant, but the audience soon realises that he is insecure and not as confident as he appears. We aimed to positively represent certain characters in the school later on in our film despite them being hostile to Arthur in the beginning.

Arthur is shown as meek and nervous as the camera shoots him from a high angle:


The British TV series "Misfits" portrays teenagers as delinquents and irresponsible. Initially, they refuse to accept the consequences of their crimes and mock the probation workers. Our film similarly shows the indifferent attitude of young people and their ability to judge and disdain the new student. For example, the characters in the background make comments about him, "who even are you" "what is he doing here". The high school setting also gives a negative representation of teenagers in our sequence as they dominate the corridor space and are intolerant of the new student. 

"Misfits" also broaches gritty themes such as conflict with parents, drugs and youth homelessness with elements of comedy included.

A gif from our test shoot showing negative representations of teenagers: (made using Img Flip)

Young people are similarly portrayed as aggressive/violent in "Misfits":


In our film initially, Arthur fits the stereotypical template of a teenage boy by appearing optimistic and self-assured before arriving at school. However, his genuine lack of self-confidence and anxiety is revealed upon his arrival in the school (he glances at other students making offensive comments, and looks nervous when being pushed around by other students). This representation of a boy challenges the egotiscal male stereotype. 
"Forrest Gump" also addresses the concept of  a socially awkward, outcast male character. This is demonstrated particularly in his response to being bullied by other teenagers. Through framing and camera techniques we constructed the representation of Arthur as small and insignificant (below).

Conclusion - We chose to represent a teenage boy as they are often stereotyped as arrogant, violent or badly behaved. This is relatable for our target audience as the unrealistic stereotypes of boys are usually presented in films (such as John in "John Tucker Must Die").