Saturday, 18 November 2017

Video Games and Me

From a young age I have always liked playing video games on several different platforms. My first handheld console was the Original Nintendo DS in 2005. On this I played a wide range of games for several years, examples include Sonic Rush, Nintendogs and Super Mario. On this model I was also able to use Gameboy cartridges to play games. I would take my DS with me everywhere and play at any opportunity available. In 2009 my DS was upgraded to a DSi, the first Nintendo to feature a camera, and enabled it's user to download games via a NintendoStore. I gradually began to grow out of my old games and became interested in more challenging puzzle games such as Professor Leighton and Phoenix Wright. I could connect with friends and my brother in many games with multiplayer features, a particular favourite being Animal Crossing. In 2017, I still have my DSi, but haven't used it in over three years due to lost interest and lack of time.

In 2010 I was given my first PC computer, on which I would play SimCity3 and Morrowind. I was given an HP Envy Spectra XT Notebook in 2012, and on this I would play Sims3, Minecraft, League of Legends and Club Penguin as well. This laptop enabled me to bring my games on journeys and holidays, and I would often take it with me when visiting my grandparents. As I got older, I discovered online gaming and made an account on Steam, meaning I could buy games online to download and play immediately, such as Portal, Civ. 6 and Skyrim. In 2016, I upgraded my old desktop PC with one my dad built for me. This one has much higher processing speed and larger hard drive, allowing me to download and play more games with better graphics, however it means I can only play them at my desk in my bedroom.

I have never owned a Play Station or Xbox console, but have played many games on these platforms whilst at friend's houses, for example Fifa, Fallout and Call Of Duty. I found these less engaging than PC games and often felt they were unnecessarily violent, aimed mostly at the male demographic. My family bought a Wii in 2007, upgrading to a WiiU in 2013. On these we could play family orientated games as a group and invite friends over to play. The games were played using a disc and often took a long time to load. We now own a NintendoSwitch which uses cartridges which are very quick to load. The main feature of the Switch is that it can be used in multiple ways which suits our family very well, because my brother can start playing a game on the large TV screen, and and quickly change to a handheld device to continue playing his games whilst others are watching TV. It also means he can take his games over to his friends' houses or on journeys. I think I have grown too old for most of the games which are currently being released for Nintendo, otherwise I would use it more. I now limit my gaming mainly to PC or apps I download for my phone. I will sometimes play on consoles with my brother or friends, but would not chose to play by myself.

Minecraft Mission

Outside of my Minecraft house

Inside of my house
Minecraft is the second most successful video game of all time, designed by Markus Persson. The first complete version of the game went on release in 2011 on PC. Now the game has been updated several times and over 121 million copies have been sold across all platforms. 

Stairs leading into a mine I created
It can be played virtually anywhere at any time using the pocket edition version of the game which can be bought on the Google Play and Apple stores via a tablet or smartphone. It has endless possibilities and therefore, in theory, will 'never get old'.  One can play either by themselves or with friends due to the console and PC editions including online features. 

I experienced playing the pocket edition of Minecraft on an iPad and found it simple and enjoyable to use. I spawned in the middle of a woodland biome and cut down trees to use wood for my house and to make tools such as an axe, pick-axe, sword and spade. I explored my local area further, finding caves (which I could mine in), animals (which I could kill for resources), and sand (which I smelted to make glass windows). As I mined, I discovered different resources such as coal and iron which could be used to create more items or upgrade my tools.

Aw, baby cow

Friday, 10 November 2017

Latymer Radio Breakfast Show Segment


Riana and I managed to fulfil all the content requirements for this task as well as incorporating the conventions of a Radio One Breakfast show. We used three jingles which we created using GarageBand, featured extracts from three songs and included a promo of a 'celebrity' guest. Whilst writing the script for our segment, we carefully considered our music choices as well the tones of voice/attitudes of our presenter, news reporter and guest. We chose music which had been featured on the Radio One Breakfast show previously or which had been labelled as 'mainstream', such as 'Rock Star' by Post Malone, in order to upkeep with the show's intentions of appealing to everyone. We also incorporated recognisable features of the Radio One Breakfast show such as a News segment, a phone-in, twitter comments, loud jingles and the game 'Celebrity Gamble'. 

We took inspiration from the Radio One Breakfast show presenter, Nick Grimshaw, using a chirpy and upbeat tone of voice with a positive outlook. We also used common slang terms such as 'lit' and 'wassup', matching Nick Grimshaw's manner on the show. Our host had a lot of banter between our  news reporter and member of the public, as well as featuring comical news headlines, keeping the show lighthearted as well as entertaining.

Maintaining a continuous flow of content proved to be challenging, particularly when queuing jingles and songs. Making our voices clear and comprehensible was also difficult and we encountered several interruptions which meant we had to start the show from the top in order to reflect the live recording show style. Overall, our detailed planning and rehearsals helped to make our show successful and within the time limit of three minutes. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Modern Music Video Analysis

'Colours' by Halsey (2016)

1: Motif

In the music video there is a recurring motif of blue coloured objects and materials correlating with the lyric 'everything is blue'. The repetition of this visual throughout the video draws the audience's attention to the lyrics.

Halsey - Colors

2: Multiple Perspectives

Throughout the video we see the perspectives of four characters who all have interrelated story lines. The heroin is Halsey, and we know this because she is featured in the most shots and is also seen to sing the song.

Halsey - Colors

3: Lips moving with song

This shots shows a typical convention of music videos with the use of an extreme close up to show the singer's lips moving to the song. In this video, this technique is used to emphasise the bridge and make the audience focus on the song lyrics. It also represents an intimate moment for the subject. 

Halsey - Colors

4: Beauty Shot

This shot is typically found in female artist's music videos. Here we see close-ups of Halsey wearing makeup and looking very attractive and cutesy. Here, this is emphasising how she wants to impress the guy she likes as dictated in the song.

Halsey - Colors

5: Extreme Contrast in Shots

In this extract the audience sees an extreme change in shot type from a wide to a close up. This technique is often used in music videos to keep the audience engaged and entertained. It can also be used to show a deeper meaning of the song such as what the singer is really thinking about, as shown here.

Halsey - Colors

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Continuity Task Evaluation

An Accident

1. Explain the story of your video 
Our story features two people colliding in a corridor after turning a corner without looking where they are going. Our first character (portrayed by Abbie) is reading notes in her folder, and our second character (portrayed by Ollie) is looking at his phone. After bumping into each other, Ollie drops his phone and it breaks. He then blames Abbie for the accident.

2. How did you attempt to create 'narrative flow' (continuity)?
Before shooting we mapped out our story as a storyboard. This helped us stay within the frame limit as well as helping us understand how each shot needed to flow to the next.We tried to create good narrative flow by giving both characters a motive for colliding (not looking where they were going). This made the story more believable for the audience. We also tried to include an element of movement in each shot so there were no dramatic jumps between cuts. 

3. Did you achieve full continuity? If not, why not? 
We achieved a very good sense of continuity by using a good establishing shot, a good master shot and clearly showing the audience exactly what events were taking place and in what order. The only place where continuity was questioned was the direction in which Abbie was travelling at the beginning. 

4. What would you do differently to improve the continuity of your video and tell your story more effectively?
In hindsight, we would have made the lighting more controlled and directed our actors to be more exaggerated in their reactions. Also, in order to make Abbie's direction of travel more apparent, we could have shifted the camera positioning slightly to the left, so she would have clearly been shown as walking left-to-right.

Trailer Analysis: Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Released in the UK on the 28th June 2017

Audience Appeal:

  • Starts with a recognisable and upbeat song to engage the audience
  • The shots are dynamic and constantly shifting the audience's viewpoint
  • The action and transitions between shots are timed well with the music and give the trailer an immersive quality
  • The appearance of the trailer is very aesthetic with highly saturated images to give the trailer a comic-book feel
  • Features several different shots which raise many questions which keeps the audience in suspense and wanting to know more
  • A comical scene is featured, amusing the audience

Genre Signifiers:

The audience assess the film to be an Action based on:
  • The fast pace of the trailer
  • The variation of car chases and action shots
  • The use of weapons, signifying conflict and violence
  • Themes of crime such as bank robbery and murder
  • Romance is featured, but it clearly isn't the main focus of the movie

Character & Representation:

  • The main character is Baby, portrayed by Ansel Elgort
  • We can tell he is the main character because he receives the most screen time and is also the only character who is named
  • It is said that he was in an accident when he was younger which is why he listens to music
  • He is a driver for criminals
  • He is mostly shown in sunglasses and casual clothes, presenting his as level-headed and calm
  • He is a very good driver
  • The audience learns very little about the other characters, but we assume that Kevin Spacey's character is important because he is the one giving orders. Because of his high reputation as an actor, we also believe he must have a leading role 


  • At the beginning, logos for Sony, TriStar and MRC are shown
  • These logos are featured again at the very end of the trailer along with Working Title's logo
  • Instagram, Facebook and Twitter labels are shown
  • The name of the film is shown after all the action

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Reflections on Shots

1) Identify in what way this shot signifies your chosen genre? This shot features the genre conventions of a Mystery Drama. The framing of the shot is at an obscure angle and reveals little detail about the situation, however the expression and body language of my actor suggests curiosity as well as fear. Because of the lack of detail given, the audience doesn’t know what is about to happen, keeping them engaged. I also created a shadow to heighten suspense and make the scene more dramatic and atmospheric.
2) How did you direct the shot to achieve the desired effect?To achieve this effect, I took the shot from behind a white corner, contrasting with the actor’s dark clothing and the dark corridor he is in. I also used a hand-held light to create shadows around the actor, making him seem more concealed. The mise-en-scene is very generic but the framing and lighting makes it seem more intense, engaging the audience.
3) How did you intend the audience to interpret your still - what meanings did you intend to convey?
With the use of contrast in lighting I tried to show how the actor was unsure of the situation and was unaware of what was about to happen, both physically and mentally being ‘in the dark’. His facial expression shows both determination as well as uncertainty, suggesting he is the protagonist. The way in which the camera is peering around the corner matches the pose of the actor, leading the audience to sympathise with him. This shot is supposed to capture part of the intense climax before the mystery is revealed. 
4) Identify what is successful about your shot The framing of the shot is successful because it fills the frame with an engaging image without being too busy. The audience’s eyes are immediately drawn to the actor and his expression
5) What would you have done differently in hindsight? In hindsight, I would make the entire still darker and less saturated to fit more effectively with the genre conventions of a Mystery Drama. I would also have made the shadow affect more prominent to reinforce the connotations that things are not as they seem and that the truth is being concealed.