Evaluation Question 1
In what ways does your media product
use, develop or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
At the start of the A2 course we were given a specific brief of the
coursework task. It was to create a five minute introduction to a
documentary based on our own chosen topic.
As well as the documentary opening was two ancillary tasks, a radio trailer
assisting the documentary as well as an informative TV listings article for
In order to make sure that our documentary was up to the highest standard
we could make it as well as ensuring that it was professional, informative
and effective we did a large amount of research into a documentary
genre . We looked at specific documentaries, radio trailers, magazine
articles and target audience feedback to assist us in our creating of our
When first researching into the documentary genre we
watched other examples of documentaries in preparation
for creating our own one.
By analysing documentaries such as ‘Supersize Me’, ‘The
Anti-Social Network’ and ‘Airline’ it allowed us to get an
insight into the variety of different conventions used in the
creation of documentaries.
This gave us a deep insight into conventions of the genre like
interviews, voiceover, exposition, actuality, interviews
with experts, archival footage and reconstruction.
As well it gave us a view of what many of the camera
conventions within a documentary.
These included shot type like Close Ups, Medium close
ups, Establishing Shots/Long Shots and Extreme
Close ups. These are all examples of things we have to
include or try to in order to make our documentary
effective and to achieve its purpose.
Throughout the filming period we used a tripod just like ones that are used in the
documentary ‘The Anti-Social Network’, this aided us in the production as not
only did it keep shots steady they also aided in the framing of the shots
allows things to be positioned just where we want it to be.
It mainly aided us in interviews as it allowed us to position them in the perfect
mid- shot as well as sticking to the rule of thirds rule just like in ‘Supersize
Me’ and ‘The Anti- Social Network’.
The Documentary Modes which was a theory created by Bill Nicholls’ is
something that we also began looking into.
We looked at all of the different types/styles of documentaries that there are;
poetic, participatory, reflexive, performative, observational and
The participatory and performative modes are very similar styles; this is
where the film maker is part of the documentary that is being shown.
The documentary ‘Supersize Me’ that we looked into is a good example
of this, as Morgan Spurlock appears in his own
documentary, allowing the documentary to be more personal and
allows the audience to see more about the film makers intentions.
The Observational mode follows the subject around, and has a very
‘fly-on-the-wall’ style to it. However, ours was very different to
this, as these types of documentaries don’t normally use a
The Expositional mode was definitely most similar to our documentary
style in much aspect; it has a narrative and a voiceover
throughout, which is what our opening five minutes had to guide the
viewers through, It is very factual type of documentary like ours.
The Reflexive mode draws intention to the nature of the
documentary, whilst including the film maker also within the
Sound is another important part of television documentaries, this included
Background Music, Voiceover, Presenter, Diagetic and Non- Diagetic
With Supersize Me and Airline a voiceover was used to carry across information
as well as a guide for the documentary, this worked very effectively and
makes the documentary feel much more personal with the audience and
allowed the documentary to be more informative so this was something that
we decided to implement into our documentary.
Background music was something that was used in the documentaries that we
studied and what we implemented into our own documentary.
We came to the conclusion from looking at the music in the other documentaries that
the music we choose must be music that does not over power both the clips that
we are using as well as the voiceover also.
We started to create songs on Garage Band but soon realised that the music will be
rather repetitive so we decided to get our music from a non-copyright music from
a website called Vimeo.
Music we used in
Diagetic and Non –Diagetic sound are also conventions that were included in our
Non diagetic sounds that was something that was hard to avoid during vox pops and
interviews, as it reinforced the insightful element of our documentary.
Diagetic sound such as noise in the background of interviews and talking in the shot
of panning shots, these were able to be managed well and still allowed the music
and voiceover is the most powering sound.
The voice over was a part of our documentary which we took a lot of time
looking at and studying others, we looked at the conventions, the typical
conventions of a narration are that it relates to the topic, it includes facts and
figures incorporated in it also.
sound levels This was something that we including in our narration and what we carried
and clips up
across from the voiceover in both ‘Supersize Me’ and ‘The Anti - Social
in the audio of
Network’, from looked at the voiceover in ‘Supersize Me’ in more detail we
also noticed that the enthusiasm of the voiceover had a large effect on the
audience, appearing more genuine and drawing in the viewer more towards
Accompanied with this we have also kept the narration linking in with the visual
clips and not only did it link in well and work well with the clips it made the
documentary flow with the voice over working well and linking in with the
The research into the topic is part of a documentary that is very important, it is
important as it works as a way to inform the audience.
From looking at ‘Supersize Me’ and ‘The Anti Social- Network’ as well as
smaller documentaries on Youtube we realised the importance of research
and statistics as they are both informative as well as supporting the
information that is said by the voiceover.
From looking at this being included in the Anti Social- Network documentary and
looking at how effectively it worked, we decided that it was something that we
should use some of our research and statistics into our documentary, and did
so mainly in the opening but also in placed throughout also.
The Magazine Article that we produced was for the magazine ‘Radio
Times’, from looking at previous magazine articles that were in the Radio
Times it allowed us to pick out conventions and methods that are undertaken
by the magazine and meant that we were able to implement these into our
Just like the majority of the double page spreads that we looked at in the Radio
Times we used a large picture within the article and a simple layout allowing
it to be easy for the reader to understand and read as well as it being up to a
Within a magazine the Masthead is located at the top of the page in articles and
is used to grab the attention of the reader and is linked to what the article is
about, usually informative as it is what the reader first sees when they look at
the double spread.
The Main image within our magazine was important as it took up a large amount of the page
and something that was the main focal point and aspect of our article. From looking at
other magazines that we looked at not just Radio Times, but TV Guide and even some
articles from Music Magazines like NME, we realised the importance of a strong main
image. We carried this through onto our own magazine, as it draws in the reader and
gives them an idea of what the article in itself is about.
Also located within double page spread articles are Pull Quotes it is normally a quote from
what is included in the documentary or TV show, this is something that we found located
on the magazines that we looked at and gave the reader a real insight into what the
Documentary is really about. They are used by most magazines, as well as ours, to grab
the attention of the reader.
The use of Columns, is again something that was widely used when we looked at other
radio times double page spreads, we also used this in our article, to make it look more
professional and reinforce that it is a radio time’s double page spread.
The use of Date and Time and Page Numbers, was something that was added to our double
page spread as it is a convention that is used within any TV listing magazine as well as
assisting the reader.
When we were creating our Radio Trailer we listened to a large amount of radio trailers to
understand the conventions used and to see how we can implement these into our own.
The trailers that we watched were ‘Italian Grand Prix’ and ‘Stephen Fry’s Endangered
Animals’. It gave us an idea of conventions we must use in our own.
One was that it was around 30-45 seconds long; this was something that we implemented
into our own, and making owns around 42 seconds as it gave us enough time to get
information across to the view about the documentary without it dragging on for too long
and the radio trailer losing its effectiveness.
We also implemented the convention of saying the channel, time of show and date
airing, this was important as it told the viewer when they will be able to view the
documentary and was important to be included within the radio trailer.
As well as this we saw the importance on included extracts that were
relevant from the documentary that would work effectively within
the documentary, such as the number of users that social
networking has and the growth of the sites over the last 5 years.
This was an important aspect and a convention that we listen to in
the other radio trailers and something we strongly implemented
into our own. We also included snippets from interviews, vox pops
and the voiceover from the documentary to allow the radio trailer to
sound professional and it to have the largest effect we could on the
listener, just like the ones that we listened to in our research.
Overall to conclude, I believe that we used a large amount of
conventions used within the documentary genre. I believe that the
conventions that were used in the double page spread and Radio
Trailer were important and included although not including all of the
conventions, included a large amount for the products to be overall
successful. By researching into the media products it allowed it to
make the products professional and aided us in making them
effective and appealing for the viewer.