Monday, 31 January 2011

ALL - Meet The Group

Group photo

Kyle Meeson- Producer

Nickname- Royal Kyle
Favourite sayings- "Hello!" "Caam Darn"
Favourite film- Fight Club
Favourite TV show- Lost


Sam Boyes- Director

 Nickname- Boy-Z, Boyzey
Favourite sayings- "hrmmmmmm"
Favourite film- American History X
Favourite TV show- Being Human

Alex McCluskey- Cinematographer

Nickname- Cluskey
Favourite sayings- "Buttered toast"
Favourite film- The Hangover
Favourite TV show- Loose Women

AM - Rough Ident Draft 2

Yet again the new updated Salex productions company ident.

KM - Ident Feedback

To get some feedback on the second ident that Alex (cinematographer) has been working on, I put a link to the ident on youtube through facebook and recieved some great feedback and suggestions:

Screenshot of feedback

Sunday, 30 January 2011

KM - First day of filming

Wednesday (26th January) was the first day of filming for the opening two minutes of our feature film "Suburban Zombie". We filmed the scenes with Jack Hanson (our protagonist) yesterday, and will be filming the scenes with the zombies later in the week. The filming went well, and we used a lot of coverage so we could see what lighting etc. would fit the best in certain scenes when editing. Here are some images and a clip of the filming:

Alex and Sam discussing different camera angles

Jack Hanson (our protagonist)

Using different levels of lighting for coverage, which will help when editing


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

KM - George A Romero

George Andrew Romero (born February 4, 1940) is an American-Canadian film director, screenwriter, and editor best known for his gruesome and satirical horror films about a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. He is nicknamed "Grandfather of the Zombie." - Wikipedia description

Here are some of the films that Romero had directed in the past: Night Of The Living Dead, There's Always Vanilla, Jack's Wife/ Season of the Witch, The Crazies, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.

The first zombie films (such as White Zombie and I Walked With a Zombie) featured zombies which were in isolated settings and usually in high society, George A Romero was the first director to feature zombies in primarily urban settings, also in Romero's films such as Dawn of the dead and Day of the dead, the zombie characters are purposeful in the task of hunting and killing humans, rather than aimlessly wandering around like in the zombie films before him. This is an idea we are using in our two minute opening, as the zombies are trying to reach our protagonist (Jack Hanson) inside the house. Romero's style was considered radical at the time- looking at social issues in the context of grim entertainment.

(Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell- Horror Films)

Monday, 24 January 2011

SB- Filming Schedule

We are filming scenes with Jack Hanson on wednesday the 26th, during the remaining hour of daylight and when it gets darker. Filming starts at 4pm and should end at around 6pm.This gives us atleast an hour of daylight to film our flashback scenes. And atleast an hour for our present day scenes.

We are filming our zombie scenes on friday the 28th with the people we cast as zombies.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

SB - Zombies in video games

A Recent sequel for Resident Evil.
Zombies have always been a part of  the contemporary western culture, so understandably they would be introduced into games.  Resident Evil was the first stand alone zombie game that made a deep impact on society. The game was regarded as a huge success all over the world and is still the biggest franchise in the sub genre of horror survival games.

Frank West trapped under the tunnels of the mall.

Another game that has made a huge impact was the game Dead Rising, this game set the standards for zombie games after it. It required the character to play as the protagonist Frank West, a freelance journalist trying to get a good story who breaks into a quarantined town on a helicopter, he heads to the mall and finds the remaining inhabitants of the town barricaded in with the baying undead bashing the malls doors in. The game has references to famous zombie films as well as slasher films. The whole idea fir the game is based of 'Dawn of the Dead'.

'Left 4 Dead' is a new first person shooter based in a post apocalyptic world, The game was a huge success due to the fact it had 4 different campaigns that involved trying to get to a boat and escape, fight off hordes of the undead in a house while waiting for a military evacuation, getting away in a helicopter
An example of the atmospheric lighting.
on top of a hospital in the centre of a city, and getting to an airplane at an airport. The game used one of the most advanced AI systems "The Director" his made it s every time you played the game, the game would be different the infected would never spawn or suddenly burst out in a huge horde out of no where twice. The use of a program called"cinema effects" gave the game it's eerie atmosphere.

The survivors attempting to pass some of the undead.
The game was well received and was so successful that it spawned a sequel 'Left 4 Dead 2' This game ironed out the flaws from the first game and added more, Left 4 Dead 2 used a more advanced version of The Director that drives gameplay by procedurally spawning enemies, weapons and items based on the players' performance. In Left 4 Dead 2, the Director has been improved to encourage more participation by players, forcing players through difficult gauntlets to reach the extraction point. It also has the ability to alter elements of the level such as placement of walls, level layout, lighting, and weather conditions, making each play session unique.

Another unique feature of the game was the Zombie classes, The Boomer, The Hunter, The Tank, The Witch and The Smoker. They all have unique characteristics that make the game harder and force players to be tactical and follow certain strategies when wandering through buildings and streets.

AM - Rough Ident draft

Rough draft idea for Salex Productions using Adobe After Effects.

SB - Make-up

Our opening requires some effects such as make up, fake blood and fake severed limbs. This is because the zombie genre is a very gory and violant genre and requires attention to the details such as make up and fake blood. We are going to be using some fake blood made with 2 part red food colouring to 1 part blue food colouring and then mix with 100ml of water, it gave a strong dark red colour similar to blood. To thicken the blood we used one spoonful of golden syrup to really try to achieve the texture of blood aswell as the colour.
We are also going to buy a fake severed arm such as this one

SB - Special Effects Tutorials

These are very useful special FX tutorials, that will help us in our production.

ALL - Storyboard



SB - Dawn of the dead remake (opening credits)

This video is a great example of fast takes that show action, and is what i want to try recreate in my zombie feature. As it uses fast takes, amazing shots and has news reports over the top, this relates to our film as we will hear a radio broadcast on in the diegetic sound.

AM - Group Roles

Throughout the production we will all be taking on the following roles:

Kyle Meeson - Producer
Sam Boyes - Director
Alex McCluskey - Cinematography

AM - Night of the Living Dead trailer

This is a trailer from the original 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero, a film which we are taking ispiration from for our coursework film

AM - Times and Location

We are filming our opening in a cul-de-sac in Silsden. The houses on the estate are detached, and middle class. The suburban setting is frequently used in the zombie horror genre, this is because shooting these scenes are easier and cheaper.

Our flashbacks are filmed during the day, this signifies tranquility and 'the good' because the light is revealing all, and the character is only just learning the incoming apocalypse.

The shots that are in the present will be dark and shot at night, this indicates that there is something evil hiding in the darkness. We will use a blue filter this is a reference to films such as 'Halloween' and '28 Days Later...', the blue filter signifies the supernatural, the cold and fear.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

AM - The Evil Dead

Director + Year: Sam Raimi (1981)
IMdb rating: 7.6/10
Budget: $375,000
Gross: $29.4m(Worldwide)

Introduction = 5 minutes
Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find the Necronomicon and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens are possessed. With only one remaining, it is up to him to survive the night and battle the evil dead.


At first we see a shot of the sky and red sans serif font which signifies danger and horror, this is the establishing shot, which then pans down to a lake and moves across the lake slowly while the camera work is shaky , this signifies realism, and as if its from someone's perspective. Throughout this period we hear non diegetic low key notes, and strange squeaking noises, which adds to the strangeness in the setting already. 

After this shot we see a long shot , of a car and diegetic sound coming from the car of people singing, we then see a series of mid shots inside the car as the cast engage in conversation, there is use of cross cutting which we would want to use in our film, which flicks between the moving person who is assumed to be a zombie, this continues for a few more fast takes, the low notes are now introduced once again, building up suspense, a red truck is added into the cross cutting, then with one final cut to a dutch angled shot of the truck driving, they almost collide.

This is the 30 second shot, in which we would not use in
our film.
Last of all we see a shot of the back of the car driving into the drive of the house they are staying, this a 30 second tracking shot, which is exactly what we do not want to use, as it is boring and loses interest in the audience 

User Review:

Before Spiderman and before the countless spin-offs of this movie were made or even conceived, Raimi and friends decided to make a low budget zombie flick mainly for fun, and surprisingly it has become a masterpiece of shock and horror. Possibly a perfect example of how to make an entertaining film on a shoe-string budget, The Evil Dead delivers what it promises, the ultimate in grueling horror. Even with it's mild budget and sometimes shaky acting, TED shocks and spooks the audience through chilling atmosphere and some of the most violent effects ever put on film. Those who are squeamish need not apply. As a matter of fact, just run for your girly life.

There are several reasons this film succeeds. First, Raimi's camera work is truly masterful. By using fast camera work and aggressive shots, Raimi has created an eerie world that is sometimes hard to look at but too entertaining to turn away from. His style from behind the camera is absolutely unmistakable. This is perfectly exemplified in the beginning of the film, where the camera alone creates enough atmosphere to leave you biting your nails in suspense of what's to come. You feel at any moment someone is going to get their neck chomped on by some zombie hiding just out of view. One of the most impressive openings I can think of, perfection in pacing and atmosphere. It gets even better once the action starts. Some shots hold for a seeming eternity, and part of you wishes for it to stop for it's unrestrained gore and violence...but the other part of you is getting a sick kick out of it. One of the most impressive shots is where the darkness from the trees begins to chase people, knocking any tree or obstacle down that happens to be in it's way. Truly magnificent technique, however they did it. 

TED also succeeds because it's self-aware of the fact that it's a simple zombie movie and never takes itself too seriously, and doesn't expect the audience to do so either. It's meant to be campy, cheesy, revolting and chilling at the same time. There are moments in the film where it seems to be making fun of itself and the genre in general. For this fact alone, one cannot hold certain things against it such as sometimes questionable acting from the supporting cast and sometimes the downright implausibility of certain situations. If you can accept this and you're not put off by mannequin ultra-violence, then you should find yourself on the supporter's side of the fence. I think some don't like it because it can be ridiculous and cheesy in parts, although it was meant to be. Even with the fact that it's sometimes cheesy, there are some downright chilling moments in this film that most horror films nowadays cannot begin to muster. Case in point, the zombie screaming from the cellar door. The zombie growls and howls themselves are enough to send shivers up one's spine. And let's not forget the unforgettable tree love scene, ridiculous and hilarious simultaneously.

Last but certainly not least: Bruce Campbell as Ash, the badass of all zombie films. Campbell is Ash, period, and always will be.

In my opinion, this is by far the best of the trilogy, and although there could have been more of the chainsaw, this is the definitive zombie film and probably always will be. I feel it succeeds over it's sequels due to it's increased violence and lack of humor in comparison. It's blood, gore, camera work, and shock factor are still formidable even today and are what make this such a cult classic. If you've ever liked any horror film, this is an absolute must-see.

Love or hate it, there it is.

SOURCE:(Manthorpe - imdb user)

KM - Coursework Soundtrack

The two songs we are going to use for our coursework film are; The start of a song called Outnumbered by a band called The Devil Wears Prada, which we are going to re-record being spoken by our main actor (Jack Hanson) the recording is going to be used in a diegetic sense coming from a radio, as the start of the song is a radio broadcast detailing a zombie outbreak.

The second song we are going to use is our recorded version of a song called L490 by a band called 30 Seconds To Mars, which we decided to record and use our version of the song because we thought it sounds similar to the main theme from the zombie film 28 Days Later.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

KM - Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)

Budget- $3.5m (estimated)
Box Office Gross- USA- $5.8m
Worldwide- $34m
IMDB Rating- 7.0/10

Synopsis- A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies. Set in Florida, as the film begins the dead have taken over the world, outnumbering humans 400,000 to one. The handful of surviving humans have taken refuge in an underground missile silo and argue and yell at each other like players in a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode. Among the survivors are Sarah (Lori Cardille) -- a scientist who is trying to reverse the process whereby the dead turn into flesh-eating, irrational zombies -- and Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty) -- an out-of-his-mind psychologist who wants to capture the zombies and turn them into domestic help. Things heat up when the military tries to take over the scientific experiments.

Establishing shot
Deconstruction- The film opens with a non-diagetic gong sounding as the scene fades in quickly from blackness into an establishing shot of the protagonist sitting on the floor of an empty room, which signifies some sort of institution, anchorage is given for this through the orange jumpsuit that she is wearing, the rough white font of the titles appear over the establishing shot, and signify the movie genre.

POV shot

The scene then cuts back and forth between a close-up of the protagonist and a POV shot from the protagonist's perspective, looking at a calender on the wall, across the room. Non- diagetic electronic synthesisers crescendo over the top of the scene as the protagonist stands and slowly walks toward the calender. 

The scene ends with the protagonist being grabbed by zombies who punch through the wall, the shot ends suddenly and the screen transitions to white before showing the protagonist in a helicopter, signifying a flashback. 

The opening of this zombie film encorporates features similar to what we are including in our 2 minute opening, such as the first few shots showing the protagonist alone before leading into a flashback transition.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

AM - Zombieland opening

Director + Year: Ruben Fleischer (2009) 
IMdb Rating: 7.8/10
Budget: $23,600,000
Gross: $75,590,286 (USA) £3,001,207 (UK)
Searching for family. In the early twenty-first century, zombies have taken over America. A shy and inexperienced college student in Texas has survived by following his 30 rules: such as "look in the back seat," "shoot twice," "avoid public restrooms." He decides to travel to Ohio to see if his parents are alive. He gets a ride with a boisterous zombie-hating good-old boy headed for Florida, and soon they confront a young woman whose sister has been bitten by a zombie and wants to be put out of her misery. The sisters were headed to an LA amusement park they've heard is zombie free. Can the kid from Ohio get to his family? And what about rule thirty one? 

The whole opening is 4 minutes 40 seconds. We first see an establishing shot of the american flag with non diegetic speech over the top, the footage is home made as it being recored upside down, of a car on its roof. When it twists around and levels out, the camera work is obviously done by someone in the movie, as it is shaky and looks like homemade footage, as the clip comes to an end we see the footage flicker as the person gets chased. 

We see many fast takes in the Opening "Rules" that the protagonist has, of the zombies running, this is something we want to make clear in our film, we are using the idea of "Zack Snyder" Zombies. using the idea of fast zombies instead of the original Romero style, catatonic and weak zombies. Some Slow Motion is also used in some if not all of the scenes.

After the "rule" phase which is narrated by the protagonist, we see a range of Extreme Slow Motion chases and special effects throughout. Throughout the credits we hear Metallica - For Whom the bells toll - which is a metal song, which signifies that the movie is going to be violent.

IMdb user review:
I just was exiting the theater after seeing '9', which is also worth a look, when my friend and I were offered tickets to a preview screening of Zombieland, which began almost immediately. I had seen previews for this picture, but I'd say this exceeded my expectations, which isn't to say masterpiece, but it was certainly entertaining, and at about 90 minutes, didn't really overstay it's welcome. 
As you might expect for this genre, it's quite gory, so don't go expecting a light 'R' rating. But if you can handle some bloodshed, no, make that a substantial amount of bloodshed - but perhaps I should add in a comic environment - there's some pretty funny stuff here. Woody Harreleson and Jesse Eisenberg make an amusing odd couple and Emma Stone was fine for this material, although she and Abigale Breslin had slightly less to do. 
I'm certainly no expert on the horror genre or the zombie sub-genre, but I can say that this wasn't as scary as Shaun of the Dead, in fact not very scary at all, I may have jumped back just a tiny bit a few times; however I may have laughed more. However I'm sure it does make a difference that I saw 'Shaun' alone on DVD, while 'Zombieland' I watched in a theater full of people laughing, clapping and cheering. 
Let's face it, you know what's going to happen in this flick, but I'm happy to say, plot conventions and all, this delivers enough laughs so if you know what you're getting into I doubt you'll regret laying down the price of admission for this sucker. Should you see it, see it opening night - if I haven't made it clear enough already, this is the kind of movie where the more enthusiastic people in the theater, the more fun it will be. And to end on a very positive note, 'Zombieland' does feature what just might go down in history as the best celebrity cameo of all time.
SOURCE:(akerdan - imdb user) 

Saturday, 15 January 2011

SB - Dawn of the Dead (1978, George A. Romero) IMDb rating 8.0/10

Dawn of the Dead

Budget:$650,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:$900,000 (USA) (April 1979) (68 Screens)

Gross:$55,000,000 (Worldwide) 

A brief summary of the story.

"Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall." (source Dawn of the Dead)

The film is the sequel to "Night of the Living Dead". The film is set in a mall in the USA, Romero used this setting as a satircal take on people who shop at malls acting like zombies, with the humans standing in as royalty, enjoying all the luxuries suburban America has to offer, while outside, the undead masses clamor hungrily at the gates.

Tom Savini's talent for special effects is proven in this film, some scenes such as the zombie getting his head ripped of by the rotary blade of a helicopter or a zombie getting a machete to the face are true examples of the man's amazing ability to do anything with some fake blood latex and pumps. 

The make-up on the zombies is very simple and was a dull blue/grey colour and darkened around the eyes in order to give it the sunken eye look thata corpse posseses.

The only problem i faced with this film was the zombies themselves, they weren't much of a threat they seemed to move slower than the ones from the Night of the Living dead and seemed weaker, I think this was adressed in Zack Snyder's remake where the zombies are sprinting and a lot stronger than the ones in the original film, I think this gives the film an extra sense of bleakness as there is even less of a chance the protagonists and antagonists will survive.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

SB - Colin (2008, Marc Price) IMDb rating 5.4/10

Budget: £45

"Our hero Colin is bitten by a Zombie; he dies and returns from the dead. We follow him as he wanders through suburbia during the throes of a cadaverous apocalypse. " (source Colin)

There was only one scene in this film which was useful for our group, and that was the flashback scene of Colin being sick. The reason that this wass useful is because it uses fast takes of colin vomiting out of a window, and inbetween there us a slow paced mid shot. The shaking of the camera in the extremely fast takes are what we are also looking at, our fast paced shots will be of a horde of the ravenous undead sprinting down a dim li street with the camera sprinting in tow. Here is the clip which i was just mentioning from Colin.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

KM - Night of the living dead (remake) - (Tom Savini, 1990)

Budget- $4.2m
Box Office Gross (USA)- $5.8m
IMDB Rating- 6.6/10

Synopsis- Seven people are trapped in an isolated farmhouse and living an unspeakable nightmare. Cannibalistic zombies have been awakened from the dead and are on a relentless killing and eating binge. Re-make of the 1968 George Romero classic.

Deconstruction- The film opens with a shot of a rising moon, while the titles appear on the screen in a rough white font, which is typical for zombie films, as it is the same font that is used in the "Day of the dead" titles, so this signifies the genre of the film. The shot then transitions to black before fading into an extreme long shot of a white car driving through a countryside road, non diagetic is played over the scene. You don't see the characters until later on in the scene, but you hear their conversation 

while various shots of the car are shown, and the white titles continue to appear on screen. The male character seems to be teasing the female, saying things like "they're coming to get you Barbara" and "they don't like to be awakened this way". This gives anchorage to the film genre, and foreshadows what is going to happen later in the scene. The characters finally appear on screen as the car stops in a graveyard, the man continues to tease the female character, and does a stereotypical "zombie walk", which is yet more foreshadowing and anchorage of the film genre. A fight scene then occurs, featuring lots of close-up shots of the characters.

Features of this opening that we are also going to be encorporating are; rough white font for the film titles, and lots of close-up shots in the fight scene.

SB - 28 Days Later

28 Days Later... (2002), Danny Boyle, IMDb rating: 7.6/10

28 Days Later (2002)
Director: Danny Boyle
IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Budget: $8,000,000 (estimated)
Gross Revenue: $45,063,889 (USA)
Animal activists invade a laboratory with the intention of releasing chimpanzees that are undergoing experimentation, infected by a virus -a virus that causes rage. The naive activists ignore the pleas of a scientist to keep the cages locked, with disastrous results. Twenty-eight days later, our protagonist, Jim, wakes up from a coma, alone, in an abandoned hospital. He begins to seek out anyone else to find London is deserted, apparently without a living soul. After finding a church, which had become inhabited by zombie like humans intent on his demise, he runs for his life. Selena and Mark rescue him from the horde and bring him up to date on the mass carnage and horror as all of London tore itself apart. This is a tale of survival and ultimately, heroics, with nice subtext about mankind's savage nature. (from IMDb)
Some reasons why i watched this piece, and points which i can use in my 2 minute opening.

- terrifying and realistic
- impressive cinematography- brings some freshness into the zombie genre
- quite disturbing at times
- well paced and keeps you on the edge

 This is a shot i may be using in my piece. The reason why is its a fast take shows speed and pace and fast takes are used to show action.

This shot is a dutch angle, and shows there is something wrong with the characters in the frame (that being one of thems a mindless member of the undead). This shot also has a blue tint, which gives a sense of the supernatural and that the atmosphere in the shot is quite cold.

The music used is very bleak and reminds us that Jim the protagonist is isolated and alone. The guitar gradually gets heavier mid way through the song this helps support the idea that Jim has finally realised he is alone and somethings happend while he was in a coma. We also plan to use music simmialr to this to represent isolation and a bleak world.

Monday, 10 January 2011

AM - Land of the Dead opening deconstruction

Director + Year: George A. Romero (2005)
IMdb Rating: 6.4/10
Budget: $15,000,000
Gross: $20.7m (USA) , £ 2m (UK)

The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

During the opening credits of the film we see Sans Serif font which is a rough edged font which is white, this signifies that it is a serious and there isn't going to be the prettiest of scenes in the movie as sans serif font , and it is obvious that it isn't going to be a rom-com. During the opening scenes we hear non diegetic sound, which sounds like horror type screeching suspense sound. At the start of the first scene we see flickering images, and fast takes, and clips that have been sped up. These images/clips are in black and white one of which includes watching a motorway and cars eventually stop. And another is of a person evolving into a zombie. When the credits finish, we see an establishing shot of the typical modern Romero zombies slowly limping around, there has been a blue tint added to the shot, to signify a cold atmosphere and dark gloomy depressing setting. This tells us that the film is going to be quite dark and violent.

In the shot we see zombies that are playing instruments, this tells us that something has changed and provides anchorage for the movie genre.

Throughout the opening, Romero uses a variety of shot types, from Extreme close ups to Extreme long shots, he also uses the basic 180 degree rule.

He also uses the stereotypical zombie generalisation that he invented, the undead bloodthirsty, scaly skin and angry expressions.

One of the many Film reviews from IMDB:

I'm kind of surprised by all the rave reviews of Land of the Dead. I've been a moderate Romero fans since I was kid in Pittsburgh, watching Night of the Living Dead. But this new film only confirms for me why Romero has never achieved true greatnessRomero is an idea man, not a real filmmaker. Even after three decades, he hasn't mastered his craft. His films are intelligent but poorly constructed, sluggishly paced, and downright boring, actually. In fact, it takes flesh-eating zombies to bring some excitement to his leaden style of film-making.Now don't get me wrong. Conceptually, he's a genius. The themes and social satire of Night and Dawn of the Dead deserve all the acclaim they've received. His psycho-vampire flick, Martin, is stunningly original, insightful, and moving. Season of the Witch and The Crazies both have very cool concepts. Even Monkey Shines sparkles with cleverness. But let's face it: All of Romero's films are as slow, awkward, and cumbersome as the lumbering zombies he shoots.Land of the Dead is just the latest, most glaring example of what's wrong with his work -- and why he's never grown into a Most Valuable Player in Hollywood or even Indie film-making. Maybe he should just come up with the basic stories and concepts, and let other screenwriters flesh them out and other directors give them style.Sorry, George. I love you but you gotta put some life into your high-concept, undead creations.

SOURCE:(monsterflick - imdb user)