A2 Media Evaluation 1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?At the start of our A2 course we were told that we would have to produce a 5 minute introduction for a televisiondocumentary. As well as this, we also had to produce a radio trailer and a double page spread for a TV listingsmagazine. These two products will be used to advertise our documentary. To produce our documentary, we first had todecide on a target audience and a interesting topic that would relate to our particular target audience.As we were only producing the first 5 minutes of our documentary, we had to decide what the tone for our documentarywas going to be; whether it was going to be light- hearted, serious, optimistic or pessimistic. It was extremely importantfor us to set the tone of our documentary straight away. However, because we had chosen contraception as our topicwhich is a serious matter, the tone was immediately set for us as contraception is a topic people don’t like to joke about.Although, we kept this in mind during our documentary, we also included a few light- hearted moments as we had tobear in mind that our target audience are only young and will not enjoy a documentary that is purely serious.American documentary theorist Bill Nichols distinguished traits and conventions between certain documentary filmstyles. In his 2001 book, Introduction to Documentary (Indiana University Press), Bill Nichols defines the following sixmodes of documentary:• Poetic: Transforms historical material into a more abstract, lyrical form• Observational: Watches the subject and allows the audience to form thir own opinions.• Expositional: Social issues assembled into an argumentative frame.• Participatory: The filmmaker engages in the documentary they are producing.• Performative: Acknowledges the emotional and subjective aspects of the documentary• Reflexive: Engages actively with the issues of realism and representation.Using these six modes, we have been able to watch documentaries and identify which of the six modes thatdocumentary falls into. However, more often than not, most documentaries feature elements from more than one modein them.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Our documentary mostly fits into the expository mode but also features elements from the reflexiveand poetic mode.It fits into the expository mode because our documentary Underage and Protected uses a voiceoverwhich acts as a commentary from the filmmaker, spoken while the camera is filming. We chose to usevoiceover rather than a presenter because that way we could speak directly to the viewer whilst the camera was filming something relevant to the topic. For example, the voiceover in our documentary states the statistic that "about one in ten women are at risk of an unintended pregnancy“ whilst the camera is filming a visual aid showing a picture of ten women and one of them being pregnant. Morgan Spurlock also uses visual aids in his documentary “Supersize Me”. He uses the drink cups to convey the drastic differences between the sizes.Both documentaries use these visual aids to link in with thevoiceover. When the visual aids of these drink cups are onscreen, Morgan Spurlock is emphasising how much sugar wouldbe in each of the different sizes.The expository mode also states that the documentary proposes astrong argument which our documentary does. In our documentarywe provide the audience with the strong debate as to whethercontraception is too easily available to teenagers in today’ssociety. This is identical to how Morgan Spurlock proposed the strong argument that fast food hascaused obesity to rise in his documentary “Supersize Me”.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?During this course, I have spent a lot of time studying the codes and conventions of many differentdocumentaries including “Supersize Me”, “The Undateables” and “Teen Mom”. By analysing thesedocumentaries, I have managed to pick up on some codes and conventions which our documentaryalso features.The uses of camera was one of the conventions I picked up on. This includes shotstypes such as, close ups, medium close ups, establishing shots, long shots andextreme close ups.“Teen Mom” uses mainly close ups and extreme close ups to portray their feelingsto the audience clearly.“The Undateables” also use mainly close ups and medium close ups when talking totheir interviewees.In our documentary, we have used mainly close ups and medium close ups and madesure the framing on each shot is professional and looks clear to the reader.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?“Supersize Me” used a handheld camera a lot whereas in our documentary we chose to use a tripod.We used this on various occasions such as establishing shots of the college and during interviews withour experts and teachers. Using the tripod ensured us that we would have a steady and be able to usecamera skills such as pan, tracking and zooming which made our documentary look professional. Thetripod also ensures that the rule of thirds was applied in our expert interviews during our documentary.“Supersize Me” uses the rule of thirds when talking to experts so we decided to use the sametechnique in our documentary too. The rue of thirds ensures that the expert is sitting at the edge of theshot looking across the camera at dead space. From analysing “Supersize Me” we also chose to havethe experts name and profession come across the bottom of the screen during the interview. Afterstudying “Supersize Me” we also realised that filming the experts in a professional setting helpsemphasis to the audience that the expert knows what they’re talking about and has a useful opinion onthe topic.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Sound is another code and convention that I discovered was important in a documentary. “SupersizeMe”, “The Undateables” and “Teen Mom” all made sure that their sound whether it be digetic, non-digetic, voiceover or presenter was clear enough for the audience to hear.“Supersize Me” used a presenter as well as a voiceover in their documentary which makes thedocumentary feel more personal as the audience can see the person the voiceover is coming from.Also, a presenter works well because the presenter can have a direct eye line to the audience whilstdelivering their point or opinion. “The Undateables” however, only uses a voiceover because thedocumentary revolves around a set of individuals therefore the subjects become a type of presenterfor the audience to relate to. “Teen Mom” is different from both of these documentaries as it does nothave a presenter as the teenage moms shown in the series are voiceovers themselves, so thedocumentary cuts from one mom to the other with that certain mom becoming the voiceover relayingher story to the audience.Taking all the techniques used in all three of these documentaries, we decided that we would use avoiceover because our documentary is more informative and a presenter was not necessary. We usedthe voiceover to convey facts and statistics to the audience but also to guide the audience through thedocumentary as it progressed.We recorded the voiceover using a microphone, headphones andinserted it into Final Cut Express.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Background music was another code and convention of documentaries that we had to consider usingin our documentary. Near about every documentary we have watched has involved background musicsomehow so we knew that we had to find some background music to play whilst the camera was noton our experts.We researched what other documentaries had used, for example, “Supersize Me” uses a lot ofcopyrighted songs which we could not use. “Teen Mom” doesn’t use much music apart from when thetitle sequence is playing which didn’t really help us because we knew we needed some form ofbackground music.However, “The Undateables” helped us to decide how to incorporate background music smoothly intothe flow of our documentary. “The Undateables” uses background music during the title sequences butalso uses clips of music when the camera is filming shots such as establishing shots which needs apiece of music behind it to keep the audience interested in the documentary. Keeping this in mind, wedecided to have a continuous background music track playing throughout the documentary butlowering the volume of the music whilst the voice over or experts were talking.We used Garage Band to find simple beats that we could compose into a track to use as backgroundmusic. We chose Club Dance Beat 007 to use as our background music becausewe thought that our target audience would enjoy listening to this type of music.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Facts and figures were used throughout “Supersize Me” to help emphasise Morgan Spurlock’s point tothe audience. He placed a visual aid on the screen whilst the voiceover described it to the audience.We also decided to use this technique in our documentary as we thought it was a great way to conveyour point to the audience clearly. Both documentaries have used a map which helps to portray the point to the audience in a simple way. We decided to use this so that the audience wouldn’t be bombarded with facts all through the documentary and could deduce the relevant information for themselves.From watching “Supersize Me” I realised that special effects are used throughout the documentary.Special effects are used to make the transition from shot to shot more different and smooth for theaudience. We also used special effects during our documentary as it makes each transition creative.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?As well as our documentary, we also had to produce a double page spread and a radio trailer tosupport our documentary.This is our finished double page article whichwe produced for the TV listings magazine TVChoice. We decided not to use Radio Times topublish our double page spread in as wethought our target audience wouldn’t readRadio Times therefore our documentary won’tbe advertising to the right audience. The aim ofour double page article is to sell and advertiseour documentary.We had to look at existing double page spread’sfeatured in various TV magazines to identifycodes and conventions that will make our articlelook professional and will use the codes andconventions of real media products. Becausewe have chosen TV Choice as our publisher,we decided to look specifically at their existingarticles to make sure ours looked professional.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Both double page spreads use a purple banner at the top of the page with “The best of this week’s TV” on it in yellow. Both articles also have a yellow box that states what type of program me it is, the title and the time it is airing.Our double page spread Existing TV Choice article Both spreads have structured their text into columns to make the article look more professional.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? The existing TV Choice double page spread uses a drop cap to start the article and I also used a drop cap to start our double page spread. If you compare our double page spread to the existing TV Choice article you can point out codes and conventions we have followed in our double page spread. Both of these double page spreads follow the codes and conventions of professional TV listings double page spreads.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?To understand the codes and conventions needed for radio trailers, we analysed many existing radiotrailers. We listened to many radio trailers from various radio channels such as Radio 1, Capital FMand 5Live. We decided that our radio trailer will be broadcasted on the radio channel Radio 1 becausetheir target audience fits into our target audience which will ensure that our radio trailer is targeted atthe right people.We knew that because our topic was serious that we had to make our radio trailer light heartedsomehow without demeaning our topic. We used the background music to soften the tone a little andwe produced it on Garage Band. We chose a beat that would appeal to our target audience and keepthem interested throughout the radio trailer.The purpose of the radio trailer is to advertise and sell the documentary to theaudience so the time, date and channel for the documentary needs to beconveyed clearly through the radio trailer directly to the audience. Thisensures that the audience have the information they need to watch thedocumentary if they find it interesting and want to learn the more about thetopic.