Evaluation and Reflection

The spectacle artefact was a little tricky to show to the class because I worried that the content may have been a little peculiar for some (even though it probably looked more fake than anything). My goal was to make the artefact look like a snuff film, as opposed to make it look beautiful. It had to be filmed in one long take so the acting had to be satisfactory throughout. Moreover various effects like noise, artefacts and colour correction were added in to give an effect of a legitimate, but crappy tape recording. I received an adequate amount of feedback which helped to improve the artefact a great deal more.

Originally I had a very deep drone as the ambient/background noise but it was too quiet to even notice, and feeling that it was not tense enough I found an even creepier track to put on. The idea was to make the audience feel as uncomfortable as possible; as one study had previously suggested that low frequency sounds induce fear or awe in the viewer. Whilst it was a requirement for me to use full diegetic audio, the added audio did sound like the sounds that would have been captured during the real recording. Perhaps the high pitched sound effect when the victims head is shown could replicate the killer’s ruthless screaming.

The ‘Ministry of Defence’ evidence tape-style start was actually influenced a lot by the start of Cloverfield (2008). The content in the title sequence had to suggest that whatever was in the artefact had to have happened not long ago – this was achieved in After Effects. Since I had some experience with the program it was not too difficult playing around with composition and animation.

The biggest suggestion I received was that the ending was.. well, there was no ending. It was too abrupt. Even though this was intentional – assuming that after something gruesome happens on an evidence tape (as you seen in the movies) the video player is usually paused when someone says something along the lines of ‘I’ve had enough’ – edited to an effect similar to a VHS being paused.  Whilst I thought this was pretty cool, it didn’t go well with the class. The original ending was at approximately 01:43 in the artefact, and was extended by about 11 more seconds. The new ending featured a violently edited serial killer staring into the lens showing off the victim’s bloody head before showing ‘end of tape’ and powering down – it was now evidence tape from start to finish. However with this ending the artefact felt much more complete as opposed to the sudden stop of the original.

I knew that feedback was very crucial to the improvement the film so I made sure a rough cut was available early for demonstration.

The viewers mentioned the title sequence could be improved as the definition at the start was not clear enough and was easily ignored – one viewer had no idea what the film was about as he missed the definition, which only lasted about 3 seconds and was white (even with a black drop shadow) on a light background.  It is again evident that the condition is so rare that it is not very well known even to the point that people could not pronounce the term itself, as I had people asking me how to pronounce it. So to combat all of this I dedicated the first 10 seconds of the short film to a detailed dictionary definition complete with pronunciation, origin of the word with a nice tense sound effect in the background – presented with white text amongst a clear black background. So even if a person looks away at the start and looks back they will see the definition as clearly as snow. I honestly don’t think I can make it even clearer; although the method used in ‘My Own Private Idaho’ is fairly interesting I opted to make something similar.

Furthermore my sound editing was really sloppy in the rough cut with a bunch of random ambient sounds that didn’t really flow well; I took time to find more matching sounds and mixed them with the ambient audio to make the audio and video more integrated. It is very hard to find perfectly matching audio when working with music from creative commons and free sound effects, etc, but after a few days of searching and mixing in Adobe Premiere the results were satisfactory. It gave an appropriately tense feel to the attempted mugging scene and the later mugging scene. Amongst others things I fixed up a few continuity errors and improved a few shots, including a double cut for the attempted mugging, and did a voiceover for the final scene to get rid of the wind sound. Although people mentioned me breaking the 180 rule during the shop scene it was done on purpose to disorientate the audience. Overall the feedback I received was amazing and really helped out from rough cut to final cut.

Unfortunately due to the rarity of the condition I could only look at one mainstream film and two short films. My own short was based more on real life stories and how the condition affects gets affected and taken advantage of by others. I thought my idea involving the couple with the girl and guy cheating on their boyfriend and friend was slightly better as it would appeal to the majority but was unable to do it because I could not arrange actors.

The shot list was simple, easy to follow and due to the potential offense that could be caused by trolling I chose to imply that trolling had occurred. With this in mind, no trolling occurred during the making of my artefact, even though it appeared that it might have (just carefully edited and manipulated).

Some acts of trolling had to be changed however, for example creating a forum or board specifically designed to troll people was deemed too offensive and trolling a couple would be difficult to portray as there are would be more than one victim.

The biggest piece of feedback I received from the group seminar sessions was that the audience would focus solely on one side of the screen – the side where the troll was posting abusive messages. From start to finish the left side demonstrated the troll in real life, and right side demonstrated him trolling on a variety of social networking sites. The trolling sequences were somewhat amusing and interesting, and due to the nature of my camera work the audience would need to focus a great deal on the screen to see what was going on. This was intentional to demonstrate the furious, ruthless and unending nature of the troll. To combat the issue from rough cut to final cut: I kept switching the left and right parts of the artefact after the very first troll. This somewhat confused the audience at first but worked better for two reasons: the viewer would get a glimpse of the troll in real life before switching focus to him trolling over the internet. Secondly, since the audience was left to deduce the fact that the troll is doing the actions on both sides of the screen, the switching gave the audience more of a clue that they are the same person demonstrating that whilst you are anonymous, you can be anyone.

My biggest challenge was to get the split screen working in unison, otherwise it would be just two random videos placed next together with no effect. The fact they were both contrasting in the sense that one was in the digital world and the other in the real world, yet both abuse made it comparable.

The message at the end ‘Do not feed the troll’ was a last minute thought, but I believe that it has as very strong message when understood. It means that no matter how someone insults you online – ignore it, a troll feeds on your reaction and anger. By responding to an insult you are merely making the troll succeed. Finding a free music track was easier than I thought thanks to the creative commons section on Soundcloud – a fast paced track matched the quick pace of the artefact and gave it more depth with its technological/robotic feel. It was only easy because my artefact only required one good track, maybe not so much if I needed multiple.