How did you_use_media_technologies_in_the_construction_and_research
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Throughout creating our media products; we used a vast range of mediaprogrammes and techniques to contribute in creating our final product. As well as constructing our media project; beforehand, we had to carry out various research tasks which we split equally in order to broaden our knowledge and understanding of what we needed to do. Our aim was to produce a five minute opening extract of a documentary on a subject matter of our choice; our particular documentary was about the Birmingham Riots of 2011. It was very important to follow the correct codes and conventions of a real media product in order for ours to represent professionalism. Our first task was the research stage. We had to research into our topic, research into the target audience and institutions and also watch and takenotes on examples of relevant documentaries. One of the documentaries weanalysed in great depth was ‘Supersize me’ by Morgan Spurlock which made us aware of techniques such as fast pace music and voice over to grab the audience’s attention. One of our first tasks during the creation of the documentary was to decide what order the clips should be in and whether we should use some at all; therefore we made a decision list as shown below:
Once we knew what clips we wanted to use, we made a planning action sheetto work out what time we needed to dedicate to which particular task to make sure we got everything done:
We used Final Cut to produce our media product which allowed us to log and transfer recordings, edit them and then finally process the film. The opening clip of the real documentary was attention grabbing due to its opening music and eye catching footage. This made us aware that in order to keep the audience interested to watch the remainder of the clip. Therefore, wechose a montage of found footage as it was completely relevant to the overall reason for the documentary; thereforeit also gave the audience an insight asto what our documentary was going to be based on.There were many different documentary modes we could have used including poetic, schema, expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and performance mode. Our documentary including elements of expositional mode as information is passed on from the narrator to the audience and it also thrives on out subjective visual interpretation of our chosen subject (the Birmingham riots) as a way of passing information. We also used cutawaysduring interviews with the public and experts which reflect expositional mode.We used vox pops of the general public to find out what their opinions were ofthe Birmingham riots and therefore explore a wide range of opinions similar to “supersize me” where the general public were also interviewed: Our documentary: Not looking directly at the camera Looking across dead Supersize me: space Assigned to one side of the frame Also things such as the composition were important as we were made awarethroughout watching ‘Supersize me’: there was a bookcase in the background
while a top doctor was being interviewed which made us question the mise en scene when it came to creating our own documentary as the mise en scene has to be appropriate to the particular situation and interviewee. As show below, we developed the mise en scene of a professional documentary through the mise en scene. The interviewee is shown at a desk with variouspaperwork scattered on the desk which reflects their professionalism and high status in comparison to the general public who were just interviewed in the street. Also, when the professionals were being interviewed, we captioned at the bottom of the screen showing who they were and what their job title was; therefore the audience can get a sense of what knowledge they have. Thisalso keeps the audience interested as they are being shown different opinions from different professions which can therefore be compared and contrasted.We thought that staying on the same clip whilethe interviewee was venting their opinion mightbe quite boring for the audience. Therefore, we used cutaways so that the interviewee could carry on talking as a voice over while weshowed other various clips in order to keep the audience interested.However, our documentary differed slightly in comparison to real professional documentaries. For example, in ‘Supersize Me’, when the narrator is talking about statistics;they show them on the screen as a diagram. Whereas, in ourdocumentary, the voice-over vented the information but while a clip was playing e.g. a view from Birmingham City centre. Still from ‘Supersize me’Also, effects such as using slow motion when showing certain clips were used in our documentary. This was particularly effective when the voice over was taking about the facts and figures from the riots as it created a serious tone and the use of the slow motion was intended to keep the audience concentrated. Also, it is suggested that slow motion affects the negative
emotions of the viewers which is particularly relevant to our subject matter: the riots. We also used establishing shots of places such as Birmingham city centre, the Bullring, outside a court and outside the solicitor’s office. By doing so, theshots established the environment of which was relevant to what was about tobe shown. For example, before the clip interviewing the lawyer; we showed an establishing shot of the outside of a court. As well as creating the documentary, we also had to take into considerationthe forms and conventions of real media products when it came to producingthe ancillary tasks. The ancillary tasks consisted of a radio trailer advertising our documentary and a double page magazine article which also aimed to advertise our documentary. Shown below; our final version of the magazine article:We decided that our article was best suited in the ‘Radio Times’. We followed most of the basic conventions of a real magazine article such as the articletitle, grab quote, subheading and stand first. We also used images taken from the documentary. However, we challenged most real magazine articles through the use of the colour scheme. We took a very black and white approach towards our colour scheme and it could be argued that it was quite bland. However, we thought that this would make our article look bold and stand out if it was to feature in a magazine. We decided that our radio trailer was best suited to classic fm as it was to feature on channel 4 and our target audience was aimed at genders, middle aged and social group B-C2. We used GarageBand to produce our radio trailer as shown below:
The trailer lasted for approximately 30 seconds. We made sure the background music was fast pace and upbeat which we felt reflected the subject matter as the riots is a quite exciting topic. The voice-over was clear and consistent which made sure the listener was able to take notice on whatwas being advertised. We also included extracts from the opening montage ofthe documentary and various vox pops and interviews to give an insight to the listener as to what the documentary was going to consist of. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? Overall, we felt that we did well when it came to combining our main product and ancillary text although there were a few minor flaws of which we could have improved on if we were given the chance. We used quotes from theinterviews from our documentary in our magazine article and also used them as sound bites in the radio trailer: Also, although not exactly the same, both the radio trailer and thedocumentary feature similar music. However, the voice over in the radio traileris different to the one featured in the documentary which could be seen as an
error and not very consistent; therefore this would be an element I would personally change if given the chance as the same voice over would familiarise the audience more with the documentary. The radio trailer is brief yet effective as the voice over consists of short sentences yet airs all the information needed which we feel would leave thelistener curious about the documentary and therefore interested in watching it to find out what it is about. The radio trailer informs the listener as to whattelevision channel the documentary is going to be aired on. However, another mistake was not mentioning it in the magazine article. We felt that the main image on the magazine article captures the readers’ attention straight away and immediately reflects the subject matter quitedramatically. It could be argued that it is also appealing to a younger audiencebecause the person in the photograph is younger; however, I still believe that it would appeal to our set target audience which is middle aged. In conclusion, I think that all three of our media products combine together rather well as they all convey the subject matter even though they differ slightly. They all portray what the documentary is about through very similar styles and techniques. However, I personally think that the radio trailer was our weakest contribution to the overall product as it has various elements I would change if given the time to do so.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?In order to collect feedback from our audience, we asked our classmates to fillout a questionnaire in order to gain their honest opinion of all three ofour media products. We received a very large mix of opinions whichhelped us gain an understanding of different perspectives. The pie chart to the left shows the gender of people who completed the questionnaire. Although the majority were girls, the divide was relatively equal which was needed as our documentary was aimed at both genders and therefore we needed feedback from both. To start off the questionnaire, we asked to rate the documentary overall out of a score of 10 (10 being the highest). As illustrated on the left, the majority of people scored it 7 or above. Therefore, it is suggested that our documentary was overall rather successful. Furthermore, we asked what our classmates like the most in the documentary. As shown in the graph; the majority of people liked the interviews the most, which suggests that we succeeded in asking relevant and interesting questions throughout the interviews and perhaps the mise en scene wasnotably well structured and thought out. However, we also questionedthe students on what elements they disliked during the documentary. The feedback was very consistent as the majority said they didn’t like the sound levels. It was suggested that the sound levels of the voice over and the background music were not very efficient and weretoo loud/quite in various parts. If we were able to repeat the documentary; I personally think that the sound levels would be a major element of which would need working on and change would definitely have tobe made. Also, lack of transitions were mentioned which was a liable point as we didn’t put in as many as we could or should have. Therefore, this would also be an element that would need changing if we were given the chance to repeat the project. As shown below, there are also several other factors that
mentioned that were disliked by the students:However, there were many elements picked up upon of which reflected similar media conventions to those of a professional documentary. As illustrated in the pie chart; a major element of which was simliar to a real media projectwas the statistics. We included may statistics referring to the Birmingham riots and used interesting factors that people might not have known about.Therefore, the feekback shows that this worked in our favour as many people found the informationprofessional and thereforepotentially more engaging with the documentary.In contrast, we also asked if there were any missing conventions within our documentary. Although many people declared there were none missing, the major issue asmentioned before was the sound levels. As this element has been mentioned several times; I personally think this is the biggest element that would definitely need tweeking if we were given the chance. Another element mentioned was the lack of establishing shots. Although we did take many establsihing shots, we did not use them all and perhaps we should have made use of more than we did. In our opinion; we thought that our documentary ‘RIOT.’ Was best suited to be advertised on Classic FM as it was aimed at middled aged people of a social
group range of B-C2. However, it was greatly suggested by more than half of the students that it should be aired on Capital FM with Classic FM receiving only a tiny minority of the vote. However, regardless of the great opposition towards Capital FM, I still personally believe that it is the most fitting to be advertised on. A main point was to make sure our magazine looked consistent with ourdocumentary. 18 out of 27 agreed that the magazine looked consistent with thedocumentary. Although everyone did notagree, the majority didand this might just be a perception of their personal taste. The diagram belowillustrates the divide of how many people thought the magazine looked consistent in oppose to those who didn’t: We also asked if the radio trailer made the students want to watch the documentary. The majority answered ‘Yes’ which shows the consistency of the radio trailer and the documentary. The feedback from this question is shown below:
In conclusion, we asked “Did your knowledge of the Birmingham Riots increase after watching the documentary. 14 out of 27 people admitted that their knowledge did infact increased. However, the remaining 13 people claimed that their knowledge did not increase. This suggests that we either did not include as much information as we should, or the students were already aware of the information of which was aired. The results below showthe split among those whos knowledge increased in comparison to those who did not: If we were to repeat the project, I would greatly take into consideration thefeedback we have received. As mentioned, the main element I would want to improve/change would be the sound levels. This is not only the most mentioned negative ferature but also one of the most important elements inany documentary as the sound levels are needed throughout the whole of the documentary. Also, if we had more time I think a minor element to tweek would be adding in more transitions during the interviews.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Throughout the research, planning and evaluation stages; mant media tecnologies were needed in order to undertake the tasks successfully. Weused both technologies we already had knowledge on how to use but also technologies that were completely new to us. This helped us in order to adapt our current skills with creating new ones which helped us to undertake all of the tasks seteffectively and efficiently. Throughout the research stages, when planning the stages of our HP scanjet 5370c documentary, a scanner device of which we ewreall familiar with was practical to use to transfer ournotes onto the computer to then record on the blog. Also during our research, tasks such as researching current documentaries on riots required access to video streamers such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, 4oD and general television access for current documentaries being aired. In particular, YouTube was a very good source to watch documentaries on as it consisted of many student documentaries similar to what we had to create. Therefore, it allowed us to annotate and criticise elements of their documentaries which increased our knowledge of what we needed to include in order to create a good documentary and to avoid mistakes we had noticed in other documentaries. We used blogger as a service to record our research and also record what stages we were at during the production stage. Blogger is a blogging service which allows private or multi- user blogs which records the date and time of which the blog was published.These factors were all very useful because as it was a multi-user blog service, all members of the group could log on when they wanted to and could haveseveral of us working on the blog at the same time. Also, the fact that it recors the date and time of when the blog was published, helped to keep on track and up to date of what stages we were at and when we met them.During the production stage, the technologies got slightly more complex as we were using technologies of which we were not yet familiar with. We were given Canon HG 20 Cameras to record all of the footage onto an internal 60GB hard drive:
Zoom control and Lense photo button Power On/OffFlip out LCD screen USB Connection
There were also ports for headphones to be inserted which allowed us tomonitor the audio to make sure it was working properly and sounded efficient. In order to capture a steady shot, we used a tripod which increased the professionalism of ourdocumentary. Tutorials on howto se the tripods correctly were provided which made it less time consuming to set up. To record during interviews, weused a directional microphonesimilar to the one shown above Tripod tutorial Apple iMac which connected directly to the video recorder which was very practical. In order to produce all three elements of the project, most of it was undertaken on an Apple iMac. Personally, I feel that they are the most fast and reliable to use as it provides great software which is really easy to use once you know what you’re doing. It was also compatible when it came to transferring footage from the video recorder which saved time as they uploaded extremely fast. The powerful graphics of a Mac complimented thedocumentary as we could watch and tweak it through high quality definition. Once all of the video footage was uploaded onto the Mac, the programme we used to edit the footage was Final Cut express. This particular programme allowed us to log and transfer the footage where it was then edited and processed into the final of our documentary. Although Final Cut express is a less expensive version of Final Cut Pro, I personally feel that this suited us best as this was our first experience of creating a documentary and therefore Final Cu Express was easy to adapt to and perhaps not as complex and complicated as Final Cut Pro.
The Viewer The Browser The Clip toolbar Timeline Sound level monitor To create the double page spread magazine article, we decided to use Adobe Photoshop as we were all familiar with the programme and it is very easy and straightforward to use on a Mac computer. Photoshop is an image changing piece of software was key when it came to editing the main image of the article because it dominated the page and we were reliant on the image to draw the attention of the reader. Photoshop has many features that are very similar to other more professional versions but simpler versions which made it easier for us to create a magazine article as similar as possible to a professional one. Toolbar Palette wellWorkspace Furthermore, when creating our radio trailer; we used ‘GarageBand’ because it was easy to use and was the most practical one available.
We found it extremely easy to transfer the audio clips onto GarageBandand to edit them in order to create our radio trailer. This process of the projectwas by far the easiest to do and definitely the quickest out of all three tasks ofwhich we had to undertake. Also, GarageBand comes with pre-recordedsound files called “Apple Loops” which were extremely convenient to use asbackground music. There were many apple loops to choose from whichhelped us have a great variety to choose from which best suited our radiotrailer. When we found a sound we thought was best suited, we simply had todrag it into the “tracks” window and it was straight away added in with the restof our audio clips.