The pre-production process
Type of media productions
We produced a 90 second short film for an online production competition called ‘Depict’, It must not have been longer than 90 seconds however it could be under. The ways we distributed our finished product was through a video streaming service called YouTube and it was uploaded from our college account. There are many different types of moving image media products for example a feature length film that would usually be distributed through a cinema or even an on demand service provided by a TV/broadband company, which would then eventually be distributed through DVD’s or Blu Rays. Another type of a moving image media product is a TV programme. There are many different types of these you can get, for example a series which would be episodes within each series and is usually distributed through television. Another is a serial TV programme and this is continuous episodes that are constantly being aired and distributed through television, additionally there are stand-alone and single episodes. Other types of moving image media products that exist are music videos, adverts, gifs and channel indents, these can be distributed through many different methods for example streaming and on-demand, advertising and OOH electronic billboards, TV, cinema and DVD’s and blu rays. These are all effective ways to distribute media and will eventually reach the majority of the public.
EastEnders a known serial TV programme that is continuous and situated to a specific channel.
Greek is a TV programme that is a series it consists of 4 seasons.
Finance and sources of funding
|Film funded by Megan Ellison|
There are a variety of ways to raise money to fund a moving image media production, for example you can take out a loan from the bank to fund your production and intake the money back from what the production’s income accounts to. Another way is through crowd funding and sourcing from the public getting the public to believe in your product to donate a small amount of money into the media product. An example of how you can do this is through a website called kick-starter it is very effective for people creating a moving image media production that need help to fund it, 7.3million people have backed a Kick-starter project and 2.2million people have backed more than one project. An additional way to fund a product is through self-finance and raising the money by yourself with no-one else’s help or having your own money to fund it yourself. Furthermore there is a way to fund your media product by private capital this consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies and this means that if there is a big time investor who has a large amount of money that they are able to fund your media production privately and even if they are not part of a company themselves they are still able to fund your production. An example of this is Megan Ellison she works mainly on large Hollywood feature films with the ability from her family’s wealth to help fund these productions, She is known for her work on American Hustle (David O. Russell 2013) and Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow 2012). BFI film funding is another way to fund for a moving image media production they invest over £26m of lottery funds to support film development, production and distribution in the UK and the budget is set to rise to £30m in 2017. An added way to fund a production is through selling the rights of it, for example merchandising sales that also promote the product and the money income you receive is to be used to fund the media project. Also links in with marketing deals of your product. Entering competitions is another way to fund your product, if you win then this could secure money to fund your next product and able you to carry on creating a moving image media product. Lastly product placement, this is an advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media promotional channels. This is effective because not only is the media product created gaining exposure, the audience can be engaged into it and that way could sponsor your product and in term be able to help with funding.
Requirements for your moving image media product are crucial because without this you would not be able to piece together the media product or even have the ability to create one. If you gain the funding you need the next step it to gather equipment and materials to build up and develop the media product, you would need to spend a percentage of money on the cameras used and lighting this would tie in with the equipment category. You would also need to be able to pay for the talent with the actors you audition and chose for your moving image media, additionally the crew that are the main machine behind the moving image media product are possibly the most important requirement because without a crew there is no product. Distribution of the product through advertising is essential, no-one would know of the product if there is no exposure of it, 30% - 60% of the funding for a moving image media product is spent on promoting and marketing your product. Location, props, transport, make up, costumes, accommodation and expenses (food) are all just as important to the product as the crew because these are requirements you need to consider even for a very low budget film to a feature film, additionally booking in advance and being organised with where you are taking this media product, will produce a successful outcome. The soundtrack you need to be agile with because you need to make sure it is not copy righted or if you are willing to pay for a certain song you know the exact cost of it. More low budget short films like the depict 90 second one we made, you will look for websites that are free with non-copy righted sounds and effects for example we used royalty free music. The editing and final cuts of your moving image media product is a huge requirement because that is how you can finalize your product and eventually export it into a form where it can be advertised and promoted whether it be from the TV or in the cinema or on a website. If you don’t gather enough funding to buy your own media editing equipment there are media facility houses where you can hire to edit your product and also be given additional help with the editing of your product.
For our depict 90 seconds short film media production we encountered hiring our camera and tripod for the AV room that is located in our college at east Norfolk sixth form. We had Reuben in our group who purchased an SD card for us to use in result that our work would not get mixed up with anyone else’s and that we could back it up on our accounts efficiently. For locations we filmed on site at our college which made it free of charge, however we had to organise our time with the rooms and make sure we had enough time to film within the rooms we had booked and what days people in our group were available. We had 4 rooms that we booked the prop room, meeting room 2, our own media room and the public services room; at first we had a difficulty getting hold of potential rooms and Charlie’s job was to go out and look for available rooms that we could use and in the end we were successful. We hired the props and created a prop list with a signature of permission to borrow them for our production; this was also free of charge.
In a moving image media production there are other cast and contributors that can be involved, for example in feature films that includes a variety of action there would be stuntmen to act out the stunts and risks instead of the actual actors because stuntmen are officially trained. Additionally in Hollywood feature films they use a large amount of extras, these are non-famous people from the public or a company that act in the background of a film to make the scene more realistic, for example in a busy New York City scene you would need to use extras and people from the public to create the crowds of people, this would then make it more realistic. In documentaries it differs because instead of extras you need interviewees, for example if you are documenting a certain place in the world on crime in that specific area you need to interview the public that live in that area and see their views and listen to their side of the story. An actual example of this is Ross Kemps documentaries that are available, he takes a closer insight into the areas of crime and need access to the interviewees that help create the programme and make it more surreal for everyone else to watch and understand. For mainly feature films or documentaries there will almost always be first aiders, script editors and contributors that take care of accounts, less likely in short films because they will be restricted to how and where they can film with limited time. These contributors are just as important to the crew as everyone else the first aiders are there in case anything goes wrong during filming and they need medical assistance. Script editors make the final changes to the script and are able to edit and change parts throughout the making of the film, the people that take care of finance and where the money that is funding the product goes out and comes in are also just as important because they have to account down to the very last penny and make sure everything is accounted for and the funding covers everything.
|Avatar - Film|
For our depict 90 second short sequence we had a timeframe of 8 hours within one week to film and gather all the shots we needed and that was our deadline of filming. As we had certain rooms booked on certain days we had a few hours left over where we didn’t have anything that we were desperate to film, in turn we decided we would shoot corridor scenes and extra footage in case we needed it as we wanted to be prepared with what we were creating. Luckily we met the deadline and had finished filming by the end of the week successfully, we did come across a difficulty when it came to using the public service room because at first there was people in there on the time we were scheduled to film, however we spoke to the owner of the room and gave them our location release that contained a signature allowing us to film at that particular time and they understood and gave us the time we needed to film in that particular room.
In the professional industry if you miss the deadlines that are set out it could result in postponing films for days, weeks and even months and this would corrupt the films reputation and can delay the release date, which could be a huge problem because if you had a Halloween themed film due to be out on the Halloween day you have to meet that deadline because there is no other day in the year that Halloween falls on. This then results in wasting the actors time and possible having to pay out additional charges to keep them acting on the film for longer and also the location used you could pay out extra to keep using that location for longer than you had intended to. This is how films can spiral out of budget and end up having millions of pounds put to waste; additionally it destroys the reputation of the producers, directors and film makers for not being efficient with planning and organising their production. Another reason why films could postpone their filming is if an accident happens on set and Sarah Joanes is a good example of what can happen when an accident happens and an actor can be killed on set. With our depict moving image sequence we hit the filming deadline and paperwork deadline, however our teacher wanted us to take pictures of our paperwork and place them on our blogs through a site called flip-snack where it would be presented in a digital flip book. Our group was unable to meet this deadline successfully because we took the pictures but only some were sent to each of us and that made it an incomplete work. Additionally when we had our images together us and several other groups in the class had difficulty with this because not all the picture we took would upload onto flip-snack and the website itself was crashing. As we were not the only group with this struggle our teacher marked our physical paperwork we gave her as a result of the website not working.
When trying to create your moving image media product and you need certain equipment and facilities to assist your work, however you are unable to get hold of any yourself or find anywhere that is appropriate for you to work there are professional media facility houses. Montclair State University the college of arts is an example of a facility house, even though they are a college they say that ‘The School of Communication and Media uses media facilities, housed within the College of the Arts under the direction of the Broadcast and Digital Media Operations unit. They include the state-of-the-art Dumont Television Centre for video/media production, a Filmmaking Studio for film production, a Multiplatform News Room for journalism production, a campus radio station (WMSC-FM),’ as well as mediated classrooms and computer labs that support the School’s full range of instruction. This would be effective to the young starting production makers that are looking for a kick-start into the world of creating media and an insight into the industry. The nearest facility house to where I live would be the one in Norwich at the Norwich University of The Arts they produce the Monastery Media Lab, a world-class digital design centre that would facilitate your moving image media product and develop it to its full capacity. We had a variety of equipment available to us from the media department situated in our college from DSLR’s to video recorders to voice microphones for sound effects, also tripods and mobile tripods and SD cards were also available to borrow however we purchased our own. Out of this variety we rented out a video camera instead of the DSLR’s because we had experience with the video cameras and it would be more appropriate if we didn’t introduce a whole new device to use. Additionally we took out the tripod each time to concentrate the static shots of the props and we wanted to be prepared for any other shots that we could add to our production.
During our pre-production we had to plan for the locations we wanted to use, to do this we used ‘location recce’s’ and ‘location releases’. A location release allows you to gain permission to use and film in a particular room, with the owner’s signature that grants the access, also location releases can back you up if the owner double booked the room it will justify who has booked it first with the date issued on the release. A location recce is for when you have permission of the room and you need to asses it, we had to count the plug sockets available for the lamp we were using and also had to risk asses each room we chose in the result if any accident did occur we would have covered it in the risk assessment.
Examples of the Location release (on the right)
and the Location recce (on the left)
We had to work hard to gain permission for rooms as filming in a college during lesson time there would be classes occurring at the same time as we needed to film, Charlie had the job of scouting rooms for us to use and we ended up with 4 successful rooms to use. We had Meeting Room 2 that we had to book at reception and ask the receptionist to sign the location release, we used the prop room that we had to gain permission from AV room manager as he owned the key, additionally there was another group filming in the prop room for their whole production this meant we had to negotiate a time and day of the week that we could use it for one lesson. Our very own creative media room we had to book with our media teacher and negotiate with other students who had finished filming and were using the room to edit that we would use it for one lesson. Lastly we used the public services room that we had to book with another teacher who’s lessons occur in that room and organise a day that his lesson would be in a computer room, therefore giving us access for one lesson. We used rooms that were situated within the same building because it saved us time when we had to film quickly and move to another location, also from carrying our equipment too far that could result in an injury and damage to the equipment if dropped. Our reasoning for using the prop room and meeting room 2 was for the reason that they were dark lit rooms which saved us having to create the darkness ourselves, with our media room we used because it was a certainty that we would be able to gain access to it from our own teacher and the public services room we used because it was a vast space and created an eerie feeling of emptiness within this large space.
We had to asses each room with not only our recce sheets but a risk assessment sheet which we had to address problems that could occur while we filmed, we had to note down the electrical issues that we could face with the lamp we were using and also tripping hazards, especially noted for the prop room because we were warned and could see it was overly cluttered by the props and cupboards used to store them, also had a set up with a green screen back ground which had to be taken down while filming occurred. To overcome the electrical issues we had to make sure the lamp was only turned on when in use to avoid overheating and to the greatest extent a possible risk of fire, also turning the plug switch off when not using it and keeping liquids away from any plug socket or electrical open wire. With the risk of tripping we had to make sure the space we were working in was clear from any risks, however on one occasion in the prop room we moved a curtain out the way and without the realisation that it was stuck round the bottom of a stand-alone light and Reuben from our group pulled it and the light fell and one of the bulbs smashed. This then became a hazard of harming ourselves by getting cut on the glass that was spread out on the floor, how we dealt with this was by calling our teacher and the janitor for assistance. We were then informed that the people who used the prop room before us and has used the stand-alone light had not properly placed it away and un-extended it, which therefore resulted in it causing an accident, however because we covered it in our risk assessment there was no further action taken that could have affected our filming.
Other than equipment, cast and crew there are other materials that go into making a moving image media product for example props, make up and costumes, scripts, music/sound track and editing for the product. Make up and costumes being for the actors to play a particular character and to place themselves in the role of that character, you have to consider the make-up cost and costume cost that you should section out of your budget to be organised with the payments going out and what expense you have left over. Props could differ from a book to a IPod depending on the budget and story behind the media product, the props in a Hollywood feature film would be more extravagant and more expensive then it would be in a low budget short film, the cost of props is another material that you have to consider to tie in with the budget of the film. For music/soundtracks you may want to use a popular known song that has been on the radio or used in past films, for this you must consider the cost of copyrighted music. When creating your moving image media product you must consider copyrighted soundtracks and music, we came across this issue when creating our 90 seconds depict short film as we wanted to use a soundtrack we discovered on YouTube however it was copyrighted and the only way we could us it is to get hold of the creators details and pay to use it. As a result we used a royalty free music website which was mention earlier in the essay that allowed us to use un-copyrighted and free downloaded music. Another material that could be included in a moving image media product creation is a stuntman who produces the stunts for the actors who are not professionally trained, with this you would need to gain insurance for this person in case of an accident they are unable to sue your company, this comes across as a protection in your favour.
When creating a moving image media product you must consider the legal rights side of it, some factors you will have to consider is not appropriate rights for soundtracks and illegally copying another’s soundtrack or song, and licence releases for actors knowing they have signed an agreement to work for you for a certain amount of time and know what scenes and type of acting they will endure and perform. A company that protects actors especially in the industry is Equity it protects them for being overworked or under paid. Copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission, you can mark your work with the copyright symbol (©), your name and the year of creation. Copy right protects your work and prevents people from copying your work, distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale, performing, showing or playing your work in public and putting it on the internet.
Copy right effected our depict production with the use of music because we researched through YouTube and listened to a few different soundtracks we liked the look of and came across the ‘Dead silence’ film theme tune. However because it was from a feature film we realized that it would be copyrighted and the only way to use it was to go against the law and receive a fine or face a possibility of being prosecuted or pay the original creators to use it which we was unable to do with a budget of only five pounds. It also possessed a ‘standard YouTube license’ which meant that we couldn’t re-use it from the person who actually uploaded it off their account. This resulted in our group having to research for a website that we could download un-copyrighted music from and we eventually found one called ‘Royalty Free Music’ we downloaded a couple of tracks that gave us the ability to choose the one that would fit in with the mood and idea of our depict production.
· Copy rights clearance Key business for authors, artists and musicians because they allow permission to a production for instance a song or soundtrack being used in a film. 'Is a comprehensive and multi-layered process of licensing intellectual property to facilitate the use of combined works for a production or event.' - Quote from the website. An example of this is in a film called Divergent in this film they use soundtracks from Ellie Golding who is an international known singer/song writer, the creators of the film would have had to gain clearance of this soundtrack from the singer herself to allow them to use it in the film.
· Public Liability Insurance This type of insurance would cover a business if a customer or member of the public was to suffer a loss or injury as a result of its business activities, in the media world it could be for an actor who could suffer an accident and this insurance would ensure that the compensation payment is covered and you would not lose any budget money from the compensation pay out, plus any legal expenses.
· Completion guarantee/insurance is a completion guarantee is a form of insurance offered by a completion guarantor company that is often used in independently financed films to guarantee that the producer will complete and deliver the film to the distributor therefore triggering the payment of minimum distribution guarantees to the producer. The producer will agree to deliver a film to a distributor in respect of certain territories in consideration for payment of a "minimum distribution guarantee" payable at the point in time when the producer has delivered the completed film.
Regulation: A regulatory agency is a public authority or government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity. An example of this is as follows:
OFCOM is the communications regulator. ‘We regulate the TV and radio sectors, fixed line telecoms, mobiles, postal services, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.’ - Quote from the website. Ofcom is run mainly by the Ofcom board and its aim is to keep everything on TV appropriate and at a legal standard, the Executive runs the organisation and answers to the Board. The Ofcom Board meets a least once a month. Agendas, summary, notes and minutes of meetings are published regularly on the Ofcom website.
The BBC trust is the governing body that assists and runs the BBC. ‘The Trust is separate from the Executive Board which is led by the Director-General. The Executive Board is responsible for the operational delivery of BBC services and the direction of BBC editorial and creative output in line with the framework set by the Trust.’ -Quote from the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/
BBC trust set strategic objectives for the BBC:
· Make the most creative and distinctive output;
· Innovate online to create a more personal BBC;
· Serve all audiences; and
· Improve value for money through a simpler, more efficient, and more open BBC.
The BBC trust is different to Ofcom because the BBC trust’s main aim is to serve the public entertainment whereas Ofcom is there to protect public. Ofcom has certain powers to regulate the BBC's licence fee funded television and radio services aimed at audiences in the UK, but not the World Service which is grant-in-aid funded. Ofcom provides protection to what the BBC broadcasts by offering the Editorial Guidelines:
· Protection of under-18s
· Harm and Offence
· Avoidance of inciting crime or disorder
· Responsible approach to religious content
· Prohibition of use of images of very brief duration
The BBFC is the British Board of Film Classification it has classified films since it began in 1912 and classifies videos and DVD’s, since the video recording act was passed in 1984. All classification decisions are based on the BBFC’s published and regularly updated Guidelines. The Guidelines are the product of extensive public consultation, research and the accumulated experience of the BBFC over many years. They reflect current views on film, DVD and video game regulation.
After researching about the regulations needed to officially publish a moving image media product I have learnt that everything that we watch whether it be on TV, cinema, DVD, Video they have all been regulated through specific guidelines in place to protect us as the public. However with uploading videos on the internet it can be hard to keep track of the materials surrounding the internet, for example our Depict short sequences we made would have been regulated through YouTube to evaluate the decency of the content we were uploading and make sure it is suitable for the audience on YouTube and if it was for over a certain age limit it would be displayed before you are allowed to play the video.
Trade unions and Trade Associations
A trade union is an organised association of workers in a trade, groups of trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests. Some workers join a trade union because they believe that a union can negotiate better pay and better working conditions, including more holidays or improved health and safety. Also to provide training for new skills and give general advice and support.Trade unions are important because they act as a protection to those in the working industry and allow them to have their own rights when in labour.
An example of a trade union is BECTU: is the UK's media and entertainment trade union; sectors covered include broadcasting, film, independent production, theatre and the arts, leisure and digital media. The key aims of the union are to; protect jobs, increase membership, win new recognition agreements and improve pay and conditions of service, including pensions.
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. The difference between trade unions and trade associations is that trade unions are for and representative of the individual as oppose to trade associations that are for the industries as whole.
An example is PACT: Pact is the trade association representing the commercial interests of UK independent television, film, digital, children’s and animation media companies. Pact supports its members with legal and business affairs advice and support, as well as a wide range of services and campaign work. Pact also exists to look after the interests of it's members similar to a sectional pressure group.
Also the BIMA is the British Interactive Media Association this is a trade association that is specifically to do with the media industry. BIMA is dedicated to serving our membership in the UK and abroad.
BIMA exists to do four key things...
- Support and promote the British digital industry
- Share knowledge and best practice
- Reward great work
- Encourage the next generation