Technicals skills and knowledge of Adobe premiere

Adobe Premiere Pro is the editing software used by almost all Production companies and is the software that we will be using to edit our teaser trailer, because of this it is vital that I have a good understanding and knowledge of how to use the software in order to create the best possible teaser trailer.

As I used Premiere in As to create an opening scene for a zombie horror film I already have a decent level of technical skills and knowledge of how to use Adobe Premiere pro. For example, I know what J and L cuts are and I know how to use them effectively.  A J cut is where the audio from a following shot overlaps the picture from the previous shot, so that the audio of the later shot starts playing before its picture visually cuts into a new shot. An L cut is the opposite of this and is where the audio from the previous shoot overlaps the picture from the next shot, so that the audio cuts after the picture, and continues playing over the beginning of the next shot. Both these variations of cuts are effective in building tension and are typically used in trailers as they allow for dramatic shots and dramatic audio to be used simultaneously without sacrificing the quality of the piece by having a number of sharp cuts to unrelated shots that would result in the audience being left confused rather than interested in the text in question.

Pictured below are examples of a L and a J cut.l-cut-j-cut-same-timeline-855x353.png

Another basic Premiere skill I know how to do is changing the opacity of shots.

Changing the opacity of a shot enables for a number of connotations and effects to be made. For example, having lower opacity allows for shots to play over one another at the same time whilst not being disorientating or confusing as the intensity of the shots have been softened. Having a number of shots going at the same time as a close up of a character, for example, has the effect of creating connotations that the character is mentally unstable, that perhaps they suffer from multiple personality disorder. The use of a mask also comes under changes in opacity and is another skill I learnt how to do during As. What a mask enable you to do is select how much of a shot you want to appear over another shot and can be very effective. For example, in As we had a shot of an digital alarm clock but the clock was broken and read the wrong time so I created a digital time overlay but then I had to use the mask tool to make it as accurate and professional as possible as seen below with pictures of the clock before I made the edit, me using the mask tool and the final result.

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The final basic skill I learnt how to do during As was effectively using the Split tool. The split tool is effective for breaking up footage precisely and including specific parts of footage without having any untidy and out of place frames on the side.

To conclude, I have a decent level of knowledge and set of technical skills in Premiere but this year I want to improve my use of colour gradients, saturation and implementing a wider variety of more advanced effects. I also plan to include greater use of sound editing if possible.

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Evaluation of animatic

Our Animatic trailer is made up of pictures from our storyboard mixed with titles, sound effects and music.

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Our Animatic trailer has a good variety of shots, with extreme close ups, close ups, mid shots, establishing shots and tracking shots all being featured. These shots combine well to portray a fairly clear narrative that is a beaten man being confused and trying to piece his memories together and also show there being a women dressed in red who has a lot of importance to the story and to the male character. There is also a lot of variety in the shot types we have used whilst at the same time conforming to Neo-Noir conventions by having action, in the form of a car chase towards the end of the trailer and also by having the setting be urban and at night. Trailer typical leave narrative enigmas that can only be solved through watching the film, our animatic trailer does the same by leaving some aspects of the plot left undeveloped and by having a cliffhanger car crash towards the end of the trailer. Our titles conform to Neo-Noir conventions as the bright neon colouring is similar to those used in other Neo-Noir texts such as Drive.

Where we would make improvements is by having a larger number of shots. This is so that we would be able to increase the speed of our editing and make it more typical of a teaser as they typical feature around 100-120 shots. Another element we’ll improve for our final trailer are the titles. Although they conform to the conventions of Neo-Noir we’d like to have more advanced titles with more effects to make them even more professional and of higher quality. The main title of “BLACKOUT” will be completely changed to something far more advanced with transitions and effects. The main changes will be in our music and sound effects as they will be completely different given the fact that the music we used in the animatic is all copyrighted and the non-copyrighted music we will use will be more typical of the Neo-Noir sub genre

Representation theory and how we’ll implement it into our construction

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The definition of representation is the process by which media texts re-present reality (people, place and ideas) through the processes of selection and ordering within generic, technological and institutional conventions. Now, it is very important that we understand representation so that we can create characters that will have create the desired emotions out of the audience whilst not offending anyone at the same time.


Chandler- General

. Chandler claimed that all texts, however ‘realistic’ they may seem to be are constructed representations rather than simply transparent ‘reflections’, recordings, transcriptions or reproductions of a pre-existing reality. Representations which become familiar through constant re-use come to feel ‘natural’ and unmediated. However, representation is unavoidably selective, foregrounding some things and backgrounding others and every representation is motivated by stereotypes and things from past history.


. “This operates, not because the dominant classes can prescribe and proscribe, in detail, the mental content of the lives of subordinate classes (they too ‘live’ in their own ideologies), but because they strive and to a degree succeed in framing all competing definitions of reality within their range, bringing all the alternatives within their horizon of thought. They set the limits- mental and structural- within which subordinate classes ‘live’ and make sense of their subordination in such a way as to sustain the dominance of those ruling over them”. What this means is that the people who control the media use their power over the audience to feed them media that creates the representations that they desire in the minds of the audiences, a sort of mental repression.



. Pluralism stresses the group rather than the individual and argues that the media in capitalist society is authentically democratic since 1) the media’s popularity derive from interaction among society’s constituent groups, to which all the audience belong; 2) the media are internally democratic, they accurately reflect their audience’s interests and views; 3) the balance among these forces, reflected in the media output, essentially represents a fair and true equilibrium among all the audience groups, with no great consistent bias in any direction” In other words there are multiple representations of all things, both negative and positives, as they want to try and keep all groups of audiences happy and have to create representations of the same thing that they all like and eventually those all create stereotypes that when mixed together create an accurate representation. If the media do rely on stereotypes it is only because it acts as a reflection of society rather than a representation


Male Gaze- Mulvey

. Laura Mulvey proposed the ‘Male Gaze’ theory in her article, ‘Visual pleasure and Narrative Cinema’. This particular theory was influenced by the psychoanalytic concept that film can access a person’s subconscious and unconscious fears, anxieties and desires. Film is largely based on the pleasure of looking. Mulvey also argues that male viewers experience voyeurism by viewing the opposite sex and narcissism by identifying with male protagonists. Ultimately cinema is seen as one means for upholding patriarchy by positioning men in positions of power leaving women feeling lacking.

Out of all of these theories, the one we will most likely implement into our construction is the Male gaze theory proposed by Mulvey, as it links very well with the genre of film we have to make a trailer for, Noir, with some of the archetypal conventions being the illusion of overly sexualised women as femme fatales and men in power as both villains and heroes.

Narrative theory and how we’ll implement it into our construction


Narrative is made up of story and plot, which includes all contextual events and order in which they appear. It is vital that we understand the factors that make up good narrative as we want our piece to be as professional and of as high a level as possible.

Three act Structure:

. Very simple, the story is made up out of three acts: Act 1- Set up, first 30minutes of film. Act 2- starts with 1st plot point, 1 hour of film, finishes with 2nd plot point, build-up and Act 3- resolution, last 30 minutes of film


Male Gaze

. Mulvey argues that as cinema is dominated by men, audiences are shown a heterosexual male view of society. She argues that women are sexualised to attract men and that they are used to create voyeurism, the sexual pleasure derived from looking. She also argues that narcissism plays a big part in narrative, arguing that men are so in love with themselves that they love seeing other men being successful and powerful.


Narrative Structure

. Todorov 5 stage theory relating to the establishment of an equilibrium, the fall of said equilibrium, resolution of problem, establishment of new equilibrium, new equilibrium becomes the norm.


Propp Character Types

Propp theorised that there are 8 archetypal character types to any film or old fairy tale:Hero- protagonist, goes to save the princess, villain- opponent of hero, dispatcher- sets hero off on journey, princess- reward for the hero, donor- gives the hero a vital item, father- gives the hero the reward, false hero- who tempts the hero away from their quest and the helper- who helps the hero. Propp argues that without at least a majority of these character types present it is very difficult to have an effective and professional narrative to your text.

 Binary Opposites

. Levi-Strauss hypothesised that opposites structure the text, specifically binary opposites such as: Black and White, Night and Day, Good and Bad, Hot and Cold, Good and Evil


Action and Enigma Codes

. Barthes said that certain actions in films cause a reaction. These are called Action codes. On the other hand are enigma codes, that are related to the story and are often triggered by the action codes. He also theorised that mysteries can drive the story onwards as well.

To conclude, we will ensure that we have a number of the conventions from each of the theories as they all include key components of a good narrative, without which it would be hard to create an exciting or appealing narrative, making it hard to make a trailer for which is one of our tasks.


Audience theories and how we will implement them into our constructions

theatre-audience_3133209k.jpgAn audience can be described as, from a business standpoint, a demographic who only hold monetary importance. Given the importance of audiences it is no surprise that there are countless theories that discuss how audiences consume media texts. The primary debate amongst audience theorist is on whether audiences are passive or active.  I realised that it is vital to understand audience theory as we’re making a teaser trailer and film poster as part of our coursework, and so in order to be as professional as possible and to produce an effective trailer and poster we have to understand how audience consume and interpret media texts.


Effects theory- Packard:

The Hypodermic Needle Theory, also known as the Magic Bullet Theory, was the first major theory concerning the effect of the mass media on society. The theory connotes that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response and that audiences just accept what is presented to them and are passive in their consumption of said messages. Packard developed this approach in 1958 to explain how advertising uses psychological tricks to get the audience to buy products or services


Two Step Flow- Lazarsfeld:


The Hypodermic model proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text as the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did not reduce populations to a mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was required. Lazarsfeld  analysed the voters’ decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election campaign and published his results in a paper called The People’s Choice. His findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through “opinion leaders” who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders (e.g. on Twitter) thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow.


Uses and Gratifications theory- Blumler and Katz:

It became increasingly apparent to some media theorists that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts and that they were far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways. Researchers Blumler and Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes: Diversion, personal identity, personal relationships and surveillance. The idea behind audiences consuming texts as a ‘diversion’ from life is very simple. Most people work shifts from 8 in the morning to 5 at night most days, falling into a dull daily routine. Ergo, they desire to get lost in the fantastical world of cinema in search for relief.  Personal identity relates to the idea of audiences consuming texts in order to develop their personalities and relationships with others. I.e. a group of friends watching a film together. Personal relationships link quite closely with diversion, given that it discusses the concept of audiences consuming texts they can relate to, and the further an audience can relate to a text the further they will fall into that virtual world and the further their attention will divert from reality. And finally, surveillance is the concept that audiences consume texts that they believe to provide them with information.

Genre theory and how we will implement theories into our constructions


Genre, simply defined, is the categorisation of media texts into groups based off of the repertoire of elements within them and in comparison with the repertoire of elements in previous texts that are considered to be in the same genre. However, thats looking at genre very basically, upon looking at genre in more detail one can see it’s true importance from a film producing stand-point. Genre is a way of maximising profit through specialisation. Either through franchising a successful concept or producing films which can draw upon the talents of the studio workforce and facilities (conveyor
belt production process). In addition to this, genre is key marketing tool throughout the
distribution and reception cycle. It acts as another point of attraction for large audiences and a tool for distribution companies to more accurately focus on their ‘target audience’. With this understanding of how important genre is with regards to successful advertising and film making in mind, I decided to ensure that I understood as many genre theories as I could to improve my overall knowledge of genre and help come up with ideas to implement these theories into our construction.


Lacey’s theory of the ‘repertoire of elements’:

Lacey considers the ‘repertoire of elements’ that work in combination to suggest a media text belongs to a particular genre or mix of genres. He provides a useful framework to follow when analysing genre. Lacey breaks a text down into these five areas to identify the elements in each: Setting,  Character, Narrative, Iconography and Style

. Narrative: This refers to the story structure as well as the specific narrative devices, which genres employ (investigation, murder etc.).

. Characters: Narrative is usually developed through characters and their functions (hero, villain etc). Some characters are so closely associated with a genre that they become generic types. For example, in noir, the ‘femme fatale’.

. Setting: Some genres have a distinct location but this can be subject to change, for example noir films have moved from the US city to outer space. Genres can also be associated with time periods like the classic noir films set during inter and post-war periods are sometimes recreated e.g. Chinatown or radically changed e.g. Bladerunner

. Iconography: Films contain visual and audio images, which become instantly recognisable and associated with the genre. E.g. noir feature the iconic lipstick of the femme fatale and the private eye’s office.

. Style: Iconography refers to the objects but style describes the way they are presented. Camera angles, editing, lighting and the use of colour all contribute to the style of a film. Noir is heavily associated with chiaroscuro lighting, dated angles and long takes e.g. Touch of Evil



Theorises that genre is just a case of repetition and difference, claiming that ‘Particular features which are characteristic of a genre are not normally unique to it; it is their relative prominence, combination and functions which are distinctive’, ‘Genres are instances of repetition and difference’ and that ‘Difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre’ (Neale, 1980) in other words mere repetition would not attract an audience as they would eventually get bored of seeing the same thing over and over again, ergo, whilst films must have some similarities to those that came before them in order to fall into the same genre (category), they must also include some differences/innovations to keep them fresh, exciting and appealing to audiences.

Ruby Rich:

Ruby Rich doesn’t see genre as being as traditional as just categorising texts based off of a checklist of the repertoire of elements, rather that genre is constantly developing and evolving. To better explain if we look at women, for example, the femmes fatales of original noir were typically passive and only partly exploitative, however, in Neo Noir, women are usually pure evil, and highly active, with sexuality and greed the primary markers of character. There’s some precedent, of course: the greedy scheming Laurie of Gun Crazy, who literally takes the film’s hero for a ride, and the relentlessly curious Gabrielle of Kiss Me Deadly, whose greed carries a sinister price tag, are the indicators the evolution of the Noir genre into the Neo Noir.


Rick Altman

Altman claims that “a relatively stable set of semantic givens is developed through syntactic experimentation into a coherent and durable syntax” and that “An already existing syntax adopts a new set of semantic elements.” My understanding of this theory is that Altman believes that genre is constantly evolving and developing and is in some sense a case of repetition and difference. He believes that one of the two key factors of genre analysis, semantic and syntactic elements, will be traditional and conform to a genre whilst the other is modernised and adopts new ideals and concepts. What this means is that films can be easy to categorise into genres by having traditional aspects whilst also being modernised by having innovative aspects. To clarify, semantic elements are mise-en-scene related and syntactic elements are more theme based and a presentation of different themes and ideologies

To conclude, with out constructions I believe that we will base our work around the genre of our piece around the Rick Altman theory about semantic and syntactic elements as it will enable us to easily be categorised as being of our desired genre whilst allowing us to be original and creative.