In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Given the topic of documentary came across as a challenge, however oncewe began researching, planning, practicing and actually making the productwe got more familiar with what a documentary is and how we could make a successful one ourselves. We researched many existing documentariesinvolving certain issues and celebrities and we also did a lot of research on Louis Theroux, Michael Moore and Nick Broomfield – existing and very famous documentary makers.
Inspiration Early on we decided to do an expository type of documentary, Michael Moore is famous for his expository documentaries and after researching him we were set on using his style.We wanted to expose but compare something and all we needed to donow is choose a certain topic to perform a documentary on so this lead to many discussions and mind maps.
Planning After writing down a number of possibilities using a mind map we narrowed it down to a few topics including: -Education - Fast food - Medical - Antisocial behaviour We decided on Education as our topic of interestbecause there is a variety of topics branching from that such as: exams, behaviour, uniform, areas, bullying, racism, subjects, teaching and the quality or learning.
Developing After deciding an idea I created a Slide share to document our decisions and plan for the documentary
Reeds Locations Private school located in Cobham, we filmed interviews with students and teachers and also looked at the outstanding facilities. Heathside Public school located in Weybridge (we are students here), we filmed the journey, teachers, students and the facilities and compared them to Reeds.
Filming Firstly we filmed around Heathside getting all the footage we needed. Once we had done this we knew what to film for Reeds meaning we could compare and use the same shots and techniques. The most important thing for us was theinterviews because they explain a lot and are very opinionated, it exposes student and teacher thoughts matching our expository documentary form. We used the Sony videocameras supplied to us by the Media department at Heathside.
Filming In this section we filmed meg discussing the exam percentages between Reeds and Heathside school, as she walks and announces the results the computers to the right hand side of the screen flash onto show the result percentages. It took us a while to plan and a number of takes to get it right, but now it works it looks successful.
Interviews One Shot – Mr Haining (sports andconditioning coach at reeds school) He explains what his job is and hisopinion of private school education. Two Shot – Mrs Cooper (our current media teacher) used to teach at a private school so discusses her personal view. One Shot- Student at Heathside school giving his opinions of being at a state school. We also interviewed students at Reeds.
Archive Footage We were incredibly lucky to find archive footage quite late on during theproject. Not only does it completely comprehend our documentary as a whole it also involves Barack Obama the president of the United States which is an extremely powerful opinion and makes our documentary much stronger. We have put this footage as the opening section for our documentary as it immediately gains interest as people recognise this face.
Editing We put all of the footage on each time we did a bit of We used the program iMovie to edit all of our filming and cut the footage. Due to last years use of the program the unnecessary bits out, we whole group already knew the ins and outs of what then put all of this in order it does and how to use it to our advantage. and began adding things in Voice Over’s. we wrote mini scripts such as: archive footage, that meg then recorded of herself voice over’s, music and speaking, this went straight onto the transitions. clip. Music. Transitions. We decided We usedto add music ‘Cross that had no Dissolve’ lyrics and ‘Cross because it Blur’ these would most two merge likely be clips irrelevant to together in a our topic so smooth way we kept it to create simple but fluidity in the upbeat to documentar keep it y. interesting.
Shots and Camera AnglesThe most used camera angles and shots we used were point of view, framing, two shot, one shot, long shot and wide angle.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? I feel that both of the ancillary tasks combine extremely well with the main task. The poster issimple yet eye catching and contains all relevant information to advertise the actual documentary and the magazine spread is all about thedocumentary itself containing an image, bold andrelevant title, interview and information about the actual documentary.
Individual Ancillary Research I thought I would research and plan what I was going to do before I began creating a double page magazine spread. This benefitted me and gave meknowledge and understanding of what makes a successful magazine article.
Double Page Magazine SpreadI am really happy with my final outcome of the magazine double page spread, I have used typical conventions but made it different to most other existing magazine articles. I have included all of the main things and the layout works well containing a bold title and channel 4 logo.
Group Ancillary Newspaper Advert/Poster We weren’t sure whether to do a poster or a newspaper advert so we therefore made a multi functional piece that can work both ways. I searched for different images and came across this one and decided to use it as the background. The group decided the title and where to put the channel 4 logo. I knew we needed a quote somewhere and it would have looked out of place if I had but it at the top or bottom so I made it fit in the centre of the apple, this is going to draw peoples attention to the quote which will then inspire them to watch it. I think the title structure is clever and the photo and wording is completely relevant to the documentary.
Target Audience We couldn’t pin point a certain age group because our documentary is not only aimed at all age groups it will also be interesting to the ages of 13 – 80 years old. Students, Teachers, Parents and Grandparents will all be able to watch, enjoy and relate to our documentary and it may help many people make the decision of whether to spend loads of money on a private education. The documentary covers both public and private schools and looks inside at facilities and results
Media Students Feedback We allowed our classmates to watch our documentary and asked them for feedback, we also returned the favour. We filmed their views so we could keep them and refer back to it when necessary. They said they liked the topic as it hasn’t been done before in this style and theythought it was relevant and interesting to recent and local society. They did however comment on the target audience being aimed more at adults including teachers and parents but this didn’t matter too much to us.
What I Have Learnt From the Feedback I think getting feedback was very important, it let us know what we were doing wrong and it boosted our confidence when we got complimented. It taught us how to take constructive criticism and without regular feedback from Mrs Cooper we would have been stuck.
How did you use media technologies in theconstruction and research, planning and evaluation stages? We used a variety of technologies from equipment like tripods to search engines such as Google. Without using these technologies we would not have been able to create a documentary. We used the internet to do our research and blogging and we used Microsoft office programmes forexample: Microsoft Word to display the information and create the ancillary tasks. The more frequently I used these technologies the more I picked upon how to use them to my advantage. This will benefit me in the future andhopefully it means our group used technologies well to create a successful documentary with two side tasks.
General Opinion on the Finished Documentary The fact that we have only been given a tiny audience to get feedback off is to our disadvantage, but in general people have commented on the clever topic choice and originality of the idea. Some of the filming is unsteady which has resulted from needing footage to fill in the gaps and the relevant footage had to go in these gaps otherwise it wouldn’t flow. People have also said they like the way we ended it with ‘End of part 1’ because it makes them knowthere is more to come. We covered a wide area of the documentary in a speedy 5 minute boundary however we did push it over by a few seconds, this doesn’t matter too much to us but people did pick up on it. One of the interviews is a bit too long but it has so much relevant information it would be a shame to cut it out, it would also ruin the flow of the documentary so unless we went back to Reeds and re-interviewed Mr Haining this would not have been possible.
Personal Opinion Although my opinion could be biased I do think the documentary has worked out really well. The footage is average but the editing made it all go together nicelyand made it much more interesting. The part with the exam results flashing on the computer screen looks good and the timing was very accurate. I also think the archive footage is a very strong part of the opening and the fact that BarackObama is in the documentary without any intention is even better. I think some of the filming could have been a lot steadier and in a few clips people tend to stumble on their words but recover quickly, it wasn’t acted out and the answers we got built up a really good argument that would be concluded if thedocumentary was longer. Another section I think works well is the car journey upthe lane to Heathside school, it is fast and to the point and although it isn’t steady it is still effective, especially with the music over the top.
Group Rolls Meg, Nick & Adam We decided as a group to all take part in every activity butthroughout the project our roles became more clear due to what we were best at. I put a lot of ideas and research into the documentary and also did a lot of filming and editing for the final piece, Meg found herself interviewing and doing voiceovers while Nick edited footage as we went along and Adam did a lot of filming. We worked well as a group and all put in an equal amount of effort at the end.
Time Keeping and Organisation To begin with our organisation wasn’t too great but we gottogether as a group and made a plan for the term. Once we hadall of our ideas and it was time to start filming we began to gain organisation skills and stayed on task. We could have performed better if we had better organisation throughout thewhole project from start to finish but this was a mistake we have learnt from and would definitely make sure we had better time keeping skills if we were given the chance to do this again.
Personal Input and Skill Development Overall throughout the second year of Media A-Level I have developed a number of skills, some being basic and others being more complex. • I have learnt how to use a video camera and upload footage onto the computer. • I have also got more and more familiar with the Apple Maccomputers and the iMovie program that we use to edit all of our footage • I have learnt about conventions and camera shots/angles • Blogging has become easier and more skilful • Working as a team has allowed me to develop teamwork and communication skills• I know how to research, plan, film, edit and produce succesful media products • Lastly I have developed an understanding of creating magazine articles and advertising schemes to collaborate with the media product.
Blog Keeping a blog was important for this project as it documented every step in an organised and public way meaning people can look and give me feedback. When Iget page views I know people have been looking and it would also be a great way ofgetting useful feedback from people across the country that don’t know me. Here is the link to my blog… http://annadocumentary.blogspot.co.uk/