ADVANCED PORTFOLIO EVALUATION 1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?The coursework consisted in making the opening 5 minutes of a documentary, a radio trailer forthis documentary and a magazine article also on the documentary. We decided to produce ourmedia product about Student Finance and choices students have after they finish college. Eachmember of our group had a variety of understanding about documentary conventions which weused in the making of our media project. As the task was to produce a 5 minute opening, wecould plan how we want our documentary product to look like by researching otherdocumentaries to get a better understanding. During class we watched several documentaries to see the different styles and influences they may or may not use. The documentary ‘Super Size Me’ follows Morgan Spurlock on his 30-day period of only eating McDonald’s food, 3 meals per day. This documentary shows what effect this food can have on a person’s lifestyle and physical well-being. This documentary is similar to the documentary I produced with my group as they have the same purpose to inform the audience about the chosen topic. As well as similarities, ‘Super Size Me’ and my documentary ‘Student Finance’ both use different styles of filming, genres and representation.Our ‘Student Finance’ documentary was done in a cinema verite style. This is because of theuse of techniques we used when filming footage to convey students at college. We used a lot ofhand – held camera and the use of a tripod, when filming still shots, interviews and also studentsworking around the college. This was to show the audience of our documentary what choicesstudents have and showing them in a realistic way whilst they’re at college. This style of genrethat we have used is also similar to direct cinema. Direct cinema is another documentary genrebut they use no voice over’s or interviews, but show fly-on-the-wall real events, leaving theaudience to draw up own conclusions. There are similar elements in both genres, but cinemasverite suits our documentary as we can give interviews, and use a voice over to help give themessage and develop understanding about ‘Student Finance’ for the audience. ‘Super Size Me’uses direct cinema as it has a lot of fly-on-the-wall footage. But it challenges this genre style, asMorgan Spurlock is the presenter and the documentary includes interviews and dissolve edits,where in the rules of direct cinema, this shouldn’t be allowed. Understanding this, ‘Super Size Me’includes a variety of styles of documentary as it includes several genres and sub-genres. Thesesub genres includes; video diary entries which are made by Spurlock, talking about how hefeels and about the situation he had got himself into. These are effective for ‘Super Size Me’ asthe video entries can show the audience how Spurlock is truly feeling and it gives a sense ofrealism and seriousness about eating fast food everyday. ‘Super Size Me’ gives a fly-on-the-wallfeel to it and the audience can clearly see what is happening to Morgan Spurlock and otherpeople during the documentary. For the documentary my group and I made, we didn’t use anydiary entries, as it was more of an informative and public affair documentary. Our documentarywould be usually shown on public service broadcasting channels, and in particular Channel 4.Our documentary explores the options students have and the problems with going to university ornot, and employment rates for 16-24 year olds. Compared to ‘Super Size Me’ they both followmedia conventions but just not the same, as they both are for different audiences and showingdifferent parts of social issues.My media product represents student life and choices students have to make during college life.The documentary presents different views about what is best to do for students when they leavecollege. It gives a neutral view as it shows good and bad views in either going university orseeking for a job. It explores student life and future aspirations for them. It gives facts that will behelpful for students when making such decisions. It takes a good attitude towards this, as the
documentary is there to help students and keep them in mind so they feel supported. When looking at other documentaries such as ‘Super Size Me’ it represents a polemical view which expresses that McDonalds food is really unhealthy for people. This view comes across as they show what happens when eating this fast food, and shows letters/stories that are biased in against eating McDonald’s food. The filming that we see shows Morgan Spurlock getting ill and unhealthy, so people who see this documentary will automatically see what ‘Super Size Me’ is representing. Documentary We have watched several documentaries during class such as ‘Super Size Me’ and ‘Airline’. Seeing these documentaries, we can see the basic conventions and gain ideas on how to put a documentary together. Both documentaries gave variety of shots by the use of the camera, which included; close up shots, medium shots and wide/long shots. I also witnessed different edits and ways of showing the information. I gained a lot of experience by watching these documentaries so I was able to follow these conventions for when I put own documentary together. We used the camera when filming footage for our ‘Student Finance’ documentary. We used the camera in different ways to get a variety of shots, so it looks more interesting and appealing for the documentary. I filmed these shots by using a handheld camera and also the tripod to gain stability in the filming. Most of the footage we used was using the tripod as it was easy to control and set up. Also, using the tripod made it easier to set up interviews, as you could change different heights the filming took place. We used the tripod when gain footage of students walking around the college, setting up interviews, tracking, panning and zooming. Following these conventions, you can see the way we set up our expert interviews, and made sure we used the rule of thirds. This can be seen when looking at ‘Super Size Me’ that we have followed the same conventions. Student Finance, Interview Super Size Me, Interview As you can see both shots follow the convention when interviewing an expert. Both interviews show surroundings of the experts and give an idea of what their profession is. Both of them also follow the rule ofthirds by making sure the eye lines an also a third way down of the screen. As they are both positioned on the left, they should be looking out towards the right, to the interviewer – which is what is happening. When creating the background music and putting the voiceover in the documentary, I used Garage Band and Final Cut to blend these together to make sure they sounded right. The sound is very important during TV documentaries as using voiceovers, presenters or soundtracks can help the TV documentary seem more interesting or help get across the message they are trying to portray. In ‘Super Size Me’ they used a voiceover, and a presenter which was the same person, as well as background music’s. This works well for this documentary as having a presenter help show what Morgan Spurlock went through and how he felt. This also brought a comedy feel to the documentary. In my media product, we used a voiceover to help the flow of the documentary and explain what it is about. This worked well for the theme of the documentary
and also the audience. When picking the background music, we looked at different tunes inGarage Band. As we couldn’t use copyright music, then using this program was good for ourdocumentary. We chose an upbeat sound for our background music as this was a simple tunethat could play during the background. We made sure we change it slightly, so it didn’t getannoying as well. TV documentaries use background music tosuit their documentary. As our audience was students, thenwe thought this suited it well. However, when looking back atthe documentary with the music, sometimes it wasoverpowering against the voiceover and interviews. Selection of different tunes on Garage Band.Other conventions that we used that other TV documentariesuse, is special effects. We did this by using effects of thecamera, and on Final Cut Express. This was to make thevisual part of the documentary interesting and adding differentthings to get peoples attention. When using effects on the camera, I created these by zooming into loose focus or create a focus that’s blurred around the edge of the picture. From seeing‘Super Size Me’ they used several special effects such as out of focus shots. We followed thesame convention so this shows that we are using this correctly. Out of focus of students walking, Student Finance. Out of focus shot of a sign in a McDonalds, Super Size Me.As well as using special effects, we also used transitions in our documentary. We did a lot of‘Non-Addictive Dissolves’ and ‘Cross Dissolves’. We challenged this convention though, asmost documentaries don’t use a lot of these transitions, especially informative documentariessuch as our ‘Student Finance’. We challenged this convention by using these transitions butoverall it worked out well as we used a variety which suited our documentary.
Magazine Article When following and challenging the conventions of articles, I looked at ‘Radio Times’ and ‘TV Mag’ to see how the normal articles are laid out. I already knew what programme to use when creating it, which is InDesign. These magazines that feature TV listings for documentaries and TV programmes give information about the listing such as what it is about and when it will be shown. Also they give several still shots of the documentary. When creating the magazine we made sure we included these conventions in order for it to be successful and look like it would actually be shown inside ‘Radio Times’. Layout of magazine Page Number Still shot of footage of documentaryTitle, subheading Information about times and dates Pull out quotes Drop caps Picture – related to ‘Student Finance’ documentary Use of columns Here are two different programme listings that were in ‘Radio Times’. They both show the same conventions that I have shown above with the picture of the article about my documentary. Our article includes lots of the simple conventions that normal articles should have. It includes pull out quotes, pictures that represent the finance side of the documentary and follows the rules of columns, page numbers and drop caps. By looking at the other articles, we could have included either more information about the documentary or more graphics; this is to fill up the whiter spaces.
Radio TrailerDocumentaries use radio trailers to promote their TV listings and inform people what thedocumentary is about. In class we were given sheets to write down about different radio trailers.This was a good experience as we could analyse the way they work and what information theyinclude.Our radio trailer was created by recording the script with a microphone and camera, so we couldupload this on to garage band. We again picked a backing track for the radio trailer. We kept asimilar choice to our documentary upbeat soundtrack, as we decided a track with a beat like thiswould attract listeners. We included two different clips that were recorded into our documentary,to get across what the documentary was about. We were very pleased with our results, and ofcourse we included the dates and time that it would be shown. Screen shot of using Garage BandThis is following the conventions of producing the music and putting it together with thescript/voice over in order to make it successful.We used rhetorical questions in the script in order to gain the audiences attraction so they canhear the advert on the radio, and then carry on to listen to it to gather information about it. Thescripts questions said “Worried about University? Or where to go next?” Which were spoken in anenthusiastic voice to be friendly and warming to the audience, specially the students. I learntwhen listening to the different documentaries that they seem friendly to invite people in to listen. Iused these techniques from the different radio trails in order to put this when creating my radiotrailer. 2) How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?The documentary, radio trailer and magazine article are all combined to make an effective brandidentity. When creating all of these products, I made sure that they were all connected by givingthe same information and making sure it reaches the same target audience.The target audience for our product is aimed for 16-18 year old boys and girls in college. It’saimed at students in particular to help them for future references about going to university, orseeking a job. It gives them support and facts about what options they can do, and where theycan go for help. Although it is aimed at students as the information given is for them, it is alsoaimed for their parents, or other people who may be interested in the subject of ‘Student Finance’.It is important that we portray everything for this target audience other wise the products wouldn’tbe any good and wouldn’t gain the proper audience it is meant to. The documentary takes placeat Sixth Form College, Solihull in the West Midlands. This doesn’t mean to say that it’s onlysuitable for people in this local area to watch it, as it records students in the college that mayhave a resemblance with other students around the UK.When looking back when watching ‘Super Size Me’ it’s purpose is about informing their targetaudience about obesity and healthy living/eating. In our documentary ‘Student Finance’ it alsotargets our target audience which is students, about student life and what to do when leavingcollege. Both documentaries are notifying their audiences on these social issues that effect alarge population of them. The students are our target audience, and leaving college and thinkingabout their future is a big part of their college life. From my own personal experience I know howhard college can be and choosing options, so this documentary can help students with this issueby gaining information about what to do next.
The target audience isn’t for anyone in particular with certain characteristics. This means thatthe documentary is for different types of people as in no specific race, gender, disability orreligion. This means it’s for a wider variety of people and isn’t stopping people from differentbackgrounds or who have a disability from also gaining the information about ‘Student Finance’.DocumentaryWhen creating the tasks for the product, we made sure we used certain techniques so it suitsthe target audience. To show the documentary is for our chosen target audience, there is lots offootage of student life including students. We filmed at the Sixth Form College, Solihull where allfilming was chosen from as well as interviews. Several shots of student like, college and shots of resources students use.All of the footage is about students, and they can relate to this as they are watching it. As thedocumentary involves two expert interviews, this can help students as they can recognise thesame people in the colleges they go. This is to help them to see where they can go and makes iteffective as helps to get information across to students as its coming from someone who knowwhat they are talking about. It shows how realistic the interviews are so students are more likelyto gain more from it and enjoy the visual sided as well. The pictures used in the magazine articlecan also be seen in the documentary as well.Magazine ArticlePeople who would have seen the TV listing inside ‘Radio Times’ will be able to recognise whatthey saw and read about, as they both match up effectively. A still shot of one interviewee wasused for the article to show what the filming it about for the article. This connects both of theproducts together as we used actual footage that is going to be shown. The article as wellincludes lots of features that the documentary features, such as certain facts. Shown in documentary and then used for article Its effective for the product and the target audience can’t be confused as the products
match each other creating a brand. As the magazine article would be shown in the ‘RadioTimes’, this gives a great opportunity for people to be attracted to the article and then watch thedocumentary. Using a reliable source like the ‘Radio Times’ can help update people about theupcoming documentary if they didn’t already know. ‘Radio Times’ is subscribed to over2,280,000. Most of these people are actually from the older populations, which could seem aproblem. This isn’t in fact a problem as about 580,000 readers are actually younger between 15and 44 years old. This is good for the documentary and these people can read the article and beinspired to see the documentary. The older generations can also help out by letting people theyknow who are students, about the documentary.Radio TrailerTo reach out to even more students and the target audience, the radio trailer would bebroadcasted to inform people. We decided to reach out more to the younger people, by choosingCapital FM to broadcast the trailer. Capital FM reaches out across the UK having over 7,000,000listeners. Their target audience is ranged 15-34 year olds, (information found athttp://www.thisisglobal.com/radio/capital/) and is said to be ‘UK’s No.1 hit music station’ so youwould expect lots of listeners. With their repetition, we are able to reach out to students acrossthe UK to inform them about things that students worry about. As the‘Student Finance’ documentary was part of a series, using a radiostation like Capital FM can help the series be more popular amongstthe younger population to help them for future references. Using apopular radio station like Capital helps to connect the radio trailerand the documentary as our target audience is students – youngpeople. As the radio station is especially for the same targetaudience then it gains the population we need for the documentary.OverallAll of the 3 different texts make a clear brand identity for ‘StudentFinance’. This is because they all use the same information that isgiven about the upcoming documentary and connect by using the texts in each other. This wasseen when the magazine article included quotes of what was going to be said in thedocumentary, and on the radio trailer. As they all use the same voice over, this is effect as well aspeople are able to recognise the same voice, tone and information given by the voiceover. It’simportant for our brand identity to include the same things so the product can be clearer to thetarget audience and they aren’t confused by hearing or seeing different things from all 3products. We made sure the brand was apparent for the listeners and readers of ‘Capital FM’and ‘Radio Times’ as these were the organisations we would use to help spread the word aboutthe documentary that would be showing. Using these organisations helped to promote thedocumentary by using the information about what it is about, as well as promoting to the sametarget audience. Our target audience is important in this documentary and there wouldn’t bemuch point of it if students didn’t see it. ‘Capital FM’ and ‘Radio Times’ were able to support ourdocumentary by showing the article and broadcastings about the documentary to help our targetaudience be interested. 3) What have you learned from your audience feedback?During the research and planning for the documentary, we had to do a questionnaireregarding what people like to see in documentaries. (This can be found in our blog posts). Wecreated these questionnaires so we were able to get feedback from students and some teachersfrom our college, to see what they thought about the subject of student finance. We got somegood feedback about the subject as we wanted to find out what people thought of the idea andthings if they didn’t have a job or didn’t know what to do when they leave college. Other feedbackwe got was what they like to see in documentaries, such as visual effects. People said theyenjoyed to see transitions, different shots including special effects and interviews and factsas it looks more interesting to see.
We used this feedback questionnaire to help create our filming and produce our documentary,radio trailer and the magazine article. It helped us to see what our target audience wanted to seefrom these products. So eventually when we finished creating these 3 products about ‘StudentFinance’, we have done another feedback questionnaire with our classmates to see how wedone in relation to what the people wanted to see. Here are the questions asked and results;Before asking questions about each individual product,we asked personal questions to help build our 6documentary on. We asked our candidates to stateweather if they were unemployed and if they were 5planning to go to university.6 people said that they were unemployed in their current 4state. This was good information to gain as we were ableto apply this in our documentary. Over half of the 3students we asked said that they weren’t employed. Weused this information to help students in our 2documentary on where to look for jobs and how to apply 1for them. We found statistics to show that the age mostunemployed people are 16-24 years olds in the UK. The 0employment rate has recently increased over the lastcouple of years, so we were able to gather this No Job Going toinformation to use in our documentary. University is Unianother option students may take when leaving college.With these results that only 3 people are planning to go to university which seems a very lownumber. We knew that the fees for university have now increased, so wanted to see if anyoneleaving college soon have planned to go to university, even due to the increase in fees.This was useful for us as we decided that as there weren’t many people who said they wereplanning on going to university, that we would include this into the documentary.TV DocumentaryWere there any problems with the sound levels?There were a few problems with the sound levels of the 7documentary as we found out when watching it back. 6The results are as show and 7 people agreed that therewere problems with the sound levels. The music was 5overpowering the script and speeches of people being 4 Yesinterviewed. It did ruin it a bit as people couldn’t hearthat well. This slip up was noticed by ourselves, and we 3 Noknow what we would have to do to change this in thefuture. I agree with these comments, but as well I think 2that the sound levels did work well on the occasions they 1didn’t mess up. I think that the script of the voiceoverworked very well as it was all of the same sounds level 0and wasn’t too quiet or loud, which is something weworked hard on during Final Cut Express.Was the music suitable? 8The results were spilt for this question as people saiddifferent things. The background music we used was 7different and we thought blended well into the background 6for the documentary. Some people said that the music did 5make them loose interest a bit as it became irritating to Yesthem. As the music was at times increased over the 4 Nodocumentary’s voiceover and interviews, then this would be 3noticeable for the audience to see. It would put people off 2trying to hear a voice over loud music. This would be 1 0
something we would have to change when doing this again, by slightly changing the volume ofthe music, sometimes even cutting it off completely at times. I think listening to moredocumentaries could help solve this situation. This would mean not changing to music as 8people did say that it was suitable, so I just think the levels need tweaking. In the questionnaire, we always asked questions about the visual side of the documentary, everyone commented that the transitions worked well, the documentary kept them interested and also they learnt something new from the documentary.Rate documentary overallWe asked our candidates to rate the documentary from; Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. Theseresults turned out very well as no one rates it as Poor. We are pleased that we were rate ‘Good’10 times and ‘Excellent’ once. This is good feedback for the documentary but there is room forimprovement. I think that main thing for the documentary was sorting out the music sound levelsspecially when there is a voiceover or an interview. This could be done by turning the soundlevels down or completely off.Radio TrailerWhen asking about the radio trailer, we got great feedback. All of the questions that we askedspecifically about the radio trailer all got 100% positive feedback. This is really good feedback forour group as we enjoyed putting together the radio trailer, and personally I think it was reallygood. We wanted to make sure that all of the products were good bye each aspect of the productis good and works well. This shows that we have put a lot of hard work into the radio trailer andby using the techniques we used, shows we done well to meet the criteria.The positive feedback shows that everything links together and works well to meet the targetaudience. As we included the rhetorical questions and clips form the documentary, it catchespeople attention and feedback even included “If I heard this it would make me want to watch thedocumentary”. This shows that using the clips from the documentary and the way we put theradio trailer together, it catches the right audience and keeps them interested to keep on listening. 10 8 6 4 Yes 2 No 0 Is the Is the Does it music purpose keep suitable? clear? your interest?
Rate radio trailer overallThis rating was very good and helped to show how people really think of the radio trailer. 4people rated the radio trailer ‘Excellent’ and 6 said it was ‘Good’. This is good as no one rated thetrailer as ‘Poor’ or ‘Fair’. Even our teacher said that it was very good, and from all this feedback Ithink it’s hard to see where improvements can be made. These results show that we created thetrailer in the correct and good amount of time. Excellent Good Fair Poor 8 7Magazine Article 6Does it grab your attention? 5The results back from this question are that 2 people said no and Yes 4the rest said yes. This is good as only 20% of the people asked Nogave a negative feedback to it. From looking at the results it is 3good as people did say it did grab attention. To agree with the 2 2people that attention the magazine didn’t grab, I think because the 1colours where very simple and not eye catching. Although the 0pictures and title people said grabs the attention as it’s bold andstands out clearly.Next we asked if the layout looked good and if the articles 10 9relevant, which got positive feedback again. Everyone 8answered these questions as yes, again being 100%. This is 7good and we can see from these results that the target 6audience like the way it looks which is good as they will be 5 Yesinterested to watch the documentary. These are pleasing 4 Noresults as we know we are attracting our target audience 3 2which is what we need. 1 0 Does the Was the layout article look relevant? good? 6Is there enough imagery?It features two different imagery pictures, which one was a 5still shot from the documentary. The feedback from theseresults is spilt half and half which can be hard to analyse. 4Because of these results, I think that it depends on Yes 3peoples opinions as well. Some people may prefer articles Noto have a lot of imagery or lots of writing. I personally think 2that there is enough imagery but I think there was somewhite space that could have been covered. I think if we 1 0
improved the article this would be a reason to improve it, but I wouldn’t say to add more imageryas I think there is enough.Rate magazine article overallThese results were good again even though there was one person who rated it as ‘Fair’. I thinkthat there could be improvements made to the article by either change colour scheme or addinganother pull out quote to cover up white space areas. Excellent Good Fair PoorOverallI have learnt from this exercise that there is always room for improvement. We had goodfeedback and it was both critical and positive. I think the mixed results can help to makeimprovements and also it’s a positive way in seeing the good parts of the products. One of theimprovements would be sorting out the sound levels on the documentary, with the music. Thesound levels on the documentary didn’t match and weren’t that well, whereas the radio trailer hadgood use of sound levels. To improve the sound levels of the music on the documentary, I wouldturn them off during interviews and turn them down more when the voiceover is narrating. Thiswould improve this straight away and would be less distracting for the audience so they can stayinterested. Other improvements would be for the magazine article. There was some negativefeedback about the attraction for it and not havingimagery. To resolve this I would say to have moreimagery in order to grab the attention that it’smissing. Also maybe to change the colour scheme toa slightly brighter colour scheme, but not too brightas it wouldn’t have the superior look about it, as it’s Excellentfor an informative documentary. GoodFrom the results of the overall rating of the project, Fairwe got good rating which didn’t include being rated Poorat ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’. People must have really enjoyedthe products and understood to concept and howthey all linked together.From the feedback I was surprised in some of theresults, like the fact that most of the products gotgood feedback and we only had a few improvements to make over the 3 products. I wassurprised because as the topic was ‘Student Finance’ you don’t know if people will like it and usethe information given on the show, or dislike it as the subject it is about. I hope that people gainedinformation from the trailer as we used real life facts about finance for students. I was glad thatthe feedback contained specific improvements to make as it helps use to create something betternext time and we can gain the knowledge.