Evaluation by Chloe Mackenzie Candidate Number: 4132 Centre Number: 64820
A documentary is a film that presents information on factual topics. ‘Caught on Camera’ conforms to the conventions of documentary in many ways.
? There are a number of conventions to documentary, these are: Actuality Voice-Overs Interviews Archive Footage Images or Graphics And particularly for our sub-genre of documentary… Exposition
Actuality is film footage that is of real life. Including events, places and people. We have included this frequently, including the interview with assistant principle Mr. Scully.
WHAT DO THE CONVENTIONS MEAN? Interviews are a way of an individual discussing something with the use of an interviewer’s questions. The interviewer can be in the shot but we chose for them not to be. Interviews can also be anonymous including darkened rooms showing a silhouette or simply their voice. Interviews give a sense of actuality as discussed above.
Voice-Overs are used in all documentaries whether there is a presenter or not. They are a way of explaining things to the audience. We frequently used voice-overs in ‘Caught on Camera’ one example is the opening when we were stating facts on CCTV to entice the audience with shocking statistics.
WHAT DO THE CONVENTIONS MEAN? Images and graphics are important especially when there is a voice-over. Many voice-overs can be explaining topics not in a recorded video and may better be explained by showing a graphic using images to portray what the voice-over is saying. Images from archives are commonly used as they are discussed. We used a print screen of an online news article for this convention, along with others.
Archive footage isn’t always used in documentaries but can help to provide evidence or information from other sources. We felt to get a more gripping argument the use of footage from news channels was needed, as it shows how CCTV is discussed in the news and portrayed to a large audience of viewers.
WHAT DO THE CONVENTIONS MEAN? Exposition is only a convention in expository documentaries, unless it is a hybrid of two documentary genres. Exposition is not done by editing or including a certain shot it is the ‘storyline’. Expository documentaries expose a topic, such as a person, group or event. Caught on Camera is about exposing the pros and cons of CCTV and making Britain question its presence in society today.
From the preliminary research of documentaries I came across one called ‘Every Step You Take’. CCTV was one of our ideas and this documentary seemed to cover many aspects of it.
DOCUMENTARIES THAT INSPIRED OURS The documentary covers a large range of aspects of CCTV. From where it is, to control rooms, to interviews. It created a lot of media hype as the topic was so controversial. But the release date was back in 2008 and never released on TV so people are generally unaware of it.
My ancillary text was a review. Before watching, reading or listening to something someone has produced many people firstly read reviews on it. Magazines publish reviews with writers that the readers will either agree with or not, many review authors have a following of dedicated readers. By companies having things reviewed it therefore influences people to watch, buy or use their product. Audiences will be swayed away from products with bad reviews.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN PRODUCT AND ANCILLARY TEXTS? My review of ‘Caught on Camera’ was a positive one. I tried to have an unbiased opinion and remain subjective. I also didn’t want to sway the audiences opinion but to inspire them to watch the documentary for themselves. CCTV is a topic that may appeal to all but the review would be published in an established magazine who’s following was interested in subjects of the UK such as the law. Putting such a review in a ‘gossip’ magazine wouldn’t be as effective as less people would be interested. They also look for different things in a magazine, this review would be put in one that was open to debates.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER REVIEWS As I am not familiar with the layout of reviews I decided to research them online. To the left is one I found which I felt was the most eye catching. This inspired my layout. The colour scheme I used was from our initial ancillary task – an advertising pack. I also included one image I made for this pack. As you can see from my review displayed on the right I used the newspaper style columns. These split up the text and hopefully leads the reader through the pages in a logical manor. I included an image of a camera as there was a lot of text that needed to be broken up. Unfortunately as I had written it before laying it out on the page there was too much text to include many images.
The second ancillary piece was made as a group. We made a radio advert as we felt all our advertising so far had been visual. The simple yet effective idea of mentioning different places, with different voices, is what we used. We were inspired by a television advert for the british army. They simply state phrases in it then all collaborate with the same message at the end. We thought this was a very effective way of advertisment as it catches the audiences attention, without giving too much away. Our radio advert doesn’t give anything away. It states ‘they’re always watching’ which makes the listener wonder ‘who?’. They then hear the time, day and channel the documentary will be on where they will have to tune in to find out more. We feel the sense of the unknown appeals to people especially when there is a sense of fear involved. We have almost ‘tricked’ people into watching the documentary – a successful way of advertising. Here is the radio advert:
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN PRODUCT AND ANCILLARY TEXTS?
Audience feedback is crucial when producing anything, as things you may think as appropriate may be seen unnecessary to others. It is also useful for spotting things you may have missed, ignored or what could be improved. Audience feedback is generally a rewarding process aimed to help improve a product.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR AUDIENCE FEEDBACK? Our audience feedback was done by a range of sixth form students. Some were drama students and others were media students with the same project as ours. Using media students was important as they understand what can be achieved. Initially our aim is to have positive feedback that states our documentary was interesting, thought-provoking and didn’t bore them. But it was also vital they expressed what to improve. After sitting down and watching the documentary from beginning to end we asked them what they liked and what we could improve. Click below too play: As you can see from the video above we received a mixed range of feedback – which is useful! Some said they liked the transitions while another said there wasn’t enough. Everything is subject to opinion but when making changes we went with the majority.
After watching back the audience feedback we wrote down everything they said we could improve. We went through each point and considered how we could change it.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE AUDIENCE FEEDBACK One point frequently mentioned by the participants was a still shot at the end of the documentary - of a shop. This was in fact a photograph not of the best quality. We decided it would be easy to simply re-take the photograph on the HD camcorders at school. Another point mentioned by many was the continuity of volume. Unfortunately one of the voiceovers would not become as loud as the others. This was due to iMovie, we recorded the voiceover many times getting closer to the microphone and turning it up but nothing seemed to work. We had to leave it as it is as the voiceover is vital.
One participant mentioned the interview was quite long. We had already tried to make the interview as interesting as possible by having the speech over other shots, moving the interviewee round different locations and by adding another interview in between. To cut the interview up any more would ruin the continuity of what Mr Scully was saying, so we decided not to change this.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE AUDIENCE FEEDBACK We did also take into account the positives and were really grateful, especially about the parts we had spent a great deal of time editing. Our editing was noticed as being a strong point. Also the fact that we included so much so that the audience were drawn in rather than no longer interested in continuining watching. I do believe that an audience feedback session may be slightly biased as to whether the feedback states the product is ‘gripping’ or ‘boring’ as it is whether the audience are interested in the particular topic. In our case the audience would not put CCTV as one of their main concerns in life but they found it interesting as they didn’t know many of the statistics were so high, so learnt from it.
I used a large number of media technologies throughout my project. These were:
HOW DID YOU USE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND RESEARCH, PLANNING AND EVALUATION STAGES? Apple MacBooks – The school supply us with Apple MacBooks (apple laptops). These are extremely useful for creating projects, such as documentaries, due to their programs such as iMovie and GarageBand. We used iMovie to edit the footage, archive footage and images. iMovie allows you to trim, speed up, slow down and do much more! It is ideal for making any kind of film project. We also used it to record the voiceovers. For anything sound related (except voiceovers) we used GarageBand. This included the radio advert. GarageBand comes with preloaded music to use and edit, but you are also able to record things yourself.
We also used school Windows computers. On these we used microsoft word for writing scripts, timetables and plans. We also used Fireworks, a program much like photoshop, to make some graphics which another member then used as ancillary pieces.
HOW DID YOU USE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND RESEARCH, PLANNING AND EVALUATION STAGES? Much of my blog was done using school computers also, but as we used Blogger.com a free blogging website we were able to access it from anywhere. Blogger.com allows you to upload images, videos, slideshows and powerpoints along with your text making it more visual and interesting to read.
We used a number of digital camcorders throughout our project. This was not a good idea as the footage is different in each. The main one was a HD kodak camcorder. This small device has incredible quality and films instantly. Very easy to use with fantastic results.
We used a tripod throughout to ensure the shots were steady.
HOW DID YOU USE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND RESEARCH, PLANNING AND EVALUATION STAGES?
For the voiceover we used a Yeti microphone. This was much better than the built-in microphone in the MacBook. It had no feedback from the speakers and the voice was heard clearly.
HOW DID YOU USE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND RESEARCH, PLANNING AND EVALUATION STAGES? For the interview we wanted to use the Yeti microphone but unfortunately it picked up wind outside and inside it had to be placed quite low so we couldn ’ t use it. For more feedback we recently uploaded the documentary to YouTube where anyone can comment on it with their thoughts. Feedback received on this will be posted on my blog.
Chloe Mackenzie Candidate Number: 4132 Thankyou for your time.