DocumentaryEvaluation Question 1


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DocumentaryEvaluation Question 1

  1. 1. At the beginning of the task, we were briefed about what we were going to be doingthroughout the coming months. We were told that the main task would be makingthe opening 5 minutes of a Documentary, followed up by 2 slighter tasks which werea 30-45 second Radio Trailer and a Double Page Spread for an efficient newspaperor magazine.There are many separate types of documentaries which concentrate on varioussubjects which range from The History of Buildings to Modern Day Fast FoodRestaurants. It was a very thoughtful process in choosing Bullying as our topic ofchoice and I will show why we chose this throughout this evaluation.In order to make the best Documentary possible we had to look at many professionalTV and Cinema released Documentaries so that we were aware of the Conventionsused. These documentaries involved Supersize Me, Various channel 4 documentariessuch as GokWan’s Teenage Nightmare, and other various successful college bullyingdocumentaries.CONVENTIONS –Actuality – this is the term for film footage of real life events, places and people.Unlike fictional films which use actors, scripted stories and artificial sets, actuality is arecord of real events as they unfold which is vital in our documentary as we intendedto express the reality of the problem that is Bullying.Exposition – • This uses rhetoric (factual information and opinions given by interviewees) and passes on information in order to persuade the viewer. • Narration is a distinct convention used by a documentary. Mainly as an objective voice over the footage however some Documentaries such as ‘Supersize Me’ us a more subjective narrator being Morgan Spurlock. • Narration is used as a way of explaining and debating the point of which the documentary is portraying.Voice-over – This is vitalin a documentary and is used for the commentary by thefilmmaker, spoken while the camera is filmingthrough a piece to camera, or added into the soundtrack during the production in the editing stage. Through this thefilmmaker can speak directly to the viewer giving them explanations and opinions.This was key in our Bullying documentary in order to let, what seemed to be anoblivious audience, know the harsh reality of the percentages and facts.
  2. 2. Interviews – These are one of the most important conventions of a documentary asthey allow for alternative opinions to even out the argument. This involves real lifepeople or ‘Vox Pops’ being asked questions based on the topic surrounding thedocumentary. This was important in our documentary as it allowed us to see first-hand the ignorance of the students at our college on the topic bullying.Expert Interviews – this is another type of interview which is needed in order to gainfactual information rather than opinion on the topic so that there is plenty ofObjective and Subjective data.Archival Footage – This is an important convention used in documentaries as itallows for external information to be shown. By doing this you can show the factsand figures based on your topic. Unfortunately we did not get the chance to add anyof this specific type of footage as we were short on time. However if we did wewould have shown clips from GMTV or ITV news when they are discussing the factsabout Bullying.Reconstructions – These are an artificial scene in the documentary used to showsomething which had happened in the past or could possibly happen in the future.We used our reconstruction very effectively to represent the brutality of bullying.As you can see above, we followed the conventions of regular documentaries inorder for it to be successful. The establishing shot is used in order to set the scenefor the rest of the documentary as well as to allow the audience to know that theyare in a college environment. This is important as we are discussing bullyingthroughout colleges and schools in our documentary, so this is to deny any confusionbought about where we are getting our interviewees from.
  3. 3. We also made sure to follow the conventions of another college/school bullyingdocumentary. This shot is effective as it allows the mid-shot to represent the feelingsand emotion or the interviewee’s face as well as their body language.This manual-focus shot is very effective in that it adds a huge amount ofprofessionalism to the documentary. We chose as a group to make sure that weused these shots where possible and that’s the reason why there are so many in thedocumentary.Another establishing shot used to ensure that the college environment is set firmwithin the viewer’s consciousness. A pan shot was used in order to gain a realisticoutlook on the college.
  4. 4. The background music –This music is very slow, calm and gloomy reflecting the topic of which it is basedupon. This helps to express the message that we are trying to get across in the rightway encouraging the audience to feel sorry for the victims of bullying and make themdo more to combat the issue. The background music also allows the narrator’s voiceto be perceived in a certain manor of which we feel ties in perfectly with thedocumentary. However, we feel that if we were to do it again, we would make surethat the music is levelled out throughout the documentary.Special Effects –We used many effects in our documentary, in particular in the opening sequence ofthe reconstruction. We used Black and White edit to represent the negativity of thetopic. We used a variety of fade-ins and fade-outs in order to give a smooth fluencyto the documentary, as well as to add to the overall negative message that we aretrying to give across.Sound –This included background music, narration, diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. Thenarration is a very important part of our documentary as this is one of the key factorsthat will set the tone for the whole thing. The tone of the voice and the way of whichyou address the audience is vital in making an effective documentary. Thedocumentary SuperSize Me has a very informal voice-over however this worksefficiently as Morgan Sperlock generates a theme and vibe throughout of which heintends. Our voice-over is far more formal and serious; as we feel that in order toexpress the reality and emotion behind the topic we must use this sort of narration.Diegetic sounds are used as a common convention in documentaries especially whilstinterviewing vox-pops as the background noise is very effective in helping add to theenvironment that they are in.Similarities in our Radio Trailer.There are many similarities between our own radio trailer and other professionalradio trailers. The background music we used was the same music that is inside ourdocumentary in order to maintain the balance and cohesion.Special effects in our radio trailer involved editing the voices so that they overlappedone another gradually getting louder and louder as well as fade-ins and fade-outs ofcertain commentaries.The Presenter of the radio station is speaking mainly in an informal way. This is dueto the fact that we could see it on Radio 1 or Radio 1xtra in which both of thesestations speak in a rather informal, friendly way. We attempted to carry out withthese conventions and we felt that we did so effectively.
  5. 5. Similarities in our Double Page Article.The positioning of the pictures inthe layout. This is very effectiveas it allows the reader to seeclear images of what’s going tobe in the documentary.The positioning of the article inclear view of the audience. Thisisextremely effective as it issimple, yet brilliant in that theaudience can read it easily andeffectively.The colour schemes in both arevery simple and mutual, allowingfor all stereo-types to beobjected and for the article to beattractive for both males andfemales.During the making of this double page spread, we tried as much as we could tofollow the common codes and conventionsof ‘The Times’ newspaper such as thecolours, fonts and layouts, types of pictures and title layouts. In that respect, I feelthat we did a very successful job.