Industrial Media, Analysis and Reflection 2, Question 2

This film, Clown Train, used sound to establish the setting and to build tension. The sounds they use, especially in the use of the music is very subtle. This type of sound use helps build tension, which is one of the purposes of this short film. One of the most obvious sounds they use in the beginning of the film is the atmospheric sound of the train noises. These noises continue, quite loudly and obviously, until the first time where the lights flicker and those noises become much lower. The noise the light make to flicker is used to cover up the drop in the atmospheric sound and is used quite effectively. With the audience, to an extent, not even realizing the sound has changed it builds the tension in an interesting way.

Every film genre uses sound to elicit different emotional responses whether it is using sound for comedic timing or using sound to build drama etc. One film which uses sound to build tension is The Conjuring, directed by James Wan. James Wan is known to be an excellent filmmaker when it comes to building tension and The Conjuring is no different. Sound in The Conjuring, at times, actually more chilling than the visual and it is clear James Wan understands the importance of sound. The conjuring uses slow building music to help build this tension. Every noise has a purpose, whether it is the door creaking, which is unique in each shot or the footsteps on the floorboards to the loud sounds such as the photos falling off the wall. These sounds help to build the tension.

In analyzing the visual construction of this film the first thing I noticed was the first shot from outside the train. This sets the film up quite nicely as it shows the train is empty apart from the character, but it also sets up how run down and creepy the train is. Showing the run down train alludes to what the style of the film will be, that it is a creepy type of film. The filmmakers use low-key lighting and use soft shadows. This is type of lighting is sutible for this type of film and helps establish the atmosphere of the film and helps the tension somewhat.

Another point I noticed about the construction of this film is the framing of the shots. Firstly the clown is always on the right side of the frame while the other character is on the left side of the frame. This caused one small and somewhat unnoticeable continuity issue. At the start of the film the character is on the seat next to the wall but when the clown moves to the seat opposite him he has moved to the isle seat, this is used to maintain the clown staying on the right side of the frame. This continuity issue is relatively unimportant for the film as it is relatively unnoticeable but I thought it was important to show that the filmmakers have consciously made the decision to keep the clown on the right and the other character on the left side of the frame.

All the shots have used a tripod and the only shot with any camera movement it the shot where the character jumps out of the train and even then it is only a very small movement which is still done on a tripod. This choice of camera movement is expected for this type of film. The characters, for the most part, until the end, are just sitting on the train seat, so any movement of the camera would be unnecessary and in my opinion would take some of the tension away.

As far as the colour of the film it seems that the filmmakers have chosen to go with a desaturated look. This is, once again, not a surprise for this type of filmmaking. A desaturated look helps build the ‘story world’ and the drama and the tension of the piece.

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