Evaluation of my a2 media studies coursework


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Evaluation of my a2 media studies coursework

  1. 1. Evaluation of myA2 media studies coursework
  2. 2. In what ways does yourmedia product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
  3. 3. • My film trailer follows many basic conventions of film trailers within the British crime genre. It shows main characters, offers a narrative and leaves on a cliff hanger to entice potential viewers. As does ‘the firm’ and ‘the business’. It also lasts roughly 2 minutes as does ‘this is England’ (and the other two trailers mentioned).• As is very common within all film trailers, they are composed of short clips from within the film itself. To give mine a recognisable side I also used this convention. I showed around 10 different pieces of actual footage in quick succession to give a fast snappy and hopefully eye catchy piece of footage- I combined this to text screens to explain the narrative more clearly and give a more rounded piece which is likely to get viewers more interested.• Just like with many film trailers, I put the film’s institution and title at the start, credits at the end and a date at which the full feature is available to view at cinemas. I tried to combine these texts with fitting pieces of film so they didn’t look out of place- like the cigarette being stubbed out at the end of the trailer, to signify the end of the trailer.• Other conventions which I followed were the use of dull lighting (to show the seriousness and bleakness of British crime) and a soundtrack (a piece from an easily recognisable English band- to compliment the mis en scene of a British setting). The lighting changed from shot to shot as it would with most film trailers. Some scenes were dark whereas others were in daylight. The scene filmed at the police station was very dark with the only light being that of the sign from the police station. This not only showed the setting of the piece but also highlighted the police as a normal option for someone in trouble- the main character then walking passed it and shaking his head, whilst emerging from darkness shows they were not an option. The soundtrack has a beat to it which accents the film’s vibe of upbeat, revenge seeking chase scenes.
  4. 4. • Another way in which I used lighting was with the fight scene in the tunnel where the characters jump from light to dark as the scene progresses. The Firm trailer does this very well with the sunlight emerging from a wall and disappearing in a brawl scene. The sudden changes in light add an edge to the scene which makes it seem very dramatic- so this was another way in which I used conventions of British crime films.• My film trailer, as with most used a various array of camera shots. There is an establishing shot to show a rundown warehouse, an extreme close up of a drug deal and other mid/ long shots within the second half of the trailer. This is a common convention with most film trailers, not just British crime, as the trailer is composed of many scenes within the film so the camera angles are prone to switching.• Another convention followed with my trailer was the clothes selected to be worn by the actors. Within the media, most fictitious texts work based on recognisable stereotypes, knowing this, I tried to avoid the use of clothes which made characters who were buying drugs/ beating up a drug dealer looks posh, snobby or to scared/ young to do so. In order to achieve this many of those who bought the drugs wore tracksuits to try and look like a ‘chav’ or ‘ned’.• As for the main character (the drug dealer) I tried to ensure that he looked like someone who was from a deprived area but now had some money (from obviously drug dealing). To help me with this, I had been researching football hooligans for ‘media and collective identity’ and tried to base the character on that kind of fashion sense. The use of the ‘flatcap’ is commonly associated with cockneys. With most of the scenes he was dressed smartly, but not ‘flashy’. This was hard to do so the use of a nice sporty car he drives and the establishing shot of a deprived area in which he sells drugs balanced the picture.
  5. 5. • All of the sound from my trailer is the non diegetic sound of the soundtrack, except for one scene. The fight scene in the tunnel is a changing point within the trailer where the main character loses possessions and goes on a rampage after those who stole and beat him up. To try and illustrate the importance of this scene I added in the diegetic sound of the main character shouting in pain, and those beating him up shouting in an intimidating fashion. Not only did this emphasise the importance of the scene but also gave a snippet of sound in which the audience can hear English (London) accents- as is paramount to the genre and seen in all British crime trailers.• Finally, the way in which I used conventions came from not showing any brutal violence. There are regulations that must be followed in order for a trailer to be shown on television pre watershed. So there were no deaths, just build ups and cliff hangers.• The way in which I developed conventions of British Crime trailers was the use of text between scenes. With the British crime genre, it is far more common for diegetic voice clips to help illustrate the narrative however I felt the use of text slides gave a clearer picture of what was going on and with the zoom on the texts adds a more dramatic effect. So although text can be a normal convention with many trailers, it is not with British Crime.• Another way in which I developed conventions of British crime was the use of one continuous sound track. Due to the lack of dialogue there was no need to stop, mute or pause the soundtrack. Furthermore, the fact the song itself has a change in it meant that it could be used to compensate for the change in the pace of my trailer, rather than using two contrasting pieces. For example, ‘The Firm’ film trailer has two sound tracks, changed in the middle after some non diegetic speech. So the development of conventions came from the use of the one soundtrack.
  6. 6. • One way in which I challenged conventions was the absence of still shots. I tried using one of a building however, it didn’t seem to fit into the general mood of the trailer so it was left out. What I did do instead was the beer bottle at the end was left as a still clip with no movement after the cigarette had been stubbed out.• My trailer also follows a very linear narrative which is very uncommon for most trailers. However, from my original questionnaire on film trailers, my results came back to suggest most viewers wish to see the begging and some of the middle of a film trailer and then leave on a cliff hanger. I did do this (which is a used of conventions) but I also showed none of the end- a challenge to conventions.• The only other way in which I challenged conventions was the use of elongated scenes. Many trailers have short, sharp reels of footage but in order for a clear storyline to be followed there was a need for longer scenes. With the fight scene in the tunnel I put text in the middle of it and then returned to the same scene. This was another challenge to normal conventions of film trailers.
  7. 7. How effective is the combination of your mainproduct and ancillary texts?
  8. 8. • My trailer focuses on one main character and his quest for revenge within the setting of British Crime. I aimed to show with my ancillary texts the genre and try to give a clue of the film’s narrative.• My poster is a very bleak and dark piece. As previously mentioned I used light in various ways with my trailer so this use of darkness fits in with this. The picture itself was taken at night time to give an edgy feel too it and I edited it so that the light that is being looked towards is bright, big and over exaggerated. This light may very well be seen in a metaphorical sense as a goal/ target. (The analogy being that the light is the last piece of revenge, getting revenge on the final person).• This ties in nicely with the use of the dog which is by the main character’s side in the poster and final scene of the trailer when chasing the last person. This gives for a clear link and therefore effective combination. The dog is also there two represent loyalty- a theme which is involved with my film and the lack of loyalty shown by those who wronged the main character. Finally, with the main character facing away from the camera in the film poster, the dog also shows those who have seen the trailer that the character in shot is definitely the main character (this would also work vice versa.)• The title used on the poster is of the blood red colour which carries the obvious combination of violence- key to the trailer’s genre. The use of the tag line ‘revenge is a confession’ on the poster paints a more detailed picture of how much the main character wants his revenge. This is reinforced by the narrative of the trailer.• On my poster I put a rating on there by ‘Nuts’ magazine. The choice for this was based on my demographic being very similar to that of Nuts magazine- targeted at men aged between 17 and 25. At the end of my trailer there are quick credits with various names on. These match that of the names at the bottom of the film poster itself, striking a clear comparison between them that they are advertising the same product.
  9. 9. • My magazine front cover shows the main character as the title feature. In the picture we see him in a fighting stance- connecting to the crime genre and wearing gold jewellery which is also seen in the film. This is a very common convention of magazines, showing the main actor/ actress from a new movie on the front cover, but still in character. So I followed this to show the main character promoting my film.• The strap line ‘An Eye for an Eye’ is in the same blood red colour and shows the viewers another connection between the three texts. Furthermore, the magazine follows a red, white and black colour scheme as does the trailer and poster.• With the magazine front cover, trying to use a dark and bleak colour like the poster did was difficult because many magazines are bright and eye catchy- in order to be noticed and bought in a shop. So using a black/ grey background could not be achieved. Instead, after balancing the image on photoshop I left the off white, dark cream background. This I felt was not too dark that it looks out of place, but also not so light that the genre isn’t lost. This, combined with the picture, colour scheme and tag lines regarding British films helped to maintain a healthy combination between the magazine and the main product.
  10. 10. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
  11. 11. • I sent out nearly 20 questionnaires to all of those who had viewed my trailer. Rather than gambling on trying to receive feedback virally, I instead gathered students from my year at college at different times and gave them each a questionnaire to fill out. This was to avoid time wasting and low response rates. I could also select mostly males, aged between 16 and 18 who would be part of my target audience. Fortunately, most of the results I got suggested similar things, which could be taken into consideration.• All returned questionnaires said that the soundtrack had worked well with the trailer and fitted the genre of film. This pleased me because as previously mentioned I worried about the use of one continuous soundtrack. The responses also indicated that there was no need for anymore dialogue.•• Some actual comments from students:• · ‘It looks almost like a real film’• · ‘You’ve done well given the time and lack of money, congratulations’• · ‘I wish I could see the full feature’•• Other positives include every person saying they could see a clear link between all three texts and nearly all said that it was the right length. (2 said too long whereas 1 said too short).• However, there were various criticisms which either could have or were worked on. The first one I saw commented on the text at the start and said ‘An eye for an eye’ should be in a different font. However, because of the format in which that particular piece of footage was saved, the text could not be isolated therefore it couldn’t be changed. However, there were nearly 20 other responses which did not mention that particular piece.
  12. 12. • Secondly, over half said that the music should end differently because it finished in the middle of a verse and this gave an amateur feel to the piece. Agreeing with this, I was able to adjust the music at the ending- by actually addressing the next problem.• The next alteration suggested was a quick snippet of credits at the end, a common convention with many trailers and something I had personally overlooked- especially whilst worrying that my trailer was too long. But as the answers had suggested it was not too long I was able to add credits, elongating the trailer somewhat and consequently not ending the trailer with the soundtrack in mid song.• For my poster, all feedback on the final piece was good, many people commented on the good use of the white dog. Some could see from the trailer/ poster that the dog was an English bull terrier- sometimes seen as a status dog amongst those involved in crime and liked the use of it- one even drew the comparison between and English Bull Terrier and the British genre. No one suggested any improvements so that was left as it was shown.• For my magazine front cover, there were a few who said that a better background was needed, but due to lack of time I was not able to change this the character was not able to be cropped out, nor was there to time to do another photo shoot and use a different background. If I were to re do the magazine, I would probably use a brick wall as a background to fit in with the genre more successfully.• Concluding, audience feedback suggested my final products are solid pieces and improvements were made when constructive criticism was given regarding the trailer, to hopefully make it better.
  13. 13. How did you use media technologies in theconstruction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
  14. 14. • For my research, the internet was paramount. I used youtube to find trailers and watch them numerous times to study them. From this, I could then take print- screens and use them to evaluate within my powerpoint. I also used google as my search engine to generate pictures of film posters and magazine front covers. I also visited various film websites when deciding whether or not to produce a magazine front cover or website- after already having created a magazine front cover for AS media I decided not to make a webpage.• When creating my research pieces, most of them were done offline so I signed up to various websites that allowed me to make them viral. Firstly, I used slideshare to upload a powerpoint straight onto my blog. I also used prezi to make a different kind of slideshow, online and then embed that into a post that could be accessed from my blog too.• Within the construction stage of my piece various media technologies were used. The most important being the ‘Flip’ camera my piece was filmed on. This was easily accessible, could be carried within a pocket and also mounted to a tripod for a steady shot when needed. I could then upload this to any computer with the built in USB and edit using Windows live movie maker (standard on most windows PCs). I downloaded AVS editing software but could not use it as easily as the windows counterpart so ended up sticking with that- purely for its accessibility, simplicity and ease of use. With the live movie maker I was able to edit/ trim footage, save individually, compose together, add transitions and then add an overall soundtrack.• For my poster I actually took the original picture with my mobile phone- which has a 5 megapixel camera built in. This was because the picture was improvised whilst out walking my dog and the opportunity arose. The picture was then emailed to me where I could edit the photo on adobe photoshop to balance the light and add in effects where necessary. The text was then added and edited using Microsoft publisher.
  15. 15. • For my magazine front cover, the photo was planned and taken on an Olympus digital camera, in a room with a neutral cream and good lighting, in order to avoid the use of the flash, I then uploaded it through the use of a USB.• Also on my blog, I used sites such as slideshare to upload pdf/ Microsoft publisher files to my blog. Another way in which I uploaded publisher files was saving them as a jpeg and uploading the picture straight onto blogger. With the use of blogger, youtube videos and my own videos can be uploaded straight on a post.• For my evaluation stage I have originally typed out all answers onto a word document and then transferred them into a powerpoint and uploaded the powerpoint to my blog via slideshare.