Practical Production Evaluation For "Insidious".
Practical Production Evaluation For “Insidious”
By Ajay Clare
For my practical production I worked in a group of three to produce a film opening for a thriller entitled ‘Insidious’. We chose this title because the denotations for insidious are sinister, dangerous, subtle and menacing; which all relate to the story of our film. The two other people in my group were Talha Mall and Amrik Sekhon. We were influenced greatly by many thriller openings we studied before undertaking our production such as ‘Blade’, and ‘The Blair Witch Project’, but there were still certain aspects of the production, which we could have improved.
During the practical production, each member of the group was responsible for different things. For the acting we decided to cast Talha as the murderer in our film. For the victim we decided to bring in someone from outside the group called Deyar Yasin, who was responsible for playing the female victim of our film. Both Amrik and I did the camera work. We used Amrik’s Mini-DV camera to do the filming and his house for the location of our film. The editing was done completely by me due to the fact that I already had experience with the equipment as I have the software at home. I also compiled the soundtrack, as this was a part of the editing. All three members of our group and Deyar decided on the story line for our production. We went through as many as 20 different story lines on paper but when we got to our location we always improvised and tweaked it more to make it the best we could. This production did teach me a lot about working in a group, and Media as a whole and I have gained a lot of experience in this area, which I am grateful because directing films is a career path which I am gearing towards.
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One of the things that we wanted to do was create something unique, therefore one of the most important things I felt to do in our production was to create memorable shots, which had a lot of thought behind them. The filming took almost 2 weeks for the outside shots, but when thick snow fell, we all agreed to film the outside shots again, as the snow created an amazing mise-en-scene. The opening shot after the credits (and nearly all the other shots) was set up by me, as I took on the role of directing the film. The reason that the opening shot was set up in such a way was that I felt, together with the snow and the height of trees, it had a feeling of depth and would immediately grab our audience’s attention into our film. The trees on both sides looked as if they were looming towards the girl in the shot, providing an eerie feeling to the shot.
One of the shots, which I am most proud of for us creating, is the shot that comes in at 2 minutes and 44 seconds of the film, where the girl points the gun towards the camera, almost ‘involving’ the audience in the film. I suggested that we use this particular shot because I had seen similar shots in other films which stuck in my mind, and a memorable shot such as this would stay in the audiences mind, long after seeing the film. I feel that this shot was the best shot we created in our production.
We felt it was important to identify the studio to which the film was associated, as many other mainstream Hollywood films did. Therefore during the editing process I decided to use the New Line Cinema logo, which I took off the DVD ‘Blade’. The new line cinema was converted to the colour red because it gave the connotations of danger, blood and death.
For the soundtrack of the film, ‘Craig Armstrong – Escape (Remix)’ is used for the opening credits. I decided to use this song because looking at many other thriller films; they use classical sounding tracks such as ‘Escape’.
For the rest of the production, because we were not going to be using any dialogue, we were simply relying on the soundtrack I used for the rest of the production, and certain diegetic sounds such as doors closing for the audio. The music used in the background of the production, after the credits was a mixture of three scores by Marilyn Manson which I mixed together seamlessly. The scores used were: ‘Resident Evil (Main Title Theme)’, ‘Reunion’ and ‘Cleansing’. It was important to get the timing of the scores synchronised to the clips in our film, as one of the things that we learnt when looking at other films was that a main factor, which made a film scary, was its soundtrack. For example, when watching a horror clip with out sound, the clip almost became humorous.
The one sound effect we used was a heart beat sound that is played during the point of view shots. By using a point of view shot, and a heart beat effect we were encouraging the audience to identify with the female victim and raise the audience’s suspense.
We decided to follow the patriarchal views of our society and cast the victim as a female, something that many other Hollywood thriller films do. However we decided to go against one stereotypical idea of the victim in Hollywood films, which is a white blonde, as we thought that it would be better to cast an Asian female to reach out to a wider audience because we were representing a broader range of people in our film.
One of the things which we could have improved about our production is the fact that in the room where the female is murdered, there was not enough light for a clear shot. We used low-key lighting to create a spooky feeling to the shots but I would have liked a bit more light in the room for a clearer shot of the victim. To improve this we could have positioned the lights at a better angle in the room.
One of the other things, which I would have liked to have been improved, is the point of view shot outside, which I believed cut away to quickly.
Overall I think the strengths of our production outweigh the weaknesses and we were able to make a well-planed, successful production.