References to found assets

Apart from one photo which I will be using in shot 5, I am aiming to record all of the footage and create any assets myself for my final piece. The photo which I will be using is referenced below. I will also be adding sound from sound libraries to my piece, but I have yet to source these so will be referencing them alongside my final piece.

Stocksnap (2017) Stars-galaxy-space-universe-night. Available online: [Accessed 18/11/21].

Production Notes

Production Notes

Fall is a horror TV show which centres around a young couple. They are going on an autumnal walk into the woods until suddenly, the trees lose all of their leaves and it starts thundering and lightning. They decide to head back home but they realise that the once small woodland is now seemingly never-ending and they are trapped inside this strange place. They now have to figure out how to survive in the woodland and try and find a way out, but many scary obstacles will get in their way. The opening to Fall aims to show snippets of the main storyline and outline the main locations of the show using atmospheric shots to intrigue the viewer into watching more. 

Location Scouting

Ready for the filming of my project, I decided to do some additional planning on the location where I would be filming some of my footage. I already had an ideal location in mind at the start of this project as I had visited in the past and knew there were already multiple ready made shelters in there so that I wouldn’t have to create one myself. The location is a local woods which is within reasonable travelling distance for me. 

Photographs are my own

Map screenshots reference: 

Google (2021) Google Maps. Available online: [Accessed 9/11/21].

Tools to be used

My illustrations of the tools I will be using

As I will be physically filming my project, I will also need some physical tools to help me with this. I will first need a camera and a tripod to do the actual filming. I already own these since I have used them on previous projects and also as a hobby in my spare time. I will also need a laptop with access to the Adobe programs, After Effects and Premier Pro which I also have. Luckily I don’t need to buy any of this equipment or rent anything which would eat into the production and post production time. Instead, I should be able to do the filming when the time is right and then do the post production editing in my own time. 


No additional props will need to be used for my production piece. The majority of the piece will be focusing on natural, physical things such as the trees in the woods which already exist. Any additional things I may need will be added in post production editing. 

Health and Safety

As my piece will be filmed physically, I need to also take into consideration any health and safety aspects. I wont be filming any actors or other people in my piece so I don’t have to worry about this, and as I will be the only person involved I wont have to get anyone to fill in a consent form. The only risks that may pose a threat to me would be possible injuries when filming the scene, but I aim to control this risk by wearing suitable footwear on the day of filming and being careful with any equipment.

Assets to be created

My piece will have an ending scene where the title of the show will appear on screen. I will be creating a logo for ‘Fall’ for this scene by experimenting with various fonts and colours and seeing what would work best for the atmosphere that I would like in my overall piece. I may also include some illustrated 2D aspects to my piece such as some of the leaves that fall of the trees. I will most likely illustrate these using Procreate and then import them into After Effects. 

Narrative of Techniques/Tools

Skills from Lab Tutorials and Lectures

After doing the lab tutorials and lectures, I realised that I would be able to apply many of the aspects I have learnt into my own piece. First, I learnt how to apply depth of field effects which I will be able to apply on shot 8 where the camera will be travelling through seemingly never-ending trees. It will help me to create the deep depth that I am looking for. 

One crucial effect that I learnt in a lab tutorial that I will certainly be using in every shot within my sequence is the colour correction settings. In my practise video of the waterfall, I decided to alter the colour settings to be much darker and desaturated because I knew that this is the style I would like in my final sequence. From doing this, I found that the colour settings are much easier to adjust than I was expecting, and now I have a good understanding of this, I feel confident that I will be able to adjust the colours in my final video to the dark and atmospheric look I am going for. 

I then learnt about different ways to add lighting within scenes. The tutorial was specifically on how to add lighting effectively, which I will be doing in my final scene where the title ‘Fall’ appears on screen. I will also be able to use the same principle to applying lighting within my other scenes – despite the fact that the overall look of my sequence will be quite dark, I will still need to illuminate certain aspects within scenes, most likely through the use of low key lighting which ‘creates tension due to its mysterious and dark atmosphere, controlling how much of the surroundings and characters are revealed’ (Austin School of Film, 2019). I now have the confidence to be able to play around with the various types of lighting in my final scene. 

I have also learnt many skills through attending the lectures that have given me a better understanding of the techniques used within visual effects in both physical and virtual film such as cinematography, camera placement and lighting. These will all be applied throughout the whole of my piece. 

Skills from Independent Learning

Next, to increase my confidence in using After Effects ready for my final piece, I decided to practise some additional effects that I would be using. I mainly gained an understanding of them through doing further research and through following tutorials found online. 


First, from a tutorial on youtube, I learnt how to create a lightning effect within After Effects ready for shot 5. I applied an ‘advance lightning’ effect and learnt how it is possible to move the various anchor points around which would mean where the lightning would start and what direction it would travel in. I also learnt that it is possible to change the setting to different style lightning bolts, the one I used in the video above was the ‘strike’ setting which gave me a similar look to what I am after in my final video. I was learnt how to change the lightning settings such as the colour and the glow settings, I gave the lightning bolt a white shade as I felt it was much more realistic than the default blue, and again, the white was the kind of look I am wanting in my final video. Finally, I learnt how to apply a ‘linear wipe’ effect to the lightning which made it look as if it was appearing on screen more naturally. 

Colour Change

Next, I decided to try and follow a colour change tutorial as I would be needing this effect for shot 4 where I will be looking up at the treetops and the leaves will change from green to an autumnal colour. First, I added the ‘keylight’ effect and then used the colour picker to select the green parts of the houseplants, I then altered the view to ‘combined matte’ which changed everything to black and white, from this I was able to alter the settings so that the parts of the plants that I was wanting to adjust the colour on were white and the rest of the composition was black. Next, I added a the ‘hue/saturation’ colour correction effect which I was able to alter the settings to my desired colour of purple. I then realised that some of the things in the background were changing to purple which I didn’t want to I added a basic mask around the plants, the mask ensured the purple colour change only effect the things inside the mask (as I was only practising for this video it was still a very rough mask, but in my final video I will ensure this is done much neater and precise). I then needed to alter the mask throughout certain points in the video as it was staying in the same position and some things that I needed inside the mask would go outside of it. As I hadn’t really used masking before, I took a while to figure out how to properly do this but through keyframing the ‘mask path’ I managed to figure it out. Finally, I managed to do some more practise ready for my final video and I keyframed the mask so that the leaves would start off as green but then change to purple. 

Here are a few screenshots showing my colour change process

Particle Effect

I then decided to practice another particle effect, as I knew that I wanted to use quite a lot of particle effects in my final sequence. I decided to try and create some leaves falling as I was wanting to do this in shot 6 of my sequence. First, I added the ‘CC Particle World’ effect and then I imported a leaf png. Then, I made sure to change the particle type to ‘textured disk’ and then altered the ‘texture layer’ to my imported image. I then tried out some of the different animation types to see what would work best for falling leaves, and ended up settling with the ‘viscouse’ option. Next, I altered the position of the emitter to outside of the screen and made it wider so the leaves would look as if they are falling all over the screen. I also increased the ‘birth rate’ to give it more leaves and then altered the gravity slightly. As After Effects seemed to run quite slow when doing the particle effect, this made it very hard for me to see how fast the leaves were falling when I played the effect back, I also unfortunately had the same problem when I had exported my effect into Premier Pro, so I didn’t always know how it was going to look until I had exported the video. I did the effect a few times and looking at my final attempt, I still feel that the leaves are falling too fast, this will be something I will have to rectify when it comes to creating this effect in my final sequence. 

Overall, learning these techniques has definitely helped me to understand how to do more effects  confidently and I will be able to apply many of them to my final sequence.


Austin School of Film (2019) How to make your film look cinematic on a budget. Available online: [Accessed 10/11/21].

Lightening Tutorial:

Adobe in a minute (2016) After Effects CC: How to create a lightning strike effect. Available online: [Accessed 9/11/21].

Colour Change Tutorial: 

TunnelvizionTV (2017) After Effects tutorials how to change the color of something in your scene. Available online: [Accessed 11/11/21].

Leaf PNG:

Vecteezy (n.d.) Maple leaf. Available online: [Accessed 13/11/21].

Effect Exercises

As I am a beginner to using After Effects, to improve my skills and confidence ready for my final project I have made sure to do the lab tutorials provided. Initially, I realised that After Effects had a similar interface to some other Adobe programs, so I did feel confident enough that I wouldn’t find it too confusing, although there was still a lot to learn. 

Depth of field effect practise

Firstly, I was introduced to the various depth of field options available on Adobe After Effects. The main thing I learnt was how to control the camera within a 3D environment, despite using 2D images. This is done by using an X axis as well as the usual YZ axis’, this also taught me how to use different camera views in After Effects as I often had to go back and forth to the top view camera to ensure the objects were correctly places in the new 3D space. I also learnt how to focus the camera on particular objects and how to emphasise the focal points by blurring objects and zooming in. I also learnt some more basic aspects to creating things within After Effects such as adding keyframes and understanding the overall interface more. 

Flower references:

Blooming Artificial (2021) Artificial rose stem [Photo]. Available online: [Accessed 28/10/21]

Blooming Artificial (2021) Artificial cabbage rose stem [Photo]. Available online: [Accessed 28/10/21].

Motion blur effect practise 

Next, I learnt how to add motion blur onto objects. I created some basic rectangles, and by using keyframes, I learnt how to animate them and add rotations. I then added the motion blur effect to the top rectangle, and can definitely see now how this has made the movement look much more natural. I did encounter a slight problem when it came to the rotations of the rectangles – at first the circumference of the rotation was really big and the rectangles would move out of shot. I then realised that it was the anchor point of the rectangles that were the problem – they were too far away. So, by doing a bit of research I learnt how to alter the anchor point and then when I did the rotations again they worked.

Lens and colour effect practise

I then learnt how to apply lens distortion onto an old video of mine that I filmed in Iceland of a waterfall. I went for a fish eye lens as I quite like this style effect. I also learnt how to alter the colour settings of video within After Effects. I learnt how to apply a very basic auto colour correction which I did feel improved the look of my video, but, I decided to alter some of the settings myself manually and I experimented with the colour settings such as exposure, contrast, black and white tones and saturation. Overall, I decided I wanted my video to have a moodier look so I made sure to take the exposure level down and desaturated it quite significantly. 

I did end up having some problems when it came to trying to render this video, first I tried to export to Media Encoder but it just wouldn’t go into the queue. I then tried to export it into Premier Pro, where an error message came up saying that the effects were missing. I then tried to solve this problem by doing some research, and I found a new way to link After Effects and Premier Pro via something called ‘Dynamic Links’ which seemed to work fine. 

Lighting effect practise

Next I learnt how to apply different types of lights within After Effects and how these various lights had different impacts on illuminating the scenes. For this task, I applied all of the different types of lights onto some text, I was able to manipulate where the lights were positioned and what parts of the text they were focusing on. Overall, I found out that some lights weren’t always suitable – such as the ambient light which in this particular situation, I felt was too dull compared to the others, despite editing with the intensity settings the text wouldn’t stand out. 

Particle effect practise

Here, I learnt how to make objects disappear by using basic particle effects. I filmed a basic short video of a Pusheen plush on a bed then took it out of shot, similar to the provided tutorial video. I then learnt how you can add layers to videos in After Effects and I separated the background layer from the top layer. I then used the pen tool to mask Pusheen, then using keyframes, I was then able to apply a basic particle filter and make it look as if it was disappearing. I then experimented a bit more with this setting and made Pusheen reappear. 

Typography effects

Finally, I experimented with some different types of typography effects to use within my final piece as typography will be featuring quite prominently in my final piece. The names of my cast members will be appearing over the video footage throughout my opening, and there will also be an ending screen which will feature the TV show title ‘Fall’. I haven’t settled on a particular effect that I would defiantly like to use in my final piece at the time of writing, but one that did stand out to me was the ‘typewriter’ effect. I felt that it was quite a simple effect but the style seemed to fit in with the horror aspect of my piece. As the typography will be one of the last things I will need to add to my piece, I plan on doing some more experiments when I have edited and added all other effects to the footage so I will be able to see properly if the typography effect matches well with what is on screen. 


Here is an animatic I have created of my whole piece. I had never created an animatic before, but found that ‘the goal of an animatic is to define the timing for a piece of moving image’ (Chambers, 2021) and I definitely agree that creating my animatic has helped me to plan out and visualise my final sequence much better. Originally, within my storyboard I didn’t include any estimated timings because I was finding it quite hard to visualise my piece but, when putting together my shots of the animatic I was able to try out different timings for the various scenes and then figure out what timings would work the best and how well each scene would flow. Creating the animatic also enabled me to make sure I would have enough footage to last until the required 60 seconds for the sequence.

Overall, the animatic did seem to take me quite a while to make, but this was mainly because I decided to draw out each frame again as I wasn’t happy with how some of them looked. I did encounter some small problems when creating my animatic, particularly when trying to save each frame for the animatic from Procreate onto my iPad, and then from there onto Box ready to load onto my laptop in Premier Pro, I realised that even though I had named and numbered all of my files in order of the sequence that I wanted on Procreate, for some reason they ended up having automated and generic image names that weren’t in the order of the sequence. Because of this, I then had to spend some time saving my frames individually in order, uploading them to multiple Box files ready for importing into Premier Pro correctly. This has helped to highlight how important naming files and organising them correctly is, particularly when creating something like this where it is crucial that all frames are in the correct sequence. 


Chambers, J (2021) What is an animatic? Available online: [Accessed 27/10/21].


The storyboard for my sequence is going to be a really important part of the whole process. ‘Storyboards are a key part of visual storytelling – they can help you visualize your idea, help you explain it to a client, and plan a creative project’ (Boicheva, 2020). At first, I did struggle to find a way to translate the ideas that I had in my head for my sequence onto a planned and ordered storyboard, as I had lots of ideas for possible shots but they weren’t necessarily in a particular order. By drawing all of the shot ideas onto Procreate on my iPad, I was then able to arrange them and use this to help me decide what order they should be shown in on my sequence.

My final storyboard

From doing some research into existing storyboards to help me, I found that the most important things to include in a storyboard would be the basic illustration or graphic of the shot to help visualise how it will look. It’s also important to include a short description of the shot, and to write down the camera angles or styles ready for doing the actual filming. And, as this project is focused on visual effects, I also ensured to include what visual effects I would like in each shot. Usually in storyboards, it is also possible to include a brief description of any dialogue in the shots, however, my storyboard won’t have any dialogue, it will just have an instrumental and possibly some other audio sound effects which aren’t yet decided so I didn’t include this part in my storyboard.

As my sequence is going to be about 60 seconds long, this will make each of my shots be on average about 6.6 seconds long, although, I will most likely make some shots more or less than this number depending on the situation. Generally, horror shots in films will last an average of 16 seconds compared to action film shots which would be an average of 4 seconds. I feel like mine being around 6.6 seconds should be acceptable, but to help add to more atmosphere in my opening sequence, I will probably try to make some longer, but I will most likely alter the timings of the shots during post-production.

In terms of the types of shots and camera angles, I did have a go using the ‘Shot Designer’ app for some of my shots to try and help me get a better understanding of the positioning of everything when it comes to shooting. Here, I was able to add the objects that would be in frame and then add the camera and if the camera would be moving in that shot, you can create a camera pathway to represent this. I did find using this app useful to help me visualise everything better. 

Shot 1 screenshot 

I felt that this one didn’t work as well because the app wouldn’t allow me to alter the angle of the camera, and in this scene I will require the camera to be facing down.

Shot 2 screenshot

It was much easier to translate what I had envisaged for this shot onto the app, this plan looks much clearer and is easier to understand that the camera will be focusing towards the trees and will be moving from location 1 to 2.

Shot 3 screenshot

Shot 3 seemed to work out well too, it shows that the camera will be panning from location 1 to 2 (left the right).

Overall, I have attempted to do a variety of different shot types throughout my storyboard to hopefully try and make my final sequence be as visually appealing as possible. I have tried to include types of shots and camera angles which would be suited for the horror genre, for example, in the first shot it will be a close up of the main characters shoes walking along to the path towards the forest. Having this as an opening scene will hopefully intrigue the viewer and I will be able to focus on the sound of footsteps, to match the footage and this should hopefully add to the creepy feeling I aim to go for and therefore set the tone for the rest of the opening sequence. In shot 4, I have chosen to do a low angle shot looking up at the trees, I was hoping that this would almost come across as quite intimidating to the viewer. Low angle shots are often used in horror films as they ‘can really help to jolt the audience into the headspace of the characters’ (Kroll, 2015). 


Boicheva, A (2020) What is a storyboard [theory, examples and mega inspiration]. Available online: [Accessed 25/10/21].

Average shots information found at:

Stephen Follows (2017) How many shots are in the average movie? Available online: [Accessed 25/10/21].

Kroll, N (2015) Cinematography tips for horror filmmakers. Available online: [Accessed 26/10/21].

Screenshots taken from the app ‘Shot Designer’

Hollywood Camera Work LLC (2021) Shot Designer [App]. Available online: [Accessed 25/10/21].

Description of My Piece

For my production piece, I have decided to film a TV opening for an imaginary horror based TV series called ‘Fall’. TV openings are a very important aspect to TV series, it has ‘to convey, in a very short amount of time, the mood of the show you’re about to watch, possibly introduce you to the characters, and set the tone for the next 30 to 60 minutes. But more than anything, it has to hook you.’ (Ingram, 2016). I will be following this guideline for my production piece. 

TV opening research: 

I decided that one of my first tasks should be to research some existing TV openings. One that I like in particular is the opening to one of my favourite TV series, ‘Vikings’, which although isn’t classed as a horror, and instead is a historical drama, ‘this 50-second sequence transports you not to a place, but a feeling. A feeling of impending doom that is somehow both tranquil and intimidating. It finds the beauty in danger and the acceptance of one’s fate’ (Film Supply, n.d.) – I too would like to portray a similar mood within my production piece and I am also very inspired by the desaturated colours and dark lighting on this opening as I feel it really adds an intriguing atmosphere. 

Vikings opening 

The majority of the opening footage is centred around one location which is the sea, which reflects the fact that ‘the Vikings are known for their many travels and raids, and as seen in the series, they spent a big part of their lives in the sea’. (Tyler, 2020). There are also lots of shots of waves crashing and women floating under the water, although they aren’t actually characters from the series, they are the daughters of Norse Goddess of the Sea, Rán who named her nine daughters after the waves, I feel that this is a big reflection to the fact that throughout the series Norse mythology featured quite prominently. Overall, I believe that the intro to Vikings paints a good picture of what is to be expected in the series and sets the dark scene for the rest of the TV show. I like how there is a big emphasis on the location, this is something which I would like to reflect in my work by featuring the woods in the majority of my piece. 

Game Of Thrones opening

Next, I had a look into the Game of Thrones opening, it is made using 3D models, and outlines the landscape to the world in which it is set. Despite the fact that I wont be using 3D models within my piece, I felt that this opening has a very interesting concept. The camera pans to different areas of importance on the map, where cogs turn, buildings arise and landscapes are revealed. this is to help the viewer get orientated with the world as it is quite extensive. ‘The title sequence is actually different depending on the episode, telling you each of the locations you will travel within the episode’ (Taylor, 2014), I feel like this keeps things very relevant and helps the viewer not to get too confused. Similar to the Vikings opening, Game of Thrones features the location of the series as a big factor.

The Twilight Zone opening

Since my TV series will be a horror, I also wanted to have a look into an opening to a horror TV series, and I decided to research ‘The Twilight Zone’s original TV opening which was from 1959. The opening is all done in black and white and the viewer is taken through a series of different graphics with a narration. There are lots of effects on this opening, which I thought was interesting considering it was made such a long ago, I would like to take some inspiration from the effects used, especially the particle effects, I think that they will really help to give my piece a supernatural feel. 

Overall, these TV show openings are all quite different, but all have something in common too which is the fact they all help to create atmosphere which is definitely what I would like to achieve in my production piece, particularly as this is a common feeling portrayed in the horror genre.  

The Horror Genre:

As ‘horror is a genre of storytelling intended to scare, shock and thrill its audience’ (Scott, n.d.) I will need to consider the ways in which I can portray this throughout my production piece – the viewer will need to feel slightly uneasy when watching it, but whilst still wanting to find out more. I am hoping for this to come across through the overall feel of my production piece as ‘the tone, the mood, the atmosphere of a story is something that’s essential for any genre of writing, but it is perhaps most important in the horror genre.’ (Booth, 2021). For my piece, this will mainly be achieved through the use of colours, lighting and audio. 


The use of colour within my piece will be a crucial aspect to the overall look and feel of my piece. ‘Color is a common tool used to manipulate audience’s emotions in all genres, especially horror’ (Navarro, 2019). As I would like for it to have a creepy feel, I think that having too much colour would take away from this atmosphere I would like to create. I’d like to take some inspiration from the Vikings opening theme as mentioned earlier, which has quite a monochromatic/limited colour palette which I feel is very effective. This type of colour scheme focuses ‘on a very restricted use of color for dramatic effect. When paired with another color theme it can be extra striking and engaging’ (Stewart, 2017). To achieve this I plan on altering most of the various colour settings during post production editing such as exposure, contrast, saturation, highlights, shadows, temperature and tint, but there will be more of a focus on the saturation and exposure. I then plan on incorporating some autumnal colours throughout the sequence to ensure that it isn’t too monochrome, this will most likely be achieved through adding warm toned colour tints. Since the tints I plan to add will be natural tones they shouldn’t appear too excessive and therefore will still fit in with the aesthetic that I am aiming for. 

Here’s an example of a monochromatic colour palette which I have chosen

Here’s an example of my autumn inspired warm-toned colour palette which I would like to incorporate into my piece to help create contrast


Low key lighting is a very common trope within the horror genre, it ‘creates tension due to its mysterious and dark atmosphere, controlling how much of the surroundings and characters are revealed. It sets the tone, mood and creates a dangerous association with enigma through the shadows and dull shades’ (Austin School of Film, 2019) I certainly intend to use low key lighting within my final sequence as this is definitely the type of mood I would like to create. Low lighting can be partially done by filming in low light, but as I will be filming outdoors, natural lighting and weather conditions will be a very large factor which I cannot control so I will most likely apply the low key lighting during post production, where within After Effects I should be able to manipulate it to the dramatic, dark level I am after but whilst still illuminating important aspects of the scene. 

Still from the TV show Vikings showing how low key lighting can still accentuate features

Still from a Game of Thrones episode which shows low lighting, desaturated colours and high contrast

A photo showing similar lighting and colours to what I am aiming for


The audio is also going to be very important for creating an eerie atmosphere, I would like to find or create an instrumental to go along to my footage, and maybe include some other sounds at relevant moments. I don’t think that I’d like to include a narration over the sequence like I saw in The Twilight Zone opening, as I feel like this may be slightly too distracting for the viewer because I would rather focus more on having lots of mysterious atmosphere within my opening.

Text and Credits:

Since I will be creating a TV opening, I will definitely be including some actor credits and an ending title screen which shows my shows name ‘Fall’, these will be shown throughout the footage and will be animated using some of the typography effects within After Effects. I will need to do some experiments with the various effects to see what I think would work the best within my piece.


Ingram, K (2016) A brief history of TV shows’ opening credit sequences. Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

Film Supply (n.d.) The making of history channel’s vikings title sequence. Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

Tyler, A (2020) Vikings: who the women in the opening credits are (& what they mean). Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

Taylor, C.A (2014) Inside HBO’s Game Of Thrones II: seasons 3 & 4. London: Hachette UK

Scott, J (n.d.) The horror genre explained. Available online: [Accessed 13/10/21].

Booth, M (2021) The importance of atmosphere in horror. Available online: [Accessed 13/10/21].

Navarro, M (2019) From ‘Suspiria’ to ‘Midsommar’: The psychology of color in horror. Available online: [Accessed 29/10/21].  

Stewart, D (2017) Color in video games: How to choose a palette. Available online: [Accessed 24/11/21].

Austin School of Film (2019) How to make your film look cinematic on a budget. Available online: [Accessed 29/10/21].

Video References:

TV-Series-Opening Credits/Intro (2016) Vikings: Season 1 – Opening Credits/Intro [Video]. Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

GameofThrones (2011) Official Opening Credits: Game of Thrones (HBO) [Video]. Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

justjeff53 (2013) The Twilight Zone ~ 1959 ~ Original Opening Title ~ UPA Animation [Video]. Available online: [Accessed 12/10/21].

Image References:

ArcotRamathorne (2015) Who else watches this show? [Photo]. Available online: [Accessed 13/10/21].

Cramer, M (2017) Into the woods [Photo]. Available online: [Accessed 13/10/21].

This game of thrones (n.d.) The iron throne screencaps [Photo]. Available online: [Accessed 13/10/21].