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

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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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BEFORE

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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.