Week 13: Assignment 3- T H I R S T (Final Title Sequence)

Voila!

Here’s the final cut/ title sequence of week 13. All those days that Jess, Preet and I made the necessary changes to our schedules, stayed back at my place till 11 pm to finish our shoot and the final hours where we sat down and put our editing skills together finally paid off.
This semester, I learnt how to make the best use of the available footage. For instance, there have been times where the lighting didn’t quite match with the initial idea that I have in mind. That’s what initially didn’t work for me in the shots that I had taken for one of my previous assignments. Also, text/ titles was another aspect that I had to work on. I knew what my capabilities were and how I would best use them this semester. Thankfully, in this group assignment, I learnt a lot from my group mates and they were very patient with me from the day we started the shoot.

In this title sequence, Jess is a vampire slayer who gets a call from a witness (Preet) when she sees a vampire (who looks pretty harmless at first) suspiciously strolling around in her area. Jess rushes off to slay what must be slayed.

Meanwhile, Rebecca (me) and Mitch (my charming boyfriend and co-star) enter his apartment. Rebecca initially gets blocked at the entrance since a vampire has to be invited inside. Mitch takes her by the hand and leads her into his place, seemingly distracted by her presence but unaware of his fate that would be sealed in the following moments.

By the time Jess breaks into the apartment, it is too late. Mitch’s limp and lifeless body has been drained out of blood and Rebecca is no where to be seen.

What we would do differently next time would be adding some closeup shots of vampire related articles like I had initially planned. This would include, better lighting indoor shots, battery charged lighting for outdoor shots and perhaps adding a bit of an evil glimmer in Rebecca’s black eyes to make it look more supernatural.

To be honest, this assignment has not only taught me how to edit and composite video material but I also learnt to be resilient. The allocation of tasks was split up where Preet masked out parts of the video and edited the bats and Jess did a whole lot of tracking  to make my eyes turn black (in the part where I turn into a vampire) as well as the scattering of some of the footage/ text.

On the other hand, I was in charge of the soundtrack, the editing of the first black eye in the second shot, planned the timeline/ shooting and had to come up with the concept. As a team, I think we put in all our effort into it and helped each other where the other was lacking. For instance, I tried to add some realistic blood into the shots where I was successful in attaining some material off royalty free websites which I thought would be ideal for the parts where Mitch gets bitten. However, I wasn’t very pleased with it because the footage that I managed to get was too gory and would have been suitable for a zombie apocalypse film instead.

With reference to my previous posts, I had mentioned that this sequence was going to be Vampire Diaries/ Sin City themed. After actually getting down to edit the footage, we realised that we had succeeded in capturing the Vampire Diaries theme right but Sin City didn’t work out for what we had shot. This is primarily because the lighting simply didn’t work out for us. Jess had borrowed some lights that we thought would be perfect for the shoot outdoors since it had to be shot only at night (vampires, duh). Unfortunately, they weren’t battery powered so we had to resort to shoot under the grace of the street lights. Surprisingly, during our presentation of the rough cut, some of our classmates thought that we had used colour grading for the outdoor shots to make it look spookier (although we hadn’t at that time).

It gave us a better idea of what we needed to work on for the final cut and so we managed to work on accentuating the brightness as well as adding some vignette lighting to the park shots (if you compare the rough cut to the final cut, you can see that there is a stark difference between the two).

Music was appropriately checked and taken off a creative commons licensed website- http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Troy_Holder/Masters_Remastered/Lacrimosa_Mozart

Some of the special effects that we used in this title sequence are Tracking, Paint Brush (for my eyes), scatter effect (when I dissipate and for the titles), and puppet pin (for the bats). Time-lapse was also a major part of the opening shot of the city skyline.

I’m not exactly what you’d call adroit at testing the waters when it comes to tracking which is what I had initially struggled with (especially for footage that had way too many head movements). I found myself getting easily frustrated and restless when I couldn’t get the black eyes right (in the second part of the footage with Mitch and me). Luckily, Jess was adept at getting that part sorted which I’m ever grateful for. We also managed to fix some of the transitions to give the viewer a more idyllic stance of what to expect next- as all horror movies do.

The entire concept of this title sequence is pretty self explanatory and we decided that we wouldn’t add too many special effects into it, otherwise it wouldn’t have given off the same feel.

I’m pretty satisfied with it and I think there’s a lot more that we can work on with an action- packed/ horror genre in the future.

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