Q1 in what ways does your media products use develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products
By Hoorie Begum
For our Media Studies coursework we were asked to create the opening 5
minutes to a documentary, we were to choose the genre of the documentary and
what is going to be part of the documentary. We all had many ideas on what the
genre of the documentary was going to be on and then we decided that we
wanted to do something that was very common but people didn't have much
knowledge on so we chose knife crime.
We carried out a lot of research into documentaries, the first documentary that
we watched and analysed was ‘Supersize Me’ and by watching that we gathered
the codes and conventions of a documentary and what aspects we would want to
include into our documentary, and the what the layout of our documentary is
going to be. By looking at a knife crime documentary it helped us plan out our
documentary, and how we should set it out. We knew that for our documentary
to be eye-catching we had to have some shocking facts that would draw the
audience in. This is a link to the documentary, Panorama Jailed For a Knife
Camera & Editing
One of the, main ways that we followed codes and conventions was with the camera and
editing, we made sure that when we were recording an interview, they were either on the
left or the right, and there wasn't too much head space above them, as it doesn't look right
if there is too much. We set up all of the interviews making sure that the background was
suitable for who was going to be interviewed, and it looked as thought they were
We made sure that our documentary consisted of medium close up shots of the
interviewees to show their facial expression and the body language to show the audience
how serious of a topic it is. Another key thing that was done was having the name of the
interviewee and their profession on the bottom left/right hand side. This is an important
convention as it means that the audience know who the person is and what they do.
Also many documentaries use establishing shots to show where there are filming, so that
the audience can get a sense of what its like for the people in the documentary and what
they have to go through. So we decided that we were going to have an establishing shot of
Solihull which is where we were filming, we chose to have an establishing shot of Solihull
town centre where it is often very busy.
Background footage was another key convention that we
followed was by having background footage in our documentary,
by doing this it allows the on screen presenter or the voiceover
to talk about the documentary, without there being something
more important happening in the background. The presenter
wouldn't be able to talk if it is showing an interview etc. We
decided that the background footage that we were going to use
was going to be related to the scene that was coming up, so
before we showed the interview with the police officer we showed background footage of
the police station.
A main convention that we followed was that we had many statistics in the
documentary, I don't think that a documentary will work properly if it hasn't got
any statistics, whatever documentary you watch they will always have statistics
from a recent survey . I feel that statistics add a sense of realism to a
documentary as you know that the statistics haven't been made up and it even
gets you thinking.
A way that we followed the conventions of sound was that we used low volume
music throughout the documentary, and it was more serious tense music which
matches with he genre of our documentary. By
having tense music it shows that the
documentary is based on a serious topic, and
most documentaries choose the music based
on the genre of the documentary.
We didn't want to challenge too many of the codes and conventions of a
documentary as it was the first time that we were creating such a product and
we still wanted it to look professional and like an actual documentary. However
one of the ways that we did challenge the codes and conventions of
documentaries is by not having an on screen presenter, we chose to have a
voiceover instead of an on screen, this was because we thought that we didn't
need an on screen presenter as the voice over would be just as good as a
The Panorama documentary that we watched had the slide effect hen it went
from one scene to the next, however we thought that we wanted to use an effect
that shows that it is slightly more serious and intense so when we went from one
scene to the next we zoomed into the next scene.
We thought that this was much better as it shows the intensity of the
documentary. Another way that we challenged the conventions of a
documentary was that we made our documentary slightly more informal than
formal, as our target audience were young adults and we wanted it to mainly
appeal to them so if it is too formal then they wont be interested and it wont
appeal to them.
A final way that we challenged conventions of a documentary was that we
didn't have music playing in the background of the interviews and voxpops.
Normally in documentaries they don't stop the music that is playing in the
background, however we decided that we didn't want anything disturbing the
interview, we wanted the main attention to be on the person being interviewed.
Overall I feel that we followed many of the codes and conventions of
documentaries and the conventions that we did challenge worked well with the
documentary. We used the same effect when going from scene to scene which is
what the Panorama documentary did as it looked consistent. The effects that we
used were just straight cuts and we felt that this was appropriate taking into
consideration the topic of the documentary. We felt that the conventions that
we did challenge were appropriate as it all worked well together and weren't too
different to typical documentaries.
The changes that I would personally have made was if we had voxpops of people
outside of college however it was fairly difficult and time consuming taking all of
the equipment from college to Solihull town centre.
For us to create a successful double page spread we had to look at other
magazine spreads to see what kind of things we should include and what our
magazine should look like. We analysed two magazine articles, and took ideas
from that on how we should make our double page spread.
By researching these it helped us gain knowledge on how we could make a
magazine that is better than what we created last year and we chose what codes
and conventions we were going to follow and which we were going to challenge.
We saw that in many magazine articles the main image
takes about ¾ of the page and should be very
eye-catching and appealing to the audience . The first
thing that is looked at when you open a magazine is
the main image, if the main image isn't appealing
then the audience wont even want to look at the rest
of the magazine. So we made sure that the main image
was eye-catching and took the majority of the page.
We also made sure that the title was very large as that is also one of the main
things that is looked at in a magazine, if the title is small then the audience
wont know what the title is, so by
having it very large and in bold writing
it is very eye-catching, and you notice it
Another convention that we used was that we placed our article
in paragraphs, by doing that it structures it very well and you
can tell that it flows and you can see that it flows.
We also added the date, time and the channel that the documentary was going
to be aired, and this is another convention as the audience will need to know
when the programme is going to come on television otherwise they wont be able
to watch it.
Another convention that we used was that we had
subsidiary images on the double page spread, most spreads,
have the main image and then they have either 1 or 2 smaller
images. This is something that we decided to do, and we added
an image of the police officer that we interviewed and we got
that from the documentary, and we decided to add an image of
the Solihull Sixth Form logo.
Normally the subsidiary images that are used on a double page spread aren't
from he actual documentary, however we decided to use images from the
documentary so that the audience can see what the documentary has install and
they get to gain a bit more knowledge of the documentary without even
Overall I feel that we followed the majority of the codes and conventions of a
double page spread. We made sure that we had the main image taking up most
of the page, we made the masthead big bold and eye-catching so that its the
first thing that catches the audiences attention, and I think that all of that
I think that the conventions that we did challenge still worked well with the rest
of the magazine spread, and didn't look too different that it doesn't look
Before we created our radio trailer we had a listen to previous radio trailers to
see what the conventions were and what aspects we could include into our radio
trailer. We found that the majority of radio trailers don't last too long, they have
background music, and say the date, time and channel that it will be broadcast
on. By gaining this information we planned out our radio trailer, to try and
match these conventions.
We decided that as this is the first time that we are creating a radio trailer we
wanted to mainly stick to the conventions, which is why we decided to make our
radio trailer 40 seconds long. This is a typical convention of a radio trailer as
they don't tend to be longer than 5o seconds long, and they aren't shorter than
3o seconds otherwise they couldn't be very memorable.
We also added a background music which was the same background music in
the documentary so that it is continuous, and this is another convention as you
don't just want to listen to speech, if it has music then you are more likely to
Another main aspect that our radio trailer followed was that it had parts of the
documentary in the radio trailer, by having aspects of the documentary into he
trailer, the audience are bale to hear some if the documentary and that will
make them want to watch the documentary. By having the date, time and
channel of the programme it informs them of when they can watch it, which is
another convention that we have followed.
I feel that we didn't challenge the conventions of the radio trailer too much,
however I do think that we did one thing slightly different, we found that
when it came to a serious topic then the voiceover is a male. However we
went against that and decided to have a female as the voiceover and this was
because I think that the double page spread was mainly aimed at males, so
we wanted to balance it out and bring in the female audience.
Most of the radio trailers that we had listened to had parts of interviews
within it, however we decided to use voxpops from the target audience to
show that we did ask the target audience and didn't just have professional
Overall I think that I followed the majority of the codes and conventions of
the radio trailer, to make it sound like a professional radio trailer that would
actually be aired on Capital FM. We made sure that the sound levels were
right and weren't too different, we made the trailer 40 seconds long which
followed another convention, and we also gave the date, time and channel
that it will be broadcast on.