Sound Design of ‘The French Leaves’

I recently watched this video on sound design by Simon Norman which made me realise the importance of sound design, particularly in repairing dialogue or adding in foley.

As you can see from my rough cut the sound at the moment is unmixed and unedited therefore as I haven’t yet finished my sound design for my film I shall work to make sure the levels of the dialogue are all the same and that I have a background track to make the sound and shots flow a lot better – as he demonstrates in the tutorial.

Before watching this video I didn’t realise the importance in having layers to the sound in order to a achieve a professional feel to the film. I’ve also learnt that bad sound is much more noticeable than bad camera work and it takes an audience out of the experience of a film much more if something is distractingly wrong with the sound design.

I’m going to be using the perfectly named site SoundJay as it provides free sound effects which I can use to build up the sound scape of my film to make it a more immersive experience for my audience.

– Jay



Poster Idea #3

IMG_1050It was a lovely evening so I decided to do some photography for my 3rd poster idea (which I had been putting off after the disappointing outcome of my last one), the result of which you can see below – most of it resembles a GCSE Photography project but I did manage to get one or two usable shots haha!

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And here are the shots I decided would work for my idea of the poster:


I thought this picture of the leaf would be good for the main focus of the poster as I really wanted a dead or dying autumn leaf to represent the mood, title & feel of my film ‘The French Leaves’


I ending up using this photo to provide a background texture to the poster – I shot it over exposed so it wouldn’t be too distracting. In photoshop I further increased the exposure so it was almost completely white apart from a few twigs and leaves which are slightly visible and just add to the general atmosphere of the poster.


I also used a number of stills and shots that I got on set to provide some more depth and excitement to the  background

This was my very crude sketch of what I wanted the poster to look like which I used as my starting point when constructing my poster in photoshop:



1. I got my picture of the leaf into photoshop and isolated it from the background using the ‘background removal tool’ and edited it to make it slightly more saturated and contrasted.

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 18.06.172. I then added the background which used the photo I had aforementioned and then used the ‘Brush’ tool to create a shadow around the leaf and a slight vignette around the sides just to make the leaf stand out further from the background

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 19.38.47

3. I then added in the photos of the actors but made them black and white, increased the exposure and lowered the opacity to achieve the faded effect and so they didn’t draw attention away from the leaf/title

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 19.39.19

4. I then added the title itself using the ‘American Typewriter font’ which I have used for all the films titling to keep consistency. I also added a drop shadow to the title to make it stand out further from the leafs patterning.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 19.39.42

5. Finally I added in the cast, crew and film information which I have previously spoken about in this blog.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 19.39.58

I make it sound so easy haha! But yer, that was my poster finished and here it is!


I’m really pleased with it and certainly prefer it to my other idea despite it not being in the WW2 style I wanted. I think it fits the psychological/drama genre of the film much better than my previous attempt. I can’t really think of any negatives for it as it was just how I envisioned it so I think unless I can come up with anything better this looks like the one!

– Jay


Audience Feedback

audience feedback

Yesterday we showed a rough cut of our film to the class and received some written feedback from everyone about what they liked and disliked about the film.

This was a really good exercise as we could collate the overall results and find trends about what peoples feedback was. For example many people said they loved the camera work, mis-en-scene & acting so I knew there was not an issue there, however they mentioned that some of the pacing was off; especially with how quick the pills being spilled and the ending therefore we knew we had to fix that area.

Here is the rest of the feedback here shown on the rough cut of the film at the adjacent time.

– Jay


Poster Idea #2

So as I mentioned in the blog about my first poster design I wanted to try a design using the ‘poster within a poster’ so to speak as the full image of the poster. Here is what I came up with:


Although I thought this design would work much better, I think I prefer my previous attempt here is why…

  • It looks too messy, the picture is too distracting at that size and takes away from the titles and information
  • The colours are not attractive or eye catching and there is just too much going on
  • Its hard to tell which is the tag line or the title

So I’m going to have a go at a completely different design for my poster as I don’t think my last effort could be considered good enough for the final poster design. However there are a few things I’d like to take from this design which I like such as the titling, the positioning of the actors titles (which I based on American Beauty’s design as they are small and look very neat and tidy) and the new logo design for Manual Matic Media as it sticks out a lot more and is a lot more appealing.

So there we go, as Jay-Z says ‘onto the next one’

– Jay


Binary Opposition – The French Leaves

This is a sophisticated but important idea that will help you understand how ideas and meanings are being shaped, created or reinforced in a text. It is ‘a theory of meaning’ and an idea that can be applied to all texts; it is especially useful when analyzing poetry where meaning has been ‘compressed’ into a very few words.

claude_levi_straussIn the mid-20th century, two major European academic thinkers, Claude Levi Strauss and Roland Barthes, had the important insight that the way we understand certain words depends not so much on any meaning they themselves directly contain, but much more by our understanding of the difference between the word and its ‘opposite’ or, as they called it ‘binary opposite’. They realised that words merely act as symbols for society’s ideas and that the meaning of words, therefore, was a relationship rather than a fixed thing: a relationship between opposing ideas.RolandBarthesSmoking

For example, our understanding of the word ‘coward’ surely depends on the difference between that word and its opposing idea, that of a ‘hero’ (and to complicate matters further, a moment’s thought should alert you to the fact that interpreting words such as ‘hero’ and ‘coward’ is itself much more to do with what our society or culture attributes to such words than any meaning the words themselves might actually contain).

I found this definition here

After reading through and understanding the theory of Binary Opposition I realised that my short film ‘The French Leaves’ narrative displayed many aspects of Binary Opposition. So I listed them here:

Binary Oppostion

I found this exercise interesting as without realising it I had crafted two characters which had many opposites which would create the conflict in the narrative which would make it a compelling film. So I salute you Claude Levi Strauss & Roland Barthes for coming up with a very fitting theory, I cannot think of a film that this couldn’t be applied to.

– Jay