To record the footage for my documentary, I used a Sony HXR MC-2000E solid state camcorder. The reason I chose to use the camcorder is because it can record video at 7 megapixels which is high quality and near industry standard. Another reason I chose to use this camera is because of it’s inbuilt “steady cam” feature, which balances out the shakiness of the camera when handheld footage is being filmed. I found this particularly useful whilst recording certain parts of my documentary, in particular the band interview and the B-roll footage that accompanied it, as I was not allowed to take a tripod and had to rely on the feature. To get my footage onto the computer, I had to use a USB firewire cable which allowed me to access the cameras solid-state drive and retrieve the files. When carrying out the interviews for our documentary, we needed to find a way to record the sound . coming from the interviewees. In order to do this, we attached an Audio Technica ATR3350 battery powered clip mic to the interviewee and connected it to the camera via a 3.5mm jack on the front. This method was done for the majority of interviews except the Broken Reign interview, in which we used a boom mic. This was due to the fact that we only had one clip mic and one recording port on the camera, so instead we ended up recording the interview with a boom mic placed dead centre in-between the intervieweesTo take the photos for my ancillary texts I used the Canon EOS 1100D camera. Some of the reasons Ichose this camera included the fact it’s a Digital SLR camera, meaning it would be able to produce imagesof a high quality. I also chose this camera because it an ISO range of 100-6400 meaning it would beappropriate for both low and high level lighting situations, eliminating the need for external lighting orphoto manipulation later on. To get the photos off the camera, I used an SD card reader which allowed meto copy and move the photos stored on it to the computer.
To edit and store our work, I used the Dell XPS 8100 computer. Because of its high specifications eg. Intel i7 processor, 16GB RAM and large hard drive size I found it easy to edit with and rendering was considerably quicker than anticipated. I utilized the USB ports on the front to transfer our clips to the computer and took full advantage of the monitors HD capabilities to edit our film and work
Once I had recorded my footage, I then needed to edit the clips together. The software I ended up using to edit my documentary was Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, a popular video editing suite used around the world by production companies. In the software I was able to cut my footage from my bin down to appropriate length using the “set in” and “set out” points in the preview window and the “scissor” tool to trim the edges of the clip. This was done for the majority of my clips as the footage was very long and needed to fit the five minute timeframe I had been given. Once I had done that, I then began to select the shots I wanted to use in my documentary. For the interviews, some of the talking head shot angles were a bit off frame so I used the “scale” tool in Premiere to crop and adjust the overall frame of the shot. This had to be done with Mike Grainger’s interview as when it was imported his body didn’t have much room to move around in the frame and didn’t complete the talking head shot. After I had finished editing my shots I then realized that the sound from the footage was only coming out of one ear in my headphones. I went and fixed this by adding the “fill left” effect to all of my audio tracks on the timeline, making the audio change from mono to stereo and play out through both ears. To make the sound bed between the music, interviews and narration audible I had to tweak the levels of the individual tracks. I did this in the Effect Controls menu in which I adjusted the gain. Some parts of my documentary were also automated, such as the music in which I made it fade in and fade out and also the video at the end so it could cut off at the 5 minute mark.
Once I had the documentary as my main product I then had to create two ancillary texts to go alongwith it. One of them being a poster for the documentary. This was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5, apiece of image enhancing and manipulation software commonly used by media professionals. Todesign the poster, I first had to import my photo that I had took with the SLR camera. This was done viathe “Import” button on the “File” menu at the top of the screen. Once I had my photo loaded in, I beganto tweak the brightness, contrast and colour curves of the picture. This is because the camera madethe photo look dull and the lighting wasn’t too great at the time. Because I was going for a minimalapproach with my poster, making the lighting good was key as I wanted my poster to stand out to myaudience and look appealing. As my documentary was going to be shown on Channel 4, I wanted tofollow the codes and conventions of a typical Channel 4 poster. To achieve this, I took a PNG file of thechannel’s logo from the internet. The reason I went after this particular file format is because it haslossless data compression, meaning that the quality of the image or the poster wouldn’t suffer as aresult of me getting a poorer quality image. Because the logo I got was a vector, I then decided torasterize it. Again this was done to enhance the quality of my poster and the logo. Finally, in keepingwith the codes and conventions of a typical Channel 4 poster, I decided to display the key informationabout the programme, such as the date time and channel in white boxes with black text. I felt that bymaking this decision it would make the poster stand out as black and white are contrastingcolours, and it would draw the audience to it. To create the white boxes I used the “rectangle” toollocated in the toolbox on the side of the screen. I drew them out and then made them the appropriatesize using the “scale” tool. In the end I went with the *insert font here* font as it looked and stood outas being very bold and formal.
As well as having the poster as one of my ancillary texts, I also had to create another which was a radioadvert. I ended up using two pieces of software to construct this text, these were Audacity and AdobePremiere Pro CS5. Coinciding with this, hardware was also used. These being a condenser microphoneand a sixteen channel mixer with EQ Control, level adjustments and gain control. These pieces ofhardware were used for the narration parts of both my radio advert and documentary. With Audacity Iwas able to record the narration for band then it was edited in Premiere Pro. Before I could record thenarration in Audacity, there were a few things I needed to do first. Firstly I had to adjust the gain forthe microphone to ensure that it wouldn’t “clip” or “distort” during the recording. Secondly, I had toadjust the volume of the microphone going to Audacity so that it wasn’t too loud or too quiet.Finally, we recorded both the radio advert narrative and documentary narrative. In Audacity I cut outthe background sound and rehearsed attempts of the narrations with the snipper tool, then bouncedthem down. Both of these were separate files and were exported in the WAV file format. Much like theposter, the reason I chose to export my narrations as WAV files is because they are the highest qualityof audio format available. Once these had been exported from Audacity, I then had to import theminto Premiere Pro. Because I was going to be using audio from my documentary, I decided to create anew sequence instead so that I could use the files already stored in my documentary bin. Certain linesof speech were then trimmed down using the “set in” and “set out” points along with the scissors tool.In the end I used three audio tracks to construct my radio advert text: one for narration, one for thedocumentary clips and one for the music.
In order to get an idea of what codes and conventions we wanted to include in our documentary, we had to research and understand those from other documentaries. Websites such as YouTube and Google Video helped with this greatly as they gave access to a plethora of documentaries for my group to examine in detail. From here, we formulated and constructed plans and ideas for our documentary. These were then shared and conversed both orally and through the use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, in which we continued to discuss these ideas further out of the classroom.
For the planning of our documentary, we all came together and discussed what we wanted our documentary to be on and shared ideas amongst each other. In doing this, we took notes which were then written up onto online blogs on the popular Blogger site. Social networking also played a role in helping us with our planning, as we frequently set dates and times for filming through the means of Facebook, Twitter and even by text. Without the accessibility of these such sites, I very much believe that we wouldn’t have met our expectations and finished our work effeciently for the deadline.
When we had finished our media products, these being the documentary poster and radio advert we then had to look back at them and evaluate them in different ways. In the end I decided to evaluate my work in the form of: a podcast, an essay, a PowerPoint presentation and a video. For my podcast I went onto Skype with my group and recorded us all in a group conversation in which we took turns discussing about the codes and conventions of our documentary. The software I used to record the podcast was the Skype to MP3 recorder. Once I had finished recording my podcast, I then trimmed out background noise in Audacity and uploaded it to the site Soundcloud, so that I could then embed the podcast into my blog. For the essay on my main product and ancillary texts, I used Microsoft Word to type up a draft. This was then copy and pasted and edited in Blogger where it was finally published. In getting audience feedback I got a friend to record his responses to the questions I presented him. This was done using webcam recording software. When the recording stage was finished, I was given the clips on a USB stick. These were then compiled and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, exported out and published on YouTube. From there I then embedded the video in my blog.