1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Throughout all the media products that I have produced, I have tried to maintain various codes and conventions as this makes the products realistic and more professional. For part of the planning stages of the coursework, I watched various documentaries such as: Super Size Me, Super Size Vs Super Skinny and You are what you eat to get ideas about what is included in a documentary and what conventions they follow. All the documentaries which I watched were all linked by the same theme, healthy lifestyles. Also, I watched various examples of students documentaries to try and get inspiration. However, one of the conventions which I went against which all of these documentaries have, is an on screen narrator. I decided against this as my documentary has a mixture of interviews and as the documentary was 5 minutes, it was hard to fit all of this in as there was a lot of information. Also, most of these documentaries feature people, who are confident with talking to the camera, some of which have done many documentaries before. Our group felt more confident with having a hidden narrator as they found it a bit intimidating talking to the camera, and also as our audience is aimed at teenagers, they might find it boring and be more interested in visual images. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JELossiyi9o&feature=fvst http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el5ejT1dcUY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r7wNzTjPro&feature=related
Another convention which I followed and took from the documentaries, was that they all had straight cuts. I included this in my documentary as it shows a passage in time and also to keep the audience interested. At the start of the documentary, there is an example of a montage of clips. This was used to show short snap shots of various clips which are featured in the documentary. Again, this was used to keep the audience which is teenagers interested and want them to carry on watching the rest of the documentary. There was various interviews included in the documentary, and it was a mixture of formal and vox pops. The vox pops were used to show the publics opinion and in this case, students from the college. Many of the people watching the documentary could relate to them. The use of formal interviews was to give the audience a source of information which is reliable and shocking. Some of the interviews which were carried out were: A doctor, Principle and Sports Co-Ordinator. Examples of Vox Pops: Examples of Formal Interviews: Montage of Clips: The formal interviews took more time to conduct compared to a vox pop as we had to think about appropriate background’s as it conveys their professional career.
Medium Close Up Shot - Both are not looking directly at the camera. Title to show importance and to remind the audience about his position and career. The background is relevant to the persons career. Codes and Conventions of a real Documentary Rule of thirds. Vox Pops Both of the vox pops took place in random locations. For example, ours was taken in the canteen, and the other documentary was a person randomly stopped in a shopping centre.
Codes and Conventions Small space above head Medium shot Occupying only half of the screen. Establishing Shots Real Documentaries Establishing shots are an important aspect of a documentary as it is a visual image for the reader as it shows the outside of the building or place before entering. A code and convention which I challenged and didn't include was an over the shoulder shot. This is used mainly in soaps and not so much informative documentaries, so I decided against it. The point of it is to let the audience see what the view is like from one of the characters, and is mainly used when the characters are having a conversation.
Two Shot – Medium Close Up Examples of the type of shots featured in our documentary Multi Shot Long Shot Medium Close Up The background featured in all of our shots was thought through thoroughly as it is important as interests the audience and also relates to what is being talked about. Here we have students in their working environment. We used clips when say the doctor was talking about students in general. A student on the college grounds with books revising on bench. Again, it conveys the student life. I like this two shot of the girls as it looks as if we have interrupted them both working as this is what we wanted to show. Long Shot This was used for the audience to get a bigger picture of what we were talking about. We decided to do a pan shot of the gym hall. I think this is very effective as it shows all of the hall and a moving image (pan) keeps the audience’s attention.
Drop Cap Grab Quote Stand First Both articles have one main image, and then several smaller. The reason for this was to make the main image stand out and show what is featured in the documentary. For example, an important part of our documentary was the interview from the sports co-ordinator of the college. Also, our target audience was aimed at teenagers, and so they would be more interested with gym equipment, rather than have the main image as the doctors interview as they might loose interest. Another similarity which both articles have in common is the use of medium close up shots. By having this, it creates a better visual image for the audience and also it makes image stand out, rather than having a long shot where they are more likely to be not noticed. Codes and Conventions of a real magazine The Times My Magazine A code and convention which we didn't use in the magazine article was the page number. Our group didn't realise we hadn't put one in until we had finished and uploaded it onto the blog. This is very important as many article include this as it is professional and easier for the reader to find the article.
Conventions we used for our Radio Trailer One convention which we followed was that we used background music throughout, even playing during interviews and our voiceover. We decided to use this as this is very common is some of the radio trailers which we have been listening to as part of our planning and research. It also brings an upbeat approach to it, as our audience is young, we wanted to keep them interested, as a trailer is very important if you are trying to sell something. Another convention which we used was a voice over . We thought this was the main convention, as it tells the audience any extra information. For example, in our voice over, we used shocking statistics to scare the reader and interest them. Also, it we hadn't had used one in my opinion, the interviews which we used wouldn't have attracted the reader as much. Through our voice over, we said the date and time of when the documentary was to be shown. This is a very important piece of information as it is the whole point of the trailer, to advertise our documentary. The last convention that we used was actual footage from the documentary. The point of this is to give the audience a flavour of the documentary, and we took in to consideration which footage to use, as we wanted to sell the documentary as best as possible. We also tried to follow the rule of having the trailer 30 seconds long. This is important convention as many stations follow it and its supposed to be short and snappy and so timing is crucial. This was hard at first, but after cutting bits ok, we narrowed the clip down to around 35 – 40 seconds. If I was to create a radio trailer again, I would concentrate on getting the timings more perfect, as this is an aspect which I felt we could of improved. http://www.capitalfm.com/birmingham/ Again, for our research and planning we looked at various radio trailer and stations to get an idea of what the main codes and conventions are as we wanted our trailer to be as professional and realistic as possible. Our trailer was aimed at Capital, a popular station which has an audience of mainly teenagers and young adults. We looked closely at what main conventions they used, and whether we thought it was suitable for us. Example of our Radio Trailer in Final Cut Express
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? By having each of the three products having a similar theme is very important as it show a professional approach in the creation. Our target audience was aimed at 16 – 23 years olds , both female and male and social class was ABC1. One of the ways in which we tried to do this was by having our pieces featured in places in which the younger generation would be able to spot them and be interested inn watching out documentary. We did a questionnaire to find out what magazines and radio trailers young people are interested in, and the results were are chosen magazine, radio station and channel. For our radio trailer and documentary we used a young enthusiastic voice and we tried to do the same whilst writing our magazine article. This is important as it attracts the reader and its makes them interested. Also, if we had used big words and long complex sentences, our audience for the products would have been completely different to what we would have wanted. We also used the same person to do the voice over for the documentary and the radio trailer as we thought the same person would be better because if some one had heard the radio trailer advertised, it would be nice for them to hear the same person in the documentary. Also, this is another convention which many famous documentaries use. The colours we used in our article were all related to our theme. For example we used green and blue. Green has connotations of vegetables and exercise, whereas blue has connotations of water. These all relate back to having a healthy life. We thought this was important as it shows that we have thought about how n our documentary, we featured various student vox pop as we felt that our target audience could relate to them. By doing this, they will become more interested and more likely to listen to what they have to say. In all three products, we tried to use a fair amount of gender used. As we didn't want it to come across as biased. For example, for our magazine article there was one picture with a female and one with a male. Sports Coordinator Doctor
Four our audience feedback, we asked if the audience thought all three of our products have a similar brand identity. The overall result was good, as 90% thought it did work well. Opening Title for Documentary If I was to do the coursework again, one of the main points which I would improve would be the opening title for our documentary. In my opinion we could have used colours which we used in our article. I think the title looks quite plain and boring, and if I seen this, I wouldn’t be as excited to watch the documentary. Another improvement which I would have made would be slight changed to the magazine article. As our target audience is teenagers, I feel as if our magazine is too text orientated which puts a lot of people off, especially the younger generation. If I seen this for the first time, I would assume it would be for adults ages around 25 +. To improve I would include more images, maybe focus more on the students which are featured in the documentary. Improvements
For part of the audience feedback, questionnaires were handed out to students in a class to gain feedback as they watched our documentary. The main purpose for this was to see areas which we could improve for the future, and also areas which we did well on. The graph shows that 9 out of the 15 students asked, thought the documentary informed them through facts and opinions. In my opinion, I agree with the overall result we got for this particular survey, as one of the things which we could of improved is the amount of information regarding our topic. One of the reasons why we didn’t include more information was because our target audience were teenagers, and we felt that too much information might bore them and that the documentary would turn into a lecture, and prevent them from watching the rest of the documentary. The ways in which we tried to get information across was through formal interviews with the sports co-Coordinator and a doctor. Examples of students who took our questionnaires. “ Good formal interviews (mise-en-scene).” I completely agree with this persons opinion, as I think this was one of the strongest points to our documentary. For example, with the interview with the sports-coordinator, he is dressed in sports wear and has gym equipment in the background to convey his job title. As this is important as it lets the audience see him in his natural environment and they are more likely to believe what he is saying compared to a person who is sat at a desk talking about exercise. 3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
For the voice over for the documentary, we used the same person for our radio trailer too. In my opinion, I thought the voice over was good, as it was clear and easy to understand. “ Good vox – pops, the girl seemed to be passionate about the subject as she had a lot to say.” “ The sound on the principle interview wasn’t very good.” I agree with this statement. We had trouble with the sound and had to re-record two times due the microphone picking up every sound which was in the room causing the overall sound on the interview to become all hissy and the principle could hardly be heard. “ Good parts of vox pops showing a variety of opinions comparing images from females and males.” “ Nice and lively” “ Some of the editing wasn’t perfect” “ Music was quite serious which was a good as it links in to the theme of the documentary”. Some verbal feedback we received:
I am pleased with the response to this question. In my opinion this was one of our strong points to our documentary. We included three strong formal interviews. We didn’t just stay in college and record, we went to a professional doctor’s surgery to get an experts opinion. Our three formal interviews featured in our documentary: Principle of the college Doctor Sports Coordinator Overall, I am a little bit disappointed with this response, as one person said that the topic didn’t gain their interest. Healthy lifestyles can be a boring subject, and so we tried to make it as interesting as possible by gaining a wide variety of information which ranged from each social class, age and gender.
I am pleased with this response as nobody said that are documentary didn't relate to our target audience. I thought this was one of the strong points to our documentary, as we did various things to aim it at our audience. One of the ways was filming in a college and using various student as vox pops. This is important as we wanted the audience to relate. The whole aim for our documentary and other products was to give guidance to teenagers on how to live a healthy lifestyle Example of a student vox pop. I agree with these results. On some of the interviews which we featured on the radio trailer, they were hard to understand some of the people speaking. For example, the principle interview with the hissing sound and also some student interviews which took place in the canteen. The background was loud as we carried out the interviews at busy times through out the college day. In a way this is good as it conveys student life, busy and noisy. However, an improvement would be for the future
Advantages and Disadvantages of Questionnaires Some of the disadvantages which we came across with the questionnaires were that they were limited, as we only asked our own class to fill them out. Our class age range was between 17 – 18 and our target audience age range was 16 – 23 and social class ABC1. To gain more feedback, we could of asked people with examples of each age and not just focus on 17 – 18. Another problem which we came across were that we found some groups which we asked, were biased and also some people were our friends and might have been afraid to hurt of feelings. On the other hand, some of the advantages were that we got ideas of how we could improve our documentary. Audience Feedback for Radio Trailer I am happy with the overall response for this question. This is what we set out to do, make the voice over interesting so that the audience is engaged and wants to watch the whole of the documentary. An improvement which I would suggest for the voice over would be that we should have included more facts maybe about teenagers which could shock them and engage them more. That way, the overall response for this question could improve to a 100%. I am disappointed with the response to the question, as it would have been good to have all of the people to say yes. In my opinion maybe people responded as a ‘little’ as some of the formal interviews which we carried out maybe might not have interested them say as much as the vox pops which we used teenagers. For example, the teenagers watching might feel as if the doctor is giving them a lecture, and that is something which could of put them off. An improvement which I think might improve the response would again to use more interviews which will engage them so maybe a professional gym instructor.
4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Planning The first part of our coursework was to research our chosen topic and the main type of software which we used was Google. There were many advantages of Google were that there was loads of information to choose from. Some of the websites which we used were: http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Healthy-Lifestyle-Five-Choices.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/ We also used Microsoft Word in various stages of the coursework to type up our chosen information, or to script our voice over for our documentary and trailer. Advantages to using this software were that it is well known, and a lot of people know how to use all the tools making the layout easy to read and use. A disadvantage which we found were that as it was electronic, there was always the possibility of the documents being lost due to the computer crashing Construction There were various types of hardware which we used to create the documentary, trailer and article. We constructed our documentary in final cut express due to it being a good piece of software to use as it is easy and has various tools to use such, for example effects on the transitions. For the magazine article, we decided on InDesign instead of Photo Shop as we thought this would work better as text dominates the article compared to photos, and in InDesign, it is better for this. For example, you can a drop cap which is a convention used in a real magazine.
The radio trailer was also created in Final Cut as we were familiar with the software and the various tools featured, and it was also easier to transfer our clips from the documentary to the trailer. Garage band was another piece of software which we considered, but after trying it out, we decided against it due to not enough knowledge about the software. This would have had an effect on our final piece as in my opinion, we would at a disadvantage as we would spend more time reading up on what all the tools mean. Example of our Radio Trailer sequence Blogger was a key piece of software used in the coursework process, as it was our online diary of our day to day construction of each three pieces. It had many advantages as the layout and form were easy to use and as we were working as a group, all three members could easy access it. On the other hand, a disadvantage was that the whole class had the same username and password, which meant other member of the class could see what work we had done. This resulted in some copying being made. Background music Clips featured in our documentary Hardware Used One of the most important pieces of software which we used was a camera. This was used to record all of footage. The camera was high quality, making our clips look professional. A disadvantage we found though, due to It being good quality was the health and safety risks that came with it. For example, there was an interview arranged with a gym instructor from Fitness First but as it was planned to take place outside of college hours, it meant taking all the expensive equipment on public transport and also during dark hours. We decided against the interview as we found there were more disadvantages to advantages. Along with the camera, we also used a separate microphone and tripod. The microphone was again good quality which meant sound levels had to be perfect, otherwise, errors would be picked up. On our interview with the principle had to be done several times due to the sound levels not being good. The interview took place in his office, and the principle talked quite quietly. Due to this, the microphone picked up crackling noises, which ended up making the sound quality not very good. This would be one of the improvements I would make if I was to do the course again, I would take more time and notice towards the sound level, as I think our group concentrated more on the picture quality and background of the shot.
Another piece of hardware which we used was a tripod. The point of a tripod is to make the frame of the shot still and reduce any errors of a shaky disorientated shot. This is one of the advantages as it worked well when we filmed for the formal interviews. We also used the tripod when filming the vox pops, as when we watched various documentaries for part of our research and planning, we found that not a lot of hand held cameras were used, the shots were still but just filmed in random locations. Another negative which we found common whilst using the tripod was how tricky it was to be set up. There was a spirit level which had to be very accurate otherwise the frame was wonky and looked unprofessional. We used a tripod when filming the establishing shots for various interviews. It was easy to use and took only a couple of minutes and we were sure the frame was still due to the spirit level being perfect. All examples of pan shots that we used. An Apple Mac was used to create all three of our pieces. A Mac is a very good piece of hardware to use as its an up to date piece of technology, with lots of software which is useful to use to create various products. However, this could be seen as a disadvantage as it can be confusing for someone who hasn’t used one before. This can result in being time consuming, as a person who hasn’t used it before, would then be required to have a support on how to use each bit of software as it is completely different to a normal everyday computer. Evaluation For the evaluation parts of our coursework, various pieces of software were used. For example, Power Point and Excel. Excel was used to create charts from our audience feedback. Excel is a good to use as it is straightforward and isn't time consuming when it comes to the construction of graphs. PowerPoint was used to create the evaluation. I decided to use it as its easy to use and has many different tools to help create the best possible product. YouTube also played a part. It was used in all the stages to help gain extra information. We watched various documentaries and also used it to gain links for the evaluation. The advantages of this are that there are loads of information which are easy to access. A disadvantage for the software could be that sometimes some of the data found on the website can be unreliable, as anyone can upload videos. Our group were very careful when choosing information for any of our products. http://www.youtube.com/