Compiling Your Video Essay

There are two possible essay titles for your video.

  1. How and with what effect are specific film elements of German expressionism used within a contemporary horror film?
    1. This essay is asking you to define German expressionism as well as explain how this film movement had a distinctive visual style; you should use scenes from Nosferatu to illustrate your ideas.
      • You should use some contextual detail from the period/culture in Germany to explain how Expressionism came to the fore.
    2. In the second part of the essay you should use Let The Right One In to show how that style is still used in horror movies today.
  2. From Nosferatu to Eli. How has the representation of the vampire changed to suit contemporary values, attitudes and beliefs?
    • The second essay asks you to explore the representation of the two vampire characters. Remember the key to a representation essay is twofold:
      1. What ideologies (values, attitudes, beliefs (fears)) from the period / cultural that made the film are communicated through these ‘monsters’.
      2. How is this ideology communicate through micro features in key scenes.

The work we have done over the last few weeks was designed to help you answer these questions:

Question 1:
Question 2: 
Task: Compile Your Video Essay

The means that you need to plan your video essay and bring together all the materials that you are going to use to answer one of the two questions.

  • Review the research we conducted last week.
    • What ideas (quotes) do you want to drop in to your video essay?
      • You should aim for 3-5 quotes ideas taken from your research
    • Make sure you reference the name of the book and author in the essay.
    • You must also compile a bibliography for your essay (a list of your research sources), which you should submit next to your essay in your Reflective Journal.
  • Select the examples from the films that you going to use in the essay?
    • Choose 2-3 scene from each film and within those scenes select approx 15-30 second clips.
  • What terms do you need to use to describe these examples?
  • What is the meaning implied, suggested or illustrated in your example?
  • How will you link the TEAS to the significance?
    • This means going back to the question, which should be at the top of your video essay & bibliography.

You should have written a script before you edit. You will be recording this script later this week and will be editing to the script.

Research Sources for your Comparative Video Essay

In your final video essay, which compares our two films you need to show that you have done some independent research.

From IB Film Specification:

‘Each student carries out broad research, using both primary and secondary sources, in order to investigate possible areas of film focus and films for comparison from within the areas of film focus, using materials from a range of sources, including original films, critiques, publications and other media.’

In the assessed coursework you should do this research entirely independently and should aim to have between 8-12 sources. These sources will be made up of a combination of:

  1. Your two chosen focus films
  2. Books on your film focus or chosen films
  3. Critics Reviews
  4. Magazine and Newspaper Articles
  5. Video Essays
  6. Podcasts
  7. Websites & Blogs

For this practice unit we have provided some research materials that we would like you to quote from in your video essay. We are also going to go to the library later this week to find book.

Task

In pairs divide and conquer one of these resources, which will be allocated to you by your teacher.

Find 1-3 quote(s) from the source, which you think are useful in developing your understanding…

  1. …the context of the film movement
  2. …the film genre (vampire horror)
  3. …the cinematic style (micro features) of our films

You should also generate a full Harvard reference for your specific source.

Put both the quote and the Harvard reference into this slideshow for the whole class to access when we put together our video essays next week.

Mr G’s Class

Miss H’s Class

1) Horror Monsters Media Magazine Article

Read this article on monsters published in The Media Magazine

2) Crash Course on German Expressionism

3) Film IQ – History of Horror

4) Academic Journals

We subscribe to a huge library or academic articles, books and reviews.

You can access the resources here (see below for user names and passwords)

Here are three articles which I found on Film Vampires:

  1. A Century of Vampires
  2. Warm Blooded – True Blood & Let The Right One In.
  3. Here is a review for Let The Right One In.

Horror Cinematography & Sound Design

Today we are considering cinematography & sound design that is conventional (typical) of horror films.

We will watch Suckablood (BC Horror) in class and use this to consider how the cinematography & sound is typically ‘horror’.

We are seeking to understand how German Expressionist cinematic techniques were the blueprint for horror films.

Task

In pairs, one of you will be exploring cinematography:

  • Framing
  • Compostition
  • Angle
  • Movement
  • Lighting & Colour

Whilst the other considers sound design and music:

  • Diegetic
    • Foley
    • Dialogue
  • Non-diegetic
    • Music
    • Sound Effects
The Video.

Make a short montage in Premiere Pro, which uses titles to identify specific features of cinematography and/or sound, which are conventional of horror.

  • You should aim to find 3-5 examples of sound and 3-5 examples of cinematography

This means the video should be either silent, showing a feature of the cinematography. Alternatively the video should show a still of the scene or a title card and analyse the sound which you are describing as conventional of horror and/or influenced by German Expressionism.

Representation of a Vampire

Let’s do some close analysis of select sequences from our two set texts. You will be allocated two sequences, one from each film. Your job is to explore the representation of the vampire monsters at these moments in the film.

Firstly, do a close micro analysis of:

  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Cinematography
  • Mise-en-scene

Then consider, how these micro features communicate meaning about the nature of these monsters, their representation.

You will be responsible for putting together two slides, one for each film, which compares the scenes and considers what social fears seem to be reflected by Eli & Nosferatu.

Here are the scenes. The scenes your group have been allocated are next to the scene. Please complete two slides in this shared (editable) slideshow:

Monsters

Some monsters to thrill, scare and delight you.

Why do we like to scare ourselves?

A key features of any horror film is the monster. The monster is said to represent the fears, anxieties and concerns of society at that time. That means that the monster and the theme of the film are inextricably linked and intertwined with each other.

To start developing your understanding we are going to look at some classic horror monsters and consider their representation and beneath that what social fear they stand for.

TASK

In pairs, do some research and develop a monster profile for your allocated monster.

Mr Gregson’s Monsters

Miss Hales’ Monsters

Horror Narrative

The next macro study to apply to a film is to consider the narrative as part of the genre.

Remember the basics of narrative?

What are the typical features of a horror narrative?

Consider two narratives as you complete this document:

  • A fairy story you know well. (Has this has been done previously?)
  • A horror story or film you know well

Upload your narrative analysis of the horror film to your reflective journal along with a trailer for the film you studied.

A study of the horror genre

A study of most films will include consideration of genre.

Here is a slideshow to remind you about how to study genre:

So genre is a comparative study:

  1. In what ways does a given film follow the generic conventions of horror
  2. how is it different and…
  3. …can we account for those differences.
Task for snow days

Watch this short horror film from Bloody Cuts: (In the dark if you can…)

Make a copy of this document.

On page two of the document identify features of this film which you think are  conventional of the horror genre. Create a new page in your reflective journal called Horror. Post the film and your analysis.

This will serve as a useful blueprint and structure (Altman) against which to test our two films, Nosferatu and Let The Right One In. We will ask ourselves the questions:

  • In what ways do our films follow the generic conventions of horror
  • how are they different and…
  • …can we account for those differences.

Remember you should also have watched the two films on the previous blog post!

Comparative Study Project

In year 13 you have to conduct an independent comparative study of two films.

The outcome for this unit will be a video essay in the style of Lessons from the Screenplay, in which you compare two films from different times and/or places. This video essay will be sent for external assessment and is worth 20%.

There must be an element of independent research in this project.

All sources cited must be referenced using the Harvard system of referencing.

The Film Focus

This is the academic approach or framework which you use to study the two films, you can choose from the following:

  1. Film Movements
  2. Film Genre & Film Style (Sci Fi, Westerns, Crime, Film Noir, Musicals…)
  3. Film Theory (Auteur, Feminism, Marxist, Formalist, Semiotics…)

After February 1/2 term we are going to do a dry run, which will serve two purposes:

  1. Prepare you for this year 13 unit
  2. Act as research into your first full production (a horror sequence)

The Project Details:

Film Focus: German Expressionism or Vampire Horror
Film 1) Nosferatu (1922) Mernau

Film 2) Let The Right One In (2008) Anderson

Possible areas of study:
  1. How and with what effect are specific film elements of German expressionism used
    within a contemporary horror film?
  2. From Nosferatu to Eli. How has the representation of the vampire changed to suit contemporary values, attitudes and beliefs?

Please watch Let the Right One In over half term and also dip into Nosferatu, especially the last 20-25 minutes.


If you would like to extend your understanding of German Expressionist film movement you should also watch:

The Cabinet of Dr Calagari (1920) Weine

Directing 101

The director is best though of as the conductor of the film orchestra.

He or she will direct all the heads of department in order to realise her or his vision, which is inspired by the screenplay.

The director must develop creative collaborations with key personnel. The…

  • Production Designer (Costume, Props, Set, Hair & Make-Up)
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Sound effects and Foley
  • Music composers
  • Actors

In this (Stolen) task the director will be responsible for:

Pre-Production
  • Annotating the Screenplay
  • Agreeing Shot list & Storyboard
  • Collaborating on character design
Production (Filming)
  • Discussing the shot set up with the cinematographer
  • Blocking the action
  • Giving actors direction on body language and delivery of their lines.
    • Remember to think of their motivation (wants and needs)
      • Where these are in conflict we have drama!
Post Production
  • Agreeing a sound spotting list with sound designer, feeding back on drafts & signing off final draft.
  • Agreeing an instrumentation and tone with music designer (Temp Score), feeding back a& signing off final score.
  • Collaborating with editor on final cut and agreeing completion.
Independent Study P1

Watch this video from 02.45 to the end….so basically all of it!

How does blocking change a scene? If you were director how would you block the movement of the actors / camera?

Here is a Masterclass in Blocking

Giving notes to actors

Recap of Autumn Term 2017

We covered a lot of important concepts last term that we need to build upon in the rest of the course.

Task 1

Class brainstorm of the key things we have learnt in Film.

Task 2

Create a visual representation of one of those concepts in small groups.

Task 3

Contribute to a class glossary of terms for the concept you have been allocated.

Task 4

Find a film that your’re excited about and apply one macro to the film and one micro to a sequence.