Essay Plan So Far…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2012 by trettfilms

Just watched Tim Burtons Batman (1989) and Billy Wilders Double Indemnity (1944) for my the essay of this project. Below are notes and plan ideas I noted down whilst watching. Some parts may not make much sense as I just noted it down so it would make sense to myself later:

Film Noir Essay Bullet Points- Batman and Double Indemnity


-Corruption (Eckheart works with joker)

ü  -Low key lighting

ü  -Chirascuro



-soundtrack (dark)

-Tim Burton often uses noir techniques

-Hard boiled dialogue.

-Lots of metaphors

-Femme Fatale

-Set design.

-Old fashioned fonts on credits

ü  -Corrupt, criminal driven city (both films open with this)


-Batman set in the 80s but 1930s style. Not set in certain decade?

-Bruce Wayne-confident, witty and successful (as is Walter Neff)

-Batman is not a modern noir but homage to classic noir

-Gotham noir comic series



-Batman is quite colourful despite noir lighting, DI is black and white.

-Batman has 80’s soundtrack (prince etc.)

ü  -Batman follows comic book style aswell as noir.

ü  -Double Indemnity has a voice over.

ü  -Venetion blind (even menitoned in dialogue) in DI

-Batman doesn’t strongly follow noir narrative structure.

-Batman feels quite cinematic and high budget.

-Vicky Vale isn’t intentional femme fatale, gets herself in more trouble than Bruce Wayne/Batman himself.

-Batman has comedy moments.

-Fake city (Gotham), DI is LA??

-Batman appears almost immortal unlike Walter Neff.

-More similarities with Wayne and Neff than Batman and Neff.

-Wanyne sometimes (purposely) appears clumsy and shy


History of Film Noir

Film noir in modern cinema

Background to Double Indemnity and Batman

Similarities of batman and DI

Differences of Batman



Props and Costumes

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2012 by trettfilms

We’ve been looking into getting props and costumes which suit the characters.  Here are a few pictures:

This one is kind of self-explanatory. The PI would wear this. Probably with a loosened tie or undone bow tie.

I think this would work well if it was unbuttoned. In my mind the PI would look a little too suave if he was too well dressed. He’s supposed to look kind of down and depressed. If he has a done up tie and waist coat he may appear too confident and come off more like a James Bond character.


A Zippo lighter and cigarette case. These two are props to add character to the PI. A typical convention of film noir is that characters smoke. I think it would show a bit more to the PI’s depression if he is fiddling and staring at these objects.

This prop is very important to the plot of the film. The female who tells the pi about the murder of her husband (but says its her friend who did the killing) mentions that the angered husband broke a hand mirror that is very close to heart with her.  Her dropping the mirror infront of the PI is the big give away that she is the guilty one. I picked this up in a vintage store in Norwich for £8. It’s was a described as being from the 50s but I don’t know much about hand mirrors so I’m unsure if this was a bargin or not.

We’re yet to work out the sizes for the female actress so we have no costumes for her yet.

Things are looking up and moving forward!


Pitch, story development and title

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2012 by trettfilms

Our final pitch went very well, we showed our location for the film which is a bar in which group member Eli Warne works, I previously helped him film there for the last unit and I think it would be perfect for our film. The location is not open to the public until the evening so there is little chance of disturbance.

We also showed a couple of examples of short films we had taken as inspiration. One of them was ‘Reign of Death’ starring Noel Clarke. It captures the visual style of film noir very well although I am not keen on the plot, its set in a world of flying cars and robots and at the end Clarke urinated on a robot; kinda weird.

For music we’re still deciding on if we should use public domain music from the era or get an original soundtrack produced in the style of 50’s Jazz.

During our tutorials with Justin, he helped us work out a plot that would fit into five minutes. In the end we changed the plot from the PI going through the film, solving the case and eventually finding clues to the murder pointing as the wife to him using his intuition skills  to work it out from slip ups in her story and her body language.  Also as the woman leaves she drops a hand mirror, mentioned her story which she tries to blag onto her “friend”.

We spent awhile trying to think of a title. Since the whole film is set in a bar we thought the idea of naming the film after the bar it set in would be interesting. We googled bars in New York to see if there was anything that caught our attention but eventually come to conclusion to simply name the film ‘Smith’s Bar’. The reason for this is because the woman in the film uses an alias to the PI to hide her real name and when people give fake names a common alias used is the name Smith.

We’ve still got a lot of work and hoping it all works out!


Pre-Production Part 2: Pre-pitch pitch

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2012 by trettfilms

By the time it came preparing this more simple pitch we had a better idea of where we wanted to go with this. Caitlin had suggested we get Gary Diggines (who had a leading role in the film we produced for the 1st unit. See here: to play our leading PI.

The basic plot at the moment is a woman whose husband has been murdered tells the story to a (soon to be retired) private investigator. He begins to fall for her just as signs start to show of her being the murderer. We have not got too much further than this in actually developing what he finds out to point to her.

During the critique after pitching our film the main concern seemed to be if we would fit our plot into a five minute short. We explained how we intend on telling  the story through short flash backs. There will also be a voice over from the PI and even though a general rule of film making is show don’t tell we have to fit a lot into five minutes and a voice over from the protagonist is a recurring element in film noirs. Overall we received pretty good feedback from our pitch.

Genre Unit: Film Noir Pre-Production Blog Post 1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2012 by trettfilms

There was a lot of controversy of forming the groups for this unit. It had been decided that we pretty much group together with who we want to work with this. This didn’t work out as it was mistaken as picking for the football team strategy. Group leaders had been assigned and at the end of the day we all had to pick which group leader we wanted to work with. I am working with a couple of others from the narrative unit and a few people I haven’t worked with before.

A couple of days later we had a meeting at playhouse to decide what kind of genre, as this is a genre based unit, we were going to do for our project. It actually didn’t take long before we had decided on film noir. Everyone was a fan of films from this genre; its visual style, the hard boiled dialogue or were at least interested in this genre and wanted to know more about it. We discussed possible story outlines, possible locations and the best ways to achieve that unite noir style.

Media Industries: Roles and Practice (FXHome)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2012 by trettfilms

Media Industries: Roles and Practice

FXHome are a visual effects software developing company situated in Norfolk. Their software is aimed at film makers wanting to produce visual effects for their productions. They also produce short films and sequences to coincide with their software. FXHome started when managing director Joshua Davies created visual effects software for his step-brother who was studying Film and English at UEA. FXHome has been going for more than ten years now. HitFilm is their latest piece of software.

Joshua explained that even though there are reasons they should be located somewhere else such as London or  Los Angeles, they stayed in Norwich is mainly due to most of the company consisting of UEA graduates, who generally like to stay and work in Norwich. Also, Norwich is a cheaper place to run a company. Joshua expressed how he thinks that FXHome would have died if they started in London. ­­­­­Travelling overseas is still import for the company, as managing director Joshua has to travel to the United States  to network with companies such as Sony who bundle their software and Corridor Digital who have produced short films to coincide with HitFilm. With the power of the internet  they can network with companies online; although time difference is sometimes an issue. Simon Jones, communications manager who deals with the social network side of the company and general marketing expressed how even though they are based in Norfolk they are not perceived as a local company as none of their business is in Norfolk and mainly based in the States.

The community that use their software is very important to the FXHome team. Simon explained how when the company first started a lot of their users were young teenager film makers who are now in their twenties and have made a place for themselves in the film industry. FXHome have kept in contact with them and have now have their own network of filmmakers who they can work with on their own projects. Independent film makers can show their work on the FXHome forums and get feedback on their films and network with other film makers all over the world. An example of this is Corridor Digital, now well-known film makers on YouTube. The two guys of Corridor Digital started off using FXHome software when they were thirteen years old and have significantly progressed. They recently did a film to coincide with HitFilm called Prism, executively produced by Joshua Davies. Prism promotes the HitFilm software and currently has over 1,500,000 views on YouTube.

The team at HitFilm have shot films in Norfolk to coincide with software as well. This is their way of marketing the software as their marketing budget is quite low compared to some other software companies. In the summer of 2011 they shot a short Batman-inspired fan film titled Knightfall directed by Joshua Davies­­. The film was not well received on YouTube comments, mostly from angry fans of the source material. Despite having a lot of hits the video was the least liked film from the company by viewers. The film did not finish as planned due to scheduling conflicts and lighting issues on the day of shooting. It was made on a low budget and filmed all in one day but was made with software tutorials in mind and was used to show users how to use HitFilm and what the software’s visual effects were capable of and to drive people towards the product.

In early 2012 they released a Deus-Ex film based on the video game called Extraction Protocol directed by Simon Jones. Production was a lot more successful this time around and so was the feedback. Simon explained that it was going out to a different crowd than Knightfall and that films based on this particular game are rare so it was an original production.

­Joshua Davies explained that when they were first producing content on a low budget it was a lot easier to get locations. It was as simple as going to the UEA and asking to shoot in certain rooms and areas but now, ten years on, issues such as  permissions, insurance, health and safety, times and dates is a lot more strict making it hard for any zero budget film maker. It is also difficult to shoot with anything that looks like a weapon as there are very strict laws on this in the United Kingdom.

For their short film Fracture they had to put people in hotels, had catering on set, a professional cast and crew and it all cost the company between ten and twenty thousand pounds. A lot of their budget is not shown on screen and goes into the backend, administration part of the production.  But crews of their films are normally made up of their established contacts who are all local. Their films are produced using DSLR or Sony FS100 cameras with several lenses and camera dollies, tripods etc..

Joshua explained that working on the films is a brilliant experience. Although stressful because the films are normally ambitious and time is short. He often finds himself sleeping in the corner of sets.  Simon expressed how he loved how intense a set can be because of the time restrictions but this makes it essential to have good people working on the film.  Joshua and Simon both want the production to be a pleasant experience and fun for the crew.  When developing the software or producing a film they want there to be a sense of ownership in the company; so that everybody has bit of the product that they worked on and can be proud of.

The team are quite open to talk about competition. Often asked how their product compares to Adobe after Effects they will discuss the advantages of their product compared to their competition but will happily admit that there competition has advantages too.

Joshua and Simon explained that in a few years time they see that their software will have grown but want to resist becoming a massive, faceless company. They want the view count on their films to grow massively on YouTube and stay honest to their customers and audience. For their productions they want to continue working with local people and commission them to produce content for their software. They feel they are still learning as a small team of film makers and enjoy every minute of it.

Final touches/Project coming to an end.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2012 by trettfilms

In the sound lab I managed to level out all the sounds successfully, making sure no sounds fell below 2dB or went higher than 6dB. I then synced in sounds that were suggested from the group critique. I played it through a few more times and then watched again with some headphones and as I was happy with the mix, I rendered it.

With the non-narrative film I had been working intently the last few days to build a beat. Some areas almost feel as if there is some kind of percussion beat to it but I found it quite difficult to edit. The video still has a charm to it, and celebrates the variety of sounds created by a VCR and captures that noisy feel which appears on Hi8 footage. If I were to go back and do this film again I would have shot little clips of the films seen on the table in film. This would have probably been excellent to almost work as a vocals on the mix.

Overall I’m quite happy with how this unit has gone. I tried to be creative as possible when approaching both the narrative and non-narrative, even though I feel I may have been a little ambitious with the narrative, I am still happy with how it came out and had fun experimenting with an older format of camera.

For the media roles and responsibilities report I got a very interesting interview with a company I had previously worked for; FXHome who said I could return to work for them again this summer and perhaps be a beta tester on their future software!