Unlike my intentions, the cupcake in the establishing shots with Noi didn’t look as inedible or waxy (reflecting blood) as I’d like and even though I was able to get this sort of effect on one of the shots (the ECU), it wasn’t like that on shots like MLS or LS of it and Noi. I thought, to get across this idea of blood but still keeping it believable that it’s just the candle wax, I could use greenscreen images of blood (‘on the floor’) and mask it around the candle. I think it worked effectively because the cupcake is quite small on screen in these shots so the imperfections and greenscreen imagery are less visible or obvious.
Also, to make the blood match a little bit better to the candle, I adjusted the hue, saturation and luminance of the blood red to more pinkish and faded out.
I used a stabiliser warp effect, even for some tripod shots (the small tripod was a bit unstable with the heavy camera on top, especially when tilted) and it worked extremely well:
Colour-Corrected Version Thoughts & Process
I was having a little bit of trouble getting a nice, professional, cold cinematic look with my colour grading so I watched a short video on YouTube, where a filmmaker showed their process of using the colour grading effects and how he has used them specifically for his short horror film. I was introduced to new techniques, such as adjusting the colour effects in the ‘effects controls’ tab in the editing layout, where I usually only adjust the positioning and special effects that I put on clips. Usually I go to the ‘colour’ layout when colour correcting and grading, but with the effects controls tab, I found it very easy to adjust more settings like ‘gamma’ or ‘black output’ that I would usually find intimidating and not really touch. The video has made me understand what each adjustment does and now I can utilise them to give my films a different look.
In this capture, I increased the ‘(B) black output level’ ever so slightly from ‘0’ to ‘6’ on my adjustment layer, increasing the amount of blue in the shadows which I think shifted the appearance of the shots cooler, darker and more creepy, as I had already decreased the temperature, which doesn’t to have too much of an effect on the darker areas.
Evaluating the Edit
Organising the Footage:
I tried to take on board any feedback or suggestions from the people around me, which included my tutor, Nick’s, suggestion to make an edit list of the pieces of footage and audio that I would like to use in my film sequence. This helped so much after going through the huge amount of videos and audio files I had recorded. I used this mainly to keep track of the audio as I wouldn’t be able to preview them very quickly in Premiere Pro, unlike the thumbnails on the videos, however I did make sure to go through all of the clips before getting started on arranging them in the sequence, making sub clips and naming each one to make it a lot quicker in the edit.
I had sent the radio presenter lines to Adam, who has voice-acted this part, and created an audio edit list of the exact takes and time-stamps of the parts that were the best or would fit nicely in the edit. The list came in extremely handy and it’s something I am going to continue to do in other productions as it made picking out the parts in the editor so quick.
The first close up shot we see of the cupcake and candle has been scaled up in Premiere Pro, so the shakiness is a lot more obvious especially as the downward pan movement is quite slow, so will have to add a warp stabiliser effect. This effect has come in very handy for this project, with multiple hand-held shots on a DSLR, which are not great for smooth hand-held shots. If most of the scenes were going to be of this technique, I think the Sony camera would have worked better, but as most were using a slider or tripod, the Panasonic had given me a lot more control over the look of the shots, including the white-balance, framing and quick changes between ISO settings.
At 0:36, I think there could have been a cut to a shot of Noi with the camera in front of them which would feel more natural and make a bit more of an impact on the viewer’s attention. There is a cut a few seconds later, of the car keys, however, which does help to break up the same shots.
There is the same, but more subtle, issue with the stabilisation at timestamp 0:41, the hand-held track in of the car keys. The next shot of Noi walking into the kitchen could even be held onto for a second or two longer as I don’t think how it is now really gives the viewer enough time to adjust to the location change, and by immediately jumping to the other side of the kitchen again might make it a bit sudden and makes the next shot seem too long.
A shadow from the boom mic is visible on the side of the cupboards at 0:50. It’s quite noticeable but there is not much I can do about this, but I have learned that it’s really important to look extremely closely at what is in frame or just around the scene that could possibly disrupt the shot.
Some of the close-up b-roll footage seems quite quick. I will be slowing down the clips slightly to slow down the speed of the scene too. I think it was difficult to really see the pace of the whole video in Premiere Pro as in the playback, it was not playing at a normal speed, but a little bit slower, which I confirmed after comparing the time the that was on the editor’s timestamp over a period of time did not match a correct stopwatch time.
For the bin bag to bin scene, I feel it would benefit from playing for a few seconds longer, to linger on the bag, allowing the audience to wonder what could be in there. The only issue with this is that I originally cut it like this to match with the next shot of Noi picking up the scales that are on the countertop next to the bin. If the shot played on, Noi would walk off screen, away from the scale, which poses the question of: do I keep it the same, increase the length of the first clip, or rearrange the clips so that they are not next to each other? I think I will still increase the length, as it is not too noticeable and the viewer will be more focused on the bin bag rather than the placement of the scales in the corner of the screen.
At 2:19, it is somewhat obvious that the Noi is not in focus when they walk over to the front door. During production, I found it difficult to pulling the focus correctly during a shot, but I think repeating the shot until it was perfect could have made this segment a lot more appealing, however the out of focus element does make you look around the foreground and environment more than if only Noi was in focus, encouraging the viewer to look around and perceive what’s really around. In the next shot, there is a warp stabiliser effect on the close up of Noi reading the letter, which I need to adjust as it is not very very smooth, and as we move up to Noi’s face, the background gets warped as it tries to correct the stabilisation. I will be seeing how the shot looks without the effect, and adjusting the ‘smoothness’ setting in the editor. Also, I think a wider aperture would have been great for this shot, to blur out the background to focus right in on the character and their emotions. – after looking back at this clip in Premiere Pro, it didn’t actually have that effect on it, so I will be trying to put the effect on.
I do enjoy the quick cut between the two clips at 2:31 as Noi walks past the camera. They are cut from and to at a great time to seem seamless and believable that Noi had in fact just walked into the kitchen.
The close up of Barry’s hand and cupcake dropping to the floor (4:10) could be more impactful if held onto it before cutting to just the cupcake, so I will be experimenting with the timings of a lot of the clips.
Although the colour correcting helped with the balance of the clips, I will be colour grading an adjustment layer over the entire video to make it appear slightly darker and colder, with more blue tints using the ‘levels’ and ‘lumetri colour’ effects. This will hopefully make the footage seem like it was shot later in the evening and drop the mood to slightly sad and mysterious.
Final Sequence Timeline:
Finding a frame from the film that could be used for the movie poster, I wanted an image that I shot myself, and that would sum up or at least have a good link to a main aspect of the story – the poison. This also works well as I plan to call the film ‘Additive’ and the poison is basically the additive, creating a strong connection between the image on the poster and the title. Although the first screen capture has the bottle facing more towards the camera, the second has better and more dynamic blue lighting hitting the bottle and just looks a lot better especially as I am cutting out around the bottle and hand to get rid of the background for a close up.
First put together draft. Cut out the hand and poison bottle using the quick selection tool and made the image on the cooler side with the colour balance adjustment. I set the background layer to black, adding two more layers: one linear gradient just on top of the image, to make the bottom of the poster dark, fading up to transparent; and another on top of everything, being a circular gradient to make the whole thing more dynamic, fading in the edges of the title slightly so it doesn’t seem so separate.
Feedback: My mum had a look at this version and suggested moving everything up slightly. I agree as there is quite a lot of empty space at the top that needs to be filled.
At the moment I’m not too sure about the positioning of the title, but I do like that it is sort of mismatched as a lot of psychological-thriller movie posters I’ve seen when looking at references seem to have elements of intentional ‘messed up’ images or letters, suggesting unstable or messy characters/situations in the film.
Further, I wanted to have a simple title font that has implications of danger and death. By building off of an existing font in Adobe Illustrator, I could have a base to adjust slightly to fit the theme more. I took multiple fonts and put them into sections of the artboard to slowly discard fonts and come to a conclusion on the most fitting ones that I liked for my piece. The two that I cut it down to were the ones in the top right of the screen, and they both had elements that I really wanted to have in my title font. Drawing inspiration from the thicker font, I created paths for the letters of the other and with the pen tool, pulled the serifs of the T and E into more of a sharp pointed shape, resembling daggers. It’s a subtle change but I think it really made a difference with turning the font into the more mysterious, dangerous look I intended.
After finding a decent colour for the title (crimson), I felt it was quite flat and needed some texture so I downloaded two images of blood texture to overlay the text. It was difficult to decide on the blend mode as some of them were quite similar, but I ended up going with ‘darken’ and slightly decreased the texture layer’s opacity to bring back some brightness after it started to blend a bit into the background. I think this was a great decision and gives the title some dimension, however I do want to experiment a bit more, maybe burning the edges of each letter to further bring it all together.
Tried an effect with the poison image, duplicating it and shifting it over upwards and right slightly, and applying either a ‘pin light’ or ‘hue’ blend mode, ultimately deciding on the ‘pin light’ effect, as it gives a very dark blue tinge. Looking at the poster as it is now, I feel like the effect is not very visible and I want to try shifting the image more intensely to get the desired noticeable, distorted appearance.
To the right is my final movie poster edit. I decided to arrange the title letters in a straight line at the top to make it more readable and make it look more put-together. Also, I added a border with the same blood texture overlay as the title around the majority of the image, leaving the arm over the top to give the poster some depth as the border over the top looked quite flat and boring.
It took a while to find the right colour for the extra text because I wanted to keep the colour palette quite dark and having this extra text in bright white or another colour would make it stand out more than the title and seem a bit unbalanced. A light grey worked really well for this – it fits well with the colours already in the poster and is still readable but not too obvious. Overall, I think the poster came out great and I actually really enjoyed making it, I was able to do some techniques (like texture overlays) that I don’t usually use!