De-constructing and Research

Before planning the storyboards and shots etc I decided it would be a good idea to look at some pre-existing examples of horror and 'zom-com' to get a feel for the types of shots and techniques to use within my own animation. I spent much time watching classics such as The Shining, Nosferatu, Rear Window, as well as more modern films such as Shaun of the Dead, The Descent, Black Sheep, Slither, The Host and others. And I have to say I learnt much more than usual, when I knew what I was looking for within them
When you know about some of the techniques used, you can spot them a mile off, and seem to be everywhere. Others are much more subtle, but add so much to the atmosphere of a piece (such as depth of field effects).

Possible useful ones:
Rule of thirds
Eye-lines (perspective lines)
Depth of field use
Dutch tilt
'Extreme' shots (ie extreme close up, extreme wide shot)

As I'll be using a DSLR to film my animation, none of these are out of reach, and are all possibilities to be considered.

Setting the Scene
Most of the research for the set had be done before hand, but I decided to look again at the kind of locale I was working with, incase there was anything further that could be applied now that I had a clear idea of what the story was going to be.

Lighting plays a crucial role in any film, especially horrors. Use of shadows and different forms of lighting can change the mood of a film in an instant and communicate so much to the audience in terms of atmosphere. I'm hoping to emulate a dark atmosphere with a custom made snoot for a (warm orange/yellow) spot/streetlight effect, as well as a soft diffused cold white light to emulate moonlight on the street. White card and reflectors will be used to help illuminate any dark areas softly.

Depth of Field
Depth of field effects are brilliant for drawing the audience's eyes to areas of the shot you want to be the main focus of the scene (unintentional pun was unintentional), as well as adding a real depth to any shot. Looking at use of techniques used in classics like The Shining as well as more modern day masterpieces like Wall-E.

"Dutch Tilt"
This tilting of the shot creates a sense of claustrophobia and confusion, and is put to great use in a great many classic horrors, but here's a picture of it in use in Batman:
"Holy Dingleberries Batman, we're at some kind of angle!"

I hate to use this word, but yes it really helps a shot look 'dynamic', it gives it an extra 'edge'. Hopefully a few of my shots in the short will be able to put this to use and, especially in the opening, help give off a vibe of unease when introducing the unsettling characters for the first time.

The combination of all the techniques, as well as the use of previous cinematic and photographic techniques, such as close-ups, mid shots, wide shots, the rule of thirds etc, will hopefully be able to give my short the atmosphere it needs in order to succeed as a B-movie/horror pastiche.

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