Evaluation of Preliminary Task – “A Platypus Tale”
For our AS Media Course, our first task was to do a Preliminary Task. The brief included continuity filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, who exchanges some lines of dialogue. In the task we also had to demonstrate match on action shot/reverse shot and the 180 degree rule.
For our Preliminary Task we experimented with a variety of shots which we wanted to use such as ‘mid-shot’, ‘long shot’ and ‘two shot’. Also using ‘close ups’ when a character was speaking. To make sure our shots looked professional we used the camera tri-pod, however we only used the tri-pod once throughout the task, and this was when the characters exchange some lines of dialogue while filming shot/reserve shot. For the rest of our filming it was ‘hand-held’ which resulted in making most parts of our Preliminary Task look unprofessional. For example; our task opened with an establishing shot of Agent T performing a cart-wheel and a rolley-polley and then finally standing up and winking at the camera. By filming our establishing shot ‘hand-held’ this didn’t create an outstanding effected of Agent T stunts like we wanted it to. Throughout the task we used different movements such as ‘panning’, when Agent T walked across the room and sat down. We used ‘panning’, ‘mid-shots’ and ‘long shots’ to make the audience feel like they were a part of the clip, therefore they felt they could connect with the scenario.
Our mise-en-scene throughout the Preliminary Task was more negative than positive. The positive points of the mise-en-scene in the task were props in the scene. Before each shot was taken we made sure that no bright objects or anything big was moved out of the way, to ensure that our audience was focused on the character and not the extra objects behind. Also our use of costumes was quite effective in the task. Due to having a MI5 Theme we researched and watched different Action Movies, to collect some ideas for costumes. We noticed that many of the characters in the Action Movies such as James Bond and Mission Impossible were dressed in all black. By wearing all black it mimicked ‘spices’ or ‘agents’ which was in line with our genre/action, and also made us stay in characters throughout filming. We decided to use black costumes for our task, which created a great James Bond/Mission Impossible Action theme and an action tone for the audience as they understood straight away that we were MI5 Agents.
There were a number of negative points in the Preliminary Task which effected the final processing of the task. Firstly there were some lighting issues involved, such as the establishing shot of Agent T cart-wheeling in. Due to using natural lighting, you couldn’t see the characters face when she performed the stunts, until she stood up and winked at the camera. Unfortunately when Agent T performed the stunts, it created a continuity error because the action wasn’t shown on the camera fully.
This created some confusion as the audience didn’t understand why the character had entered like this. Secondly we filmed our task at different times, which resulted in having a different setting for the film, as we were in different locations. Filming in different locations represented in different lighting and scene, which also created some counituny issues.
Besides this, sound was extremely important in the Preliminary Task. In the establishing shot you can hear the background noise of children in classrooms when Agent T performs her stunts, for future reference we would need to film in a location that is quiet depending on if we chose to do that. Overall when filming for our Main Task we should chose more carefully the locations and think about specific times of filming, so this issue does not happen again. Apart from this negative point, the use of sound was quite effective. Firstly, in the establishing shot of Agent T physically winking at the camera, in the editing process we added the sound of a cartoon wink, which worked well and created a cartoon image effect. Secondly, we managed to import music onto Final Cut Pro and edited the music into the specific scene we wanted to use if for. We imported Perry the Platypus Theme Tune song into the Final Cut Pro timeline. After doing this, in our main task we will be sure not to use songs that have already been used, which will avoid copyright. While doing this, we found out by expanding the clip it made the shot slower. As a result, we decided to expand Perry the Platypus entrance into slow motion, which added humour and the audience thoroughly enjoyed watching the scene. Thirdly, once our clip had finished we added text which made the task look professional. Altogether adding music and expanding shots to create a slow motion montage was good practise as we could use this for our Main Task.
As stated in the introduction, our brief had to include ‘shot/reverse shot, match on action and 180 degree angle’. Unfortunately when editing some of our footage had deleted so our storyline didn’t make sense. To make our storyline make sense, we had to delete the ‘shot/reverse shot’. This made the audience not believe that Agent T was having a conversation with Agent B and Agent K, as this was not believable enough. Also, the 180 degree angle that we used didn’t look professional as we hadn’t used the camera tri-pod. On the whole, for our Main Task we must stick to the brief and also record the main objectives twice, just to double check that we have an extra copy of the footage. Apart from this, the ‘match on action’ worked well and the audience couldn’t notice the edits.
Overall I feel that the Preliminary Task was average and that it could have been a lot better. However, I feel extremely happy with the comedic side of the task. The mistakes we made in our Preliminary we will learn for the Main task, and create a fantastic Media piece.