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  • 1. A2 Media Documentary Evaluation 12 Going on 20 – Question 1 Shivani Parmar
  • 2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? For the A2 course we had to create a 5 minute documentary alongside a radio trailer and a magazine double page spread for a TV listings magazine to advertise our documentary. We decided to base our documentary on the rapid maturity of young girls in todays society. We carried out plenty of research into the topic and we also had to consider our target audience for this documentary. To inspire our creative decision making we researched different real life media texts for all three of the texts we were going to produce.
  • 3. Before creating our documentary, as a group we needed to discuss what sort of documentary we were going to create. In class we had learnt about documentary modes that were established by Bill Nichols who is an American documentary theorist. He has identified six different modes: expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and performative. Expository Mode: Addresses the viewer directly to advance an argument or recount history. Characterised by hidden, authoritive narrator, whose voice is supported by images. Example – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k73q9KiKyIc Child Genius Observational Mode: Events observed and recorded objectively. Fly on the wall type of documentary that can however lack history and context. Example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZJsqHC_BQc BIG BROTHER Participatory Mode: Film-makers appear in their own work, interviewing and expressing their views to the camera. However it can be too intrusive and one sided. Example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR7AEuynqRQ MILEY: THE MOVEMENT Reflexive Mode: Frequently reflects on it’s own artificiality drawing attention to this. However it’s too artificial. Example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40W_hc_q8XU LOUIS THEROUX - AFRICAN HUNTING HOLIDAY Performative Mode: Personal approach where individual film maker tells their story. Often political stories are told by members of minority groups. However too abstract and they can lose sight of the actual issue. Example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q-ezCOCVmg SUPERSIZE ME I feel that our documentary fits into the expository mode because we use a voice over which narrates the documentary and is supported by images. The documentary also can relate to the target audience in a personal way.
  • 4. We firstly researched into existing documentaries. We did this to identify key codes and conventions that would influence the way in which our documentary would look as we wanted it to look professional. Looking at documentaries such as ‘Supersize Me,’ ‘Miley: The Movement’ and ‘Pop, Sex and Videotapes’ it was clear to see that they all share similar characteristics in the way the documentaries flow. For example in ‘Supersize Me’ the interviews that are shown have the interviewee positioned either to the left hand side of the frame or to the right hand side of the frame. Also the interviewee usually looks at the person interviewing them instead of looking directly into the camera. They also include captions with the name of the person being interviewed and their occupation. The same layout was used in ‘Pop, Sex and Videotapes’ also. These influenced our decisions on how to present our interviews so as shown below we followed the same conventions. 12 GOING ON 20 SUPERSIZE ME POP, SEX & VIDEOTAPES
  • 5. When analysing ‘Supersize Me’ we established that an array of shots were used such as zooms and pans when background footage is shown. This varies what the viewer is watching and it helps them to keep interested. To ensure that our documentary flowed smoothly throughout and that the interviews were professional we used a tripod to make certain that the shots used were not shaky. Using the tripod we were able to take steady pans and zooms of background footage which we used to display statistics on. When it came to filming the interviews we wanted the camera to be still on the expert being interviewed. Also by using the tripod we could set the positioning of the frame so that the interviewee was either towards the left hand side or the right hand side of the frame. We also had to make sure that there was hardly any head space between the top of the frame and the interviewee’s head as when researching into documentaries we noticed that these features were carefully considered. Pan– 12 Going On 20 (Background Footage) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQj2u4ap5bo Various Shots – Supersize Me (Background Footage) Between 5.12 – 5.42 Zoom – 12 Going On 20 (Background Footage)
  • 6. When researching into existing documentaries I have learnt that the music is an important convention. In ‘Miley: The Movement’ the music that is used throughout varies and it sets a serious tone for the documentary as she goes onto explaining how she has developed as an artist. The music is edited so that it doesn’t interfere with what is being said and that the audience watching will be able to understand her clearly. However when no-one is speaking the volume of the music increases. In ‘Supersize Me’ again the music varies throughout and lowers when the presenter speaks. For our documentary we decided to follow these conventions by using background music throughout and we lowered the music for the interviews, vox pops and when the presenter is speaking. Some of our background footage that we decided to include were music videos from Rihanna and Miley Cyrus so this also added to the background music. We also decided to include two different styles of music that we merged together as we couldn’t find one suitable soundtrack to play throughout. We chose to use background music for our piece because every documentary we have watched when carrying out research and also that I have watched on TV have involved background music. I feel that without it the documentary would be incomplete and unprofessional . With the end result I feel that the music could’ve been edited better in regards to the sound levels when the experts are being interviewed. However it works well as it accompanies the topic that we discuss. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQj2u4ap5bo – Supersize Me Introduction
  • 7. When it came to editing our documentary we had to make sure that the sound levels were consistent throughout so that it was clear to hear the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. In most documentaries there is usually an on screen presenter. For example in ‘Supersize Me’ there is the use of an on screen presenter and a voice over. The on screen presenter is mainly used for the introduction. In this case the documentary is based on him so he is shown throughout. Another example would be in ‘Miley: The Movement’ as similarly to ‘Supersize Me’ the documentary is based on the person who is presenting it so they will appear frequently. However there is also the use of a voice over when background footage is shown. This method is effective as it makes the documentary more personal to the audience as its about the person who is voicing it. (4.32) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQj2u4ap5bo (0.32) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR7AEuynqRQ From watching these documentaries and identifying that an on screen presenter is a popular convention used we decided to use a voice over instead. We chose to do this because we learned that an on screen presenter is formal and to address our target audience we wanted an informative way of narrating the documentary which would be a voice over. We used the voice over for the introduction of the documentary, the introduction to the expert interviews only. Overall I feel that the voice over worked well as it was suited to the younger age group our target audience was categorised in (13-18 year olds).
  • 8. The purpose of statistics are to provide the audience with factual and informative information that is visually shown and supported with an explanation through the use of a voice over. In ‘Pop, Sex & Videotapes’ statistics were used to reinforce what the presenter was articulating. The statistics were shown through the use of text that was placed on top of background footage which was simple and easy to read. Through research into different documentaries I learnt that when these type of statistics are shown, there would be a source alongside them which would state were the facts were retrieved from. In ‘Supersize Me’ Morgan Spurlock used an array of statistics such as graphs, newspaper articles and visual objects to emphasise his idea to the audience which also puts what he is saying into perspective. Because of the topic we chose to base our documentary on we found it difficult to research statistics for it. We also didn’t feel that visual statistics such as graphs/charts and maps would be appropriate. Instead we decided to emulate the statistics used in the ‘Pop, Sex & Videotapes’ documentary by simply using text. I feel that we challenged this form of convention as typically statistics are researched on various reliable sources on the internet. We however decided to carry out our own internal survey’s at the college and we ensured that we stated the source of our statistics which is a common convention that we decided to follow.
  • 9. As well as creating the opening 5 minutes to our documentary we also had to create a radio trailer and double page spread for a TV listings magazine which would both advertise the documentary. Our Double Page Spread – 12 Going On 20 Existing TV Listing’s Double Page Spread Just like we researched into existing documentaries we also looked into existing TV listing double page spreads. We did this to identify the typical codes and conventions that are featured as this helped us to plan and create our double page spread. We had to ensure that the documentary, double page spread and radio trailer all relate to each other in some way and that a clear link between them can be distinguished. This means making sure that the title of the documentary can be seen and mentioned in the radio trailer and double page spread and making sure the time, date and channel is made explicit to the target audience so they are informed thoroughly.
  • 10. Masthead Drop cap Article Main Image Sub-heading Article The double page spread we created has all the typical conventions that a magazine double page spread will include. We chose to follow these codes and conventions because they work well together and they all make the double page spread look professional. I have compared the two and they both have similar features such as the article being in columns and they both include a masthead, main image, sub-heading and other images that give the reader an insight into what is included in the TV programme/documentary. Also in our documentary we included page numbers which is a typical convention that is essential for a double page spread. When researching into other magazine double page spreads we identified that the article starts with a drop cap so we decided to follow this convention. I feel that we challenged the codes and conventions of a typical double page spread article as we didn’t create a Q&A (question and answer) article. Instead we chose to write a description. We also included bylines which states who wrote the article and who photographed the images. Within the article we used a pull quote from the documentary which is a professional convention typically used. Overall I feel that our double page spread looks professional and effective so I am pleased with it. It also links to the documentary as we used images extracted from the documentary.
  • 11. To enable us to create the radio trailer advertising our documentary we carried out research into existing radio trailers. We did this to recognise the typical codes and conventions that a radio trailer consists of such as: a voice over, music and vox pops/interviews extracted from the documentary. The most effective radio trailers that we listened to we decided to emulate. These radio trailers consisted of using short clips from the documentary that they were advertising. They used the most controversial and shocking quotes/clips from the documentary which were used to gain the attention from the audience almost immediately. The radio trailers end with a voice over that states the title, channel, date and time that the documentary is broadcasted on. By ending the radio trailer with this information it sounds more dramatic and it is more likely to be remembered by the audience. This is because it would’ve been the last bit of information they would’ve heard at the end of the trailer. Therefore we decided to follow these common codes of conventions because they are subtle yet effective so they fulfil their purpose. We started our trailer with short clips from the documentary to give the audience an insight into what the documentary will contain. We then decided to emulate the ending of the trailers we researched by informing the audience of what time, date and channel the documentary will be featured on. We also came to the agreement of using the same voice over as we used for the documentary and the same music we used which will ensure continuity across both media texts. Overall I feel pleased with how the radio trailer advertises the documentary as it sounds simple but professional.