Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Compare the impact and effectiveness of the trailer and a poster of 30 Days of night

The purpose of the poster and trailer were designed to advertise to film ’30 Days of Night.’ Both use examples of synergy because they use some of the same iconography for both the trailer and the poster. However, they use different methods. They both refer to the website to encourage people to look on it find out more information about the film. They suggest a narrative storyline and they use very similar images in the trailer from the image on the poster.

Image result for 30 days of night

This is the movie poster for 30 Days of Night. It shows two characters with de-saturated faces and the background is dark and has connotations of horror. The lack of colour suggests that they are being drained of colour by the vampires. The blood automatically eliminates an audience who are more sensitive. It also automatically attracts people who are into gore or horror movies.


The people carrying weapons and splash of blood indicate that the movie is visceral and gory. They are looking in the different direction to the people behind them and that makes the audience wonder where they are. They are isolated with people in different directions around them. The fact that there are only two of them emphasises that they have no help. The use of generic elements appeals to horror fans. The enigma that intrigues the audience: they look isolated- how can they survive 30 days in the darkness against bloodthirsty vampires?


The man has a police badge, indicating he could be the hero of the film. They are both attractive and the man is a well-known actor; this attracts the audience because if they have seen his previous films and enjoyed them, they might be interested to see him again. The woman is typically sexually attractive and this is emphasised because there is still colour in her lips, even though most of the colours have been drained. He is protecting her which implies there is a love interest or a romantic link between the two characters, so this might attract people who are also interested in that film genre.


Their facial expressions make them look scared or unnerved; the woman is in a defensive stance as she isn’t pointing her gun at anyone. The policeman is unshaven which implies his manly, maverick nature or the fact that they are isolated therefore there are no places to shave. He is carrying the axe which is hand-to-hand combat rather than a gun, like the woman.


‘They’re coming’ is crudely written in blood, as if the writer is not a human. Set in the Arctic Circle, implied by the snow, the title suggests that it is going to be dark for 30 days and implies that the vampires will be out all day. The weather is stormy which has implications of trouble. The eye shape inside the 0 implies that they are being watched at all times and that there is no escape.


The recommendation is from Empire which is a popular film magazine. This gives the audience assurance that it is good and it may convince them to watch the film. The review is also appealing the audience because it is fast and garish like what good horror movies should be.  The institutional information (certificates and release dates) is at the bottom; this gives the audience more information about the movie. It also shows names that the audience might be familiar with, if they like the person, then it will be more likely that they watch the film. The film previews on Halloween night which is the day which is heavily linked horror conventions such as ghosts, vampires and zombies. At the very bottom, the website is shown for people interested in the film to find out more about the movie online and watch more clips and interviews.


The trailer is in a non-chronological sequence. Since it is non-linear, it only shows the best, in this case the goriest, parts of the film. It begins with a sense of equilibrium which gives the audience a false sense of balance. However, the dark mise-en-scene suggests something bad is about to happen and the director uses pathetic fallacy by showing that the weather is horrible and snowy through the window so the atmosphere is actually oppressive. From the shot of a woman in the kitchen, it cuts to a medium shot of a man looking intense. Throughout these first few cuts, there is thunder which is ominous has connotations of danger. The audience are expecting something to go through the window as the shot cuts and it moves from the right hand side of the frame to a more central position. It is silent for a moment before this so that the smashing sound is emphasised.


An unknown being, presumably a vampire, unexpectedly smashes through the window as it cuts back to the man to see his reaction. It turns silent for a moment to emphasise the window getting smashed. It is a quick cut to the woman who is being dragged away through the window then under the house. These edits are very fast to build up the tension and to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. There is then a close up shot of the couple clutching onto each other and then a shot of her being dragged away from the point of view of the woman; this shows the man’s desperation and despair as he watches the woman getting pulled away, and most likely killed, by this unknown being which puts us in the victim’s position, making us more frightened. There is then a fade to black which represents the woman’s death and the passing of time.


There is a studio title card, but the warm colours such as red, green pink are missing. This is the colour pallet used because it gives the cold sense of the movie since its set in the Arctic Circle. It also represents that the vampires are draining the blood from people. The title cards are used to fill in the parts of the story as a narration without giving too much away. The first one says ‘They have lived in the shadows’. The fades to black between the series of shots makes them more atmospheric and the sound of the wind during the scenes suggests that the people are isolated and trapped.

The long, high angled shot of the town has dark mise-en-scene with everything turned off which makes the audience wonder if anything is living there. It shows two people that look like the predatory antagonists looking down on the vulnerable city. They’re wearing long, dark coats underlining the fact that their evil nature. A fade to black and fade up is used in between the title cards and shots. There is a tilted shot of a vampire leaning over a woman which is unnerving. After the next title card mentioning ‘the arctic circle’, an establishing shot of the city is shown to give the audience a preview of what it is like. The low clouds are menacing and mysterious; it has connotations of something bad showering down on the town.



After the next title card, there is an extreme long shot of a man on his own strolling towards a house in the dark. It then cuts to a close up shot of him but in the background, there is something else lurking behind him. The audience are made to believe that it has just come out of nowhere since it was not shown in the previous shot. A montage of shots is then edited together in very quick succession to make it more exciting and threatening. During these shots, there is a crescendo of a noise getting higher in pitch and volume. It builds up to the the last shot of the short sequence which is a very fast shot of someone’s face with the mouth wide open is if they are about to attack.


The ‘hero’ of the film is shown in his police car. He is called saying that he is needed; the audience know that he is going to have to fight these vampires. It cuts to a medium shot of a man in jail and the reverse shot is the policeman in a medium close up frame. Both men are framed by the prison bars which creates a visual rhetorical question: ‘Who is trapped?’ This is added so the audience can find out by watching the film. The man in jail then says, ’Board the windows. Try to hide. They’re coming.’ Shots then get intercut with the police man to see his reactions; however each shot gets close to the imprisoned man. The man’s deranged look and golden teeth have implications of him being in danger.


As the detective says ‘Who are they?’ it cuts to a medium close up shot of another person in the police station. The blinds imply that the policemen are imprisoned. It peaks to emphasise the woman’s scream. It peaks to emphasise the woman’s scream y that the policemen are trapped. Behind him you can see something through the blind as if it were trapped. It then pans around and you can see the vampire screaming. Another montage of short shots follows, this time, shots of the city lights going out. This suggests that something dark is in the midst of the city and it is about to attack. It fades to black and fades up to another title card but this time it is a bloody red colour instead of a polar, lifeless blue colour. It shows the selling point of the film: it’s based on a popular graphic novel.  Shots of victims are separated by fades to black and fade up. They represent something passing; in this case it’s the lives of the people in the previous shots. One of the victims is a child which is more emotionally appealing and makes the audience sympathise a lot more due to its vulnerability. A non-diegetic sound of a heartbeat getting faster and louder adds to the tense atmosphere.


The title card ‘Producer Sam Raimi’ is put there to help sell the film because he is well known for producing good horror movies like ‘Evil Dead’ and even action films such as ‘Spiderman.’ People who like those films might be more interested to see some of his other work and entices not only horror fans, but action fans as well. There is then a close up shot of a vampire’s bloody mouth opening. There is then a close up shot of the woman saying ‘vampires don’t exist.’ The juxtaposition of these two shots emphasises the irony of her quote. The next shot is a flickering, close up shot of an evil face, desaturated, with blood dripping down its mouth.  Another close up shot is seen of long nails touching the record. They look bloody, emphasising the violence of the film. Music with a steady beat then starts playing, it is not intense music but one that would be found in an action film. It is suitable to the next part of the trailer because all the action is shown of the main characters in combat with the vampires.

After another fade to black and fade up, the man says, ‘That ain’t the weather, its death approaching’ this narrative is shown in the next shot when blood is oozing slowly down a slope.  Another montage of shots is included of various people getting dragged by vampires whilst there are close up shots of people looking afraid. This gives the audience an opportunity to empathise with the people shown; it is almost the director asking the audience, ‘what would you do?’ The shots are short to increase the excitement and so that not too much is given away. The music builds and gets a lot louder and faster. This adds to the atmosphere of the sequence. The shots are punctuated with more title cards; as one says ‘How will they be stopped?’ the audience have to find out by watching the film. These rhetorical questions, shown by the direct title cards and indirectly by the mise-en-scene, feature throughout the trailer to keep the audience attracted and to pull them into watching the film.
There are more scenes of destruction of the city. A close up of the clock is shown after one of the characters says ‘we can last a month’ which puts a time limit on the film. It also gives a reference to the title ’30 Days of Night.’ There are more shots of the city being destroyed and people being afraid show the scale of the attack of the vampires. It also gives the audience a teaser of the gore. The music gets quicker and crescendos and the shots get even shorter to build the excitement and to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. It builds up to the final scare or the climax; this is often used in horror trailers. It shows the vampire about to dig into the woman’s neck as she screams. It eventually shows the title which is covered in blood and the crescendo peaks to emphasise the woman’s scream. As it fades away, the billing block is shown which is then followed by the website. This is shown so the people who are interested can access more information or see more trailers.
In conclusion, the trailer is more effective because the audience get more of a sense of the storyline and more of an insight to the characters. This is because, unlike the poster, it can use sounds and moving images; for example, the piercing, high-pitched crescendo during montage of shots which lead up to a screaming vampire. However, the poster does have similar aspects to the trailer. It includes the website, it has similar mise-en-scene and it also includes the same iconographic imagery as the poster. Both the trailer and the poster would be part of a larger marketing campaign that would use the film’s website as a hub.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Extracting an image with Photoshop

Original image

Cropped image
Quick selection tool
Masking Tool
Smart Radius Tools

Thursday, 18 December 2014

How does the opening scene of CSI STRIP STRANGLER attract the audience?

Ethan Marata

How does the opening sequence of CSI: STRIP STRANGLER attract the audience?

The episode is about Grissom investigating a murderer who sexually assaults and strangles victims until death. The investigation is harder because the murderer has a new victim every time. The beginning of each CSI episode is similar. It is a convention of the show for there to be a murder or a body to be found therefore the audience expect it to happen. They use conventions of thriller/horror to manipulate the audience anticipation. The opening scene always sets up an enigma

The first shot is of a high long shot of Las Vegas in the night. This implies that something bad is going to happen since the dark has connotations of isolation and danger. The white fade at the beginning ties in with the mise-en-scène of thunder and lightning. The next shot is a crane shot of a building called ‘Saturn Arms’. It implies that people in that building are vulnerable and the audience now expect something happening in that building. The lighting makes the building seem safe but as the angle of the camera tilts and we see the building from a lower angle, it looks darker which is more sinister and evil than the last shot. This attracts the audience because it makes them believe that someone has got into the building even though we later find out that the killer goes through the window.

The next shot is in a narrow, confined corridor in the dark. These both suggest that someone is trapped in the room. This shot attracts the audience because it tracks through the hall as if you were the killer and gives the audience a higher expectation of someone getting murdered. The camera eventually tracks into a view of the room. The angle of the shot blocks out half of the view which again suggests that she is trapped. This now implies that she is the victim. There is an eerie atonal sound that reaches a crescendo as the camera enters the room but it dies down when she looks up, as if to set the audience to anticipate that something bad is happening.

The sound dies down when she looks up to the creak of the floorboard and the camera angle suggests that the audience is the killer and the woman is looking at the camera. As lightning flashes and a diegetic clap of thunder crashes in the room, the colour red is shown around. It has connotations of blood and violence which keeps the audience attracted as they expect the violence. There is a cut to a medium close up of the girl which shows that she is vulnerable and scared. It’s dark which implies that she can’t see very well. The jump cut unnerves the audience and gives them a sense of relief, however the audience still wonder where the killer is or if he has left.

The victims in these types of shows are usually young, stereotypical women, underdressed so that they have a sex appeal because they seem weaker than men with a big physique. There is a cut to her point of view which shows the wardrobe. The colour seen is generally red which again has connotations of violence and danger. It’s dark and there can be many places the killer can hide so the audience can anticipate that the killer is going to be shown very soon. Since the woman sees nothing, she lies back down and the medium close-up shot covers the whole frame so that the audience can’t see anything. A non-diegetic low double bass sound encourages the audience to believe that that there is still a threat and they expect the killer to be shown even though the woman believes nothing is there. There is a medium close up cut again to block away the view.

As the floorboard creaks, there is a cut where she quickly lifts up from the pillow and her point of view is shown again. This time we see the killer as the lightning flashes. It only shows the killer’s silhouette and his sound motif is now the clap of thunder because it’s audible and comes on every time he is around. The woman screams in fear and the fear on her face is shown with a high angle close shot. The cuts are getting faster and faster, this increases excitement because the audience are now tense and they now know that the woman is going to be murdered.

The next shot is a brighter shot of the killer without showing his face in too much detail so his identity isn’t given away early on in the episode. He grabs the iron off the board and now the audience anticipate him using it to kill her. The camera tracks on her screaming because it represents the killer pouncing on her as she tries to pull away and escape. There is a cut to an iron getting pulled off the ironing board. This set of cuts attracts the audience by the fast pace and it doesn’t reveal too much. A non-diegetic crescendo builds up to her final scream and the thunder and lightning reaches the climax. The audience now anticipate her death. There is a fade of black to show that time has passed and Grissom then comes in to investigate the enigma. The killer hasn’t been shown because the audience expect Grissom to find out the killer’s identity later on in the show.

The makers of CSI attract the audience and play with their expectations in various ways with several techniques such as fast cuts and atmospheric, non-diegetic sound. The audience always anticipate something bad happening because most CSI episodes start in a similar way- setting up an enigma with conventions of thriller and horror like darkness and isolation.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wilhelm Scream Compilation

This is the Wilhelm scream in a compilation of many different films that have reused this effect but it has been used a lot since the movie "The Charge at Feather River" by the character Private Wilhelm. Since then, it has became an iconic sound effect, now used in 200 other films and blockbusters such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Originally, it was in a movie called Distant Drums when a man is bitten by an alligator.



Presentation on different sounds in movies.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Editing 2

In trailers, the pace of the cuts are fast to create effect. They get the best bits of the movies and cut them together at a fast pace, without giving anything away.

Editing and Transitions


Editing helps construct the narrative. We are so used to editing in films we barely recognise it. The editing is often 'invisible' and it can be used to condense long, boring activities into quick bursts of visual information.

The simplest edit is a cut, The editor find the best parts of the footage and cuts the unnecessary parts and putting the best bits together.

In the assassination scene of North by Northwest, between Roger Thornhill getting out of the taxi and the top of the United Nations Building, there are 26 cuts. The cuts are most frequent during the conversation scene for the to audience see the reactions.

The pace of the editing can be used to create excitement or tension. For example, in the shower scene of Psycho and when Marion dies, the pace slows down as if her life is slowly ebbing away or leaving her.

If the characters clothes have changed, or the weather has changed between the scenes, the audience know that time has passed. However if the characters clothes or props change in the same scene, there is something wrong with the continuity.


Apart from cuts, there are more visually interesting transitions:

- One scene dissolves into another, overlapping for a moment.

Fade out/Fade in
-One scene fades out to black completely whilst another fades in.

-One scene wipes across the screen, revealing or replacing the next one. This can happen in any direction.

-The next scene replace the last by appearing from the centre like an iris of an eye.

Jump Cuts
-Two scenes that feature a common element right after one another, so something stays the same but the rest changes. This is used for disorientating or comedic effect.