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Creating The Deceiver

Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980)


Secondary research is key, which is why I took this into consideration when making my short film. After evaluating the various editing styles, I decided that the more suitable one for me is Hitchcock. As mentioned previously there are many different editing techniques, with their own style. Hitchcock is one of the greatest filmmakers and a master of suspense.

He once said “Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.” This links in with one of many of Hitchcock’s techniques called “frame for emotion”. In other terms, the first thing he thinks about before placing a camera is what emotion he wants the audience to experience at that specific moment in time. The main area that emotion comes from is a characters eyes, meaning the closer the camera is to a characters eyes, the more emotion will be displayed. The further away you put the camera, the calmer the audience will be. There are many different films that are considered “Hitchcockian”. Films such as “Panic Room (2002, David Fincher)” and even “From Russia with Love (1963, Terrence Young)” are considered Hitchcockian as they use various characteristics of those of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies.

Another of Hitchcock’s techniques would be to surprise the audience with a twist. A prime example would be the climax scene in his film “Saboteur (1942, Alfred Hitchcock)” when Cummings startles Lloyd and causes him to fall over the edge. Hitchcock is also known for having two things happening at once in his films. Thus meaning he has contrasting situations where the characters can be in one situation and be interrupted by another, which tends to be more important than the first. This makes the audience follow one situation and then be surprised by the next.

I decided to choose the editing style of Hitchcock because personally I enjoy the films he makes. I like the way he is a master of suspense and I enjoy the cinematic feel of all of his films. I also like the way he can put the camera in the audiences’ shoes to make the audience feel like they are inside the film. In my short film there is also a bit of indie horror as it is shot in the same way as films such as “Saw (2004, James Wan)” and “Panic Button (2009, Chris Crow), so it is a fusion between the both. Both Hitchcock and Indie horror editing styles seemed to fit in well with the footage. It appeared to display emotion like Hitchcock likes to do and also tried to put the audience where the camera is, to make them feel as if they are there in person rather than watching a screen. Hitchcock also uses “the wrong man” or “mistaken identity” in his films which fit in perfectly with The Deceiver.

There are some positive things about the film. I really like the use of close up’s to display emotion and also like the different camera angles to show each characters different point of views. I feel that the framing of each shot was done well and added a “cinematic” feel to the film. To go with the framing I decided to add “black bars” at the top of the bottom of the screen. I set them both to cover 14% of the screen to give it a widescreen look, which is a technique that is commonly used in the Hitchcock editing style. I also think the tracking shots at the start of the film work well and give it a realistic, smooth flow at the start before taking the audience by surprise.

In this short film I wanted to have straight cuts throughout the film rather than any fades. I think that having straight cuts helps the flow of the film and keeps the pace going. Whereas, fades usually interrupt the flow and stop the suspense from being provoked. I personally think that the pace of the film is good; I believe it speeds up when it needs too, especially when there is drama or an event but also slows down to display emotion accordingly.

I decided to change the look of the film quite considerably. Originally, the color of the film looked somewhat like it was lit in a theatre whereas I wanted a more “dingy” feel and look to the film. From being a big fan of horror movies I have noticed that in most horror movies, a green or blue tint is usually used. Blue is usually used for anything to do with the supernatural world and green usually for the gory side of horror. This led me to add a green tint to the film and I think it improved the feel of the film and made it cinematic and eerie.

Sound plays a big part in this short film as it is needed to create suspense and to make the audience get a sense of fear. The film also has a lot of dialogue in it so I needed to make the levels all equal so that the sound doesn’t jump. The sound on one of the cameras was also better than the other so I had to use the sound from one camera on the other camera’s shot and lip sync them both together. Various parts of the film I needed something a little extra to add to the tension so I added horror sound effects and impacts to catch the audience by surprise.

If I were to create The Deceiver again there are a few things that I would do differently and change. I feel that I could have improved the sound and created a proper score to go with the short film. This would have added to the tension in the film and given it a different dimension. I also think that the script could be improved and given a bit more depth. This is because there is not much of a background and it seems to be a bit unrealistic and cheesy. I think I would also add some different shots showing where the actual characters are. This would be better as it would put the audience in the characters shoes and show to what extent the situation is that the character is in.

Alfred Hitchcock. Available: Last accessed 28th Feb 13


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