4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research and research, planning and evaluation stages? From the beginning of the coursework we’ve been using Blogger. It’s been a way of recording anything we’ve done, including planning, research, filming, editing and analysis. Personally I think using Blogger is a really good idea. It kept everything from all members of the group in one place and meant nothing got lost, also making everything accessible for convenience. I also feel like it kept our group organised, by making sure everything we did was recorded on the blog and work was shared equally between the group. The only weakness of using Blogger is the time consumption of scanning every bit of paper used throughout the coursework onto the computer, to evidence on the blog. Images sometimes also messed up the layout of a blog post which was frustrating, but these are minor criticisms in comparison to its strengths.
One of the most important pieces of technology used for our products was the video camera ‘Canon HG’. When we were first introduced to all its functions it did seem daunting, as it was obviously important to try and get footage and sound to a good standard first time round. Having to re-film would be time consuming and put us off track, especially if it was a professional interview which we’d have to rearrange or interview a different person. Along with the camera we used headphones and a microphone. The microphone was the piece of equipment we had to take the most care with because sound is hard to correct during editing if it’s not done properly in the first place. We had to make sure that on the menu screen of the camera the output was set to ‘headphones’, otherwise there were problems with a buzzing noise from the microphone and this caused us to re-film some of our vox pops. As we became more familiar with the equipment, there was a routine of checks we did to make sure we had no problems with our footage.
When it came to uploading our footage to the Apple Mac, it was important that we did this correctly. If we didn’t it would get lost or we’d get confused with where we saved certain bits of filming. When we connected the camera to the mac using the camera lead, we made sure we renamed our folders to whatever the footage was of. This allowed us to easily access footage we needed and saved the time of going through all our folders. Before we could edit any of our footage, we had to use log and transfer to make it accessible in Final Cut Express. We had to drag the folders in (#6), crop the footage into clips that we wanted to use (#4), rename each clip (#5) and wait for them to upload to our ‘bin’ (#1). This was a useful stage to our editing, because it split our filming up into the individual clips we wanted to use. It saved time cropping our footage when we got to the stage where we wanted to fit it all together on the timeline.
Final Cut Express was probably the most important piece of technology in the putting together of our documentary and radio trailer. To get our products to the highest standard we needed to make the most of all the editing tools available and learn some advanced skills. A main effect that we used throughout our documentary was the ‘fade’ tool. It was headed under ‘video transitions’ and had to be dragged to the place in the timeline where it was needed. We used InDesign for our magazine article because it was the most appropriate program for both a text and image product. We also had prior experience with the program from the magazine coursework from AS, so we felt we could use it confidently and efficiently. There are many tools accessible to follow typical conventions of a magazine article, so it was only a matter of reminding ourselves from last year and trying to advance our skills to make this product even more professional.
For some of our background footage that we filmed from YouTube, we left the mac visible in the shot so that we made sure we didn’t cut any footage out or frame it badly. To then get rid of this in Final Cut, we used the ‘scale’ tool which was essentially like a zoom into the shot and allowed us to frame our footage neatly and concisely. This also meant using the ‘center’ tool to neaten up the edges of our shots and make sure the subject was in the middle of the frame. For our professional interviews, we also used the ‘crop’ tool. As mentioned before, this was a way of making them look more expert by getting rid of any fidgeting and notes being held. It then turned into a sophisticated look that ran through all our interviews and gave a panel for their names and careers.
We started off by planning out the layout of our article, which was fairly simple using text boxes and the image tool (circled). We decided on an interview and planned out our questions and answers, adding them into the text boxes. We made sure that the questions looked separated by making them bold, and also used columns to follow magazine conventions. Once all of our basic work was done, we used the tools at the top of InDesign to create a drop cap, added in a pull quote, date line and by line/image credit.
As you can see, our backing track ran throughout the whole documentary. It was important that we lowered the sound levels for interviews and particular parts of our voiceover. Circled are examples of this which we had to use the ‘pen’ tool for. We also had to change the sound on some of our quieter interviews by increasing the decibels. We had to be careful not to do this by a significant amount because it affected the sound quality and caused a hissing sound in the background of the dialogue.
I chose PowerPoint Presentation for my evaluation because it’s a program I have experience with and feel confident using. I felt that it was a good way of evaluating my work in clear sections without sounding like an essay, as well as including links and graphics.
Using SlideShare to upload my presentation was a new experience for me and something I’d never had to use before. I think it’s a good idea to use it as a way of keeping everything together on the blog and it’s something I can continue to use in the future.
Overall, I feel that our three products were successful and link together well with a brand identity. I think our choice of topic aided our success because it was something we were all interested in, so we used interviews and background footage that was engaging and informative. If I could change anything it would be the target audience, because it’s possibly too broad to be effectively aimed at and this shows in our audience feedback. I’d also change our sound levels and make sure the backing track doesn’t drown out any interviews or voiceover. I feel like my skills in Final Cut Express and InDesign have advanced and this shows in our products, and I now feel confident using them on my own. I also learnt how to efficiently use a style of camera I’d never used before, picking up all its functions quickly.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.