Postcard Advertisement: Brainstorming

Before starting the design for my film festival postcard advertisement, I wanted to brainstorm on paper and create a rough sketch of how I wanted the final piece to look. This will help me ensure that I have included all the necessary components and not left anything out. It will also give me a basic format to work with on Photoshop, even if I do end up changing some things.

 

I have sketched the poster in the landscape format as I feel that this format will work best in terms of design. The background image will be the same as the background image on the home page the website and I will continue to follow the same basic colour scheme – blue and black. I feel that it is important maintain a consistent look so that audiences will be able to recognise the film when they see it anywhere. If the poster and website look totally different, it will not create any brand awareness, and the film won’t have a distinctive style.

The front side of the postcard will also have a tagline under the film title, film festival laurels, a positive review quote and production credits. I will also include a link to the film website in an effort to integrate the different forms of promotion and create a successful marketing campaign.

I want my postcard advertisement to also have a back-side where I can include additional information. The back will have contact information, a QR code, and film festival screening times. It is conventional to create such double-sided postcards as it increases efficiency and effectiveness. Rather than handing out a business card separately, it is more convenient for people if the contact information is on the postcard itself. This way, they will also directly associate you with the film.

I also feel that is very beneficial to have the film screening times as this way the audience can know how to view the film instead of just knowing about the film. This will encourage more people to see it as they don’t have to go through much trouble. Finally, I also decided to include a QR code because in today’s increasingly digital world a QR code is a great promotional tool.

Gallery: Images

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 12.21.34 am

On the “Gallery” page of my website, I am going to show a display of 12 stills that include both key screenshots from the film as well as behind-the-scenes photos. First, I went through the entire film and took screen-grabs of any particularly striking shots of the different characters that don’t give away anything about the plot. Then, I went through all the photos that were taken on the days of filming and chose a few stills of the cast sitting around on set, getting makeup done, posing together, filming, etc. These are the kind of images that film websites typically display so I felt that it would be appropriate to showcase here.

Then, I went through the different Gallery templates available and chose the one that I felt most fitting. This template was both aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, so I decided to go with this one. I added my images to the template and adjusted the order. With that, I have finished the image gallery.

On this page, I still have yet to add the blooper reel. I also need to work on the background and the additional features (such as as social media links and options to pre-order the film) that I will need to add o every page.

Homepage: Starting work

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.17.02 am

Today, I started work on the Homepage of my film website. It is not yet done, but the basic look is laid out. I chose this shot of Anamika (the protagonist) as my banner image because it was instantly striking. The photograph is bold and eye-catching, and has a poster-like quality to it. The fact that her face is positioned on one side of the frame allows ample room to place the title and other information on the other side without clutter. This provides a visual balance that is aesthetically pleasing. Also, from a design perspective, the eyes seem to direct the attention of the viewer towards the title so that the focus is at the right place.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.18.01 am

The only feature on the page that needs to be just as eye-catching as the image is the title logo. That’s why I chose to have it in a dark font in a large size and placed it right at the top. Underneath the title I want to have either a tagline or a review. I haven’t decided yet, but I will be adding that soon. Another very important feature on the homepage is the option to pre-order film either on Amazon or iTunes. The ultimate goal of any site is to promote the film so that the public will spend money and view it, so these options needs to be readily accessible and visible. The same is true of the social media links – the users should be encouraged to follow the film on social media as new media is a very important promotion tool. The social media links and pre-order options will also be present on every other page other than the homepage as users should be able to access these features at any time.

Since short films are released through film festivals and not theaters, it is important to highlight the festivals through nominations, selections, etc. That’s why I wanted to have some of the film festival recognitions that the film received on the home page. If the audience sees the film is critically acclaimed, they will be more inclined to watch it. First, I looked up some Indian film festivals that the film could theoretically be a part of and designed the film festival laurels using Adobe Photoshop CS6. I saved the designs as transparent images and transferred them onto the website.

At the very top, I added the menu-bar with tabs to other pages:

  • Synopsis
  • Cast & Crew
  • Gallery
  • Film Festivals

I may add more pages or change these pages if I see the need in the future.

The color scheme of my website is going to be largely blue and black in terms of buttons, text, etc. The blue relates to the film as all the scenes in Anamika’s bedroom are dominated by bluish hues and the banner image itself has blue undertones. The menu bar and the text “COMING SOON TO DIGITAL HD” are both in a navy blue that goes with the image. The colors work well against the backdrop and are not jarring as the image itself only comprises neutral colors such as black, grey, white, light brown, etc. The rest of the text (the title; the film festival laurels) and the buttons are all in black. This gives the page a sophisticated and serious look. Too many different colors will make the site appear too cheery and bright, and that will not work for the theme of my film.

Title and credits

The font I ended up using for the title of my film was the one I was leaning towards when I did my logo font brainstorming:

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 3.27.44 pm

This font, called ‘Amateur Slash’ embodies the disordered feel of my film perfectly and has the look of being “split”, making it a fitting choice. It is bold, eye-catching and really looks like it could be a real film logo. Between these two versions, the second one is the one I prefer because the split lines look more aesthetically pleasing to me in that. So this was the variation of the font I decided to work with.

To design the title sequence of my film, I used Adobe Photoshop CS6 to create the background:

background 1

I created a fading effect from red to blue using the gradation tool because these colors represent the two major color schemes used in my film. Cool colors are used for the bedroom scenes and warm colors are used for the living room scenes, so I thought that this would be fitting. I spent a lot of time trying to find the right shades of red and blue. I wanted them to have a dark tint, because otherwise they look too happy and chipper. This would give audiences the wrong idea about the genre of my film.

Then, using the ‘Amateur Slash’ font which I downloaded and installed in Final Cut Pro X, I started work on the lettering. I made the letters 3D and added a shadow as this made the letters appear more dynamic. They really seem to pop off the screen. The color I chose was grey because grey looks the best against the red-blue backdrop. It is a neutral color that helps bring out the serious side of the film. I considered black (because black also works against the backdrop), but in this particular context, if I used black the shadows couldn’t be seen clearly, so I settled on grey.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.43.38 am

The text effect I used was called “Text Spacing”. With this effect the letters appeared to come from the sides and join together at the center, but what I really wanted was them to start from the center and split to the sides. So I adjusted the settings for the fade in, fade out and spacing to achieve the look I wanted.

So now, the letters start from a small clump and quickly fall into position before splitting off to the sides. This effect seemed like the right choice because the “splitting” of the letters aptly relates to the title “Split”.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.41.16 am

After this, I added the line “A film by Kavya Maran” using the same font. I didn’t change the font for any of the other text that appears in both the beginning and during the end credits because it would look jarring. The same font being used lends a sense of continuity. I used black for this because the lettering is not in 3D and there is no shadow to be seen. The black lettering differentiates this text from the title, but not in a manner that is jarring because the colors are all in the same family still. I used the “Fade in” text effect for this so that the transition wouldn’t be abrupt. When this line appears on the screen the sound of feet hitting the cupboard can be heart softly and it grows louder and louder. This sound is intriguing for audiences, and will provide a smooth transition into the film.

At the end of the film, I added:

The “Starring” credits roll up the screen, following the conventions of film credits. For the entire duration of the end credits the audio of  “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sung by the young girl in the film plays over the text. This gives the film a haunting ending, taking the audience back into Anamika’s mind. Using any other audio/song would have felt out of place here.

Color Correction

Having laid out the audio and video for my short film, the next step for me was to work on color correction. My idea was to have two distinct color schemes running throughout the film – cool colors for the bedroom scenes and warm colors for the living room scenes. The bedroom is brightly lit with fluorescent white lights and the living room is lit with a duller yellow light. In my filming, I managed to avoid shadows and achieve the high-key lighting look that I was going for (think “Desperate Housewives”). When color correcting, I just wanted to take the existing tone and just slightly intensify it, particularly for the scenes in Anamika’s bedroom.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 2.16.56 pm

On Final Cut Pro X, I added the “Color Correction” filter to the scenes in Anamika’s bedroom. Using one sample scene I manually adjusted the settings on the color, exposure, and saturation charts to achieve the look I wanted. I increased the blue tint of the mid-tones in order to play up the cool colors in these shots. I slightly increased the saturation of the mid tones and decreased the saturation of the highlights and shadows. Finally, I decreased the exposure of the highlights and mid tones by a little bit and increased the exposure of the shadows. I played around with these settings until the shot looked balanced. Then I saved the settings and applied to all the rest of the shots taken in the bedroom.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 8.13.07 pm

BEFORE

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 8.13.26 pm

AFTER

I experimented with some color correction effects for the living room scenes, but eventually concluded that the scenes look fine just the way they are. There was nothing I could gain by adding any effects, because any addition looked artificial and I want to retain the realistic, unfiltered look and feel.

Postcard Ad Review: Mulberry Child

MCpostcard

“Mulberry Child” (2011) is a documentary film written and directed by Susan Morgan Cooper, in which Jian Ping uses a memoir of her childhood to try to help her Americanized daughter understand what life was like during China’s Cultural Revolution. The postcard is very fitting for a documentary because the banner image is not filtered in any way, and has a very raw, authentic look. It clearly represents the tone of the film. It also really captures the heart of the film by presenting the protagonists in a realistic, touching manner. There is something very sweet about the photo that would make one interested to watch the film.

The red that is used for the title and the line “NARRATED BY JACQUELINE BISSET” is not really working for me because I feel that it is a little jarring. I more down-to-earth hue that balances one of the colors in the image would have been more aesthetically pleasing. The red is a little too flashy for a film like this. Also, the production credits listed at the bottom could have been positioned such that they do not overlap the people in the photo. In the portion where there is an overlap at the bottom, the text becomes a little difficult to read. Plus, the link to the film website kind of disappears along with the credits. I would have positioned it differently or at least changed the color to black.

The tagline works well because it is short and snappy. The fact that it is phrased like a question engages the audience and makes them think. The question is rather profound and likely to stick with the reader. The use of the word “your” is another way of actively engaging the viewers because it makes them feel like they are being spoken to directly. However, the font used feels too basic and doesn’t have a poster-quality to it. A snappier font would have made the tag line even more eye-catching.

poster-updated

Here is the same postcard in the portrait format. An extra film festival laurel and a review are added to this version, making the composition tighter. This version works just as well as the other one, but I think the positioning of the film festival laurels and the review feels a little out of place. If all the text had been aligned at the margins, the look might have been been neater. However, the title stand out more in this version making the poster more attention grabbing, which is good.

Film Logo Font: Brainstorming

Today I started brainstorming ideas for my film title logo. The first step was to find the right font. I ideally wanted a font that represented the idea of being “split” in some way. I wanted the lettering to be destroyed/distorted in a manner that appeared imperfect. A titular font that is too neat and simple would not suit the theme of my film. Also, the font would have to have an edgy look to it as my film is a twisted, serious drama. The logo cannot be cutesy and pretty.

First I went on Adobe Photoshop CS6 and went through all the fonts available on there, narrowing it down to my top six choices:

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 3.19.06 pm

However, none of these struck me as particularly extraordinary and I was not satisfied, so I decided to expand my search. I went on dafont.com and scanned through their massive library of font choices. Here are some of my favorites from there:

I immediately found that these options were far closer to what I was looking for. While the Photoshop fonts looked far too neat and simplistic, these fonts are more bold, edgy and eye-catching. The eroded look and feel fits the genre of my film, these fonts actually look like they could belong on a poster.

As I kept looking, I found the font which instantly became my top choice:

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 3.27.44 pm

This font immediately caught my eye. It was almost exactly what I was looking for. It is very bold, which is good because the logo on a poster has to stand out and attract attention. Also, the letters are split in just the right manner, fitting my criteria of having the logo font be “split” in some way to reflect the name of the movie. The distortion of the lettering is perfect because it appears broken, but not so broken that it becomes illegible. The clarity is not compromised in any way. This font really seems to fit all my checkpoints and is very visually appealing. It is sure to look striking in the film and on the poster. I have not yet made my final decision, but I am definitely leaving towards this last font. However, I will take some time to evaluate the options and ask for the opinion of others before choosing.

Editing: Audio

Over the past few days I finished laying out the background music for my short film. The audio editing not only involves the background music, but also the sound effects and dialogue. I added all the necessary effects such as the slap and the “thud” sound effects and synced them with the video. I also adjusted the volumes of the dialogue, sound effects and background music so that they were perfectly balanced. This audio mixing was a tricky process but I started to get the hang of it more and more as I went along.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.35.15 pm

I will continue to tweak things and improve and adjust, but my basic framework is complete – audio and video. Out of the 6 tracks that I shortlisted, I ended up using 5 of them (all except Baba Yaga):

  • Ossuary 6 – Air: This piece served as the general background music for almost the entire film. It has a great, low key sound that is both eerie and not attention grabbing. It was very useful to just have this in the background in the scenes where the mother and therapist are talking or when non-dramatic actions are taking place.
  • Ossuary 3 – Words: I used this piece of music only one at the very beginning when the camera tilts up to Arya for the very first time. This music layered on top of Ossuary 6 creates an ominous sound that adds to the impact of the drama when Arya is revealed.
  • Ossuary 2 – Turn: I used small portions of this piece whenever I needed a very dramatic musical cue at the climax of a scene. This was the music I used when Arya slapped Anamika and also when Ashvita throws the scrunched up paper in rage. I also used this when the mother and the therapist are running up the stairs as it adds to the tension of the moment.
  • Piece For Disaffected Piano Two: This simple piano music was used when Ashvita was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The clunky sound of the piano keys playing against the discordant off-key sound of her voice has an eerie, mystical effect.
  • Satiate Percussion: This percussion piece was the music I used every time Anamika glares at one of the alter-identities throughout the film. This piece of music is like a recurring motif that ties the entire film together. It was an intense, deep sound that perfectly fits the genre of the film and significantly heightens the dramatic tension of any scene that it is added to.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.34.53 pm

Transitioning smoothly between the different pieces of music and the dialogue proved to be one of the biggest challenges. It took a lot of intricate editing and timing to get it just right so that the audio would appear seamless and smooth. I used a lot of fade-in and fade-out to blend the different pieces of music together in a manner that wouldn’t be jarring. Another trick I used was the Groove Delay effect for when Ashvita is singing and also at the end when all the personalities are speaking at the same time. This effect doubles the audio, creating a faint echo that has a haunting, lingering sound.

The very beginning and the very end of the film have no music. The opening just has the sound of Arya’s feet hitting the closet for several seconds before the music slowly starts to fade in. This suggests that Anamika’s brain is silent as she sleeps and as she wakes up, the personalities slowly manifest one by one. Her brain slowly will get noisier but at this time, this is the only sound she hears. At the end, all the music stops and then Anamika says the words “I’m fine” followed by silence for several seconds. This conveys that when she says “I’m fine” in her own voice, all the other voices are shut out for an instant and there is quiet in her head. Having no music at the start and finish creates an ominous, chilling sound, and has the effect of coming full circle.

There is also no music when the last “DO IT” is heard, followed by the “thud”. This is to highlight the impact of the words and the intensity of the fall, and also convey that right before she jumps “DO IT” is the only thing that Arya (Anamika) hears. Everything blacks out for a second and she hears that command loud and clear and obeys it. The several seconds of silence following the jump when we see Arya (Anamika) on the floor are when her brain is shut off due to the impact of the fall. She is in shock and doesn’t hear anything and neither do the audience in that moment.

Film Logos: Review

The logo of any film is very important because it will be the first thing the audience sees. On a poster or a website, it will be the component most prominently featured and in the film itself, it will usually be the first image on the screen. Therefore, it is essential to make a good first impression with the logo design.

The name of the film should be presented in a manner that is creative, eye-catching and bold. It should not look cliche , but it should be practical in that it should be readable. The design can’t be so twisted and weird that the audience can’t even read the name of the film clearly. They should be able to instantly see and register the design so as to increase brand awareness for the film. Thus, simplistic and artistic logos usually tend to work the best. The logo should also reflect the genre/theme of the film and give audiences a hint at what to expect. If the logo looks totally different from the actual movie, it will surely throw them off.

Before designing the title logo for my short film, I wanted to review some logos that I liked and see why they worked so well.

8e05e166cc2a9488c8c046e9735be786

The “Harry Potter” logo is one of the most recognizable logos around the world. The reason it works so well is because it is stylish, simple and artistic. It is not overdone, but just right. The font choice perfectly fits the genre of the film as it looks fantastical, sharp and striking. The lighting bolt used as a part of the letter “P” is a perfect creative choice because of Harry Potter’s iconic lighting scar. This is how the film logo relates back to the film and establishes a close tie with the story. The gold lettering works really well because gold is often associated with fantasy and the movie is a fantasy. I also love the fact that the letters are slightly disordered and three dimensional, as they appear dynamic like they’re jumping off the screen.

DreamWorks-Home-2015-Movie-Title-Logo

9aa28527ab7cd94f5fbcb0553631fb9f“Rio” and “Home” are both bright, animated children’s films and the logos certainly reflect that. The colors used are vivid and eye-catching with striking blues, oranges, purples and oranges, and mirror the color scheme of the film itself. Even the fonts used are bubbly and fun. All of this screams animation and kids. As the target audience is young children, the logo is designed in a manner that would be appealing to them. These bright, cartoony logos are bound to catch their eyes and trigger their interest.

ghostbusters-movie-logo-title

The “Ghostbusters” logo is one of the most iconic in cinematic history, mainly as a result of the animated “no ghosts” cartoon in placement of the “O”. This small creative element transformed the “Ghostbusters” logo from just another film logo into a classic symbol. It is a recognizable feature that everybody immediately associates with the film. Having something striking and bold like this in the film logo can be very useful as it ensures that people will remember the film. The dark lettering and faint glow surrounding the letters create a surreal feel that reflects theme of the film as it is about ghosts and the paranormal. But the film is a comedy, so the cute, animated ghosts adds an element of fun and prevents the film from coming across as too serious.

ce52c3ead48d57bd9a326a28c74809d21b8278bccf280e818eb68277bac8c3a3

I found this logo for “The Lego Movie” to be simply terrific because it is so unusual and creative. The logo itself is a very intricate work of art. Designing the letters to look like the three-dimensional structure made out of legos is so apt, and it works really well because the final piece is instantly attention grabbing and memorable. This is a perfect example of using extensive creativity while still retaining practicality, because while the logo is really new and interesting and fresh, it is still very easily legible. It is the kind of simplistic, yet striking design that will stick in people’s minds. Additionally, the colors red, grey, white and black work really well together and are very aesthetically pleasing to look at. This logo works on all levels.

Room-2015-Movie-Title-Logo

The logo for the Oscar-nominated film “Room” is very basic and simple, but works perfectly for the film. “Room” is a very grounded, social-realism drama, so an overly decorative, flashy logo would not be appropriate. The font choice is pleasing and straightforward, with the thin rectangle around the word completing the design in a very neat manner.The coloring is kept neutral and white. The logo reflects the raw, earthy tone of the film. This is not a boring logo, but rather a well-constructed, minimalistic one.

Postcard Ad Review: Sausage

sausage

This postcard advertisement for the comedy animated short film “Sausage” stood out to me as very interesting and eye-catching. The first thing that struck me was the colors. The three main colors used – olive green, purple and blue –  work together perfectly along with the white, creating an extremely aesthetically pleasing look. Each color represents a character from the film, and thus instantly gives viewers an idea about tone of the film. The three characters are evenly distributed across the landscape width of the poster such that none is more prominent than the other, and the design looks balanced.

As this is the poster for an animated film, the fonts used for the text all look bubbly and animated themselves. This, along with the colorful cartoon images, really brings out the fact that this film is a comedy, and that is very important. The title logo uses a bold, fun font and combines the olive green and purple used in the body of the poster. These two colors are repeatedly used in all the film festival laurels and bottom credits, tying the poster together. The film festival acclaim is symmetrically placed on the poster in a manner that doesn’t feel cluttered. Thus, despite the playful look, the poster still has a certain visual structure that makes it easily legible and not chaotic. It is important to showcase the various film festival wins and nominations as this lets the audience know that the film was critically acclaimed, and thus makes them more likely to be interested in viewing the film themselves.

An important feature of this poster is the link to the film website, which is prominently displayed at the bottom. This text is in black, unlike the rest of the text. This makes the line stand out and draws particular attention to it. This is necessary as the film website is an important promotion tool and cannot go unnoticed. I will be sure to include the film website link on my poster too.