In What ways does your Media product use, develop or challengeforms and conventions of real media products?
The BriefAt the start of or course, we were told that weneeded to produce the opening 5 minutes of adocumentary as a film clip. Alongside this wereto ancillary tasks; to produce a 30 second radiotrailer to advertise the documentary and toproduce a double page magazine article toadvertise the documentary.
To start our coursework, we began by looking into existing documentaries; researching the codes andconventions used, and gathering data to help us create a professional and realistic documentary.
One of the first things we did was lookat previous documentaries made by Alevel students in the media centre ofour intranet. This was to help us get abetter understanding of what we weregoing to produce, what content andlayout we should be using and whatkind of interviews were relevant. We made notes on the documentaries that we saw, noting down about the content, style, layout, voiceover etc. This was for us to look back on later when we were designing our own documentary.
We researched the codes and conventions of documentaries. We looked into howto create good foundations for documentaries and the aspects that make thedocumentary work. All of these notes helped us take the right codes andconventions for our choice of documentary and make it work.
We also looked into existing TV documentaries on TV. Notes were made on the documentaries that were watched, including general notes, notes on content, notes on conventions etc. Some of the documentaries that we looked atincluded: ‘Sixteen and Pregnant’ and ‘Turn it loose: The real street dance’. These were selected specifically because they were aimed at our target audience and related to the type of documentary we were looking at.
We looked at Bill Nichols Documentary modes to learn about the different types of documentaries.Expository Mode Addresses viewer directly to advance on argument or recount history. Characterised by hidden narrator whose voice is supported by images. Subjective and often polemical (one point of view)Observational Mode Events observed and recorded ‘objectively’ with no authorial intrusion. Observes how life itself is. ‘Fly on the wall’Participatory Mode Filmmakers appear in their own work, interviewing and expressing views to camera. Polemical Micheal MooreReflexive Mode The documentary often reflects on its own certification, drawing attention to this.Performative Mode Personal approach, individual filmmaker telling their own story Often political stories told by minority groups.
Our Documentary• We chose to use the expository mode for our documentary.• This is because we were using a voiceover instead of an onscreen narrator,• We were also addressing the viewer directly.
Use of CameraA lot of the research done on conventions included the use ofcamera, so we had plenty of research to use when decidingwhat camera shots and techniques to use.We used many different camera shots in our documentary;most of which were done specifically to fit the type ofdocumentary we wanted. Below are some shots from ourinterviews. As you can see, we have taken into account theconventions, in this case from ‘SuperSize Me’ and used themto influence our shots. As you can see, both documentariesshots are mid close-ups and contain professional establishingfootage in each. Our documentary SuperSize Me
After a few shots of each documentary, mid close-ups appear, shown below. As you can see, we have taken the camera use from ‘SuperSize Me’ and incorporated it into our documentary. Obviously, we have used this kind of shot for a different purpose to suite our choice of documentary, but the technique is still the same.SuperSize Me Our documentary
Our documentaryWe found that background footage was an important part of our footage, so it wasimportant that we had professional footage. You can see here how we have looked at‘SuperSize Me’ and used the knowledge we took from it to get suitable backgroundfootage for our documentary. It consists of capturing footage that is very relative to thesubject, so that the viewer is constantly reminded of the documentaries purpose andsubject. SuperSize Me
Our documentary SuperSize MeOnce again, here you can see how we We decided to make ours a bithave taken our research of codes and different to the others that weconventions and used it to impact our had looked at because we didn’tfootage. We have added in titles for our want to come across as too similarinterviewees so that people know who to other documentaries. Hence, itthey are. This is done in most of the looks a bit different to the onedocumentaries that we looked at, so it shown above.was a clear decision to use them in ourown work.
Here you can see how we have taken the‘Rule of Thirds’ into account when filmingour interviews. We have aligned Mike’sheads to cut at the crossing of thirds,much like it is done in ‘SuperSize Me’.
SoundSound is an important factor for a good documentary. We listened to how the soundwas used in other documentaries and used what we found when producing the soundfor our documentary.After listening to things like ‘Turn it loose; The real street dance’, where sound is veryimportant, we gathered that we would have sound running all the way through thedocumentary to keep it flowing.Here you can see that the sound level on the background has been dropped to aquiet level, for when the interviewees are talking.This is done in other documentaries, like ‘Big Fat Gypsy wedding’ and ‘SuperSize Me’.The music is still heard, but it makes it easy to hear the interviewee speaking too.
RadioWe started off by listening to existing radio trailers, makingnotes about length, tacks, style etc.We found from our research that most radio trailers had themain information at the end, including times, dates, channelsetc.Therefore, we chose to put the information at the end of ourradio trailer as well. We broke our radio trailer up intoNikita did the voiceover for the information because we found several tracks. On average, the trailersthat it was a different voice that said the information on most we looked at had about 6 tracks each.of the radio trailers that we listened too. We only used two tracks; myself and Nikita. This was to keep it simple.Because we were aiming at a youngtarget audience, we wanted it toappeal to young people. Other Radiotrailers that we heard had usedvoices of people who fit in to thetarget audience; so we used voicesof young people who fit into ourtarget audience.
ComparisonsThe main images both take the Both images go over onto both pages. Ourtop left corners of the articles. image takes the full width of the two pages whereas the Doctor Who image takes only two thirds of the width.The article text covers the bottom The background for the Doctor Who articlethird of both pages. has been left plain white, whereas we chose to have a coloured background to make the page stand out more.
Both articles have pictures on the right side of the Both articles start with a dropsarticles. Ours have been slanted with drop shadow, cap. This is to make the articlewhereas the Doctor Who ones are straight and flat more visually appealing.onto the page.Both pages have main headings on the left page, above the article text. Ours is relatedto our topic choice so it stands out more that ‘New Who!’Both article have an image breaking up the Both Articles have symmetrical page numberstext in the bottom left corner of the right with the magazine name next to them. Thehand page. only difference is that ours are on the outer side of the page and the Doctor Who ones are on the inner side of the page.
ConclusionIn conclusion to question 1, I think that we have used anddeveloped lots of media codes and conventions. We haveresearched them well and used them to influence ourdocumentary. As you have seen, our work has followedmany codes and conventions.I also think we have challenged some of them, forexample; our radio trailer is quite different to what weresearched because we needed it to fit with the audienceand topic. I think we have challenged them appropriatelyand effectively.We have used, developed and challenged codes andconventions, but mainly used and developed.
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