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Jessica Millward QUESTION 1: IN WHAT WAYS DOES YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT USE, DEVELOP, OR CHALLENGE FORMS AND CONVENTIONS OF REAL MEDIA PRODUCTS? Storyboards Documentary Task: To produce a 5 minute opening sequence of a documentary. To begin the project we had to study existing documentaries in order to understand their use of codes and conventions. As a class we looked at; Supersize Me, Airline and A Good Smack all of which used codes and conventions differently. After deciding on our documentary subject, The Education Maintenance Allowance, we began to storyboard our initial ideas and started to form a 5 minute sequence. Typically, documentaries used archival footage in order to show events that relate to the subject. To use this convention, we decided to use a YouTube clip of footage from student riots in order to highlight the destruction that cutting EMA caused. This worked well as it highlighted the problems cutting EMA caused and it added to the polemic represented of EMA. Another typically used convention that more serious documentaries such as ‘Dispatches’ takes is a serious, pessimistic tone about their chosen subject and we decided to develop this in our documentary by making the tone of our documentary condemnatory and pessimistic. Again, this worked well as it added to the polemic representation of our subject which contributed to the overall biased opinion. Documentaries use Representation which can vary depending on the documentary and its subject. ‘Supersize Me’ appears to adopt a polemical documentary-he clearly wants to expose the dangers of McDonalds. However, he does try to contact McDonalds to allow them to give their point of view, leaning towards a more balanced, unbiased documentary. We decided to take a polemical approach in our documentary, condemning the cutting of EMA and clearly portraying a biased opinion.Screenshot from Final Cut Express-Stealing suggests a biased opinion
Music is commonly used within documentaries as a background sound to keep the audience interested and it also helps with the continuity. We decided to use this convention and added music as an undertone to our documentary. We used a serious, but pop style sound to keep our target audience interested, with the sound levels varying throughout. Another convention we decided to use was the framing our expert interviews. Typically, documentaries (such as Supersize Me) take a rule of thirds approach whereby the interviewee is usually positioned on the left side of the shot which their head and shoulders usually being in the middle third both vertically and horizontally and the look to someone who is on the right of the shot, rather than looking straight into camera. Medium Close Up Relevant Mise En Scene Occupies left half of screen Interview from Supersize Me Interview from our Documentary Voiceovers are a popular convention used in documentaries to give factual information and tell the story the documentary is portraying. Supersize Me uses Morgan Spurlock’s voiceover to give factual information about McDonalds. We did some research into our chosen subject for our documentary, using statistics and quotes from newspaper articles which gave interesting information about what problems cutting EMA is causing. As a way to keep the audience interested and to relate the documentary to our target audience we used Filler Footage. We used various shots such as ones of students in the canteen and a teenager texting their parent which would draw our target audience into the documentary as they feel they can relate to the students featured, convincing them to follow the biased opinion of our documentary.Newspaper articles about EMA, written Voiceoverand Voiceover screenshot from Final Cut Express
The opening sequence of a documentary is extremely important because it sets the tone for the whole documentary and must grab the audience’s attention straight away. Typically, documentaries adopt a contents style opening sequence whereby there a lots of quick cuts of shots that will appear later in the documentary, like a montage of shots. However, we decided to challenge this convention by using a longer shot of newspapers as our opening sequence with an accompanying voiceover. On reflection this was not as successful as we hoped, some feedback suggested that the pace of the opening sequence was slow and that it didn’t grab their attention. If we were to produce the documentary again we would probably adopt the contents style opening sequence to keep people’s attention within the first minute. Cutaways are a convention typically used during an interview to keep the audience’s attention, rather than them just watching the interviewee talking. We decided to use this convention during our second interview with EMA Advisor Julie Maitland. These worked well as they kept the audience’s attention whilst still giving information. Left: Screenshots showing our expert interview and our cutaway shot. Right: Screenshot from Final Cut Express Transitions are used within documentaries, the most common one being the straight cut. These are quickly paced in order to move from one shot to another. However, we decided to challenge this convention by using various transitions, such as fade-to-black, cross dissolves and dip to colour dissolves. We decided to use these to make the editing flow and also to make the documentary more visually appealing and this worked well.Transitions from Final Cut Express
Magazine Article Task: To produce a double page article for a listings magazine that focuses on and advertises our documentary. This is the final version of our Magazine Article, produced in InDesign. We have used the following conventions: Main Photograph Headline and Standfirst BylineDropcap Smaller supporting picture Grab Quotes Text in columns We decided to mostly follow typically forms and conventions of magazine articles. We got really positive feedback for our article, most people gave it 9 or 10/10 which was really good. However, we feel we did challenge conventions by using a large grab quote in an usual font and a smaller picture rather than one that doesn’t take up half the double page. We decided upon this because the picture we wanted to use was landscape instead of portrait which is typically used. So therefore we decided to add the large grab quote which we think works extremely well. It is eye catching and visually appealing.
Radio Trail Task: To produce a 30-45 second radio trail to advertise our documentary. To begin the radio trail we had to write a script of what we were going to say, and decide what parts of our expert interview and voxpops we would use. We analysed various radio trails, such as one advertising Formula One racing and another advertising a David Attenborough TV Show. Printscreen from Garage Band of our Radio Trail Voices from our documentary Music Variousdifferent tracks Our scripted voiceover Sound levels- appropriately adjusted We followed forms and conventions by including interviews from our documentary in our radio trail. Another convention we used was to have music running throughout which was louder and then went quieter as the voices came in, this was to keep the audience interested and also to help with the flow of the radio trail. After reviewing our radio trail with the class some obvious problems were made clear. The sound levels at the beginning of our radio trail were too loud so if we were to do the trail again we would make sure the sound levels were consistent and not too loud. Secondly, some of our expert interviews taken from the documentary were a little quiet, so again we would make sure the sound levels were consistent throughout. The biggest problem with our radio trail was that we chose to put it on BBC Radio 1 and our documentary was to be on Channel 4. In reality, BBC Radio 1 wouldn’t advertise a documentary that was on Channel 4 because they are competitors. However, because we were concentrating more on making sure the radio trail was informative and advertised our documentary well we forgot to check this, so on reflection we would chose a different radio station to put our documentary on, such as Capital FM which attracts a lot of teenagers who are our target audience.
QUESTION 2: HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAINPRODUCT AND ANCILLARY TASKS?I feel that our magazine article and radio trailcombined very well with our documentary andprovided a strong advertisement for it.To effectively combine the main product withour ancillary tasks we had to make sureelements from our documentary featured inboth the radio trail and the article to keep theconsistency between them.Both our radio trail and magazine articlefeatured quotes from our expert interviewswhich were both memorable and portrayedour documentaries biased opinion whilst alsohighlighting the problems with cutting EMAstirring up so empathy from our targetaudience.We gave all 3 of our tasks a younger, edgiervibe as a way of attracting our target audience.The magazine article looks very young andfresh with an interesting, appealing fontwhich appeals to our target audience,similarly our radio trail is fast and punchywhich will keep our target audienceentertained. Our documentary has a quickerpace and it features lots of teenagers, as doesour magazine article and our radio trail which will relate to our target audience. All three tasks feature the same expert quote ‘I think it will have a significant social effective on teenagers’ which helps to create a Brand Image. The quote almost acts as our own slogan which creates a strong bond between our tasks. The slogan represents the tasks biased agenda to slate the cutting of EMA appealing to our target audience who seem to agree with this. I think both the radio trail and magazine article advertise/promote our documentary well. Both feature quotes from our documentaries expert interviews, both mention the channel, time and date that the documentary will be aired and all have the same biased, polemic opinion.Overall our tasks link will together, however I think the only difference is betweenthe pace of the documentary and the task of the radio trail. The radio trail is reallyfast and punchy whereas the documentary has a slightly slower pace. Also it could besaid that the documentary has a slightly older feel and may attract a slightly older
audience because it has a slower pace and is more serious, whereas the magazinearticle is clearly younger with the edgier font and less amount of writing.
QUESTION 3: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR AUDIENCEFEEDBACK?To conduct our feedback research we produced a Questionnaire, questioningstudents on all three of our main tasks. As a class we then took part in a FocusGroup, analysing and evaluating each other’s work which was extremely helpful.I am going to select and evaluate the most important questions from ourquestionnaire starting with our documentary questions. We questioned 15 studentsin total and although this isn’t a large number, it makes the results easy to quantify.DocumentaryQuestion 1. On a scale of 1-10 how interesting is our documentary?We averaged out our scores from this question and our average score was 8 whichis really positive and makes us have confidence in our documentary. I think thereason some students may not have found it as interesting is being it has a moreserious tone and is very informative, which some teenagers may find boring,however the average score is still very good.Question 3. Do you think the sound levels are consistent?As the chart shows, the majority of studentsthought that the sound levels of ourdocumentary were consistent, which is reallypositive. As a group we thought we managed Yesthe sound levels well, however when we Nowatched in on the projector with the classthere were a few tiny errors, however theseweren’t major and didn’t cause too much of alack of consistency.Question 6. Did the first minute grab your attention?As the chart shows 8/15 students thought thefirst minute grabbed their attention, however 87/15 students thought it didn’t, which isn’t as 7.5positive. We realised after the class focus Yesgroup that the beginning of our documentary 7 Nohad quite a slow pace and wasn’t instantlyattention grabbing, however the majority of 6.5students said it did which is good. If we were to Yes Nodo the task again we would make thebeginning more interesting and attention grabbing.
Question 8. Do you think our documentary appeals to our target audience?This is an important question as it is vital thatour documentary appeals to our target 100%audience otherwise no one will watch it. This is 80%why we are extremely happy that 100% of the 60% Yespeople we questioned agreed that our 40% Nodocumentary appealed to our target audience. 20% 0% Yes NoRadio TrailQuestion 1. Do you think it advertises our documentary well?This is a really important element that the radiotrail must contribute otherwise our documentary 15wouldn’t succeed either. Thankfully, all of the 15 10students questioned said that it advertises our Yesdocumentary well, which is very important. To No 5make it advertise the documentary well weincluded elements from our documentary in the 0radio trail to highlight a clear link. Yes NoQuestion 2. Do you think the sound levels are consistent?After reviewing our radio trail with the class it wasobvious that the sound levels weren’t asconsistent as we initially thought. The beginning ofthe radio trail is significantly louder than the restof the radio trail. This is why 8/15 students said Yesthey were consistent but 7/15 said they weren’t. NoThe rest of the radio trail’s sound levels areconsistent except for the beginning so onreflection we would make the sound levels at thebeginning much quieter to keep them consistent.Double Page ArticleQuestion 2. Out of 10, how visually appealing would you consider our double pagearticle to be?We averaged out our scores from this question and our average score was 9 whichis really positive and put confidence in our magazine article. I think our magazine
article attracts our target audience well because of the younger, edgier font and thepicture which features members from our target audience.Question 4. Do you think it would appeal to our target audience?Again, we asked the important question aboutwhether students thought our magazine article 15appealed to our target audience, and 15/15students felt it did. I think this is because the 10 Yespicture featured people from our targetaudience group and also our font was younger 5 Noand cooler and would appeal to teenagers. Wedidn’t have too much writing, to keep the 0younger audience interested and we aimed it Yes Nomore at teenagers with a formal/informalbalance.
QUESTION 4: HOW DID YOU USE NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES IN THECONSTRUCTION, RESEARCH AND PLANNING AND EVALUATIONSTAGES?Producing all three tasks was going to ensure using new media technologies as newprogrammes would need to be used for the editing of our documentary andproduction of the radio trail.Research and PlanningTo research our documentaries subject, EMA, we had touse the internet. A lot of our research came fromBBC.com, the popular news website which had a lot offeatured stories about our subject. Youtube was anotherwebsite we used to watch previous reports on the studentriots which were caused by cutting EMA. To identify forms and conventions ofdocumentaries we analysed some as a class using DVD’s and BBC Iplayer to watchthem.Blogger.com was a new technology I myself had never particularly used before, however the website is extremely easy to use and provides a good platform on which to upload our research and planning documents. However, as a group we realised that we couldn’t change the design of our blog tomake it more individual and interesting which we wouldhave liked to have done. After searching on the internet werealised that the college must have put some sort ofrestrictions on designing the blog which meant we couldn’tchange the background design of our blog.To turn our paper documents into digital documents I usedmy home printer/scanner which I had no experience of. Thisconverted our files from paper to digital documents whichmeant that we could upload them to Blogger.com.
Construction To produce our documentary we used a Canon video camera to film our shots which was a new technology to our group. We allowed ourselves one lesson to get used to using the camera, practising using the focus and also the white balance and after this lesson we felt more confident using the camera. Along with the camera came a tripod, headphones and a microphone which we got to grips with quickly. The tripod acted as a stable stand on which to mount the camera to make sure our shots were straight and well framed. The microphone and headphones helped us to identify consistent sound levels which are very important. We also had to use a voice-recorder to record our script for our radio trail which was another new piece of technology we had to adjust to, we had to manually adjust the sound levels by pressing the buttons. Once we got to grips with how it worked we handled it well, making sure that the microphone didn’t pick up any ambient background noise by sitting behind a screen. Documentary To edit our documentary together we used an Apple IMac’s programme Final Cut Express which I have never personally used before. There are many elements that Final Cut Express includes: Canvas-displays the Browser- Contains shot as it appears on our raw shots, the timeline uneditedTimeline-displays the order of our shots Toolbar-options for manipulating Sound Timeline- clips this displays the sound levels
The first step in producing our documentary was deciding which clips to use, a process called logging and transferring where we selected our clips and named them, these were then transferred to the browser so we could drag them onto the timeline. We used our storyboard to create our documentary in the timeline, making a few changes here and there once we had watched the rough edits so everything flowed well. We also put in a cutaway during one of our interviews which caused us putting one clip on top of another one which caused the other clip to play over the top of the other so the voice still played just over the cutaway clip.Screenshot from Final Cut Express- shows one shot ontop of another For several of our clips we altered the speed, either making them slower or quicker to help with the pace of our documentary and also to give some clips a more interesting look. We altered the speed by selecting the ______ tool and then adjusting the speed accordingly. We also added name tags to our expert interviews which displayed our expert’s names and positions. We did this by selecting the text tool at the bottom of the viewer Final Cut Express screen and adjusting the text accordingly. We wanted a Screenshot-showing professional looking text for the name and a smaller text for the speed manipulation position. We also adjusted the colour of the background block to make it an almost see-through grey which we think worked really well and made the documentary look professional. We also had to manually adjust the sound levels of our documentary to keep them consistent and smooth throughout. We made sure all of the voices featured had the same sound level. We wanted the music to be louder in parts where these wasn’t any voiceover to keep the audience interested and them make it quieter when the
voiceover was heard, however we wanted there to be no music at all during ourexpert interviews, so we had to make the music fade in and out accordingly.We did this by using the toolbar’s select icon which allowed us to select areas of thesound’s pink lines and move them up and down to fade them in and out, this took alot of precision but it in end it worked really well and the sound levels were mostlyconsistent. Screenshot from Final Cut Express-pink line represents the sound levels, highlighting how we manipulated them.Overall, we felt comfortable using Final Cut Express once we were used to the way itworks. We didn’t have any major problems with the programme and it was easy touse once we had got to grips with all the controls. We feel our documentary was wellproduced and well edited.
Image-taken using a stills Magazine Article camera. Adjusting using effects Font-taken from Dafont.com Font-taken from Dafont.comDrop Cap-adjusting text size to make it larger We had all used InDesign before during our AS Media project, so we were comfortable producing the article within this programme, however there were a few new things that we used and added when producing our magazine article. We used font website Dafont.com to get our own individual font that we thought would appeal to our target audience. The font we selected was called ‘Art-Post’ and we had to firstly print screen it and paste it into Photoshop, from there we adjusted the colour balance to make it darker and then we pasted it into InDesign and moved it to the appropriate place. We took our picture using a still camera which we then edited using Photoshop, brightening the photo. We then pasted it into InDesign where we added a drop shadow, inner shadow and outer glow to make the picture jump out of the page, making it more interesting. Overall, I feel our magazine article is really powerful and eye catching and it appeals to our target audience as it looks young and fresh. We also added a screenshot from our documentary into our article. We did this by using the screen-grab tool on the Apple Mac and then selecting the picture of the EMA poster from our expert interview. We then pasted it into InDesign, brightened it and made it larger, then pasted it into InDesign.
Vocals taken from Radio Trail our documentaryDifferent tracks-we added vocal effects Volume- adjusted to make sound levels consistent After recording our radio script we decided to add a vocal effects on top of my voice to make it sound more professional and more like a typical radio voice. To do this we went to the toolbar and went on the Track Info list and then selected Vocals.We added ‘Female Voice’ over the top of my voice which made it sound more clear and smooth. We then added ‘Vocal Reflection’ to the end of the radio script which said ‘Channel 4’ which gave it an echo effect which sounded really effective and professional. We added a ‘Megaphone’ effect to the voice which says ‘BBC Radio One’ which gave it a really authentic radio feel and we felt overall the radio trail worked well. Again we had to adjust the sound levels as some voices were louder than others, we used the select tool to select various parts of the blue sound line and manipulated the sound levels until the were consistent, fading the music in and out and making sure all vocal levels were consistent. Screenshot from Garage Band-showing the various types of vocal effects
EvaluationThe evaluation requires us toevaluate all three areas of our task:the documentary, magazine articleand radio trail.The produce my evaluation I haveused Microsoft Word, a programme Iam used to. If I knew the programmeI would have used Publisher becauseit gives a cleaner finish, however Ihave never used Publisher so I choseWord. A new technology that I had neverused before was Scribd.com whichallows you to convert normal Wordfiles into digital versions. It allowsyou to scroll through the pages oftext you have written and makes content look more professional.A quote from the Scirbd website states:“Now, anyone can instantly upload and transform any file -- including PDF, Word and PowerPoint -- into a web document that’s discoverable through search engines, shared on social networks and read on billions of mobile devices.”Once I was comfortable with Scribd, I scanned in all my paper research documentsand uploaded them using Scribed onto my blog (an example is shown above). Itmakes the blog look more interesting and highlights a more professional use of ICT.