in what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
To say our documentary directly fits into a definite genre or follows direct conventions would be erroneous. We have taken inspiration from many different genres of documentary which makes it difficult to precisely classify our documentary to a single genre or convention. If I were to classify our documentary I would say it fits into an Expository/Reflexive hybrid genre, however there are many other aspects which belong to other genres.
- I looked at Michael Moore's work as his famous expository documentary styles came forward to us as aspects which we could see in our product.
I researched Louis Theroux as not only does he make documentaries on current issues but he has a very good interviewing techniques and other conventions which we have tried to incorporate into our documentary.
Channel 4 Dispatches - Dispatches is a series of expository current affairs documentaries and has been very useful for inspiration – we have based many shots, scenes and aspects of our documentary on Dispatches as it is so alike to what we wished to create. BBC Panorama - Panorama specialise in current affairs, producing documentaries which cover the darker more expository aspects of news stories. This was useful as we waned our documentary to have a dark tone and we also chose a current affairs topic. To see a Prezi presentation that I have created on the inspirations of my product please click here
How much of our documentary follows and uses the conventions of real media productions?
Introduction Our documentary introduction originated from the Channel 4 Dispatches introduction (see video to the right). I liked the dark theme to it and the disjunct electronic sounds which built up to the unravelling of the title whilst being in sync with the music. The Dispatches introduction ends with the dying out of the music and the title remaining and blurring out with the music. On the right is a video of the Dispatches introduction We took the idea of using dark electronic music in sync with different images of headlines and relevant pictures. The ending of our introduction is also like the Dispatches with the dying out of music and the title gentle fading out, easing into the next scene. Please click here if video doesn’t work
Interviews On the left is an opening interview shot from a Panorama documentary, on the right is our opening interview shot. As you can see both are similar over the shoulder shots, these shots allow you to see both the interviewer and interviewee, it is important to establish the interviewer before the interviewee to save confusion. The image on the left is a screen shot from an interview in a Panorama documentary, as you can see only his top half is in view so that the audience can focus on facial expressions and movements. We have used this type of shot for our interview with Ken Clarke as we liked the way it focuses and engages our audeience.
The image on the left is a shot Louis Theroux on Hypnosis, which shows the position of an interview. Throughout the interview you can see both the interviewer and the interviewee, I liked this shot as it was easy to understand (location, interviewer and interviewee) and didn’t require any quick editing allowing the audience to focus on the information being given. As you can see by our shot (on the right) we have used a similar shot. Interviews
As people watching the documentary may not know who Ken Clarke is/looks like, we displayed his name and occupation at the bottom of the shot in a formal black bar.
We ensured that the fonts and colours were plain as we wanted to make it look as it looks more professional and shows the viewer that Kenneth Clarke is a formal and important interviewee.
On the left is a shot of the text used in a panorama interview. You can clearly see from the text that the subject in the shot is a Reporter whose name is John Sweeney. This is one of the inspirations which led to us using text in our documentary. However I thought that the text used in this example didn’t look as professional, with block capitals and no frame.
This is a shot from a Dispatches documentary in which the presenter is addressing the audience on the subject of the documentary. Notice how his position is to the right of the screen, this creates more interest in the shot; also know as the rule of thirds.
Shots such as these are common in all documentaries and are important in creating a high quality product which will engage and interest the audience.
This is a shot of Zoe presenting an introduction to the documentary. We knew from our research and knowledge of the rule of thirds that the presenter must be on the right (or left) of this scene. Our shot also allows the audience to see the three computer screens which change to show the three figures.
Archive footage is film material which has already been developed and filmed by someone else. Many documentaries use archive footage for many reasons, broadcasting companies such as the BBC have vast archives of footage which BBC production teams can access and use throughout their documentaries. Unfortunately for us we have only a short capped time limit to how much archive footage we can use.
Michael Moore uses archive footage to prove, evaluate and explain his points throughout his documentaries. On the right is a still-shot of archive footage used in his documentary ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’. The archive footage we have used (on the left) is a montage of news headlines taken from various news broadcasters around the world. Here is another example of archive footage used in a Panorama documentary of an interview with Julian Assange. This is another example of what archive footage is used for in real media products.
Voiceovers, often known as the ‘Voice of God’ are used to narrate a scene and are often used in expository documentaries. We used numerous voiceovers throughout the documentary as it helps engage the audience pulling in their focus to listen to the narrative, and it helps them understand the scene.
We used Zoe’s voice throughout the documentary as she is seen presenting at the beginning and is the one who interviews Ken Clarke. This kept the continuity of the documentary flowing, letting the audience know who the presenter was. Zoe was chosen as presenter as we didn’t want the documentary to seem male dominated with Ken Clarke, 3 male public interviews and a subject revolving around Julian Assange
As expository genres generally use the Voice of God, I looked at Dispatches to research into voiceovers and how they are used. A majority of the voiceovers used in Dispatches are also female as it contrasts well with the dark subjects. Michael Moore also uses a lot of voiceovers in his documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Capitalism: A Love Story.
Cutaway/Establishing Shot On the left is an example of a cutaway and establishing shot which we have used in our documentary. There is a wide shot of London's Parliament which then turns to the interviews on Southbank, still with Parliament in the background. These two screen shots are examples of establishing shots from different media products. Cutaways are used to split up different footage, for example ours cuts from the Wikileaks downloading, to parliament, to the interviews.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
For our groups supporting piece we made a radio advert which advertised our documentary
For my individual supporting pieces I made a 3 piece set of advertising posters:
All of the ancillary texts are linked to our documentary so that the audiences don’t get confused as to what each is and what its about.
Radio Advert The radio advert is consistent with our documentary as it uses the same music from the introduction and voice clips of Ken Clarke. This will help the audience link the advertising to the documentary and prevent them from being put off through confusion as to what its about. To create our radio advert we didn’t have much research to relate to, which made it difficult to develop. I found no useful or relevant examples of radio adverts online and so we had to draft our advert from the beginning. We decided that we would use the same music as in the introduction of the documentary for our background music in the radio advert. This was because it purveys a dark tone and can be edited well with other pieces of sound such as voiceovers. The screenshot on the left is a Wordle of the different words used in our radio advert We used voice clips of news readers saying ‘Wikileaks’ (as that’s what the documentaries about) and included parts of Ken Clarkes interview. The deep voice editing was to keep in theme with the dark tone of the advert
Advertisement 1 – Multi-Purpose I used the photo of he Julian Assange to show who/what the documentary is about I layered the guy Fawkes mask over as it is a symbol for anonymity and freedom which is what Julian Assange stands for The grouping of the image of Julian Assange, the two flags on either shoulder and the mention of ‘Secrets’ will lead the reader to guess that the documentary must be about the recent Wikileaks cable releases. The dark colour scheme of the poster relates to the general dark tone of the documentary The poster generally doesn’t give too much information as this is a technique to pull in viewers as they will want to know more about the documentary The two flags show the American and Iraqi points of view on each shoulder – a kind of play on the angel and devil which you usually see on each shoulder. The rhetorical question will keep the potential viewer thinking about what secrets and so subsequently will want to watch the documentary to find out As I have used a landscape layout for this advertisement It has multiple uses such as: Newspaper adverts, billboards and posters.
Advertisement 2 – Newspaper spread Again the dark theme of the poster relates to the dark tone and subject in the documentary I used another rhetorical question relating to wanting to find something out so that there was a link between the two posters The American flag links to the rhetorical question, as does the ‘ssh’ finger. The picture shows how the American government are hiding secrets as their mouth has been ‘taped’ shut and the finger symbolises their silence From this poster there is even less information leading to what the documentary is about, instead the poster relies on capturing the readers interest and installing the date into their mind. It will attract my target audience through the dark colours, controversial picture and rhetorical question which will engage the audience making them want to know more
Advertisement 3 – Banner/Billboard I used the same image of the Guy Fawkes mask layered over Julian Assange’s face so that there was a link between the posters. It will also grab my target audiences attention and engage them in the poster The font that I have chosen was used for my previous poster, this is so that readers can relate the two together and link it to the final documentary product. This is an example poster from Channel 4 which is advertising a Dispatches documentary. Dispatches is a documentary which we have done a great deal of research on and have used many aspects from it to create our documentary. As the poster is so relevant to our media product I used it as inspiration to form my third advertisement. The information on the advertisement is clear and simple, with minimal text so that passers by can read and take it all in. The image will grab interest which will entice readers into watching the documentary.
For our audience feedback we asked members of our sixth form to watch our documentary and individually comment on what they like and what they thought could be improved. I have taken each of their pieces of feedback and condensed it into two columns of what they liked, and what they thought could be improved:
Liked the editing in opening sequence – how the editing went in time with sound
Liked the screens reflecting facts in time of saying them – shows audience we know what we’re doing
Like how you split up interviews ,used different shots in between and the world animation.
Good variation of shots
As well as the student feedback that we got around our sixth form, we asked our A Level Media group to watch our documentary and then give us feedback at the end. I thought it important to ask feedback from our media group as they will give more detailed answers after studying the subject.
What could be improved:
During the interview it was difficult to make out whether you were in the same room as Ken Clarke as quality of camera changed noticeably
Could have used a microphone when filming in public as there was a lot of background noise
Feedback Another form of feedback which we received was through the form of YouTube comments. We posted our final documentary onto YouTube for any member of the public to watch. This gave us more specific feedback as the people watching and commenting on our documentary would be our target audience. The screenshot on the left shows the comments left on our video, there are lots of helpful points in which we could improve such as the public interviews and sound issues during the presenting
During the filming stage we used two cameras; a Sony Handycam (used for most filming) and a Canon SLR (used to film Ken Clarke)
However the SLR gave us a very high definition quality and the Sony Handycam gave a low quality definition. This came up in our feedback and is one of the things which I would have liked to change if we were to do it all again.
For our voiceovers we used the ‘Yeti’ microphone which gave us high quality sound without background interference.
To edit our project we used two pieces of software; iMovie and Sony Vegas. We used iMovie as it is a simple yet effective piece of software and takes little time, however there are more complicated techniques which iMovie can’t do. For those more complicated parts we used Sony Vegas which allowed us to edit more precisely and use advanced effects.
To plan our documentary we held a number of brain storming meetings to share inspirations and come up with an idea.
We used sites such as Prezi, Wordle and Slide Share to upload our thoughts and plans. Prezi has been an interesting and fun tool to use as it has changed slideshows into a more visual and interactive form of presenting, I created a Prezi of my inspirations and research into real media products .
Wordle is great to use for brainstorms, I created one at the beginning of the project showing possible ideas for our documentary. I also made one on the words used in our radio advert. Wordle is an interesting way of reading and interpreting text which encourages creativity and has been a fun tool to use.
SlideShare has been extremely useful for uploading any PowerPoint's which I have created, onto my blog. As I have created a few PowerPoint's I found it very useful to share my ideas and information with the online public.
Finally is Blogspot. Blogspot has been a huge part of my project as I have used it to document the research, planning, construction and evaluation stages of my project as they have happened. Through Blogspot I have been able to share videos, pictures, ideas, thoughts and comments on many aspects of my project.
To help develop an idea and layout of our documentary we first had to research different genres and documentarists. Throughout the project I also had to research and keep up to date on the Wikileaks story, I also had to research facts and information for scripts and voiceovers.
To find research I used the internet, by using websites such as Google and YouTube to find videos and information which I could then post in my blog on BlogSpot.
How has my use of technology advanced from foundation to advanced?
Since our AS studies a lot has changed such as technology available, skill development and group management which has enabled us to create a product of higher quality.
Firstly there has been a change in technology, even though it has been a year we have now been able to use more advanced hardware and software.
Instead of old Apple Mac Books, we now have access to brand new Mac Book Pros with iMovie HD and Finalcut Pro.
We have been lucky enough to use a very high quality Canon 5D Mark lll which gave us high definition footage of the Kenneth Clarke interview.
We have also been using iMovie HD and Sony Vegas which in our AS studies we didn’t have access to. This allowed us to precisely edit our documentary in the highest quality.
Thirdly, from my AS studies I have learn how important it is to manage/plan all aspects of my project, I have learnt:
Managing time during the project has been important as I learnt last year that natural lighting changes quickly and unexpectedly, filming will take longer than expected, and it is important to plan shoots ahead
It is important to manage and establish roles to save confusion on a shoot, this will allow the filming process to run smoothly and keep to time schedules
As learnt by last year, ensuring that all the correct equipment is ready is important for filming. Making sure that cameras are charged and tripods are working will save problems later on.
Storyboarding is important so that everyone knows what’s happening when filming, it will also make editing a lot easier as you can refer to the storyboard and organise your footage
Thinking about an appropriate location and ensuring that you have permission to film there is important as you need to have a relevant setting and permission will save time and give you a date to prepare you filming for