Professional Practice

Professional Practice; Task 5: SSI Evaluation

Below is the original proposal form I handed in with my intitial idea for my special subject investigation.

Special Subject Investigation (SSI) Research Project Proposal Form


Your name:

Victoria Grant

Your course:

HND Creative Media Production Yr 2

Your supervising tutor:

Paul Smith

Please describe the topic of study:

The subject, Methodology (Qualitative or Quantitative), resources you will require and proposed schedule.

Award winning female directors vs. male directors over the past 60 years (1950 – 2010)

I will focus on the quantity of female directors vs male directors who have won awards at major award ceremonies. I will be using a qualitative methodology based on the ratio of female to male directors that have been nominated, and the number of awards given to female directors versus males. I can access archives from the organisations’ websites which are reliable primary sources as it is statistical data.

Justify your intended research project for it’s suitability, achievability, availability of research materials and relevance to your vocational subject area:

The information I need is readily available, and is a primary source as I will be collecting statistical data straight from the source, therefore I feel it is an achievable topic of investigation. In addition, I am only focusing on two or three of the oldest award ceremonies/festivals so my investigation is not vague and I can obtain reliable data that will give me an informed outcome. I will also look at quantitative data, in forms archives and social studies, to have an understanding and maybe an explanation to support the statistical data I will find. My vocational area of study is television and film production, and I am very interested in the study and production of film. Film awards are the most prestigious ways of being recognised and celebrated for your work, especially as a director. It is any filmmakers’ aspiration to be recognised at such award ceremonies like ‘The Oscars’ or award festivals like ‘Cannes’, so it is also an aspiration of mine. Also, being a female in a male dominated ‘workplace’ I feel it wise for me to investigate this subject so I can further my knowledge and understanding of how I could reach this goal considering it is primarily hard for females to obtain these prestigious director roles of multi-million funded productions and in turn receive awards.

Provisional title for the study:

Award winning female directors vs. male directors over the past 60 years

Do you intend to include a practical component (presentation of results) in your research project?

If so, then please explain how it will relate to the overall research project focus:

Maybe in the form of a graph so I can compare male vs. females directors over a time period to further validate my investigation.

Please give a brief overview of your previous experience of this topic (e.g. from previous modules/units/research investigations) and outline the areas that you have started to explore so far in your research that is relevant to this SSI:

We are always being encouraged to enter festivals and competitions so I am already an active part of the competition side of things and haver briefly looked into the first ever competitions like ‘The Oscars’, the ‘BAFTAS’, ‘Golden Globe Awards’, etc. In film studies units, we have had to research directors of the films we watch and study, and their successes.


My original idea was to research and analyse why there is a gender equality within the media industry, and I was going to show this inequality by finding statistics on how many females have won awards for media related work compared to males. I was going to focus on 3 award shows, however I looked for archives of the nominations and awards, and I either couldn’t find the information or it was only showing statistics for the previous 10 years, and I wanted to base mine over approximately 50- years. I should have done more research on the topic before  submitting this idea as my final SSI. Had I done so I would have realised the lack of data and that I wouldn’t acquire enough research to evidence my point. In addition to this, I was advised that my subject was to broad so it needed to be narrowed.

Thinking along the same lines as before I still wanted to concentrate on gender inequality, and I decided one of the best ways of doing so was to focus on a case study. My subject was going to be Gale Anne Hurd, a world  famous producer of television and films. I was going to focus on how she has succeeded as a female in a predominantly male industry. Still proving my point of gender inequality, but using a case study to justify my argument. My tutor agreed that this could be an option.

After having done some research on Gale Anne Hurd, I faced a problem that I could not find enough material to make or justify an argument. I could not find enough material to contribute new knowledge on the matter, so I chose a different subject instead. There was plenty of information on Gale Anne Hurd, such as interviews and blogs about her, but there was not much information on how she has struggled as a female, most of the information was just about how she found success on what projects she has worked on. This would not validate my point so I needed to change my subject matter. I discussed this with my tutor and he agreed that I s hold take a different path.

I started to deviate away from gender equality and think of a more specific subject. I thought about what subject/s interested me, and I  thought of a couple. I have always been a fan of film, hence I am on this course. The horror genre is one of my favourites and I had done analytical work on films beforehand so I had experience in that area.  I then thought about what in particular i was going to analyse about the film, and decided on a subject I was less familiar with- cinematography. It would give me a chance to further my knowledge on the subject of cinematography whilst critically reviewing a film. I knew that there were plenty of resource materials on both cinematography and information about the film I wanted to analyse – Halloween. I already had literature on cinematography so I went ahead and started my final choice of special subject investigation, on cinematography and how it is used effectively in Halloween.

I felt I used a good process when researching for my analysis. I researched the technique of cinematography and then analysed how it was applied to a film. I used both secondary and primary research to collate my data. I found reliable data that has been validated by practitioners about the technique of cinematography, so I knew it was valid information. I also used qualitative data in the form of interviews, and it was valid because it was the opinions of professional practitioners and the opinion of the people that actually made the film. Having said this, I could have found more literature to further validate my information about cinematography. For further development of research into cinematography, in the future I would like to look at other films of the horror genre and analyse the cinematography of them, to discover whether there are any similarities or even patterns that are used to create tension and suspense within a film.

 For further development of research into cinematography, in the future I would like to look at other films of the horror genre and analyse the cinematography of them, to discover whether there are any similarities or even patterns that are used to create tension and suspense within a film.




Professional Practice Task 3: Conduct Individual Investigative Project

Halloween, 1978, John Carpenter, Dean Cundry


 Secondary Sources from Internet

Anom. (2014). Halloween. Available: Last accessed 31st May 2014.


Box Office

Budget: $300,000 (estimated)

Gross: $47,000,000 (USA)


$300,000 (estimated)



$47,000,000 (USA)

$60,000,000 (Worldwide) ( 1978)

AUD 900,000 (Australia) ( 1979)

$782,277 (Germany)

HKD 450,139 (Hong Kong) ( 1979)

SEK 2,298,579 (Sweden)



750,000 (Germany)

118,606 (Sweden)



$18,500,000 (USA)


Filming Dates

April 1978


Copyright Holder

Falcon International Productions






In 1978, a low-budget film about a masked killer stalking a young babysitter in a quiet Illinois suburb took the film industry by storm.

Filmed for just over $300,000 (about $1m today), John Carpenter’s Halloween has since made more than $47m.

Cinema audiences were terrified and delighted in equal amount and Michael Myers, with his battered white facemask became a pop culture icon, preceding the likes of Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked brute from the Friday the 13th films and Freddie Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

“I can believe it,” says the now 65-year-old semi-retired director, about the span of time since he created one of the ultimate movie monsters.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The best compliment I got was standing outside a theatre and hearing the audience scream, that was just delightful.”

John Carpenter

“I’m old now, 35 years ago I was a young kid then just trying to make a movie but some part of me still feels like that young kid.”

Prior to Halloween, Carpenter had already known some success with the exploitation film Assault on Precinct 13 which, although a flop in the US, had enjoyed some resurgence in Europe after being screened at the London Film Festival in 1977.’ –


Slasher genre

Although the idea of a stalking killer was not a new one, having been seen in films like Michael Powell’s voyeuristic Peeping Tom; Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13 and even Tobe Hooper’s creation Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween’s Myers was a different beast.

“We had this idea of Michael Myers being not quite a human but almost a supernatural force,” says Carpenter. “Evil as a force of nature in the personification of this man.

“So we put him in a mask so he wouldn’t have human features.”

The two-dollar rubber mask was a likeness of Star Trek actor William Shatner, sprayed a bluish-white – and it terrified people.


‘None of this is new, there have always been ghost stories.”

“The best compliment I got was standing outside a theatre and hearing the audience scream, that was just delightful.”

Halloween ushered in the era of the slasher movies of the 1980s. Though they were not the first, it – along with Friday 13th – brought the previously niche horror genre hurtling into the mainstream.

Carpenter, however, plays down his reputation as the father of the genre: “I think the main reason that Halloween inspired other movies was very shrewd producers looking and saying, ‘This idiot made this for $300,000, we can do it and make money’.

“It’s all about making money in Hollywood. It wasn’t about art.”

The slasher genre now looks relatively timid when compared with the explosion in what became known as the “torture porn” of the 2000s. Super-violent films such as Hostel and the Saw franchise undoubtedly built on the brutal nature of films like Halloween and Friday the 13th.

Since then, filmmakers have returned to the basics with ghost films like The Conjuring and The Woman In Black, which have proved to be a massive draw at the box office.


A remake of Escape from New York has long been planned

But Carpenter – who has dabbled in ghostly tales such as The Fog and Christine – again insists: “Horror films have been around since the beginning of cinema and each one leads to another so they continue to morph and change depending on society.

“None of this is new, there have always been ghost stories. There are just new ways of telling stories.”


Kev Geoghegan. (2013). John Carpenter reflects on Halloween 35 years on. Available: Last accessed 29th May 2014.



This is using secondary qualitative research but because it is the first hand opinion of the cinematographer himself I will have more of an insight into the techniques and style Dean Cundey.


Widely considered one of the best cinematographers of all time, Dean Cundey has been behind the camera on classics such as Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Escape From New York, Back to The Future, Big Trouble in Little China, Jurassic Park and Apollo 13, just to name a few. However, he may still be best known for his work on the 1978 horror classic Halloween, which celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year with a brand new Blu-ray release. Although it had been used sparingly in films such Rocky and Marathon Man, Dean Cundley helped spawn a whole new era of cinematography with his use of the “fluid prowling camera,” which later became known as the Steadicam. I recently had the chance to speak with this legendary director of photography over the phone about his experiences on director John Carpenter‘s horror classic. Here’s what he had to say.


Dean Cundey: Well, it had been used very little, up to that point. Three or four films had used it, but only in limited ways. Any time there is new technology like that, people look for a way to use it, but they don’t always think of the most ingenious things. They looked at the Steadicam as a way to replace a dolly or a handheld camera. One of the things that John and I really tried to do was find a way to turn the camera into a character. What we used it for, was actually pretty unique, for the time. Now, of course, it’s become such a ubiquitous thing that almost every feature carries a Steadicam and Steadicam operator. At the time, it was such a special thing that you had to designate two or three days for its use.


Dean Cundey: I had gone to Cinema Products, who had the original Steadicam, to try it out, and then Panavision built their own version. I went to Panavision along with a couple of my crew guys, and we tried it out. I put it on and walked around, through cars and stuff. There’s actually a piece of film on the Internet, that test film that we shot. We pretty quickly figured out that it had some great potential. We used the Panavision version of it, and it came and went, I remember, according to when we needed it, because it was an extra budgetary consideration, but it was a device that we really thought could have potential, beyond replacing the dolly. It’s something you always hope to do, which is use the camera in some way to draw the audience into the story, and attach to them emotionally. We thought that this would be a new way to do that.

Brian Gallagher. (2013). EXCLUSIVE: Dean Cundey Talks ‘Halloween’ 35th Anniversary Blu-ray. Available: Last accessed 29th May 2014.



Secondary research- Interviews

Secondary Research: Interviews from Documentary- Visions of light: Cinematography

Secondary research from book: Cinematography



I watched ‘Visions of light: Art of Cinematography’ in hopes of getting a fuller understanding on the subject of Cinematography. The documentary included commentary and opinions from many top cinematographers, filmmakers, D.O.P’s etc. and spoke about the problems and successes cinematographers had with well-known films  and how it affected the aesthetics of the picture, but they did not talk about the technical components that created the shots, which was what i was looking for. An interesting watch but I did not find this information useful and did not consider it when analysis and writing my investigation.

Interview Notes



Beginning structure research/Notes/ Book sources



Here I looked at both cinematography and film art to compare and contrast the style and techniques within both, to find similarities and differences to find a generic conclusion of techniques to look for during my analysis.

This is my use off cross-referencing.


I found that both books were good reliable sources to find information on cinematography. They are both well-established books that are highly recommended for filmmakers so I can trust the information is valid. However I found that ‘Cinematography’ had a lot more information than ‘Film Art’, probably because Film Art covers many subjects within film whereas Cinematography’s main and only focus is the use and application of Cinematography. Reading these books gave me a wider knowledge on the subject and helped improve my terminology so I can be more accurate with my analysis.


Primary research- The analysis notes.

This is the main part of my subject investigation where I will do an analysis of the film ‘Halloween’. It is primary research because it is an analysis from my perspective, formed on the knowledge I have required through research. I broke it down into scenes and analysed 4 main aspects of cinematography in each scene, which showed in my final report.



Colour Grading Task 3

Task 3

For Tutorial

In conjunction with all the research material I have found on the subject matter, I have collated a series of clips from the internet  which I will use for my final edited tutorial on Colour Grading, which are below. – Jons pt 1 Brings in a fast colour-corrector effect to set black and white points to get contrast back into the shot. Also selects a white point using the eyedropper tool to auto-correct the white balance. Plays with the mid tones to get it to a good contrast. Gets rid of a blue hue over the shot by using the hue colour wheel to move 180 degrees opposite to take the cast off, bringing saturation back into the shot.

Den Lennie. (2012). Color Grading 101 – Part 2- Primary Correction in Resolve 9. Available: Last accessed 19th March 2014. Video tutorial

colour correction.colour grading. primary is colour correction. secondary is colour grading. Colour correction which could come under primary grading is looking at luminance and hue. balancing the shot



Here I have drafted a script which I will use for my audio in the final tutorial:

Hello, my name is Victoria and I’ve made this video to talk about colour grading. I will address 4 questions in which I will answer throughout this video. The first question asking, what is colour grading? After doing some research I have concluded that everybody has variations of what they consider to be ‘Colour Grading’ including many colourist professionals. You have to consider the term ‘colour correction’ when looking at colour grading because it is a part of it. Colour correction involves adjusting the hue (the colour or chroma) and the luminance (brightness and contrast) in an image. I consider colour grading to be the overall effect given to the piece using more complex colour corrections, to create a style suited to the narrative or the artistic needs of the video. So colour correction is the correction of technical faults within the video whereas the grade is the overall style produced. Colour correction can be considered as primary grading, which I will be showing you later in this video. Colour grading has become a necessity  in film editing, whether it be film or television, but why do we colour grade?

In doing these sort of colour correction I stated before, it can eliminate a colour cast in a clip, correct video that’s too dark or too light, or set the levels to meet broadcast requirements. It can also match colour from scene to scene so the shots are continuous and flow. You can even create a mood or atmosphere using these basic colour corrections but I would refer to creating a style or mood within video as ‘Colour Grading’.

When colour grading the are many software options to consider.There are basic video grading tools within software such as Adobe After Effects,and Final Cut pro. But then there are more advanced editing software’s you can use for colour grading such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve. Davinci Resolve is the most complex and arguably the best software to use. It was made specifically for colour grading and is now considered an industry standard.

Now I’ve gone through what software’s are available I will show you some basic primary grading tools within premiere pro. I feel that out of all the software’s, premiere pro is the most accessible to students and has a user-friendly interface. I will be using John Holmes primary grading tutorial and explaining his process. As I stated before primary grading uses colour correction to make the shot as accurate and clean as possible in preparation for secondary grading. In most cases when bringing your footage in, there will need to be alterations. The first step is to correct any under or over exposed shots, this could be due to an incorrect white balance during filming. He brings in a fast colour-corrector effect to do this primary grading.  He selects a white point using the eyedropper tool to auto-correct the white balance. He then uses a the hue, balance and angle colour wheel to play with the mid-tones  to get the shot to look natural like it did in its original environment without having that blue hue. He then sets black and white points to get contrast back into the shot. In essence your black points, the darkest points in your shot should have a value of 0. your white points or the brightest parts of your shot should be nearer to 1, or 100 depending which scale your using. He can see these values using graphs and scopes, which you can see here.Gets rid of a blue hue over the shot by using the hue colour wheel to move 180 degrees opposite to take the cast off, bringing saturation back into the shot.

There are so many software options and those were just a few basic tools within one of them, all of which offer many possibilities in improving a films quality. Most footage needs to be colour graded and with technology advancing all footage will be digitally captured in RAW or Flat mode and ‘Colour correction and colour grading’ will become compulsory within post-production. Thankyou for listening.