In what ways does your media productuse, develop or challenge forms andconventions of real media products?
When producing our documentary we made sure that we followed the Codesand Conventions of real documentaries in order to produce a documentary ofhigh quality and professional finish.In order to do this, we researched a variety of different documentaries thatattract a wide range of audiences as this allowed us to pick out the mainconventions which seemed to crop up in each documentary so we could apply itto our own. An example of a documentary we watched is SuperSize Me, A GoodSmack Etc.
At the beginning of the A2 course we were told to produce a 5 minute opening of a documentary of ourchoice, as well as producing two ancillary tasks; a radio trailer and a double page spread for a listingsmagazine to go alongside out documentary. We had to research and find out what would go into theopening of a documentary.Before starting our planning of the documentary, we looked at Bill Nicholl’s theory of DocumentaryModes (2001), which looked into different types/ styles of documentaries. Bill Nicholl’s said there were 6different modes; participatory, reflexive, performative, expositional, observational and poetic. Theparticipatory and performative modes are very similar in styles, in which they include the film maker aspart of their documentary. For example, we looked at SuperSize Me, as Morgan Spurlock appears in hisdocumentary shown to the viewers, which shows it is very personal and is more about the intentions ofthe film-marker. This is an effective mode and would suit our chosen topic of teenage binge drinking. Forexample, Cherry Goes Drinking is a great example for this as she appears in her own work. In addition,the performative mode is pretty much like an autobiography where it follows the film maker’s life. Theobservational mode is very much like a ‘fly on the wall’ style which tends not to have a voice over ormusic included. This would not suit out documentary as we need to inform our viewers on teenage bingedrinking. The Poetic mode also, would not suit our documentary as it is a documentary mode that hasvery subjective style. Finally, out of all the modes we thought the expositional mode is best suited to ourdocumentary as we are setting out to expose an issue. For a start, a voice over is a common conventionfound in the expository mode. We used this in our opening 5 minutes as we wanted our opening to guideour viewers through the documentary. We found this mode effective as it is very rhetorical, as it narratesthe viewers and can reinforce important points we put through in our documentary.
Another convention our documentary uses is exposition, in which we use factualinformation and opinions given by interviewees to pass information to our viewers in orderto persuade the viewers. The narration is used as a way of explaining our documentariesrhetorical content. The voice over plays an important part as they speak directly to theviewers, offering information, explanations and opinions of teenage binge drinking. Theuse of interviews in our documentary offered expertise and relation to the audience whichwill bring across the meaning of our documentary. Moreover, expert interviews add moreemphasis to support the facts of our documentary. We also made use of vox pops whichwe felt was effective asThe overall structure of our documentary used the enigmatic code which is a problemthat is only discussed and not solved. This leaves viewers with questions that cannot beyet be solved. It catches the viewers’ attention as they are able to realist how serioussomething could be, and they want to hear more about these unresolved problems.
At the beginning of the A2 course we lookedat many different documentaries inpreparation to ours. Many of the conventionsI picked up from these documentaries wereuse of the Camera; which included shotssuch as Close Ups, Extreme Close Ups,Medium Close Ups, Establishing shot. Inour documentary it focused a lot of mediumclose ups as we did many interviews and voxpops.We noticed that a lot of the documentariesmade use of handheld cameras which wasused to make the audience feel a part of thedocumentary, however in our documentarywe chose to use a Tripod as we set out toinform our audience and there was no needfor a handheld technique. We mainly usedthe tripod for expert interviews, which allowedus to set up in a skilled manner. The tripodallowed us to take various steady shots anduse skills such as Pan, Tracking andZooming which added emphasis in ourdocumentary.
The rule of thirds is the main convention used for expert interviews as it sets up the screen. The interviewee should be looking into an empty space which we have done, with their eyes level at a third of the way down.Our Documentary SuperSize Me
We found that the use of montages at the beginning of the documentarywere very effective as it offered an understanding and an insight to whatto expect from the documentary, this is why we decided to open with amontage as we knew this would immediately attract and draw theaudience in. The opening montage would serve the purpose of thedocumentary, create a strong impression and essentially create aneffective impression to the audience which will make them watch on.
Sound is another important part of a documentary, this includes Voiceover, background music, Diageticand non-diagetic sounds. In SuperSize Me, they used a presenter as well as a voiceover; which workedvery successfully as it made the documentary feel more relatable and personal to the audience. On theother hand, we found that our documentary was being more informative and therefore there was no need ofusing a presenter, so we just had a voiceover. We used the voiceover effectively as we used it to guide ouraudience through the documentary.Background music was something we found made the documentary complete. The music had to be simpleand not over powering the voiceover and general content of the documentary. We used Garageband as itallowed us to make royalty free loops and track which meant we did not infringe on any copyright whenusing them as part of our documentary and radio trailer. The backing track helps convey mood and we usedan appropriate backing track for use with both the documentary and radio trailer. A background track alsokeeps viewers interested in more lengthy sections of video and speech.
The inclusion of the title in the documentary is a common convention of real lifemedia products. It is mainly used for practical reasons as it is something youwould usually expect to see within a documentary. Our title; ’17 and Smashed’is plastered on to a bottle of a well famous alcoholic beverage ‘The FamousGrouse’. Underneath our title you can still make out the beverages name. Thiswill catch the attention of our audience as they would instantly recognize thename and then realize that our documentary title is in fact replaced the nameon the bottle. This is effective as it is instantly eye-catching and will make theaudience want to carry on watching.
Editing- Cut-aways We used cut-aways throughout our entire documentary which is necessary and relevant. For example, the cut away to a clip of drunken teenagers highlights how teenagers drink to get drunk and their behavior when drunk. It also reinforces what has been said and creates more emphasis on teenager binge drinking. Cut-away during interview
We included an over the shoulder shot to capture the archived footage on the screen to makeit look less like found footage and make it flow better with other resources in thedocumentary. We decided to use this sort of shot as we wanted to reduce the amount of fullscreen found footage. Our archived footage is of a team of officers in newsagents’ overunderage alcohol sales. In our documentary we used this footage as a cut away as ourvoiceover began giving important facts, this keeps the audiences interests. It also shows astudent viewing the resources which emphasizes the accessibility of the content.
Text and Graphics are a common technique used in many of the documentarieswe viewed during the initial planning stage, they were also used in SuperSize Me.Text and Graphics are used to transfer information to the audiences. This graphic is used to introduce the professional interviewees on screen meaning we didn’t have to use voice over all the time. We used a red boarder as this stood out the best over the footage. The chart is used as a cut away. It is a good example of a visual aid where the voice over explains the findings while it is on screen. It provides an easier way for viewers to absorb the given information as is provides visual evidence. The chart shows the % of 15-16 year olds who had 5 or more drinks on one occasion, in the past month; with the UK being at the top of the chart.
Double Page Spread We chose to follow the layout of ‘TV Choice’ as we wanted our article to fit in with our audience as well as our topic which we felt TV Choice would represents. We wanted to follow the conventions of not just a general magazine article but a TV Choice article. When researching the magazine article we found they appeared to use a statement image and a very brief article. Screen Caps of footage – are both framed with a Main images – white boarder. TV Choice dominate the half does not use drop the page shadows, so we did not use that on our images A Pull Quote Rule of Thirds is used in all magazine articles Drop Cap – Makes Documentary the article stand name, date and out time I kept the House Style simple and consistent which is similar to that of the TV Choice articles. As you can see there is a main, dominating image, it article still catches the readers attention which is a convention I have tried to apply to our article.
Radio Trailer The radio trailer was created to offer a 45 second preview of what would be in the documentary. We used the software GarageBand on the Apple Macs. We did various research into the typical conventions of a radio trailer. We first researched which radio station we would actually be broadcasting our trailer on, and once we established that we analysed exemplars of radio trailers from that station so we could get an idea of the conventions that arise in professional radio trailers. We analysed BBC radios in particular as this was the station we wanted to broadcast our documentary. In terms of conventions of a radio trailer, we wanted to keep the radio trailer clean cut and simple; as well as professional. Backing music was a common convention we found most popular in radio trailers as well as a voice over and clips that prompt what is being advertised. Most importantly they include details of when the product is being advertised will be released and broadcasted. We used all these conventions in our documentary. We took snippets from our interviews and voxpops which we thought conveyed the most important points of the documentary. This also gives a taster of what to expect in the documentary. The voice over we used was clear and easy to understand. Recording the voiceover was similar to the process of recording the voiceover for the documentary. We placed the voiceover into final cut before transferring it to Garageband. The announcement of the title of the documentary gives identify to the documentary.
How effective is the combination of your mainproduct and ancillary texts?
I personally felt that overall, all three media products (main productand ancillary tasks) were an effective combination and achieved ourgoal to relate to the target audience. We did this by using the samebacking track for both documentary and radio trailer. We alsoincluded snippets of professional interviews and vox pops andincorporated them into the radio trailer. If someone was to listen tothe radio trailer and then watch the documentary they would be ableto relate both of them together. We emphasized a time, date andchannel in our radio trailer and double page spread.Since we chose the BBC as our broadcaster we had to choose theappropriate channels and magazine to use. We chose to use BBCThree as our channel because it is the most relatable channel thatprovides to our target audience. We also chose to broadcast ourradio trailer on BBC Radio 1 because this is the main radio stationthe BBC use for TV programmes showing on BBC Three. We choseTV Choice as our magazine for our double page spread, as thismagazine is more informal and relatable to our target audience.The Documentary was the strongest out of all three media productsbecause it was the central task and required a higher level of inputfrom all of us and then from the documentary, we were able to puttogether the radio trailer and double page spread. Without thedocumentary the construction of the ancillary tasks would have beendifficult but possible to produce.
Double Page Spread Our article had a house style which effectively represented the topic of our documentary as we used a faded out image of a main image, which creates an illusion of a mirror effect. We also incorporated images of our professional interviewees and a full page image of a bottle with our documentary title name on it. This same bottle was used in the opening of our documentary, so readers can recognize this when they watch the documentary. It also creates the idea of continuity; a link between article and documentary. I think the idea of the bottle as our main image is a effective idea as it works well for our target audience by including large images. We did not want to make it heavy with text or images so we tried our best to maintain a balance between the both. We also used a pull quote taken from an interview with Julie Maitland which further emphasizes the link between the two. The layout we have chosen seems to be very common in TV Choice articles. It incorporates many conventions and features typical to a magazine article. All this adds up to make an authentic piece that works well with corresponding products.
Radio Trailer The same date, time and name is used on the double page spread and broadcasted on the radio trailer which emphasizes the link between the two products. The radio trailer uses the same backing track as the documentary which again makes a link between the two as it creates a sense of brand identity to keep everything consistent throughout all 3 media products. In the radio trailer we used clips from the documentary which consist of student talking, facts from the narrator and professional interviews. These are aspects that the audience can recognise from both the documentary and radio trailer, and they then combine together well. The radio sells the documentary and briefly provides information about the documentary. In addition, I felt our ancillary task combined successfully with our documentary. They all link and a clear brand is established. Both the radio trailer and magazine article contain similar information which successfully promotes the documentary and automatically attracts the attention of the audience.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
In order to gain audience feedback we firstly carried out a questionnaire which we gave out to our target audience of16-25 year olds. Our classmates fitted into this category so we therefore gave our questionnaires out to them as theyhave been through a similar process to rate and suggest improvements in particular areas.We asked our sample what they thought of our sound levels in the documentary as this was an important featurebecause if the sound levels were not great then the documentary will not do its job in informing our audience aboutteenage binge drinking.Overall, we got a 90% positive result with a low level of 10% of negatives. This was due to the ending of thedocumentary where the sound levels were not great as we had to put in extra clips to make up for blank spaces andtoo fulfill the request of making a 5 minute clips. Regardless of this, we are satisfied with the scores we achieved andthe rest of the documentary was successful with exceptions of the ending, the rest of the documentary was of highstandards. Taking all this in, it is clear that we would need to change the ending of our documentary if we were toimprove it.We also asked the question ‘Does the documentary run smoothly throughout?’. 95% thought it ran smoothly with 5%saying it didn’t. This again is due to the ending sequence of the documentary. If we were to improve this, I feel wewould need to capture more video footage, where we would have more variety to choose from and decide which clipsare most appropriate and provide excellent quality than the clips we had already used.
A question we asked was whether the opening sequencewas effective. The overall score was positive as theviewers thought the montage was effective and a greatidea. Moreover, if we were to improve it, I feel that weshould include a wider range of ethnicity and filmed it at adifferent location. The voiceover is another important part in the documentary as it plays an important part in presenting and passing information onto the audience. We asked whether the voiceover was clear and easy to understand. We received 100% positive reviews on that which shows that we did an excellent job at this and that the information is passed on effectively to the audience watching it.
The overall review of our documentary has been positive which shows that we had did asuccessful job in producing a 5 minute opening to a documentary. Most importantly, we askedour target audience if the documentary appealed to them, and all of them said it did, whichagain shows we did a good job in presenting information clearly to them and that ourdocumentary followed typical conventions.
We then asked our target audience, if we were to improve our documentary, what would needimproving. A majority said that we would need to improve on the sound, this was mainly aimed atthe section at the end of the documentary as it the sound levels were not of one level and did notflow as nicely as I would have expected it to flow. This would be improved by replacing thatfootage with new footage that’s of quality or changing the sound levels.Others also said that the editing needs improving, this would include cutaways and transactionsused between clips. In improving the documentary, we would use more transactions betweenclips in the relevant places if necessary. It could also imply that the line up of clips towards theend needs work, this would be improved by us taking more care and paying more attention todetail. Other Footage If improvements were to be made, what should be improved? Camera Edit Sound 0 5 10 15 20
The overall results for our ancillary tasks were positive asthey found the radio trailer easy to follow and understand.They also said it was appropriate to the documentary andtopic. Was the radio trailer easy to understand? Was it appropriate? No Yes Is the article suitable for the target audience? Are the images used well? 0 5 10 15 20 25 We asked our audience whether the article was suitable to the target audience as they positively rated it was. This shows that we are on the right track and our article is suitable to our topic of choice and relatable to our documentary.
The double page spread was reviewed an overall good with the exception that the images were too overpowering.Any improvements to: Double Page Spread Overall Good Images Editing Sound Content Radio Trailer 0 5 10 15 20 The target audience found the sound in the radio trailer to be really bad as the levels were not the same. Also, the editing was not great either as clips would cut off too early. This was due to lack of technique used.
Conclusion of feedback:From the documentary feedback, I think the montage of students saying their favoritedrink, was very effective as it creates a relationship to the target audience who are alsoof similar age. However, the clips towards the end of the documentary was slightlymuddled and not of great quality. This was due to the fact of shortage of footage and thedeadline fast approaching, so we were rushed in time in completing this.However, overall the documentary was quite professional and our target audience likedit even with sound errors, it came out effectively tackling the controversy.The radio trailer was effective in presenting a brief taster to our documentary. However, Ithought the content could have been better and included better sound editing. Thesound was not level throughout, this was again due to the fast approaching deadline. Ifwe had more time, we would have corrected the sound levels.The double page spread, the audience found this effective as it was very visual andinformative. However, it could be improved to be more subtle, as I find it to beoverpowering as the image is very heavy on colour. Although this, the layout wasgood, the article worked well and the softwares used to produce this was usedeffectively.Gaining audience feedback was very crucial to finding out how well we had done.Particularly because we had accessibility to ask our target audience about this. Welearnt a lot overall about how the sound levels could be improved in our radio trailer andhow time management is key in producing this.Overall, all three media products were successful and also gained constructivecriticisms which we would take into account if we were to do redo or make anotherdocumentary. As well as people making suggestions on improvements to be made tothe radio trailer, i.e., sound, we were overall satisfied with the feedback we gained fromour classmates, especially as they were familiar with the process we had been throughin producing these pieces of work.
How do you use media technologies in theconstruction and research, planning and evaluationstages?
Looking at examples of documentaries to do with our topic onlinehelped us to get a feel at how ours should look with the correctconventions. As our documentary would go on BBC Three, welooked particularly at their documentaries and what makes themappeal to their target audience. Although similar topics to ourdocumentary had not been informatively made recently bythem, getting the overall idea from others helped us to see whatgoes into them. During research and planning, the internet was an essential as it was useful to find out the most up-to-date information on the topic we’ve chosen. In doing so, we used Google to find news items and helpful sites with the appropriate information. Youtube was another search engine but for videos and useful clips that may help us with our documentary. The analysis of TV documentaries was made easy as it was fully accessible. Youtube also allowed us to upload our final documentary and it was a good choice as Youtube is a widely used for sharing videos and is probably accessed by a lot of our target audience.
Throughout the coursework, it has been very important to uploadand update our work on to a blog through Blogger.com.Blogger.com allowed us to upload our research and planning, whichhelped us to organize the research and see what was missing andwho needed to do what. Most sections of the research and planningwas split up between us three and the work should be uploaded onto the blog each time it is completed.I found Blogger.com overall a good simple site which helped us tostay on track and it became very useful later on when we wereuploading the rest of our work. It was useful in a way that it isaccessible from college and home. Blogger.com was easy to use asuploading photos and videos was not complicated. To upload and show our work, we also made use of Slideshare and Scribd. Such sites provide interesting ways in presenting our work instead of using PowerPoint or word. None of us had used these sites before, however they were very easy and was not a challenging software to use. It made the blog look more professional and more simple, so overall, it was a useful piece of software to use as it was easy for viewer of the blog to read.
We used SoundCloud to upload of radiotrailer. SoundCloud is an online audiodistribution platform which allowscollaborations and promotions of audiorecordings.SoundCloud is easy to use and uploadaudio clips to, it made public so anyone canhave access to it.
Tri-pod allowed us to take steady shots of our footage instead of using Camera allowed us to take HD quality footage on the go. It also a hands-free approach which we did allows our footage to look professional and of high quality considering not want. It makes the footage look it is HD. The camera also allowed us to frame different shots and professional. zoom in and out. After shooting the footage, we could instantly replay this on the spot. We can then upload the footage on the same day it was shot, in order to avoid loosing it and then log and transfer clips into Final Cut Express. Microphone allowed us to captureHeadphones allowed us to monitor the sound sound and to make interviewees feellevels when doing interviews and vox pops. like it is a professional interview.Without this, the sound levels of footagewould not be appropriate to use andtherefore, jeopardises the whole footage. Apple Mac Computers offered a viarty of softwares which we could use to edit our footage and to produce our media products. These softwares helped in producing high quality work which regular computers cannot. They were also useful for researching and planning purposes.
GarageBand was used in creating backing track for bothdocumentary which was also used in the radio trailer which was alsomade using this software. Garageband was also very easy to useand prevented us from using copyright material. Garageband offereddifferent types of sounds such as, cheer and urban. It also offereddifferent types of instruments such as drums and guitars.It was simple to understand how to use and allowed us to find thetypes of music we wanted, with variety of choices to choose from. Final Cut Express to create the actual music video, which without this software the video would definitely not look as effective or professional. To create the magazine advert we used ‘picmonkey’ to add the effects and text on top, this made it look much more effective rather then adding generic fonts used in microsoft word. Microsoft excel proved useful when it came to creating graphs in our evaluation stages, as we had no other way of presenting the data that we found out when doing our audience feedback. Another media technology we used during our evaluation stages was Windows movie maker, as once we had filmed our evaluation question this was the technology available for us to edit.
I used In-Design to create my double spread page and give it aprofessional look. It also allowed me to design my page in which itwould look similar and have similar aspects to a TV Choice article. Ihad used In-Design for my AS media work and was quite familiarwith the software and I found it easier to use and could use my skillsthat I have learned and apply them to make my article lookprofessional and part of an existing TV magazine. used PhotoShop when creating my ancillary tasks. I PhotoShop is professional software which meant I had access to a wide variety of professional tools and features to aid the creation of a professional media text. by using PhotoShop I was able to edit images as well as create pages and text. This meant I could create the entire text in one program as opposed to editing the image separately and pasting it onto the page. I made use of PhotoShops photo editing tools to make the images, particularly the image on the poster, look striking and clear.
Microsoft Office Word was used in producing the questionnaires and feedbacksheets for our target audience.The audience research we produced involved the use of Microsoft Office Excelso that we could produce graphs to make our data more visually appealing.As these softwares were not new to us we found there was no real difficulty inusing them.