Friday, 15 July 2011

Our final Western Opening


Adding Sound & Soundtrack Pro

Adding Titles & Live Type Pro

Final Cut

The Rough Cut and some analysis....

Change of Plan - A Fistful of....

We had decided to use the telephone scenario and call it A Fistful of Phone Numbers but we wanted to use the lighting in 333 and we couldn't get the telephones off the desk in 315. We quickly needed a prop...and chocolate came to our rescue...


Filming was a long process and instead of sticking to our intial ours and storyboard, we kept changing what we had planned to do, WHICH IS NOT A GOOD IDEA!! This was partly because we had planned on having lots of moving camerawork but this didn't really work when we started filming so we had to think of other shots that we would also be able to edit conventionally.  This meant that it took longer to film and we weren't as organised with the filming of our shots as we perhaps could have been. However, although we had some issues with 180 degree and it was hard to keep a straight face when trying to be stern or walk like John Wayne, it went ok!

Some out-takes....


Planinng - Shot List

Planning - Storyboarding

Western Conventions - Sound

We loved the sound of the Spaghetti Westerns but think it will probably be quite hard for us to create something similiar especially as Ennio Morricone has created such a signature sound with the Spaghetti Westerns. There are lots of picolo, flute, guitar and banjo and there is lots of silence used too.  And, of course, whistling and gun shots during the stand offs too!

We listened to the theme tunes for the films below and they all had a flute 'motif' or some kind of whistling that was used as a cue for danger or a different character. We thought it would be good to try and re-create this.

the good the bad and the ugly

For a few dollars more

 A Fistful of Dollars

Western Conventions - Editing

We looked at 3 different Spaghetti Westerns and analysed the editing used during the opening and closing sequences. Both normally featured some kind of standoff or show down and the conventional edits used included:

  • shot reverse shots
  • cut aways to objects
  • parallel action

There was lots of 'mirroring' between the characters in the stand off that was achieved by using the edits above. So, you would see one character in long shot, then cut to the next in long shot, then we would see the first character in medium shot and it would cut to the 2nd character and then you would see the 1st character again but this time in close up etc...

You can see this in the clips below, we thought it was really effective and would make an interesing filming practice.

For a few dollars More (from 1 min 47 you can really see this)

For a Fistful  OF Dollars (from 1 min 20 the editing builds up the tension)

Western Conventions - Camera

Researching into Westerns identified that there are some very specific conventions that most Westerns appear to follow, so to narrow these down and focus our research further we decided to look mostly at Spaghetti Westerns and there were some clear codes and conventions in the camera work editing and sound, used across a range of films that we looked at. 

This website was really helpful in helping us find and look at different Spaghetti Westerns Top 20 Spaghetti Westerns and also Quentin Tarantino's Top 20 favorite Spaghetti Westerns


Extreme long shots & figures in the distance

Lots of Close Up, Big Close Up and Extreme Close Ups (with stern or grimacing expressions!)

Profile Shots

extreme long shots or long shots of show downs or confrontation

Medium Shots and Over the Shoulder Shots

Some interestingly framed shots

Cut aways to objects in close ups

Long Shots walking to camera

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Scenario

Our decision on which scenario was largely based around locations for filming. As we'd spent a while looking at traditional and spaghetti Westerns when trying to decide which genre to go with, most of the other rooms were already taken, we just had the option of the kitchen or the staff room so the scenario's to choose from were more likely to be

As most Western's feature some kind of stand off, we thought it would probably be difficult to have a stand off with a newspaper or an email, so instead went for the idea of making a cup of tea or the telephone. But, the kitchen is small for filming in so we decided on making a telephone conversation...we just had to now decide to how make a telephone call in the style of a Western...this was going to take some more research and planning!

Which Genre - Part 2

Beginning our reserach into Westerns we saw that although Western's can be seen to have cliched generic conventions, there are some differences between traditional 'old' Westerns and the 'Spaghetti' Westerns... So, after comparing and reseraching bewteen the two different types, we decided that a Western is what we'd aim to now we just had to decide WHICH SCENARIO....?

Classic Hollywood & Italian Westerns/ Compare & Contrast

In the 1960s the popularity of the western was in decline. The classic American model had run out of steam and seemed out of touch, old fashioned. The genre became revisited, re-styled and re-immagined by Italian filmmakers. At first, derided and panned by critics, the films found an audience and have since become recognised as classics of the genre and take their place in cinema and film history...

1. The western hero - American style
White hat, clean cut, stands for American Chivalry
Henry Fonda in 'My Darling Clementine'

John Wayne in Stagecoach

2. The western hero - Italian style 
Rugged individualism, a mercenary - can out bad the bad guys
Unshaven, smokes cigar and wears a poncho

Clint Eastwood in The Good the Bad and The Ugly 
3. The Music - American Style
Classic orchestral symphony - evokes the great wide outdoors, the frontier, American hope and chivalry

4. The Music - Italian style
Howls, whips, whistles, grunts and electric guitars. heralds a new kind of 'Rock n' roll Western'

5. The Landscape - American style
Monument valley is the most famous western landscape, as popularised by director John Ford in films like 'Stagecoach', 'My Darling Clementine' and 'The Searchers'.

6. The Faces - Italian Style
Extreme close ups were an innovation of 60s cinema, in the Italian western they bordered on fetishistic,  becoming their own kind of the landscape and production design, as popularised by director Sergio Leone in films like 'A Fistful Of Dollars', 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' and 'Once Upon A time In The West'

7. Links and research

Which Genre?

At first, we all thought it might be fun to create a comedy, but felt that it is quite hard to do. So, after discounting Comedy, we decided to pick 2 other genres from the list and then undertake some research into the conventions before decided which genre, and then which Scenario, to work with.  We decided on the WESTERN and SOCIAL REALISM. The reason why we chose these two is because Western's have very recognisable, if a little cliched, camera conventions which we enjoyed.  We also decided on Social Realism as it is an interesting genre and it's coventions of location and mise-en-scene would have been easier for us to do.

 some social reaslist examples...

 and some Western examples...

The Task

We were set a task with a number of genres and scenarios that we had to choose from, so the first thing we had to do was to decide which genre and which task...


We’re going to do a mini filming project in its entirety, including planning, blogging, filming, editing.  Each group needs to choose one scenario, and which genre/s to film.

Genre List:
British social realist

Scenario List:
Card game
Newspaper reading
Making a cup of tea
Loading the dishwasher
Sending an email
Writing a letter
Making a phone call (with a landline)